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Blog Entry - Duende - 8/11/16


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#1 Duende

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 05:44 PM

Hi!  It's been a while since our last blog post, and this one is a long time
coming.  
 
It's been a busy several months since our last reboot, during which we've
enjoyed a stable server, both in terms of uptime and no changes in
mechanics.  Our immortals took a well-deserved break for a few weeks to
recuperate from the usual franticness of development; May marked the second
anniversary of my return, since which I've worked on the server an average
of several hours a day.  Iyara got to enjoy some self-directed education
about the code, and has started modifying code herself, which is fantastic
from several angles.  
 
In June, I returned to productivity, and was able to reward our stability by
working on some important-but-not-urgent server work cleaning up our boss
functionality.  When a lot of the boss functionality was introduced, it was
immature, poorly scoped, and I didn't comprehend how large and complex a
system it would end up being.  Most of it works great, but the very core of
the system, which is a per-player record of who has killed which bosses, had
a maximum length which was significantly shorter than the number of records
needed to track a player who had killed 200 bosses, which was fewer than we
even had implemented.  Allowing more access to more bosses, level-scaling
bosses, and adding more of them would cause catastrophic damage, and so I
had a mandate to rewrite the entire recordkeeping system for bosses.  This
necessitated refactoring everything else about bosses, so a good month was
spent doing that.  
 
All boss functionality is now orders of magnitude faster, more scalable, and
ready for new features which can be easily implemented.  Very little will
actually change from the player perspective, except you might notice a
continued stream of bosses to kill.  
 
 ---
 
While I was working on that server backend, Iyara and Omnis continued work
on making the game more accessible to non-standard clients, specifically
visually-impaired (VI) players' screen readers, and mobile clients for
tablets and phones.  Text games are uniquely suited to those types of
players, and Materia Magica is at the forefront of making them accessible
and functional.  If you'd like an example of what that means, a video of a
VI archon fighting a hunter can be found on YouTube.
Given that audio, you might question my usage of
'functional'.  However, it works well enough that we've had a dozen VI
players make it to archon, kill difficult bosses and succeed in PK,
achievements which cannot be said about most other graphical games.  We've
been adding more MXP events that VI clients can parse more easily; help
changes alone notes events for victims being immune to weapons,
notification of global echoes for reboots, and new customizable combat
alerts that we Immortals can apply to bosses and other difficult fights to
indicate important events.  
 
Similar but not entirely overlapping are mobile clients, which also benefit
from reduced spam, unique triggerable strings, and information subchannels. 
One of the most spammy things we've had requests to address are reagent
bags.  This dovetailed nicely with other inventory-based changes that needed
to be made, so we've revamped how reagents and reagent bags work.  
 
Reagent generators (Vandemaar's Reagent Bag, Mahogany Puzzle box) will no
longer produce reagents inside of themselves when closed.  Instead, the
relevant reagents will be generated inside of the appropriate silk reagent
bags, if there is room.  To accommodate players who don't have a full set of
silk bags, all players will receive a set of small silk bags upon reboot
(Maximum capacity: 25).  The silk bags sold by Lord Vashir have been
replaced with a new quest item which increases capacity of existing silk
bags.  Players who already have silk bags will keep their current
capacities.  Moreover, because everyone now has 6 mandatory reagent
containers in their inventories, everyone can carry 6 new items and silks
have been changed to weight nothing.  Players who already have >1 of any
type of silk bag should talk to an immortal and have them manually sorted
out.  
 
These changes should reduce spam, necessitate fewer annoying
aliases/triggers to deal with reagents, and make inventory management
considerably easier.  VI and mobile players will have less screen/reader
time dominated by routine reagent shuffling, and can focus on the fun parts
of the game.  We're looking forward to these changes, as well as a few dozen
more that should make it through QA and into reboot before the end of the
month.  
 
To show off these changes and more, Materia Magica will be heading to PAX
Prime in Seattle at the end of the month, meeting and recruiting new players
who have a passion for classic gaming.  
 
                                           ~Duende 


#2 Bibo

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Posted 14 August 2016 - 08:55 AM

Great news!

 

The youtube link appears to be broken.



#3 Hoffer

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Posted 20 August 2016 - 09:32 PM

Homeboy, come stop by my place while you're in the Emerald City.