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Subject: New PC strategy game about to enter Beta testing! rss

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Matthew McDevitt
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Texas
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Hi everyone!

If you could go to a website (from work, school, a friend's house, etc.) and play a real-time strategy game like Warcraft -- totally free, and with nothing to install -- what would the game need to have, to merit your attention?

I am curious about the preferences and pet peeves of Real-Time Strategy game fans.

Here are screenshots of the game so far:

http://www.chantcd.com/screen1.jpg - Notice the Mage casting a heat-seeking ice missile!
http://www.chantcd.com/screen2.jpg - Shows a few workers gathering Ice

I am almost done with an RTS game that will run in a browser, using Ajax technology (Javascript, DHTML, etc.) The dynamics will be very similar to Warcraft II. You will build up a city, gather resources, and build an army -- while the computer opponent does the same. Your object is to eliminate the computer opponent. Resources will be more spread out (like in Age of Empires), which makes it more fun to conquer land. In WC2, the only important land is near a gold mine.

A bit about the status of the game right now:
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The game is basically finished -- anything challenging or difficult has been long since completed. Computer AI, unit AI, pathfinding AI, unit/building behavior, saving off high score, moving from one level to another, etc. Right now, I am mostly working on the game's website, and creating a whole bunch of levels for it. It should be ready for beta testing very soon!

The game is real-time, and plays much like Warcraft II. It has a navigation map (where you can click to jump to any area), "fog of war", an option screen, etc. You can also move around the game world using the arrow keys. The mouse is used to select units (including selecting several at once with SHIFT, or selecting several nearby units of same type with ALT) If you right-click while several are selected, they ALL follow that command (gather, fight, guard, move, etc.) and if you make a unit move to the edge of the screen, the game auto-scrolls in that direction. When you select a unit, a "close-up picture" is shown, as well as the unit's Name, Type, and Health represented as a colored bar (green, yellow, or red depending on how much is left). Each unit has different icons that show up (move, fight, build, etc.) and you can also use the keyboard Hotkeys ("s" creates a soldier when the Barracks is selected, etc.)

There are 7 different units (including ranged and melee type), and 9 different buildings. All living units can gain levels by killing enemies (to be exact, every 3 kills).

I have also -- prepare yourself for this -- implemented saving and loading! Since this is a Javascript game, the only option here is to write data to a webserver. So I am doing just that, using Ajax. Right now the game saves the entire world map, plus the complete data for every unit on the board. It takes about 1 minute to save, and about 5-8 seconds to load via my DSL connection.

This is going to be SOME javascript game! It has all the goodies like sound effects, background music, special mouse cursor, etc.

Also, I have removed ANYTHING that would remind you that you're playing in a browser. I know it sounds hard to believe, but I honestly haven't found a single browser game out there that DOESN'T scream, "I'm a browser game".

This game launches a pop-up "game window", which has no navigation buttons, etc. and is resized to the correct size and placed in the middle of the screen. All "keyboard shortcuts" like "F5 - reload page", etc. are re-assigned to a game function or disabled. To put it simply, the game feels and plays like a real video game, or just like Warcraft II in particular. You really forget the thing is being hosted by your browser!

This game will only require A) Internet Explorer B) a 1 GHz PC with 256 MB of RAM, and C) a dedicated video card. (Graphics are always horribly slow on motherboard-based "let me borrow 32 MB of your slow SDRAM for video RAM" video cards) Right now the entire download (program, graphics and sound) is about 1 MB. Of course that will go up slightly before the game is released, but not by THAT much...
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For a browser-based game that doesn't require ANY kind of install, what would the minimum requirements be to make such a game worth your time? I am trying to squeeze everything I can out of Javascript and the browser platform. I believe I have one of the most complex games ever written for this platform. (If anyone knows of any other complex browser games, please let me know!) All I have been able to find are puzzle and word games. Perhaps because only they can be written easily by one person in a couple of weeks?

This game has been in development for 5 1/2 months so far, and is about 11,000 lines of PHP and Javascript (not counting the various pages on the game's website). My artist has delivered all the graphics that I need, and I am just trying to find some good background music now. Anyhow, you can rest assured this game WILL be completed, since I've already invested so many 100's of hours working on it. I am treating it like a showcase of my programming ability (i.e., a "masterpiece"); therefore I am paying great attention to every detail.

I want to make the game as awesome as possible -- and if there are a handful of things I can't do because of the platform I chose, I want to make up for it by making the game very fun and playable. I want to put in things that Warcraft II DIDN'T have.

A bit about me -- I got my first computer when I was 16 (1992) and started programming right away. I wrote a couple of Zelda clones in Quick Pascal in the mid 90's, and started several games after that, which I never finished. I wrote many other programs in C++, then I took up web programming in 2004. Here I am 2 years later, proficient in HTML, Javascript, DHTML, and PHP.

I'll keep you posted on the game's progress!


Matthew McDevitt
 
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David Bohnenberger
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You're supposed to buy ads.
 
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Joe Saul-Sehy
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Quote:
I am curious about the preferences and pet peeves of Real-Time Strategy game fans.


I don't think this is an ad. He's asking for feedback. However, it is misplaced. This isn't about a PC based boardgame. It should be Off Topic....
 
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David
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Ouch wow

EDIT: was responding to prior sarcastic post which has now been deleted.
 
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Ashfield
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My browser gaming pet peeve is IE-only code. Writing cross platform javascript is not rocket science.
 
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Matthew McDevitt
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I only made it IE-only so I could use things like reassigning [F5], CTRL, etc.
Firefox isn't as closely melded with Windows -- which can be a good or bad thing.

It's good for security, but bad for trying to make a Windows CD-like game for the browser platform.

Anyhow, it's been released for beta testing, if anyone's interested.

http://www.AgeOfPenguins.com

 
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Matthew McDevitt
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Beta testing has begun!

http://www.ageofpenguins.com
 
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Paul DeStefano
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Chantcd_com wrote:
http://www.chantcd.com/screen1.jpg - Notice the Mage casting a heat-seeking ice missile!


No.

I've looked several times. What mage? What Ice Missile? Can anyone actually make anything out here?
 
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Chantcd_com wrote:
I only made it IE-only so I could use things like reassigning [F5], CTRL, etc.

This is really a trivial piece of cross platform code. Just catch the keyboard events with onkeypress(), on keydown() etc, then evaluate the event see to see which key the user is pounding. See here for an example:

http://www.w3schools.com/jsref/jsref_onkeypress.asp

Let me know if you get it working in a browser-agnostic fashion and I'll give it a try.
 
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