Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Multimedia on Websites

This is mainly a rant... so be prepared. While web surfing a bit today between homework, studying, etc I came across a website discussing some new MMO. Unfortunately for me the website all but 'required' IE 5.0. I run linux most of the time, so rebooting to view one website isn't on my list of things to do. To my further disappointment, to view with firefox I needed to download some plugin, I think it was for flash or shockwave... something to that order. Screw that. Personally I don't think its good practice to require any sort of spiffy technology to visit a website. Especially a commercial one. If you at least leave a simple version for users then the low bandwidth, low tech customers can still get access. I remember when most sites had frames or no frames options.... why not flash and no flash these days? If your website uses multimedia, and does something like this then I applaud you. If you don't, you won't get my money, or traffic. I think this is especially important for game sites in this genre. People who play MUDs and other online text games generally are looking for the low tech, low bandwidth alternative. Why pair a text game with a flash website if thats the only option? I remember visiting an paid for ad once to find this kind of situation... needless to say I didn't get past the front page to the site, and their money went down the tubes. All I'm really saying is.... give users low tech options whenever possible. If not, you loose customers and viewers.


FeedBurner Tips

Like I mentioned the other day I registered for FeedBurner. I've only been using it a few days, but I've picked up several techniques to help improve it's ability to drive users back to your site (instead of just reading through the viewer). I figured I would share some of the things I've figured out so far and help save someone else the time.

Under the sidebar option titled Summary Burner, you can set whether the feed is a full feed, or a teaser. You can select how many characters are displayed, basically giving your readers a tease to what is in the post, and directing them to return to your blog page. This is especially helpful if you don't have Google Adsense for feeds, and aren't eligible for the FeedBurner monetization feature. I'm currently using this, though I think I'll likely be tweaking the number of characters in the coming days to make the teaser enough to tease, but not so much to be the whole post.

Ok, I guess that was only one tip. I'll provide more if I discover any other ones. :P


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Site Changes

I made some changes to the template this morning, so I figure I'll go over them. I removed the site search... hasn't been used by anyone for almost a year, so it was basically just taking up valuable space. I also registered for feed burner, so you should see an icon for that on the right too, feel free to signup for the feed using your favorite feed reader. I also changed around the way the Google Adsense referrals are displayed. I found a site that uses icons next to the signup buttons to help draw attention to them. It seemed to work quite well for them so I decided to try it. Ultimately this should help draw a bit more attention to the referrals and help get more people signed up. I personally only use two out of the three services, but the two I use: Firefox and Google Adsense are great, and I would definitely recommend them. Google Adwords is supposedly good too, but I have yet to have a direct need to advertise for anything, maybe in a couple years when I'm trying to pick up more players.

Here are the icons I'm using, I had Qyae fix them up to work with the black background...

I'm also trying my best to use the competitive ad filter to start blocking out some of these ridiculous ads we get through adsense. I'm going to need to start writing about games again just to get better keywords for adsense to read :P Anyway, back to the grind.


Another Busy Week

It appears I have another busy week coming up. Two exams this week and a couple of big homeworks. Stress levels are high, but somehow I think I'll manage to pull through. I really just wish I could dedicate more time each week to coding, I'm dying to get this game playable. Maybe this coming weekend will be a good time to get moving forward, I guess we'll see.

I also got a letter this week inviting me into the Five year B.S. / M.S. Program. Basically its a fast track to pick up a M.S. Degree in only one additional year. I have a lot of thinking to do on this, there are many pros and cons in terms of employment, earnings, stress, and time. I have a good month or so left to decide, hopefully when it comes down to it I won't have a hard time making the decision.

