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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Stable Release

I feel like its worth mentioning that version 0.45 is sweeeeeet. :)

I played a game last night from 9pm until 1:30am, and with the exception of one person having to quit and restart due to a gray screen, the game played flawlessly. One big success is the fact that the trade interface worked without freezing up even once! As those of you that have played this game online know, this has been a pervasive problem for a long time.

The speed of the interface online is hugely improved. I promise that you will notice a difference, especially during combat. Because it is so much faster, the combat screen doesn't blink anymore. When you press NEXT, the screen is repainted instantly. I can't tell you how nice that is.

I got to try out the Enchant Artifact spell in a real game, and it was pretty nice. After dying once with the Black Knight (stupid axe goblins!), I decided to play the Sorceror. I selected Enchant Artifact, Fiery Blast, and Lightning as my starting spells. One of the first things that I did, was team up with the Great Elf at the house, and with two alerted IV chits, killed all the soldiers. Looting the house afterwards revealed the Book of Lore, which the Great Elf shared with the Sorceror. I used Enchant Artifact to add the Fiery Blast spell to the book, and suddenly had myself a powerful speed 0 weapon. Nice!

Anyway, the game is still in progress as a save game, which hopefully we'll pick up again next week. The Great Elf found a nice source of income (Food Ale), a M bow, and the Woodfolk in his employ. The White Knight had a pretty nice stint in the Mountain tile, killing 2 or 3 Giants, and a handful of spiders. We found the Vault, Cairns, and just before quitting, the Lair. There's going to be some sweet looting next week.

I should mention that I did lose the Sorceror to some bats right before we quit, but we decided to restore from a save game instead, to recover that stupid mistake (I was getting tired). I know, that's cheating, but hey, we're having fun!

I recommend trying v0.45 for your next online game!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Version 0.45 Released

This is the second release in a row that is seemingly small in changes, but really there is a lot of work under the hood. This time around, I thought I'd at least give you all a new spell to play with: Enchant Artifact. I doubt its perfect (my first run of a spell usually isn't), but I think it will perform fairly close to what you would expect. Yes, you can actually add a spell and chit to an artifact of your choosing. Yes, you can use the new chit added to the artifact to cast spells ON that artifact.

Another fairly important bit in this release, is a discovery I made to how I was handling the communication between server and client, during an online game. I realized that I was forcing these two to interact with each other in 50 ms chunks, and by so doing, causing an unnecessary slowdown, especially as it concerns messages transferring to the log window. The 50 ms "sleep" time HAS to be in there, so that the CPU can do other tasks, but it doesn't have to be in play until there is nothing left in the queue. After making this discovery, and making the change to process the entire message queue before sleeping, makes a HUGE difference.

For example, a combat I was testing with the Sorceror, Fiery Blast, and 12 goblins was taking 6 seconds to process before the results screen became visible!! That's like 6 seconds too long, in my opinion. After the fix, the combat results come up virtually instantaneously. Granted, that's running a internet connection within my intranet, but I'm guessing you'll still see some serious performance improvements when playing on the internet.

I'm going to be playing a game tonight with some friends, so I'll let you know how that goes. Here's what's new:

  • NEW SPELL: Enchant Artifact works now! (caveat: you can still only use the artifact once per combat - I will fix this part eventually)

  • Fixed a problem with "Whistle for Monsters" that was freezing the combat interface after the first round.
  • Reworked the spell targeting logic (behind the scenes) to make it a bit more robust
  • Fixed a problem with "Talk to Wise Bird", that resulted from changes made to the trade interface in v0.44
  • Fixed a speed problem when playing online
    • This will virtually eliminate those long delays during combat when multiple things are happening at once
    • Everything will be as fast as your connection, instead of being tied to a speed defined in the code (at long last!!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Smack Down

I wanted to see how things were working, since some changes I made to the spell targeting logic, so I played through a game with the Black Knight and the Witch-King. One lesson I learned rather quickly, is that this game can start off easy, and then take you down hard.

The map was harsh, and gave me two options: Go one direction, and explore the Borderland, Deep Woods and Mountain, or go the other, and see all the other tiles. Since it seemed logical to get the first three tiles out of the way, I chose the former. Unfortunately, nothing panned out. All three tiles were completely devoid of any treasure.

With several days wasted, I moved back to the Inn, and tried the alternate choice. The Cliff had nothing either, and I was beginning to think the game was against me, though the monster rolls had been fairly kind: I was able to tangle with, and kill 2 M Spiders.

At this point, it dawned on me that I had taken the Broomstick spell with the Witch-King, and that I could be covering more ground, faster. I sent the Witch-King across the board to the Ledges tile, where he found... nothing!!! In the meantime the Black Knight continued on foot into the Cavern, and found the Statue, and infamous lair of the Imp! As luck would have it, the Imp was there, and the Black Knight was unhidden. One round of combat left the poor Black Knight cursed with Wither. Somehow or another, the Black Knight managed to land an alerted mace on the Imp, and put it down, but the damage was done.

The next turn, the Witch-King travelled on foot to the neighboring Ruins tile, and lo there was much glittering and gold. Of course, there was also a boatload of monsters, which in some ways was comforting to the Witch-King. Seeing the Lair, Shrine, and the Pool, made the Witch-King think that he might not have wasted a spell slot on Absorb Essence after all! Quickly moving to the shrine, the Witch-King begin searching the site, hoping quietly for the appearance of the Winged Demon. Turn after fruitless searching turn, the Shrine remained quiet, though the neighboring clearings were quickly filling up with hungry monster. On the very turn that the Witch-King failed his hide, he was ambushed by a Giant Bat. As the Witch-King had failed to find any useful treasure, and lacked any form of movement options (stupid me for not preparing a Fly chit!!), was killed in the first round. Damn, I knew I should have absorbed the thing!!

