We’re making excellent progress, but we’re at the point now where we have a couple bottlenecks in the way of a few goals. I’d like to give a general idea of where we are with everything right now. I know what you’re all thinking, TL;DR. Sorry, but I had a lot to cover. 😀
Location tagging is done, and has been done for a while now, well ahead of its original estimated schedule. Great job taggers (LadyCeres and team) and Scheijan for creating and utilizing the great tools that were put together for this task!
The “Throwaway Server” is coming along great. We’ve got experimentation going on constantly in regards to what we want to consider the “correct” way to do things (go Aroha!). RethinkDB is plugged in and can easily be switched out with the file based persistence layer (woot JustinD!) and progress is constantly being made on the HTTP API functions and all of their dependancies (Joey rules!).
We’ve got a total of 3 servers currently in the group; Lem, Tii (both of which are being administered by Turnip) and “Scheijan’s awesome server of awesomeness” (written as SASA below). Lem is doing a great job hosting all of our tools and the website, Tii is anxiously awaiting the start of QA2 while the team experiments with LocoDeco in preparation, and SASA is our regularly updated playground where our team can play around to see the state of the system.
Website/Internal Tools Related:
The Blog is chugging along great with 5,145 all time views (528 in a single day with Sirentist’s great tagging overview being the main catalyst) and 95 total comments. If anyone has any requests for something they’d like to see, or something they’d like us to talk about, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our internal wiki hosted by Trac has been slowly growing. For anyone looking for a simple, easy to use wiki and bug tracking system, I’d highly recommend checking out Trac.
GitLab has been a tremendous home for our source control, and I know the upgraded Lem server is able to handle it a lot better; we’ve been able to get rid of a lot of the strange bugs in the transfer as well.
Trello has really helped keep the project organized. Without it, my job of keeping things together and running smoothly would be a lot more annoying and filled with lovely spreadsheets… Which really aren’t all that lovely… There I go with my hated ellipses again… Which if you couldn’t tell I hate… Not just ellipses themselves, but their overuse… I hate myself for this… I’m done now… Okay… Maybe I’m really done now. Yup, much better.
Lastly, but I’d argue most importantly, Slack, without which we’d have had a great deal more trouble getting organized into a functional group and keeping track of all of our thoughts. I can’t stress how uncommon an occurrence we’ve come across with the opportunity to work with such an amazing company as Tiny Speck. Can you think of any other commercial development group (game or otherwise) that not only contributes a great majority of their source and assets to public use in the most open form that they possibly could, but also helps a group of committed (mentally?) and talented fan developers take that contribution and give very constructive feedback and details to help fill in the gaps that they left. As always, “Thanks Tiny Speck team!”
Our friend Scheijan has, with some helpful feedback and testing from other members of the group, come up with a great means to allow new developers on the team to quickly (in relative terms) set up a development playground on their own machines with a Vagrant box. This is enormously helpful because we have at least one item in our technology stack that is really only well supported on Linux (RethinkDB); this allows non-Linux users a very easy means of setting up a box that supports everything we’re currently working with.
On to the current hindrances we’re dealing with: I’d like everyone to consider these a little higher on the priority stack, although not any higher than the other items that are currently being worked on by the active dev team. If anyone either has the necessary skills, or knows someone with them (no need to have ever played Glitch), please let me know so we can try to help kick start the process (email@example.com).
Logo – CoreParadox came up with some great mock ups which will be a good starting point, but we need to narrow down the final design we want to use (even if we come up with a few variants), and get it ready for public consumption. He has had limited time to contribute lately, which has all been poured into the missing asset list, so progress has slowed. What we need here is a talented graphic artist (with a somewhat whimsical style befitting of Ur) to help work with him on finalizing his initial efforts.
Vanity and Wardrobe – Turnip has volunteered to take a stab at these tasks, but has expressed interest in finding someone that already has some experience with Flash to help the process along. We have a good high-level idea of what we need to do, along with some sample code from a deprecated version that Tiny Speck used to have residing on the client side, but we need to figure out the details. Some grunt work may also be needed at some point later on with this project (once we get a workable, if buggy, version of the tools) to help come up with the specific transformations that will need to be performed on the base assets in order to build the full spritesheets (although some of that might already be built in).
God Pages – Hirune has already volunteered to work with Scheijan on this implementation. No real need for any more help (unless Scheijan wants to jump in and correct me), but the QA2 project will depend heavily on at least a subset of the God pages, so I felt a need to list it here.
Authentication – Varaeth has been neck deep in researching what our best option is with regards to a single sign on style authentications system that can easily integrate the game, forums and other webbly bits. Once this is done, we can start setting up our public forums which will be vital for getting the community hooked in and interested in our project while we await a very early alpha (Vanilla is the top candidate after we ruled out NodeBB for being too young and immature for our needs, although still a cool option once it has some more features).
Pathfinding (not a bottleneck, per se, but something that should be addressed before an alpha if possible) – I had started working on some rudimentary pathfinding logic a month or so back which I’ve been unable to touch since due to outside obligations, so if anyone is interested in taking a stab at it, please let me know, otherwise, I’ll leave it on my to-do list.
I know everyone is very interested in a demo/alpha version of the game that you can actually get into and play around with. You’ll note that most of the items listed above as bottlenecks directly relate to this bigger goal, so we’re working hard on making it happen. Even though administering an alpha style test setup will add a good bit of overhead to our team, I think it’s a vital task and worth said effort, even if we have to pull in somebody to specifically handle these kinds of things.
We’ve also been approached several times about monetary donations to our cause. This is something that I don’t think we want to consider at this point, at least not until we have our alpha system in place; if we need it at that point, we will only ask to gain enough money to take care of specific needs that we identify. If we start taking money from people outside of our group before we’re ready, it might change expectations in such a way that we’d prefer to avoid, at least for the time being. In the meantime, any monetary needs we have I’m pretty confident can be reached by the members of our team (which has been the case so far).
Some fun news that I don’t think we’ve shared yet: we’ve received permission to use (but not distribute) the music from all 3 of the main composers involved in Glitch (Danny, Brandon Brown and Xavier). Special thanks go out to all 3 of them for their generously Glitchy spirits.
I’d also like to give some special thanks to MacKenzie (Jade) here as well. She’s been invaluable in the QA processes thus far (as well as providing great input elsewhere) by allowing us to benefit from her wealth of information and experience regarding the QA process and tools that were used by Tiny Speck to help kick start our own QA efforts. Thank you!
I’m very proud to be a part of such an amazing, driven and talented group of individuals. I don’t think there’s a single person on this team that shouldn’t be amazed at how much progress we’ve made in the short (almost) 4 months we’ve been working together. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but also a lot to look forward to as we finish bringing the world of Ur back to life and start to put some of our own small touches to it. Stay tuned for more fun little updates of how we’re doing along the way.
Eleven Projects “Chief Chicken Tamer”,