Friday, May 15, 2009

Preliminary Screenshot

Here is a screenshot from the work-in-progress example game (click on for a larger version):


This is the view from the stairway into the fortress, with the main tower to the right. The character model is just a placeholder (it's from the Yo Frankie! game), the actual model isn't yet finished.

The game itself is starting to be functional: There are teleporters, a cannon that fires characters up into the fortress, and a complex particle effect shown when the top of the tower is occupied. (All of this is done in JavaScript, in quite readable code - which is really the whole point of the entire platform.) What remains to be done is weapon fire and some polishing of the map, and for the final character model to arrive, at which time the alpha will be officially launched. The game won't be fully complete at that time, but that's part of the purpose of the alpha - to playtest it with more people, and to create other games as well.

(Edit: Removed second screenshot; a nicer version of it will appear in the next blog post.)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Alpha Launch Almost Ready

Some near-final preparations for alpha testing:
  • After several months behind closed doors, the latest source code has been uploaded to Launchpad. See important notes below.
  • Bugfixing is progressing well, with little left to do before the launch.
  • The first player model is also progressing well. Screenshots of that should appear here soon.
  • A demo map is in the works. Screenshots of that should also appear here soon.
  • A new logo is being designed (this time by a professional, as opposed to me).
  • The main website has been updated and now contains a page about the Intensity Engine, which includes some new info on technical features as well as licensing.

Regarding the abovementioned 'new info', the main points are
  • Google V8 is now used for game logic scripting, both client- and server-side. In comparison to the previous Python-based system, this provides much better performance and security, and also has the benefit of JavaScript being familiar to an extremely wide audience. I'll write an in-depth blog post about this soon.
  • A brand new asset management system has been developed. It's written in Python, supports nice features like dependencies, zipped assets, and mutability, and should make life much easier in general, both for those creating content and those interacting with it.
  • The Intensity Engine's license is (as before) the AGPL, but with some important qualifications (primarily accepting Apache 2.0 code and not requiring copyright assignment - see the Intensity Engine page for details). We're trying out a new approach to licensing here (or at least I'm not aware of any project doing this sort of thing), and it'll be interesting to see how it goes.

Important notes about the code:
  • This is alpha-stage code, so crashes etc. are to be expected - use at your own risk.
  • There are no binary downloads yet, only the raw code. We'll build binaries and provide them when we launch alpha testing, but even then, rapid changes might make it impractical. So steady releases of binaries might wait for beta testing.
  • If you do compile the code, note that both the client and the server require interaction with the master server (www.syntensity.com). Without an account on the master server you won't be able to do much. Contact us (contact -at- syntensity.com, or on IRC, #intensityengine on FreeNode) if you want an account, and we'll set you up.
  • The current version number is 0.9, reflecting the fact that almost all of the features intended for 1.0 have been completed. The 1.0 release is expected to occur during the summer. Minor API changes are expected until then, but nothing major.