Newsletter July 2015

The Schedules

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Welcome

Hello, and welcome to this month's Von Neumann Defense Force newsletter! I'm Hanno, VNDF's lead developer and chief newsletter engineer.

After development activity took a bit of a dive in April and May, the upwards trend that started in early June has been continuing. I've managed to establish a new schedule, and while things are not exactly moving at record speed, steady progress is being made.

Let's take a look at what's new since the last newsletter:

  • Seeing Other Players: Players were able to interact by sending broadcast messages, but they weren't able to see each other's positions. That has changed.
  • More CLI Improvements: Work on the command-line interface has continued, and some small improvements have been made.
  • Scheduling Maneuvers: Last month saw the introduction of the navigation feature. Now players can schedule multiple maneuvers that are executed after a delay.
  • More Cleanup: Cleanup work has been ongoing, this month with more of a focus on the core game code.

Have fun with this month's newsletter and please email any feedback to mail@hannobraun.de. Do you have any questions about VNDF in general or the contents of this newsletter specifically? Let me know!

Seeing Other Players

Sending text broadcasts to each other is no longer the only method for players to interact within the game. While everyone had been able to see their own ship's position for quite a while, players couldn't see each other.

Of course, such a thing is quite important for a multiplayer game, so I decided to add it in, before continuing with the navigation work.

Multiple player ships next to each other

(click to see full size)

Right now it's quite hard to tell who is who, but as always, this is a work in progress and things will improve.

More CLI Improvements

The command-line interface has received further improvements, most notably a help command!

Output from the help command

(click to see full size)

By typing help, you can display a list of all available commands and the arguments they require. Another improvement are negative angles for the schedule-maneuver command (so you can say -90° instead of 270°) and a bug was fixed that prevented the confirmation message from being printed in some situations.

Scheduling Maneuvers

Executing maneuvers has been possible for a few weeks now, but now it's possible to schedule several of them in advance, having them executed at a time of your choice.

So far, all of this is done via the command-line interface, but eventually there will be a graphical interface for this feature. I imagine a system somewhat like the maneuver nodes in Kerbal Space Program, but we'll see what I can come up with.

More Cleanup

The server-side code cleanup has continued. This month, I focused more on the core game logic and the handling of game data. This is not exciting work and it doesn't lead to results that can be shown off, but it is necessary, as it keeps the code from degrading over time and keeping it easy to work with.

See You Next Time

Do you have any questions about this newsletter or Von Neumann Defense Force in general? Send them to me! I'd love to do a Q & A in some future newsletter.

Thanks for reading, and see you again for next month's newsletter!