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Wednesday, May 28, 2008


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> Build A Gamer Network

yeah Hamlet - we really REALLY need this sort of thing. i've been wanting to build something like this for techwar - making it general enough to use with other games as well. (also keeping track of long-term score/rating, which seems to provide some intangible draw for the competitive amongst us.)

alas, work comes first.

Yesterday Demain

Hi Hamlet,

thanks again for the great input.

A SL "GDC" could be an interesting path to explore...

Eggy Lippmann

The problem is not that the technology isn't there or cannot be made better.
There are entire genres being held up by minuscule things.

An RTS (Real Time Strategy) game, for instance, usually requires people to "drag-select" many troops or units.
While we can do that with the building tools, we cannot detect from a script whether an object is selected or not.
The mere addition of a selected() event would
We also can't simply click on a piece of land. We have to cover it with an endless amount of prims.
If there was some way of making the terrain clickable, we could tell our troops precisely where to move, with no waste of prims.

A MMORPG such as Dark Life, or some kind of Lucasarts-type adventure game, would be made infinitely better if we could easily script NPC avatars. Or if we could animate objects.
People have done skeletally animated objects in Second Life by implementing their own layer of hierarchical linking, but as always LSL is slow and cumbersome to use.

Seven Shikami

I wish I could've participated, since I run an arcade game business, but alas, I'm on vacation this week with very limited access...

The problem with game development is a lack of game-friendly scripting tools. For instance:

Input -- SL lacks a customizable, user-friendly input system. Best you get is clicking on things and overriding controls, and most people don't "get" how control overrides work (can't be in your chat window, camera controls can be wonky, etc).

Displays -- The only way to do displays is with individual prims with single texture maps. No "screens", no compound textures, etc. And with prim counts at a desperate low on most parcels, few are willing to have a game with that many moving parts, especially for something that'd barely rate a "minigame" on a console.

Generalization -- LSL is a good general-purpose language, but lacks special purpose higher level toolkits for doing things like NPCs, save states, etc. You have to build middleware for everything, and with the twitchy nature of the asset servers and the occasional forced script reset in your attachments, getting consistency is tricky.

Communications -- Getting a secured communication line to any "server" by a "game client" is nasty business, with llEmail being a pile of brokenness and encryption being a weird bag of hacks at best. The only way to manage it is to go offsite to a database... and why do that when an entirely in-world solution would be a better route? It's like offshoring the stuff SL is lousy at, and it's a pain.

I could rant on, but the point is, SL will fight you every step of the way with its sheer limitations and resource restrictions if you want to make a game. it IS possible, and you can make good stuff... but we're gonna stay limited if things don't get more robust.

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