It's been a busy few days for my work on Pointless Quest. Over the weekend I bult the editor - my first proper Winforms application as it happens. It's a simple little thing that allows me to make the base maps for the game. I still have to place exits and mobs by hand, but I'm working on a plan for that!
Whilst creating the editor, I decided to up my tile range to allow for three-digit tile numbers. Any tiles below 100 are "floor" tiles, and can be walked on. Anything above 100 is a "wall" tile, and will stop players and mobs. I can move these ranges from now on with a few simple code changes, which allows for future expansion.
After I built the editor, I set to work creating some new areas to explore. Making the areas is simple, but when it comes to making new mobs to populate these areas, my artistic weakness comes into full display. I just cannot draw for shit. For instance, my "grizzly bear" looks more like an "excited cat". Send your 40x40 transparent animgifs to firstname.lastname@example.org and they'll be guaranteed a place in the game!
Monday night, I managed to dump a web server with the game. I asked a friend to host it for me until we get a new IG server up and running. It was all looking great until SQL server keeled over. Turns out that PQ was causing SQL to use around 10mb of ram every couple of minutes. The server had enough of this after about half an hour, and promptly froze. This was worrying for both myself and my friend while we waited for the server to come back online after a reboot.
What it all boiled down to was me spending the past two evenings frantically re-coding the webservice to use stored procedures. Burning the candle at both ends is an understatement.
It was well worth it though. On SQL 2005 standard edition, the game uses about 20mb of memory and stays stable even with 5 clients logged in overnight. It goes up by the odd few k every few minutes, but nowhere near the kind of usage we were witnessing before. And as a bonus, the game now runs faster, is more stable and is also more optimised as a result of me cutting out several unneccessary database reads/writes. So as long as it holds stable on the server the next time we try it, all will be good and I'll be ready to launch.
So keep your eye on www.pointlessquest.com, and come join us!