The next two things on the coding todo list are an improvement to the way command codes are hardcoded to make things more flexible and clean, and then adding up and down movement and ladders. Once all that is done I'm back to where I was before I started the world rewrite, and I will at least technically be moving forward again. I also have plans for doing the items reintegration during spring break in mid-March, along with a whole lot of sending my resume out to get a summer internship.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Alexa Rank

About a week ago I was doing some further research into the Alexa traffic rankings. I ended up downloading a cool firefox toolbar that will show you google and alexa ranks for the site your viewing. When I initially installed it my site read as ranked 15th, this being a result of it being on the blogspot domain. I did more research, and found that most blogspot.com blogs are ranked based on the blogspot domain. Now a week later after using the toolbar, I have an alexa rank (in the millions). From what I understand this toolbar works similarly to the alexa toolbar, and boosts alexa ranks of pages viewed with it active as much as the alexa toolbar. This is advantageous because this toolbar doesn't have the same 'spyware' issues that people have been associating with the normal alexa toolbar. The toolbar can be found: Here. I recommend installing firefox (there is a link in the sidebar), and installing this toolbar if you do any webdevelopment or website promotion.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Blog Top Sites Now Working

This morning I checked my stats, and noticed another hit originating from the blogtopsites admin page. This time when I loaded my site up, and logged in to blogtopsites I could see that I was ranked. I'm not sure why they kept denying me before, but now it appears that everything is fine. Starting out ranked 105th out of about 170 something blogs in this category, it will be interesting to see how much new traffic this builds for the blog, and how our rank changes through the coming months.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Blizzard Lawsuit

I was planning on writing about renaming dynamic tonight, but I came across something a bit more interesting that I would like to comment on. Apparently Blizzard is suing MDY Industries over a program called WoW Glider, which lets players automate play of World of Warcraft. While I am strongly against people who want to cheat to get ahead in games I really think in many cases, like this one for example, that it is more Blizzard's fault. A good MMORPG shouldn't be able to be automated, if only for the fact that anything that can be automated isn't worth doing. Software and hardware is developed to solve boring repetitive tasks. If WoW is boring and repetitive (which in my opinion it is) then why not automate it, its not worth actually playing.

If a game designer cannot make a game entertaining without repetitive tasks then they have failed as a designer. I don't like doing repetitive homework... so why do I want to kill the same creature over and over for hours to level, or hit the same handful of keys to 'grind' for something. At least if you make your game challenging and require thought then automation will be difficult. If its a challenge then at least automating it will be fun. And when coding an automated game player is fun, you know its time to write better games. I hope this has been insightful.

CORRECTION: I forgot to place a link to where I heard about this, it was at www.zenofdesign.com.


Monday, February 19, 2007

Wasteful Homework

So as I worked through my homework today I came upon my Digital Design homework problems. This class is geared towards learning VHDL which is used for designing hardware. With the exception of one of the problems they were all time wasting assignments. When I get homework I expect it to take some thinking. I don't particularly enjoy paying for an education of simple cookie cutter assignments. And unfortunately thats what I got. I spent a good 4-5 hours this weekend on Analog Electronics homework, as opposed to maybe an hour on the Digital Design. But those 5 hours for 3 problems felt so much better then feeling like I was wasting my time. Ultimately anything that can be demonstrated in a large quantity of brainless problems can also be demonstrated with some sort of purposeful assignment. I would rather spend two to three times as much time on homework and feel like the end result was something worthwhile, then waste an hour on something a monkey could do. As far as I know engineers get paid for their ability to think and design, not their ability to go through silly exercises (though from what I hear some jobs end up like that). I don't aim to end up in a job doing silly mindless tasks, I need to think and solve problems or I'm not happy. Sorry for the rant, but I think there are people out there who agree. If a computer can do it, then why should I?


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Car Broke Down

On the ride home yesterday afternoon my car broke down on the highway. It was quite an interesting experience. The car stalled out on the way on the exit ramp, and soon after restarting it I heard something go in the engine compartment, likely a belt of some kind. The car lost all power, and I rolled right on to the shoulder, and had to make my calls etc. I'm quite thankful it wasn't a freezing day on Saturday, and I'm glad we have the roadside service we have, this isn't the first time I've needed to call them, and so far every time we've needed towing etc it has been covered. Definitely worth the money.

Ultimately this meant I lost some time Saturday that I was going to spend on homework. This combined with the more recent realization on how much homework I have means I might not get as far coding tomorrow. I should still be able to reach my immediate goals, but I probably won't be able to move on to my next task. Hopefully I'll get through everything ok, its been too long since I've coded last.


