July 27, 2007
Just a little update to the update. Now that we have a few friends play testing MPDTD I have started to balance the game for multiplayer. I have already had to nerf one tower quite a lot so expect the towers to not have exactly the same stats that the single player towers do. I added in a couple of player-to-player weapons yesterday and they are proving to be quite fun judging from how much enjoyment I get when Dave shouts at me for using them on him :D. We are aiming for 5 player abilities in total and I’d suggest not sitting next to the person you are using them on!
The site itself is getting close to being beta ready and Dave has done a fantastic job so far on it. The whole process of finding and joining games is very elegant. When I think about all the code that has to run when a player clicks that ‘join’ button I’m surprised it works at all, especially as half the code is mine :o).
We are hoping to start opening up the site early next week by initially inviting up to a 100 or so players from our forums and other places. Once the site is stable with that load we will open it up further.
I am going to nag Dave this weekend to put up a gameplay video so you guys can take a look.
July 25, 2007
Better late than never right?
We kicked off last week by letting people register a username, considering there was noting else you could do on the site this has gone pretty well with an average of 495 accounts been created each day since the 14th.
The site has started to look like a finished product with areas been completed to what I would consider functional enough to call ‘Beta’. The friends list, which is now called ‘Your collective’, is probably the most important and innovative part of the site. It is basically a list of friends that updates to show you who is on line, and if any of them join or start a multiplayer game it alerts you and lets you join them in the same game with a single click. If you don’t have any friends :o( then you can use the game lobby to find and join games, much in the same way you do in ‘real’ games. Hopefully you will find some people you enjoy playing with and add them to your collective so you can join them in future games.
The MPDTD game development has gone well, there was a few days where Paul was either trying to track down a pesky bug or fighting with Flash (which seems to get very unstable with large classes) but all is well now. He is working on a new game mode which is a kind of ‘Super weapon’ mod that lets you attack the other players mazes and do other cool things, should be quite fun :o)
We are testing the site and game with some friends (that we know in the real world) and when everything is a bit more polished we will start letting people in to join us, we don’t have a definite launch date in mind, but we’re thinking days not weeks. \o/
July 19, 2007
As of now you can register an account with the Casual Collective. Registering an account will do three things. Firstly you will be reserving the username, preventing others from using the same name. Secondly when the site is live we will send you an email (which will remind you of your username and give you a link to the finished site) so you are one of the first to play! And thirdly, those that register early will get some form of reward when the site is fully functional. Right now the site is not finished, so registering is all you can do, but we hope to resolve that soon ;o)
// Update 20th July
We had 1,376 registrations today. Also noteworthy is that this post is the 16th most popular today across the whole of WordPress. And as if that wasn’t enough, this was the best day in terms of hits for our blog with 4,877 views.
July 16, 2007
Thanks to all who entered the worth1000.com contest to design the logo for the Casual Collective site. After 2 of voting and much umming and arring by Paul and I a winner has been chosen! smile by Evoken
Not only did it receive the highest score (from votes cast by members of worth1000.com) but it is our favorite because its shape is very recognizable, simple and clean. And since the Fonz, anything with shades is cool :o)
And if you hadn’t guessed already, the sites address is www.casualcollective.com
July 14, 2007
What a fun week! The site and game have come on leaps and bounds. As early as Tuesday Lunchtime Multi P layer Desktop TD (MPDTD) was at a stage where
Paul and I could play Paul could pwn me. We also had some 3-way action with Paul, his Wife and I, oooh errrr :o) Can’t wait to try it out with 4 players. We also setup an account with Group Hub which is a free service (for the basic package) that lets us set to-do items, write notes, set milestones and generally help keep us on target.
The way the game was going to work multi player changed on Monday over a cup of Tea in Paul’s kitchen :) The original idea was to have it so every time you killed a creep it spawned a ghost of itself for the other players, however this would not scale well and could end up with 100′s of creeps in a maze which would be laggy. We changed all this and now the idea is that the first person to complete a wave gets bonus points and triggers the next wave for all players, regardless of how many creeps the other players have left to kill! Of course if you go for a quick kill to overlap the waves for the other players you are probably not making a good maze so are in for a harder late game. This also scales well in terms of number of players, so even though we are aiming for 2 to 4 players we could change this to 10+ in the future.
