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      WANTED: ROLEPLAY-ERS   09/04/18

      A new roleplay section has been added to the forum.  Jump back into Naerath in a whole new way!

Dan

Game Masters
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Dan last won the day on December 9

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About Dan

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    Flamefrost's Founder

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  1. Proof Positive!!!

    Yup, to Perth! All details in this thread That is awesome; didn't realize we have Australians in Flamefrost! Are you from the west coast too by any chance?
  2. Proof Positive!!!

    Affirmative! Yeah, still learning the "Australian language" with all the thongs on people's feet and barbies in the garden... but it is very much English indeed!
  3. Lol! Fair enough! As ridiculous as it sounds, probably weather! I just realized that as a solar-powered person (I am practically a lizard) I'm getting extremely depressed in Norwich at times, where it's grey, rainy and miserable most of the year: Summer is super-short (and it's usually a Wednesday), there's never any snow for Christmas and I keep having to explain to my son why we can't (and I don't want to) go outside for a walk. So yeah, maybe it's my manifestation of the midlife crisis, but I've decided that if we aren't getting snow for Christmas I want to change my life and at least be closer to a nice beach. I actually feel a lot more productive too now having seen the bright blue sky for more than 7 days in a row. Yep! I tried launching a browser-based version, but the majority of desktop devices have no GPS chips so the game gets pretty pointless and boring (as your "current location" never changes ).
  4. Thanks for your feedback, Weyah! As always, it is very inspiring for me personally! I also have to apologize for disappearing in the last month+; I didn't get a chance to post about it yet, but there's been a major change of circumstances in my life: my family and I moved to Western Australia (Perth), which was insanely difficult in all aspects (also far from over!) and disruptive for development. Not only I had very little time to do anything but pack and move all my stuff 15,000km away (me pushing 5 suitcases through the airport was quite a sight), I've also had zero internet connection until this morning (posting on this forum is literally the 2nd thing I did after announcing that I am alive to all the relatives). Despite the fact that there's still a lot of moving to do I already have a chair and a desk, so I'm planning to return to game development very soon. There is a huge backlog of tasks for "Domination: Earth", but I will do my best to dedicate some time to Flamefrost as well. I also want to say a huge "thank you!" to all of you again for your continuous support and patience, it's incredibly motivating to have you guys around!
  5. Not everything, but I've been struggling with this particular dilemma for quite some time! This could work, but we have to remember that weapons are also part of the set! I.e. a recognizable wizard outfit with a classic staff of some sort changing into a more legendary version of the same class makes sense, but it may look a bit more confusing if originally you wore a robe and a staff, and your looks changed into a full plate + sword & shield after equipping some heavy armour (despite the fact that you still have a staff item equipped as a primary weapon). This would also mean that all classes look exactly the same, just the race & gender remain as the unique distinguishing features. The armour sets will make all classes visually equal.
  6. We did both, actually! Everything you ever encountered did get cached locally (which is why subsequent loadings were faster and sometimes even instant), but that wasn't enough; new combinations were still encountered on a regular basis and there are strict limits on disk space your browser's cache may consume. Erasing server-side cache is only going to make things slightly worse, as with billions of cached sprites that we had it would mean a much more frequent re-rendering of things; too few models are actually "unused" (unused things don't get cached in the first place ). Reducing the number of individual models isn't going to help completely; unfortunately, even a few dozen basic components produce millions of combinations that can't be all cached in the client! And anything that has the word "custom" in it makes the situation much worse, i.e. if we allow players to customize appearance of an item our billions of sprites transform into a number with crazy amount of zeroes. So the only viable solution is to reduce the number of "whole 3D sets" and eliminate the ability to combine items. I believe what you're suggesting is close to what I had in mind. So far the solution I'm leaning towards is to have 5 character visualisation "tiers" per class (and per gender / race too, of course), one per item "quality", e.g.: - Incantatrix (Junk) - Incantatrix (Common) - Incantatrix (Uncommon) - Incantatrix (Rare) - Incantatrix (Legendary) Equipping a sword or a crossbow won't change the way you look, but equipping all items of a particular quality will. On top of that we can indeed introduce an extra tier unlocked via platinum shop for the sake of uniqueness. I don't think we can promise more than that, as even the basic setup in this manner means 192 fully animated character models (2 genders x 4 races x 4 classes x 6 tiers), which is a crazy amount of work (perhaps I'd even exclude the "Junk" level!). Multiply that by the number of animations, multiplied by 8 directions and you can see why our sprites take up so much space. The alternative is, of course, to off-load model rendering into the client and introduce a 3D graphics engine, but I might as well build a new game from scratch as it will take years to implement! P.S. For the techies among us, I did consider WebGL and HTML5 rendering capabilities, but unfortunately browser-based 3D rendering is still in a very raw state and miles away from usable in a MMO. Your browser will die during any form of a medium-scale battle with multiple characters and spell effects on the screen. Plus all textures and lighting effects would be fairly basic and moderately ugly! So our only two options are either "fewer character variations" or "build a 3D graphics engine based Flamefrost"!
  7. Thanks, @Weyah! Your feedback is very inspiring (as always! ) and I keep mentioning that players like yourself are one of the reasons I worked on FFL for so long; very little in this project is and was about money (although it would be nice to stop worrying about server costs, of course ). It is the long-term hardware cost that is the problem! I'm not worried about one-off designing costs as I know a number of good people who can do it for a very reasonable price. However, the bottleneck lies in the following two aspects: 1) Storage and network traffic. As you know, we have roughly 8 equipment slots where you can put an item that will affect your character's appearance (e.g. you equip a sword and you now see a sword). Once a new item is equipped the 3D model is rendered (from all angles and for all animations) and cached on disk, which creates hundreds of tiny images. However, once you equip anything else (e.g. a helmet) this process is repeated, as otherwise you'd still see the old character wearing that same sword and no helmet. In the end, due to the sheer number of equipment combinations the amount of images cached and transferred across to your browsers becomes astronomical; on the last day of FFL's operation we've consumed 4TB of cloud space with player character cache alone (and that still didn't include all possible combinations!). And that translates into approx. $500 per month (and growing) to store and even more to transfer all the materials (i.e. every time a player downloads that character for preview, exploration mode or tactical battles it's considered paid traffic). Because of that number it's also impossible to introduce any form of player-side caching, i.e. I can't make a game client that you download once and never see the combat loading message again, as the game client with all the pre-downloaded materials would weigh more than 4TB on your local hard drive (probably not something you can download easily on any device!). 2) CPU for real-time rendering. Once again, because of the almost infinite number of possible equipment combinations I cannot pre-render all existing characters in advance, as not only it would take roughly a year of uninterrupted rendering, but I would also need to do it again as soon as a new item or character is introduced. Not ideal! Which is why all in-game sprites are built on-demand and on the fly, whenever you enter combat and there is no cache record associated with the current equipment set already (remember the orange loading message in combat saying that "you'll only see this once"? Yup, that's it - it means you've stumbled upon a brand new combination of items that haven't been cached yet, so our server is busy creating all relevant images). Rendering multiple characters in parallel from all angles quickly enough requires powerful CPUs; it would be unacceptable to have 9 players sit in a queue for half an hour because player #10 is still being rendered. So purely because we have that ability to see equipped items in combat (both exploration and tactical), as well as inside the travel mode's preview/inspect, the monthly cost of running FFL approaches thousands of dollars. But just to avoid misunderstandings: it's not the item preview itself that is bad, it's the ability to see every item individually in conjunction with all other items on your character's model. If you always saw the same character model regardless of the equipped items both issues #1 and #2 would not exist and FFL would be fairly inexpensive to maintain. So yes, the brainstorm continues!
  8. I've been working on reducing the cost of FFL servers in the last few weeks; the biggest challenge remains the 3D animated graphical asset build (mainly the characters with their equipment). One alternative that I keep considering is dropping the 3D item preview facility and replacing character models with 2D sprites that are pre-equipped in certain outfits (i.e. instead of seeing each equipped item separately perhaps the entire outfit would change based on the combined level of awesomeness of all equipped stuff...? E.g. each class would have 5-10 visual "tiers")... but that means that FFL's characters would need to undergo a complete visual overhaul and possibly look a bit simpler (or more "cartoonish"). The alternative is to drop some/most (?) animations and have some sort of a "D&D Miniatures" battle happen on tactical battlefields. I'm not completely comfortable with either of those options (especially considering how awful the static models would look in exploration mode), so the brainstorm continues... Any ideas are also welcome.
  9. Wanted: Roleplay

