“Got Beta?” ;-) Trajectory Zone continues on, Nov 1. Beta 2 release, Nov 15 Beta 3 release / LAN Party (bigBetaBOOM!), and why the hell can’t things stay stable?

Trajecory Zone development continues… it’s looking better and better all the time! I ditched the shot-cam idea, and went with something different – and it ends up something a bit better. I was a bit nervous about the shotcam because it meant that on screen you’ve now got twice the polys being displayed. Plus, there were some gameplay issues – I think the shotcam was going to make it TOO easy.
As it happened, there was a nearly useless ammo type in the game – the tracer. Doesn’t do any damage, it was just designed to help line-up shots. So, I made a little change – when the tracer fires, the camera attaches to the projectiles…
OMG!!! I hadn’t a clue how well that was going to work, but I discovered it’s fun to “be the missile!” I probably spent an hour doing nothing more than setting around shooting the tracer, and looking around the level from a birds eye view (you can still look around when attached to the missile, instead of being locked to a forward nose-cam view), and doing things like perfecting my aim (I was shooting between the support beams of one of the platforms that bases spawn on – great effect ‘flying’ through those!) This was better than I ever imagined, because now players get a chance to see the ‘lay’ of things on a level, and see how close they are getting to the opponent. And – the turret base ‘locks’ when control of the camera is transfered to the projectile, so if it was a hit or near hit, you are still in the right spot for it on the next shot! Wonderful how just a minor thing can end up bein’ so good!
I’ve been tuning and tweaking stuff left and right, trying to get the amount of bandwidth reduced, improving terrain deformation, etc. Terrain Deformation now works quite a bit differently – it’s still somewhat script based, but, instead of sending a single command for each point of deformation, you now define the height, width, and style of deformation you’d like to perform (IE – set a specific height, do a reduction and smoothing area, or do a bowl shaped crater). I left single-point deformation in there, so that mod authors can do insane stuff with it too 🙂 Doing this reduced the overhead that it introduces significantly. However, there’s still a ‘quirk’ that I haven’t figured out – right now, when an explosion occurs, it’s executing the ::onDamage function for every terrain square within the radiusDamage area. And ya’ know… I have no idea why! Looking at the masks in radiusDamage doesn’t look like it should exec anything concerning terrain. If anyone has any ideas… 😉 As it stands now, it’s more of an efficency issue than a gameplay issue, but it needs patched up.
Beta 2 is coming out Nov 1. A good number of online press are getting thier hands on it to kick it around, preview it, etc. But they all know that Nov 15th is when the REAL action happens:
“Trajectory Zone Beta 3: bigBetaBOOM!” is a LAN and Internet party where we’re gonna do the insane – we plan on trying to max out the 128 player limit that exists in Torque! The insanity level of this event will be maxed! The goal is to have about 50 or so players locally, and see how many Internet connections we can pull in at the same time, until it’s no longer playable. This is also a perfect opporunity for gameplay videos and screenshots – I’ll probably completely fill a hardrive with screenshots of the game in action at this event!
If you are in Kansas (Wichita to be specific, if you are within driving distance) and are interested in getting involved in this insanity, drop me a line- midryder@midnightryder.com – I’ll be doing a walkthrough of the location next week, and will get a measure of exactly how many people I can seat in there. 
And of course, there’s still room left for more Internet beta testers (can you HAVE too many? Apparently not, if Max Gaming is going to be using 1000! 😉 so get signed up already 😉
Why can’t things just stay stable for a while longer? I mean really, I set my goal date for leaving my day job, and things looked good. I was almost too busy for game development work, and had to work some weekends and extra hours here and there. All was as it should be.
Then it stopped. Things are unwraveling even faster than before now. Well, shit! I’m not sure things will even make it to Dec 15th now – there goes my 3 weeks of vacation I was gonna use as ‘seed’ for moving to game development full time. I’d go out and get another job, but 100% of my time and resources are focused on one thing: Getting this game done, and out the door. I may be an Indie developer, but right now I’d take an advance on a project in a heartbeat 😉 So it’s starting to look a lot like Trajectory Zone is going to be a do or die project – my future, as I want it to be, is all tied to this now.
And ya know what? I ain’t a bit scared. I’ve got the tools, the team, and the game. I’ve got a game that made an editor / magazine writer (who’s name I won’t mention for various reasons) say:
Scorched Earth goes 3D and real time.
Now ALL my leisure time is going away.
Yeah, it don’t get better than that 🙂
Nicolas Quijano   (Oct 27, 2003 at 12:27)
You mean Nov 1st is not today ? 8p
Davis Ray Sickmon, Jr   (Oct 27, 2003 at 12:33)  
Nope – sorry, ya gotta wait 6 more days before you get your hands on TZ 🙂 However, it’s worth the extra wait… everything (well, as far as I can tell, this IS a beta after all) is working properly under 1.2. 
Except for the ::OnDeath even for AI’s. I noticed that’s broke in the new Torque Demo too (go kill the pathed player, then check the console log.) That’s on my hit-list for tonight. I think the AI player is deleted before it attempts to execute the ::onDeath event, which causes it to fail. A little tweaking should fix the problem 🙂
Bill Keller   (Oct 27, 2003 at 16:36)
Do a potential testers get to look at the game any ahead of time, or are they going to just be easy meat? Trying to figure out controls is tough in the best of situations – having 127 other people shooting at you is pretty far from the best of situations. 🙂
John Vanderbeck   (Oct 28, 2003 at 13:18)
This is goign to rock. I can remember sitting playing scorched earth for hours and hours on end.
Lucas Goodwin   (Nov 02, 2003 at 23:18)
Ahh, Scorched Earth. The bain of my highschool CAD teacher. I think we played more scorched earth then did drawings in that class.

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