Stardale - Game

by Chris posted on Jul 13, 2015
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Hey everyone,

We have some disappointing news to announce. I ask that you please read this whole post through first before jumping to conclusions. In May we applied for funding through the Canadian Media Fund and we were very hopeful we would receive funding. For those who don't know, the CMF helps to fund innovative Canadian media projects including digital projects - i.e. games. Each year they fund dozens of game projects as an investment paid back should the game ever become profitable. In my research of the CMF, I explored past projects; I discovered a large quantity of projects they funded do not seem to even exist anymore. This led me to believe that we have a pretty good chance given they've funded hundreds of thousands of dollars to some very absurd projects, including low quality android phone games. In comparison, we have an established website, userbase, and solid idea with artwork and concept art/videos and live developer game play to back it up. Likewise we have a team of 3 with some amazing experience. Jose having worked on Xbox/PS3/Nintendo projects, myself having years of programming experience, and Kane having worked for Terraria/Curse. IMO, we have what it takes to make Stardale - we just need more resources to do it.

With that in mind, we applied for funding. It was our first time applying for funding and having followed all the CMF guidelines, spending a large amount of time putting our application together - our application was submitted. It was a bit of a struggle in applying as their process is a little difficult given they don't advise you of any time line and yet ask for a budget, alpha, beta, and release dates - how can someone plan a schedule if CMF will not give you a timeline for approval? Even worse, it seems there are paid businesses now that create and put together your CMF application for you (a huge annoyance) - it was my understanding one of the mandates of CMF was to help up and coming media projects from independent groups, not established businesses who already have large resources to hire a firm to put their application together. Anyway, after emailing them several times requesting a date to budget and with a bunch of other questions, we were given shallow answers that seem to conflict with their announcement schedule and other information posted on their website. Nonetheless, after spending two weeks putting together our application, business plan, and dozens of other documents, we applied. And then we waited.... and waited... and waited. After two months of waiting and no communication from CMF sent forward, a little over a week ago we finally received the results of our application.

:( Unfortunately we were not selected to receive funding. Over a dozen other games did - which was frustrating to no end to hear and read, as well as extraordinarily disappointing. Was our project really that bad? What a huge blow to the face. I suspect their judge panel may not quite grasp the popularity of 2d games or maybe there are other reasons which we hope to find out. I know though that there are many projects that seem to be non-existent in their past funding listings and projects that seem absurd to even qualify for funding - how does a crappy android game receive $300k+ in funding? How does a website that doesn't even do anything receive hundreds of thousands in funding? Perhaps it is a case of the rich helping the rich and those who cannot afford lawyers, hiring business analysts or professionals to put together an extensive business portfolio and plan, end up getting punished or remaining by the way-side. The disappointing part of this is that it is partially tax payer funded and so Canadian tax dollars might potentially just be lining the pockets of people who really do not have the ability to actually produce something.

With that said, I personally have exhausted all of my resources and I am completely out of money from working on Stardale. We thought that our funding through CMF would have been more successful given our project's advancement and having looked through the CMF project funding history, as said earlier, a lot of the projects they've funded are extraordinarily questionable in comparison to Stardale. I personally gave up my car and ended up moving in with family just to continue this project, however, without further funding right now we have to put it on hold.

This isn't the end of Stardale, we've come a long way. We've completed a large part of the server, client, and website, but not enough to release anything yet given I am the single programmer and we have one artist to-date. We've all worked on this project completely at our own cost and the few pre-orders were used to pay for things like licensing and web hosting. We get it, preorders these days are hard to come by. The gaming industry has been exploited with people abusing preorders and releasing subpar products. At the same time, as independent developers, without preorder money it can be almost impossible to release something if you don't have the money to put food on your table, pay for artwork, or keep the lights on.

We will continue to look for funding for Stardale and in my spare time I will slowly work on it as a side-project. I will email everyone should things change and I don't want to give this project up for-good. We have a lot of great artwork and assets already developed - sadly though it isn't enough to release an alpha yet.

I want to thank everyone for their support thus far. We're going to turn part of the website off soon but we will keep the comments alive for now to hear feedback. For preorders that were already ordered, when Stardale does release, if ever, - you will receive your products, it may just take a little longer. If I ever work on other projects, you will also receive access access to those for free if I am contractually able to do so - your support has meant so much and I really do appreciate it to no end. We've managed to sell 21 preorders to-date. Sadly this is not enough to continue Stardale right now as I am completely broke.

Thanks everyone for your understanding.

Sincerely,

Chris
by Chris posted on Apr 4, 2015
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Hey everyone, it's been too long since my last post! Here's what's new with Stardale dev progress!

Playstation 4: We've just gained access to the Playstation Developer Network which will enable us to begin developing for the Playstation 4! With Unity we can compile the game for PS4 with relative ease but we were never able to do so without the proper Playstation tools. It's very exciting, we were literally granted access a day ago with Sony so I can begin to tinker around to get the game on PS4.

Game Dev Progress: It's time to start working on forging in space. With mining asteroids, flying around in space, and taking damage is great in single/multiplayer - it's time to be able to actually build items - something I am going to start working on next.

Steam: Last year I laid down $100 to buy the Steam Greenlight access hoping that at some point we would put our game up on steam green light. We're not there yet to take votes for greenlight because we need to build our community first and show more of the game. With that said, Steam now enables games to post "Concept projects early in development" or in other words, it allows developers to start to build a community around the game on Steam so we can have the votes ready for when we want to be green lit. We'll work on putting that up so we can begin to gain some greenlight traction!