The Black Knight, seeing his partner's demise, wandered through the Caves, and hustled to the Lair. Having failed his hide (again!?!?), the Tremendous Dragon that appeared (stupid monster die of 1) made quick work of the Withered Black Knight. All that remained was the glitter of gold:

Monday, May 21, 2007

Some Spell Woes

I rather suspected this would happen: a new problem resulting from the change I made to the trade interface. That's why I chose not to send out an e-mail for the last release, and why I chose not to close the Mantis issues.

Currently, there are some strange problems with casting spells that do feedback, like "Talk to Wise Bird", and "Control Bats". I'll have to back out the changes I made to the Trade interface to fix the problem, but I think I'm getting closer to getting that working reliably.

Anyway, thanks to "BD" for letting me know about this new problem. I'll get another version online this weekend.

Update: Ok, it turns out that "BD" was using an older version (0.41), so he is seeing a problem that was fixed in 0.42. I only tested "Talk to Wise Bird", and there is a problem with that spell, so I assumed it was a broader problem. Near as I can tell, the bug ONLY affects "Talk to Wise Bird", so its not as serious as I originally thought. For the time being, I've disabled the download of v0.44 until I can verify that this is the only spell affected.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Version 0.44 Released

Okay, this is more of a patch, than a full-on release, but I didn't feel like making a 0.43.1 release. I did make a fairly dramatic change to the underpinnings of the trade interface. I'm feeling like it should eliminate the problems you all have had with this accursed thing, but there's no way to know for sure, except to give it a ride. If you still have issues, please let me know. If it works better for you, I'd like to hear that too.

Oh, and this release will fix the annoying problem with the treasure sites that was introduced into RealmSpeak recently (see earlier post), so you looters can get back to looting!! :-)

Okay, not much here, but here's what's new:

  • [785] - Can loot the treasure sites again.
  • [730],[741] - The trade/share interface is fixed. No longer will doing a trade lead to the game freezing up.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Unlootable Treasure Sites

Gaah!! An unfortunate bug crept into the last release, that is making the game difficult to play. None of the treasures sites are lootable:
  • Crypt of the Knight
  • Enchanted Meadow
  • Toadstool Circle

You can discover them, but they don't make themselves available to be looted afterwards. This bug appeared because of a fix I applied to the "Wish for a Vision" result.

Anyway, I've fixed it in the current (but unreleased) version, so hopefully I can get something online this weekend.

Sorry about that!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

New Board Game Link

Just a note that I added a new link to the side bar under "Other Board Games". The link takes you to a pretty crude webpage highlighting my latest Java boardgame conversion: TimeTripper.

Version 0.43 Released

Attn! Resource Pack is updated, so you'll need to download the new version!

Not a lot to say about this one, except that a bunch of problems were fixed. Probably the biggest new feature, is one that allows you to force the end of a game, and then view everything on and off the board.

I was playing this version this morning, and had a pretty awesome game, which is still in progress (currently saved). I'm playing with the Captain and the Sorceror, and we started the game in Midsummer, on a warm day. That's 2 basic, and 3 sunlight phases for 7 days! Right off the bat, we found the Lair, and in the lair were a few useful items:
  • Dragonfang Necklace
  • Handy Gloves (M3)
  • Timeless Jewel

In addition to that, the sorceror found a bunch of magic artifacts, so you can imagine his glee. Next, we found the Hoard, and a few more items:
  • Dragon Essence
  • Flying Carpet
  • Alchemist's Mixture

A few monsters have messed with us, but for the most part, the Realm is letting us play. I decided to save the game before the inevitable disaster happens.

Anyway, you don't care about my game: You want to know what's new!

  • [749] - Fixed how game end works, and how/where you extend the game.
    • New button "End Game" allows to force the current game to end.
    • New button "Reveal All" allows you reveal all chits/cards at the natural end of a game.
    • "Extend Game 1 Month" button moved out of character panel, and onto main character list.

  • [629],[725] - Changed how VPs are allocated. Instead of getting them piecemeal, you must allocate all of them at the beginning of the game.
    • Considers the number of months to play, and seasons, if applicable
    • Extending the game 1 month at a time will still ask for more VPs.

  • [735] - "Items and Horses" table from page 17 of the 3rd-edition rules is now available in the view menu

  • [748],[746] - Fixed an error that happens when you find yourself in a clearing with no paths leading out (like after enchanting a tile)
  • [769] - Charging will cause you to become unhidden now.
  • [715] - "Encounter" phase in combat now properly reads "Actions"
  • [767] - Fixed the price of the Lucky Charm from 2 to 14
  • [744],[758] - Fixed a state exception
  • [751] - Wish for Vision no longer empties the site
  • [764] - Curses on non-characters will properly show as having no effect.
  • [754] - Fixed another run bug, that was saying the path vanishes when you run repeatedly from the same clearing.
  • [772] - If you can walk woods, you can run into the woods, instead of being forced to move down a path.
  • [776] - Fixed a problem with Persuade and Watchful Natives
  • [712],[777] - Fixed a strange problem with Persuade, that prevented you from activating newly aquired items, not on your turn.
  • [599] - Can no longer lure a RED-side up monster off of another sheet.
  • [660] - Choosing a spell target now includes a small icon indicating the combat sheet they are on (if any)
  • [723] - Added a new batch file (runHere.bat) that allows you to keep all of RealmSpeak's preferences and Hall of Fame in the same directory.
  • Fixed a bug in the battle editor that would always report "Battle Ended" when the only combatants were characters.
  • [640] - Reset button works after selecting a target now.
  • [775] - Cleaned up the logic for native positioning and randomization a bit.