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Text Link Ads - Don't Bother

A little over a week ago I posted about text link ads. I want to fully revise my opinion on them so I'm writing a new post. For the record I cancelled my account with them, and the only really good thing I have to say is that they did cancel my account when asked in a timely manner. The service seems like a reasonable one, but has several major shortcomings. First of all its impossibly to become an advertiser unless your either in or close to the top 100,000 on alexa, and have a good link popularity. This means it is really only effective for the websites that get good traffic, it is NOT good for those of us who are just starting out. Secondly advertisers can always renew at the same rate if they want to stay on your site. So even if new advertisers have to come in at a higher rate those who stick around could still be paying the same low rate they started at, even if your traffic triples. I think the service is good if you have a big site, but I think the rest of us really need to be informed, don't even bother signing up unless you have the rankings needed. That being said, google adsense works for anyone, it might be slow but at least you earn. Theres a link on the sidebar. :)


Friday, February 16, 2007

School is Chaos

Well, finally got a chance to sit down again and write an update. I made an attempt last night to continue forward with coding, and about 15 minutes in my lab partner comes by to compare homework answers for linear systems. Of course I got a couple wrong so I went to rework them... didn't really have them finished by one so I just kind of said sleep was more important. It really seems like theres too much going on sometimes, always more I want to get done then I can etc. At least I have a three day weekend. I plan on hopefully having some time to set aside for finishing some of my coding tasks, likely on Monday. I think Saturday and Sunday will pretty much be homework catchup, and study days for my first exam next week.

On top of all this other stuff, whenever I teach I end up loosing about six hours. About 2.5 hours of driving, 1.5 hours of teaching, about another half hour of wasted time in there, and I don't usually have a spare moment until close to midnight. When I get back I usually need to drive around the entire campus trying to find a parking space, and then I have to take my tour of the dorm to see my girlfriend, and my lab partner to check in, and compare notes for due assignments respectively. What I would really suggest if you have a desire to go into engineering for a major.... don't. I know that won't stop the people that really want it (like me), but if your not in it 100% your wasting your own time, and the time of the people who do care. TopBlogSites is still giving me crap, no real update on that besides I wish they would tell me what was going on.

I guess I'm done ranting tonight, guess I'll finish eating, and hit my bed, I'm exhausted.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Carnival of Game Production - Second Edition

The second edition of GameProducer.net's Carnival of Game Production was released today. This includes a series of articles submitted by various members of the indie game community, including me! There are some pretty interesting articles in the mix so I would definitely recommend checking it out.

Hopefully there will be more articles from me in future editions, I do, after all, need to asset my presence in the game development world. We'll just have to see if I have something to say and the time to say it.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Blog Top Sites

So as I mentioned the other day, I applied to blogtopsites.com in an attempt to drive a bit of extra traffic to the blog. Two days later the blog still isn't ranked. On the "add blog" page it does say to expect 24 hours or so to get ranked, but still no luck. Furthermore this afternoon my listing completely disappeared. Not only is it not ranked but now the listing is gone. I made a second attempt to add the blog after that, but by tonight it was gone again. I'm not really sure why this is, but it is definitely frustrating. I sent them several messages, hopefully the issue will be resolved soon.


Monday, February 12, 2007

The Free MMO Business Model, an Alternative to Pay-to-Play


Commercial MMO games all seem to have the same plan for earning money. These publishers rely on subscriptions from their players to pay for their upkeep and development. This is the tried and tested model, any many publishers are afraid of change. This model of operation however does not necessarily mean it is the best, or most profitable. This article will discuss some alternatives that could revolutionize how we play MMO games.

Free vs. Pay-to-Play:

How many times when bored and looking for a new game to play, do you look for free games? How many times have you wanted to play a new game that seemed cool, but couldn't justify the steep monthly payments? Many of the MMO games currently on the market are quite enticing, offering human interaction, cool features and multiplayer quests. Unfortunately the majority of these games all charge a significant monthly fee, generally averaging between 10 and 15 USD per month, on top of the cost of the game itself and expansions.

A lot of people I know, including myself would be much more inclined to try and play these games if the cost to play was much cheaper, or completely free. The free model allows a game to attract a much larger audience. How many of us thought about playing Blizzard's World of Warcraft but decided it wasn't worth the money? I know I did. If these publishers were to offer their games free of charge they could quite easily double or triple their player bases.