Below are some screen shots of a few awesome ships in-game. You've seen two of them before but you haven't seen the nice big kick ass capital ship as well as these drones and gun platforms. Yes, awesome and amazing customizable gun platforms. You can mount weapons on them to defend yourself and your base in space and blow your friends or enemies up. :D

aa.

Mounting points on some drones and gun platforms:
mounting points.

Thanks everyone for continuously checking back - I know there are many of you who keep coming back and have been missing the updates and I want to thank you for your vigilance and following up!

Yours,

Chris
by Chris posted on Feb 14, 2015
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[​IMG]
Hey everyone, I want to wish you all a happy valentine's day and I hope whatever you're doing today, you're having some fun. I picked this song for all of you who've signed up so far! ;)

Yours sincerely,

Chris
by Chris posted on Feb 2, 2015
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Hey everyone, I'm still here working on Stardale. It's been awhile since the last update. I've had to take on a side project and take a small break from working on Stardale. We'll be pushing out another update soon. Here's a quick screenshot, you've probably seen most of this stuff in other shots but we will have more to show soon. :)

stardale.
by Chris posted on Jan 12, 2015
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Hello everyone! Another update from the Stardale Academy. This week our research and development team has pushed the boundaries of data communications; never before in the Stardale universe has a team of researchers transmitted data between two entities in a way where one entity predicts the others movement. This has lead to future capabilities of seamless object movement between data points.

In other words, we've worked more on client movement prediction but also I fixed a few serious bugs that showed their nasty faces with movement packets sometimes not being read properly after they were received. It turns I discovered a bug with Unity/Mono and memory management; essentially the limitation was that Unity wasn't properly managing it's garbage collection and was reusing a variable that should have been cleared. I had to create a work around for this bug but after several hours we caught on to what was happening. :cool:

What else has been happening? The client and server is moving more towards an authoritative approach where the server acts as an authority controlling in-game object movement with client side predicting movement but server giving the final sale. Also this week we've moved closer to loading the map objects from the actual server, previously I had them fixed in each client but now map items (i.e. asteroids, NPC ships, etc) are controlled by server. Yay :rolleyes:

It's been a long road, but we're getting there!

by Chris posted on Jan 2, 2015
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Lately I've been working on an implementation of client movement prediction and lag management. This is important because when a player movement is sent to the server, by the time the server receives the movement update that movement is already out of date - the player that sent the movement update may have already moved beyond that position it sent to the server. Beyond that, when the server broadcasts a players movement to all other players in the area then by the time other players receive the position of another players moving around them, it is several frames if not a lot more frames behind where the player actually is. Given that I've set our server to send movement updates at a rate of 15 updates per second (option to adjust will be available, use at your own risk) and yet the game might be running at 60+ frames per second, obviously this will lead to gaps between movements. If we leave it as is, players will jump from point to point and the result is very unsmooth gameplay.

Now, how to deal with this? We can overcome this problem with predicting where the player may be moving. This is how the majority of online MMO's deal with this sort of problem. With the data received we can interpolate the players position based on velocity to make a best guess at where the player may be. Based on the velocity of the player in combination with knowing the approximate latency to account for transfer time from Player A -> Server -> Player B, we use the data to calculate the players current position. So with this in mind, we now know approximately where the player may be even if the data we receive is out of date.

Now that we have the general idea of how to overcome where the player may be at a given time, how can we smoothly move that player from one point to the next with gaps in the middle? Remember, this is all happening on another players computer - We could simply do a straight line and that might be good enough in some instances but if there is a big gap in between position updates or if a player in a shuttle makes a sharp turn then it could lead to warping and unrealistic movement on other players screens. To overcome this we can use cubic spines, a form of dead reckoning. With the cubic splines algebraic equation we can input a series of positions from start to end to formulate a smooth rounded transition from point a to point b. In this graph you can see how using cubic splines can smooth the transition between points. Notice the red line versus the black cubic spline rendering in the graph below, the red points are points received and with cubic spline we calculate a smooth transition from each point rather than a hard straight line. Imagine this is a space shuttle flying through the Stardale universe, it would look a lot better if the shuttle followed the black line rather than red.

cubicspline.

This method is one of several methods used to smooth out predicted player movements, however, it is one that Stardale will be using. I've been testing it out and so far it seems promising. At this point I am dealing with a few jitter problems still after implementing cubic splines, nonetheless I know where the problem is and I am just working out a few kinks in my implementation of cubic splines. I've never worked with this before so it is my first time working out movement prediction. Nonetheless I'm proud we've made it this far and I am happy with the results. :)

Anyway, that's all for this post. I hope everyone is doing well! Welcome to the new faces who recently registered and thanks to everyone again who keep coming back for updates and following our progress. You guys are amazing. :)
by Chris posted on Dec 25, 2014
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Hey everyone, all of us at Stardale Studio Corp (all 3 of us ;)) wish all of our fans, supporters, and everyone in the community a very happy and joyful holiday season and new year. I wish all of you the best and I hope that this holiday season is filled with everything you've hoped for and worked for.

Coming up sometime in the first quarter of the new year we are aiming to have an alpha version of Stardale available. This is dependent on how much I can achieve in programming but our goal is to get something out within the first quarter. I've been working tirelessly and although our living conditions are not ripe for development, we're doing the best we can to bring you something fantastic - no excuses. :)

Finally, I personally want to thank everyone who has pre-ordered Stardale so far. You are the pioneers of the Stardale universe, pushing to discover new frontiers; your valuable support has helped to keep us fed and the lights on.

Happy holidays everyone!

Yours sincerely,

Stardale Team.