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Moriash Moreau: My Second Life
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Minor Progress
Haven't been spending a lot of time in game lately. It happens that way, sometimes. And I've been spending what little game time I have had catching up with in-world friends. I really need to work on making that a priority more often. It's been far too easy to get buried in coding lately.

But I did sort out a minor game play issue, anyway. Specifically, a player can now only use the continue function of the death teleporter (the gold orb) twice, instead of indefinitely. After the third death, he must leave the game and return to the security office.

This is the first part of some changes that grew out of a brief IM discussion with Hamlet Au. (Who is, incidentally, the reigning best Legendary Monster Slayer. Going to have to see about dethroning him sometime soon.) Or, more specifically, he asked me one question, "How many players can play at one time?"

You'd think I'd have a ready answer to that, wouldn't you? Strictly speaking, there is no limit. You could have a few dozen players crammed in one 60x60 space, and the game would probably be able to more or less chug along. The main problem is monster count, at that level. Yes, the players could be there. But there is a preset limit to the maximum number of monsters that can be in play at any one time. (This is both to limit lag and keep the monster server system from bogging down.) Monster count increases with player count, up to that limit. Beyond that, the players would probably get pretty bored. The game gets kind of slow when there's only one or two monsters per player.

So, to keep things from getting out of hand, I've decided to limit the number of players in game at any one time. The continues limit above is part of that. If things are really busy, I want to give other players the chance to get in on the game, by kicking out folks who have already been playing for a while.

The other part of the equation is entry control. I'm already counting players as part of the monster targeting system, so it should be relatively easy to shout the player count to the entry doors (the double doors in the security room). Under normal circumstances, using these doors is the only way to activate the game HUD and start play. Given that, I can simply deactivate the door when player count is too high. I'll probably limit it to 4 or 5 players and see how it goes. Extra players can at least watch the game using the security monitors (camera overriding seats with four preset camera views).

I should be able to sort that out tonight. From there, it's just play testing and cosmetic issues. More to come.
For what it's worth, I've found that it's sometimes possible to circumvent secure doreways by swinging the camera through the wall and sitting on something inside the locked room.

This causes your avatar to instantly pop up in the seat area since they can't walk or fly there.

I don't know how many people do this but that might let them into the game area anyway if they were persistant.
Well, yeah, they could get into the main play area by tricks like that. But they couldn't actually play the game. Their HUD would never be activated- the only way to turn it on is to go through the designated doors. (The "doors" are actually sithack teleporters to the Garage, about 60 meters below.) So, yeah, worst case is they could get into the Garage as nonplayers and get in the way. I don't see any way around that without being truly obnoxious. Fortunately, the Garage is inconveniently located and there are very few things inside it that would allow for sitting (short of the monsters themselves).
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