This theory expands even more so for the small time publishers, and indie game developers. A free game is more easily played by a new player. That new player is more likely to recommend it to his or her friends, and the trend continues. There is nothing better a new developer can do to expand their exposure then by offering their game for free to the world. Besides, there are plenty of ways to make money from a game without actually charging for it.

Alternative Income Sources:

A good collection of money making strategies can make a free game worth far more then the best pay-to-play game. After all, we can use this new found exposure and traffic to fuel our other income sources.

Advertising is one of the most popular money making strategies on the Internet to date. Very few websites don't capitalize on advertisements. Provide game features that require use of the website: account management, forums, and online item markets will drive your players back to your website on a regular basis. You can then quite easily convert this traffic back into income. Most players would be more then happy to deal with a few small ads then pay for a game. If complaints about the ads worry you then you can go even further and let them pay to opt out of the advertisements.

The website isn't the only way to optimize your profit. A lot of games have loading screens. Why not replace these loading screens with some sort of advertisement. Another approach: let companies sponsor individual zones, instances, and areas in the game. Then the load screen could display that information, this area brought to you by "You Company Here".

Another strategy MMOs has been used in movies for years, and even in some games already. If your MMO has a modern theme then product placement is a good way to let companies display their products in a less direct manner inside your game. A lot of contemporary commercial games are jumping on to this trend (think about in game billboards, or race car sponsors). Unfortunately many of these developers just pocket the extra income, and don't use it to subsidize their games.

People who play MMOs often state how addicted they are to the games they play. The next logical method to earn from an MMO would be official game merchandise. With such services as cafepress.com available, this isn't a hard task for even the smallest indie game developer. Of course this like the other features is dependant on the number of regular players you can maintain. Anything from soundtracks, to game posters (and game world maps in poster form), to the standard T-shirts and hats. Not to mention that this can even generate more new players if used correctly..

The merchandise method can also extend into your virtual world itself. This combined with what is generally referred to as pay-for-perks. Why not offer cool equipment to your players for real money. If they play enough then they're bound to want the best they can get. One of the keys with pay-for-perks, however, is to manage how these cash items affect the balance of gameplay, poor balance will result in less players. A good cash item might have the same stats as the highest tier of in game items, and just have a cooler more unique appearance. Another option might be customized items, tweaked to a character's play or visual style. Pay-for-perks has been used many times before for free games, but unfortunately it is often poorly implemented, either resulting in a lack of balance, or hurting player sentiments. I will discuss this in more detail in the next section.

Other good pay for perks items are things that may not actually effect gameplay. Like the previous example of just cooler looking 'stuff' for players, you could offer a private home, or custom avatars for players. Status symbols that won't impact which player has the advantage. I would even consider some sort of service to update a player of in game events, say via an instant messenger program, letting them jump in when a fun event is about to happen. These services give the player more enjoyment while not hurting the enjoyment of those who would rather play for free.


As mentioned before, pay-for-perks can unbalance a game. Some games for example let you purchase equipment far superior to the equipment players can acquire through in game means. This generally hurts other player's experiences, and in the long run will hurt the game's player base, the lifeblood of the free MMO. A safer version of this kind of pay-for-perk is to allow players to directly or indirectly purchase these items with in game money, or instead let players purchase game money using real money. This allows players with less time, and more pocket change play at the same level as those among us who avoid real human interaction as much as possible and haven't left our computer in days.

Another major issue with abandoning the pay-to-play model is the potential for over commercialization. In an attempt to keep ahead of costs a publisher could over do it and place too many ads, or try too hard to get referrals. The efforts to bring in a profit need to be balanced just as much as the character classes. If you try too hard you will loose players. If you don't try hard enough you loose potential profit.

One of the top customers for purchasing ad space on a game website is other game publishers. This can put a publisher relying on ads in a bind. If we need to rely on users visiting the advertised, then we are potentially handing over our audience to these advertisers. To avoid this, competing ads need to be limited. This means a focus on getting advertisers from outside of the industry will be important for survival of the game. Complementary products are also a good solution. Generally someone won't leave a MMO because they found out about a new gamer forum or chat site, especially if it is directly target towards players of that game. Make intelligent choices when taking on advertisers, and competition should be a minimal problem.

