Author Topic: Beta 0.901 (More networking, server listing basics, bugfixes, visual animations)  (Read 1033 times)

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,237
Full release notes are here: http://www.arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=Tidalis_-_0.901_Beta_Release

(Or here, if your DNS has not yet updated fully since our site move this morning: http://www.arcengames.com.php5-12.dfw1-2.websitetestlink.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=Tidalis_-_0.901_Beta_Release).

Networking
The release notes on this one are pretty slim, but don't let that fool you.  The networking is more functional than ever, and we've successfully played the first VS Garbage battle over the internet.  I'm happy to report that I schooled Keith in about 30 seconds -- but in all fairness, we weren't really playing to play, just to test.

There are still a LOT of things wrong with the networking experience at the moment, but it's just in the polish department from my perspective.  Hopefully in a day or two, those will all be finished up and we'll take the warning off the networking section sometime later this week.  Right now there are such issues as the winner not knowing when they have won (that message just hasn't been coded yet, it's not even a bug), and chat messages not traveling across the wire (ditto).  So actually, all the parts of the networking that we've coded so far are working, well, seemingly flawlessly at this point.  There's just a lot more little things that we need to actually code for the networking experience to be anything other than alpha-tester-experience.

Actually, I had planned on having all that networking stuff cleaned up to the point of being very usable by today, but something else got in the way.  What was that?  SERVER LISTINGS!  

Server Listings & Web Hosting Shift
We looked at a lot of options (again -- we have looked at these options every few months for over a year now), and in the end we decide to just roll our own.  The functionality we're working on is fairly simple, but it's more robust than what we thought we were going to have from the Unity Master server, so that's something.

In order to enable what we need, however, we needed a more robust server; that's the main thing that always stopped us from rolling our own in the past with AI War.  Our old hosting plan was a shared environment at Lunarpages, and it just wasn't cutting it for us any longer.  I've been a lunarpages customer off and on since the early 2000s, and they have a really great service overall, but Arcen has grown to the point that we have moderately high load on a daily basis (even with our big files already hosted everywhere, and 95% of the downloads not coming from us directly, we're pushing out nearly 400gb per month of data -- if you think about the other 95% that's from Steam, Impulse, CNET, etc, that's an intense amount of data).  

And we also have spikes on occasion that were already causing the old server to sweat and groan (and occasionally drop forum emails, I think).  The idea of adding something like a matchmaking service onto that same hardware was just laughable -- and frankly, if we saw a big influx of Tidalis traffic next month on top of the usual AI War traffic, the server was done for in that scenario, too.

So now we're on the Rackspace Cloud Sites service, which costs us 18x more than our old hosting plan did, but which has already made the site snappier, and has let us finally pursue a server listing service.  The first rudimentary version is actually in this 0.901 version, but it's extremely raw and mostly just an infrastructure/data-mechanics test.  That said, the server listing service has already come along surprisingly far (go Keith!), and hopefully we'll have that in a workable state this week along with the rest of the networking.

Release Date: July 16th!
Well, we've near-definitely set a release date for Tidalis now: July 16th!  In talking with our various distribution partners, that was just what made the most sense.  There still is a slight possibility of a tweak to this day, but I really don't expect it to change.

I do have some bad news for those of you hoping for a public beta on Steam: that won't be happening after all, mostly for logistical reasons.  We'll be doing private testing with a Steam version to make sure that both the Mac and Windows versions hook into Steamworks well, and that they'll be able to distribute it properly, but Tidalis won't be publicly out on Steam until its official unveiling on the 16th.


That's the news for now!  This is going to be a big week for Tidalis, so keep your eyes open for more betas in the coming days.



PS:  Be sure to check out the new Fishing Village animations in this version -- Phil has outdone himself, in my opinion.  To get surf and wave animations like that in a completely 2D game is just amazing to me.  We built the tools for him to do these themes, and then he completely shocked us with what he was able to do with what we gave him; I would never have thought this level of animation possible with our theme builder, but here it is! ;)
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

rubikscube

  • Guest
Friday opening? cool

also nice to hear that network is better now

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,237
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!