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Tis the season..
Author: HS_Dave
- Posted on: 14/12/2014
Post Type: Blog Entry
tra la la la laaaa.. etc.

Well already it's the busiest month of the year and I notice my blog entries have been slack! My wife came up with a fun idea for this years advent where hanging on the wall in our living room is a fabric advent calendar with pockets for each day and we have each placed cards alternately into each one and on each card is an activity that we will do together on that day. For example "Watch XYZ Christmas Movie" or "Visit the Christmas market in town" or "Make mince pies" etc.

It's somewhat part of a process where we are repairing and rediscovering our marriage after a very hard few years. In that sense, its great! But it also means less uninterrupted time for coding and less to blog about.

What I HAVE been working on however is a multiplayer lobby service, primarily for Dodeka but also built to support other games so I'm all good for the future. Multiplayer in Dodeka is fully working at the moment. You can host games, join games and play games. What you can't do however is "find" games. Originally this was provided by Xbox LIVE for Duodecad. On the PC there are some other alternatives, the most prevalent of which is probably steamworks provided by valve for steam games. However, being unable to guarantee I could release on steam (although I will certainly try) and wanting to provide for the future as well I've decided to roll my own. I have access to cloud services through Azure so hosting will not be a problem and this will be an interesting test of running a scalable networking service.

I have many plans for the future of it and hope to blog more details in the future but for now it's just a simple service for Dodeka and we'll see where it goes! It's been a helluva experience already and an opportunity to bury my head in white papers on scalable/distributed services such as IRC and Battle NET and learning where things have gone wrong for them in the past, what has gone right and perhaps what should be done differently or not at all. Not to say what I am building is ANY WHERE near the scale of something like Battle NET - just that the existence of those things provides an education in of itself.

More specifically to Dodeka then: Elin is still drawing away whenever she gets the chance. More GUI drafts have been appearing in my dropbox folder and the occasional new card image when she needs a break from dialog boxes. I have recently rewritten parts of the particle engine to be more efficient with quads (infact, due to the simplicity of particles in Dodeka, just one quad). This has completely eliminated the need for any quad pre-caching and halved loading times which I'm well happy about.

There is still more refactoring to be done and further development of the game rules logic I mentioned in my last post and then I think it will be time to move into adding some of the really new features that I hope will significantly set Dodeka apart from Duodecad. Watch this space!