The last hurdle to overcome with this model (as with the pay-to-play) is the issue of critical mass. This is really a vicious cycle. In order to sell advertising space you need players. To get players you need servers. Servers cost money. Money comes from advertising. Advertising space must be sold, and is often hard to sell without players (and thus traffic). Rinse and repeat. Any way you slice it, some sort of start up capital will be helpful. A good plan to aquire players to begin with will be needed, and acted upon efficiently. Contrary to what you think, this situation can favor the free model. Players are more likely to try and keep playing a game they can play for free.


Whether publishing an indie game or a full on commercial release an online game can and probably should be offered for free. In fact most other games probably can work on a similar model, but either require more preparation of sponsors before release, or something else to keep the users coming to the site for information and updates. The key to remember here is that we are generating traffic, and entertaining an audience. This principle is used by network tv, radio, as well as many websites.

A good business plan and plan of attack are the most important tools for this model of operation. The hardest task for a game publisher in this case, especially the indie developer is to get the sponsorship. You must be able to sell yourself and your product to the right people to ensure that the project is profitable. I hope this model catches on, it really is the best for all three parties involved, the gamer, the developer, and the advertisers. I'll be waiting for your free game.


The Scoop On Technorati

A little over a week ago I posted on Technorati.com. After a week of using this service I have a bit more insight into how it works and whether it is really worth it.

Ultimately the concept is definitely there, this kind of service could definitely build traffic if you are ranked high enough, and for me brought in several people over the course of the week. I found that one of the major flaws with this service is the very long and often variable amount of time it takes to get your posts indexed. On several occasions it happened as quickly as within a half hour of posting (using a manual ping). On other occasions it took longer then overnight. I also found that the times and time since posting listed on their site is often incorrect. I do not really know how the internals of the system work, but it seems to me they either need more specific instructions for making your blog compatible with their robots, or they need some better software design. This spotty service is very frustrating at times, and I would venture to guess that it is the reason I haven't received more traffic from the site then I have. Often my posts only appear after a few hours, by which time they are already off the first page of their tags because of their age. The service is helpful in many ways, but I really wish they would improve. I did manage to change all the tag links to point only to my posts with those tags, so all the newer posts' tags should point to my posts.

I tried out another service starting yesterday, signing up for and installing some code for blogtopsites.com. They haven't actually ranked me yet, but I think it will be in the top half of the video game category. Maybe I'll have some more insight into this in a week.

Anyway, back to preparing for today's classes. Later,

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Gates Work Nicely

I finished coding gates today. Really thinking about it I should have been able to get more done. I'm thinking about moving on to the next thing on my list tonight, but its hard getting motivated, mostly because I'm not sure on the best way to do it. Back to gates. So gates open and close at the pull of a lever. These levers can be anywhere, and each one can store a single gate to control. Possibly in the future each lever might be able to control multiple gates, but this seems to be enough for the moment. The ideal use of this system is in castles for example, where defenders can open and close the gates from inside, making an assault more difficult. This should add another whole dimension to attack and defend type situations where a faction wants to take a strategic point from another.

The next task to complete is an improvement on how my immortal edit room, and other internals handle selecting and creating new rooms. Basically right now I have several hardcoded select statements, and every time I want to add a room type I need to tweak this list. I would prefer to be able to code it in one place and let the code handle differentiating between the different types. I'll likely use the java.reflexive packages that I used for the commands performance monitoring command. Hopefully it won't be too hard and I can get through this tomorrow maybe. I also have plans to do ladders and the up and down directional commands this week.

I spent a lot of the rest of my time today working on an article I plan on posting tomorrow or Tuesday on the free model of online game publishing. I plan on submitting it to the GameProducer.net Carnival of Game Production. Its definitely one of the longer pieces of writing I've ever written outside of school essays and research papers, hopefully it will be enjoyable to read.

Until tomorrow,

College Saga: Fricken Hilarious

I found this last night while perusing some gaming forums. College Saga appears to be a spoof on just about every RPG game I've ever seen. The saga consists of four episodes, each approximately 10 minutes long. The first one is definitely the best of the four, but episodes 2 and 3 both include a random appearance of Dick Cheney. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.