    Sounds good, let's give this a go! Forum created: https://community.flamefrost.com/index.php?/forum/33-roleplay/ I've always been a huge fan of D&D, so when the Flamefrost's universe was created I did not see any reason for saying "and our elves are going to live twice longer!!", so age-wise we stick to the classic standards: roughly 750-1000 years for elves, half that amount for dwarves, Tul'Rahx metabolism keeps them alive slightly longer than Humans, but very few warriors actually live to the age of 100. Temperament-wise Tul'Rahx are closer to dwarves than the other races, but are a bit less "explosive" (and way less sarcastic). In fact, an average Tul'Rahx may appear initially as quiet and a bit "unsociable"/reserved, but their "thoughtful" appearance does not necessarily indicate that they will be considerate or polite to the other speaker. Most of the time Tul'Rahx is simply trying to find a way to express their thoughts in the most concise, direct and straightforward way possible (so they're not too skilled at the art of bluffing and seldom perform well as diplomats: wordsmiths are rare among this race). Tul'Rahx don't let any negative comments slide (whether these are about their appearance, culture, heritage or anything else) and feel an obligation to defend their honour at any cost, which usually results in violent acts or use of destructive magic (aimed at teaching the offending party a lesson via means of pain; Tul'Rahx don't actually kill everyone who offends them on the spot). Of course, there are always exceptions in any race (Drizzt ), so this doesn't mean that all Tul'Rahx are the same. I hope that helps, but please let me know if you have any further questions! All is relatively well, thank you! Too much work, too little time, as usual... * sigh * Really happy to see you all around the forum though and hope that the Roleplay idea takes off!
  10. Wanted: Roleplay

    Love the idea! Wish I had a bit less development to do... * sigh * I don't think the example link works though; seems to just redirect to "snow/"!
  11. Aww! Thanks, @Cajunfried2016, that is actually very inspiring news!
  12. Flamefrost Rebuild

    Well, I do miss Flamefrost already to a similar extent even though I still have it running on my test realm where it's being developed... So I'm inclined to believe that it's all about the community.
  13. Flamefrost Rebuild

    Sorry guys, I was unable to reach my computer for the entire weekend (bonus time for everyone )! The servers are now offline. Same here!
  14. Flamefrost Rebuild

    No objections, but it may be tricky to convert all the data back and forth constantly! Would you be interested in trying to install a complete replica of our database on your laptop from the source code? Development version of MySQL doesn't require too much RAM (you can actually limit it yourself via settings), but combined with a GUI it's almost as good as Libreoffice or Excel (but with the ability to represent all in-game data accurately and easily export it to FF production). Please give it a go and if that doesn't work we'll think of something else.
  15. Flamefrost Rebuild

    Nope, the forum is going to remain, otherwise I have no place for all my announcements (other than Facebook that no one reads :)).
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