Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Alot has happened

It has been a long time since I have posted to this blog, and obviously a lot has happened since then. My previous project, Flow Forum, has long since been abandoned. After getting stuck into web game development shortly after abandoning the project I can't say that I really have any regrets about the decision. The new project, Xanthus Quest, has since been launched (albeit a little prematurely) and is going strong, with great player feedback to date.

Xanthus Quest

Xanthus Quest was originally planned to be a simple game that would be familiar to players of MarcoLand and Crimson Moon, however once I added the ability to explore wilderness and dynamically change page content without having to reload the page via ajax the game took a very different turn. PvPing has taken a backseat to exploring areas and performing quests.
Players have loved these quests and have told us that they want more of them, and so that is what we are doing. This has created problems however as these quests were supposed to be a rarity and not the main feature of the game, as such the games code was not structured very well for these quests and exploring. This has meant that I was constantly hacking together new areas and quests for players, making the code very cluttered, messy and hard to maintain. I realised once the Wastelands handler blew out to more than 5000 lines of code that this was not maintainable, so I have decided that I need to take a step back from adding these features and add in some proper structure to make maintenance and expansion easier moving forward.

Admin Section

With the realisation that we have more people willing to and able to contribute to storyline, images etc. than coders I decided to take this rewrite opportunity to move the bulk of the quest, and encounter information to the database rather than code. This will free me up alot more to work on new features which will be very important if I am to remain the sole programmer for Xanthus Quest and add new features to the game beyond quests and encounters. Work on this new dynamic encounter system has been going for a number of weeks now and we now have some encounters being driven entirely by the database that would have taken me weeks to program with the old system, which is great news.
The next step in the dynamic encounters system is the ability for admin's to create quests and provide status information for every status in the quest. Work on this has been good and should be complete this week. One less thing for me to have to handle in the code, which means one step closer to fixed forums etc.

What is Next

Once the quests system is done, the next step will be NPC dialogue that is quest, quest status and player inventory aware. This will probably require a week to build, after which I am sure that there will be more features for me to add to the dynamic encounter, monster, inventory and quest systems to give Bleak and Hyalix more options for creating new quests for all of you guys to play with.

I will be focussing on Xanthus Quest development with this blog in the future and will check back for any feedback or comments you leave in the comments below.