College Saga Episode 1
College Saga Episode 2
College Saga Episode 3
College Saga Episode 4

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Website Update

Good News about the website were working on. Qyae showed me some the layout so far, it looks really promising. I have high hopes that the website might be up and running by sometime this summer, given that I can budget some money for hosting, and can come up with a new official name for the game.

In other news, finished a lot of homework today, its looking like I should be able to finish the gate system tomorrow. I will hopefully have more to report on that tomorrow night. As for now, I think I'll get back to some of my homework, and minimize what I need to do tomorrow as much as I can.


Friday, February 09, 2007

A Weekend for an Engineering Student

If I had to describe what a weekend is like for me as an engineering student, I would describe it as the same as the normal week, with one wonderful exception: There are no classes to interrupt the many long homework sessions. It doesn't get any better then that. Got homework in almost all of my classes, hopefully I'll get it all done between tomorrow and Sunday morning. Once I get through it all, I hopefully will move on to finishing these Gate room types I was working on earlier this week. I'm really excited about coding and developing, its really too bad that the time isn't there to let me move more quickly on this stuff. Hope for good news by Sunday.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Text Link Ads

Update: check here.

As I mentioned last night, I found out about another way of earning money advertising on your website. Text Link Ads works by placing a set of sponsered links on your website, and they pay you per 30 day rotation of each link. You could get $5 for every link on your site per month, regardless of clicks. This has an advantage over google where your earnings rely entirely on the quality and relevance of the ads that they place on your site. There is a disadvantage to this method of advertising, however, when I signed up for the service I was told my traffic does not meet their minimum traffic requirements. Apparently an average of 5 hits a day isn't enough for them ;). The site did offer to periodically check my traffic and email me when I do meet the requirements, so hopefully before too long I will be raking in some extra cash from Text Link Ads. So in conclusion, if you have more web traffic then me you should give this a try and make some extra cash. I hope this helps someone get closer to their dream of not needing to work anymore. Text Link Ads


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Fighting the Overwhelming Nature of School

And the school work continues to pile on. Professors keep stacking more on, its the pile the gets larger with time rather then smaller. Or I guess we could say school is the unstable system defined as H[n]=n^2 where n is time. Yes that's right, I've seen so much of this stuff its meandering into the few normal, non school moments I have.

On a brighter note however, I made some time to code tonight. I decided to ultimately skip making the attempt at writing some sort of code to verify room colors don't overlap and room type numbers are always legal. It's on my list todo, so that means I'll get to it later, possibly this weekend. Instead I am coding up some gates. Unlike doors, they are intended to be controlled remotely with a lever of some sort. Both the gate and the lever room types have been implemented, but I'm currently stuck with the linking part. I think I'll need to write a new command and a few functions to store link info. Shouldn't be too hard to do, but I don't really have the time to complete it tonight, maybe tomorrow if I can get through my work ok.

I also would like to throw out a link for everyone: http://www.gameproducer.net I found this site today while searching for guides and information on choosing good names for games (yes, DynamicMUD is not the final intended name for the game, you can all relax). The site appears to have a whole lot of other cool information on independant game developing. I even found another ad system that can be used in conjunction with google adsense that seems to be pretty convincing. Unfortunately however this blog doesn't have the traffic to actually try it out yet. But feel free to go: Here to check that one out. I will likely post something more in depth about that one sometime tomorrow.

The one last thing I got done today was check out some info for hosting. I think I might attempt running a copy of dynamic up on the free host I have a deal with. Maybe I'll make it available for testing in the near future, make sure to keep checking back for more info on that.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Mini Map

As I mentioned last night, I am posting a game generated mini map. I zoomed in tons to get it to be somewhat visible, but it definitely didn't turn out as crisp as I had hoped. I cut out the other undeveloped areas, so far there are 7632 rooms in the game's database. I think that beats most MUD's total rooms after years of building.... I love wilderness/grid systems for that very reason. Now to go back to homework.