The site is now at a point were people can register, add friends to their MSN style buddy list, send PM’s and create and join groups. Still quite a bit to do before I would consider it Beta. Group home pages, editable profile pages, and the all important games pages to name a few, but progress is going at a pace so not long now. The competition to design our logo is closed to entries and now open for voting, so go register, vote and have a say in what image will be burning into your monitor :o)
When we have the game more finished I will do my usual YouTube thing so you can all have a sneak peak at what to expect.
July 8, 2007
OK, the Worth1000 contest to design a logo for our new site is up and running! And I guess this is the first time you will have heard that the site will be called the “Casual Collective”. Casual because all the games we make are considered to be “Casual games” for the “Casual gamer” and Collective because of the strong emphasis on friends and groups.
The contest is open for submissions for 6 days from now, after that the logos will the be voted on by the users of Worth1000 and then Paul and I will select a winner soon after to receive the prize of $200*
Just read the client and general rules and if you have an idea why not have a go and then submit it to the contest in the next 6 days. So what are you waiting for? Get going!
* Not only do you get $200 (USD) but you get to make a logo that will be seen by squillions of people, the design of the logo may also shape the design of the whole site! What more incentive do you need?
July 8, 2007
We made a good start on the new site this week. I’ve been working on the generic multiplayer lobby and Dave has been creating the account system. Of course, we couldn’t just do any old multiplayer lobby and account system so we threw in a few of our own improvements :o) The lobby widget itself works with the SmartFox comms server which has so far proven to be easy to set up and integrate. As well as handling the lobby the widget will also provide the multiplayer API for any games that are loaded into it. We are aiming to test the multiplayer version of DTD at the end of next week. We have also started to syncronise our vision of how the site is going to function and have worked on filling out the key features. Dave’s experience of building large account driven sites is going to come in very handy!
I have also been working on the ‘Deluxe’ version of DTD which will be in downloadable form only. Flash gains extra performance when run locally so it will allow me take advantage of better graphics and larger maps. It will also contain advanced features such as save/load, tower pre-setup and end of game tower stats.
Dave introduced me to Napster this week and now I am hooked! While I am not a fan of the low quality of MP3 audio, the ability to find pretty much any album you want and play it straight away is very very cool. Oh and I also came up with a new TD concept that will use the DTD engine but will be played in an entirely different way. All you people who wanted to manually target the towers will finally get your wish, kinda ;o)
July 5, 2007
We started work in earnest on Monday (2nd July) Paul came over to my house and we sat down and started planning out what ‘the site’ will look like and do. We also ordered a new server to run it all on and started the process of creating a completion to design the sites logo on worth1000. We will be sure to post on here and in our forums when the comp is open so those of you who are a bit arty can enter and have a chance of winning the $200 top prize. EDIT: the comp to design a logo will start on the 7th, I will post a link when I have a URL.
I kicked Paul out early as I got a call over the weekend saying my new PC was ready for collection, superb! Bring on Crysis & Alen Wake. On Wednesday Paul came over to mine again, Paul started work on the first of our new games and I laid down the sites database and account creation system. I got all in a twist with Regular Expressions and Paul had a bit of a headache with some game code, but that’s the way it goes some days.
I think it is about time we told you what ‘the site’ will be. You all know it will be a place to host our games but that is only the tip of the iceberg. We want to bring the social side of gaming to the forefront of on-line Flash games with a site that has everything built around groups and friends. When the site is ready we will move Element TD and Desktop TD on to it so they benefit from the new features as well as helping to test it and iron out any kinks. We feel that both our TD’s and flash games in general would be so much better if they were multi player, with this in mind our first new game will be Multi Player Desktop TD! I don’t want to give away any details of MPDTD at this stage other than that it is ‘vs’ not ‘co-op’ play and will be real time multi player using only the Flash plugin, for the rest you can use your imagination :)
I leave you with a screen shot of our servers task manager, we went to town with the specs as we both hate sites that take ages to load and we want to give you the best experience possible. Sweet looking ain’t it ;) That’s 2x Quad Xeons sitting there waiting for you to all come and play!