Monday, February 05, 2007


I didn't really get much done today, searching around about blog stuff really wasted time I should have spent coding and getting other stuff done. What I did accomplish today however was finding and correcting a minor oversight in the new and improved indoor/outdoor system. I also filled in a bunch of rooms and took several screenshots. The first one here is a shot from the top of one of the inner gatehouse towers. The '#' is where I am standing, and the green highlights represent other characters/npcs in the game. Other symbols like 'I' represent walls, 'H' represents a place you can

physically stand on the walls, '^' a section of roof, 'A' and 'V' are stairs heading up or down, ':' are roads, and '"' are grassy areas. The second screenshot shows the inside of a tower. The only new symbol here is the '.' which represents an area inside a building. This is the second floor of the same tower from the first screenshot. Notice how the sight radius changes indoors. Sight radius' also grow and shrink based on your elevation. Climbing a tall tower will give you a commanding view of your surroundings. This should generate some good strategic and tactical gameplay. Maybe tomorrow

if I have time I will put up a small generated map of the entire castle that I built to test the world. Hopefully these screens will wet everyone's appetite a bit. Hoping to get making progress again soon. I might pull off some sort of closed test for interested players in the near future, keep checking back for details.


Not Updating...

Im not sure, but I was under the impression that these things should update quite quickly on Technorati. Apparently that isn't true. Three hours later and it still isn't indexed. Im going to try this one and see if it magically works better this time around. If I can figure this out I might have some good advice on the best way to get your blog indexed from blogger.


Some Slight Style Changes

In my continued new effort to bring in some more traffic I've decided to try using Technorati tags with blogger. To better do this with blogger I downloaded an extension for firefox (see side bar) called grease monkey, which lets you write scripts to modify web content. In this case it provides me with a place to enter in the tags I want, and it generates the appropriate code for the end of the post. Here is the version of the script I installed, which seems to work fine under the new blogger (unlike the older version of it I tried first).

From what I understand this will place my posts up on the page when updated, hopefully giving me more exposure, and more importantly more traffic. I will post back in a week or so if it works out.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Hoping to Increase Traffic

Being that I was home for the weekend I was unable to do any coding. What I did have time to do however was mull over the various non coding tasks that need to be completed to make this project successful. The main one that comes to mind that I would like to discuss tonight, however, is getting the word out. This really is kind of dependant on finding an official name for the game before I release it. Until that happens however I have several ideas.

Firstly, I plan on making more of an effort to keep on top of the various MUD groups and forums and make an effort to put my two cents in where I feel appropriate. Who knows, maybe those several hits here and there from my signatures will result in future players.

Secondly, I signed up for Technorati today. This will hopefully bring in a bit more traffic on its own. Which reminds me. Please Add to Technorati Favorites. From what I understand Technorati is one of the leading websites out there for finding blogs, providing information on blog updates as well as other media.

I would also greatly appreciate any links to the blog from personal websites and blogs. Most popular games that weren't on major budgets got all of their following through word of mouth. It is the people interested in DynamicMUD that will make it a thriving popular game when it finally comes together.

Finally, I am going to make a great effort to keep putting up new posts here. I have a handful of topics I would like to cover sometime this week, and I will try to keep daily updates of progress made in coding. I think I might even make and attempt at running some sort of test later this month if all is going well.

Anyway, I should probably get ready for bed, back to the grind of school tomorrow.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Moving Forward

I would like to just quickly update everyone, I managed to finish the indoor/outdoor code, and it works beautifully. Im really hoping that I have time to continue making adjustments and updates over the course of the semester.

More good news in other areas too, my Analog Electronics Lab is far better then my Digital Electronics Lab.... the professor refuses to read any explanations etc on the lab report, so all we really need to turn in is the results and measurements. Also, my Karate class has recieved the ok to continue using the room we were in, but off of the schedule. This should at least buy some time.

As I mentioned the other day, hoping to post more updates again on a regular basis so check back often!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Back at School

Well I'm back at school, just about to finish my first week back. Classes so far seem ok, though a few conditions are less then desirable. I won't go into detail but I'll just say there are some people in these classes that shouldn't be in engineering... or college... or life. Looks like I might even learn some stuff that could help me in algorithms this semester. On the other end of the home front is my Karate class which was cancelled. Apparently the gym doesn't want to pay us with our current low attendance, so I need to deal with that now too. Great timing as always.

On the coding end of things I just started moving forward again after a little hiatus. The indoor outdoor code which was giving me trouble before is starting to work itself out. I was hoping to work on it tonight, but I ran out of time. I don't really have much else to say, but I'll try to most more often given I can find the time to code.

Until then.