Let there be dancing in the streets: Trajectory Zone Beta 3 Released!!!

Xavier (eXoDuS) is finishing up with the Linux build and sending it to me (Mmmmm – Trajectory Zone on a 32″ monitor – my MythTV machine :-). That’s the final step to getting all of Trajectory Zone Beta 3’s builds out the door. Oh wonderful day! I haven’t had a lot of sleep over the last 48 hours – mind, body, and soul were all wrapped into trying to get one thing done: TZ Beta 3.
And I’m really freakin’ happy about how it turned out. Sure, it’s not perfect – it’s a beta. But the content is in there, the gameplay is now set (unless it turns out to be totally bunk for some reason), the bots are in, etc., etc., etc., etc. A million details taken care of. Of course, John Vanderbeck jumped in and found two new bugs, and I saw one later that I missed (all on the server side, so it’s much easier to fix.)
There was a HUGE balls up on the Mac build the first time around though – Dan Dickenson of Freeverse had snagged a copy and installed it before anyone else in the Mac community, and alerted my quickly to the problem. I yanked it, and sent out a dire DO NOT INSTALL warning. What was wrong? Well… I accedentally hit a checkbox in the PackageManager – override permissions. Somehow, that resulted in the entire Applications directory being set to no one having permissions to do anything with thier apps. OOOOPS! A quick fix later (and instead of a .zip with a package in it, Dan pointed out an easy way to make a .dmg instead) Dan bravely tested it again… and all was well. Heart attack over, Mac build released 🙂
(Update – just got the new .bin from Xavier… and it doesn’t work on my MythTV machine. Loads up fine, but when you join a game it segfaults. I’d be worried… except that I’ve got a Matrox card in there. That’s not real Linux 3D friendly 😛 I’ll have to pass it on, and see if it works for everyone else.)
I also had another flub occur – I left the WAY underpowered game server (400 MHZ Win2k machine with a GeForce2 in it) set at full detail. Due to a bug in terrain deformation that I’ve yet to figure out, I can’t run a dedicated server. Leaving it at full detail provided lots of lag for people. After it was pointed out, I patched things up and restarted it. No biggie, bit another debate for having some better hardware laying around rather than the seriously aging stuff I’ve got right now :-/
Now for the nervous part – waiting for people to start playing and getting feedback. I’ve spent months tweaking and tuning – here’s the partial changelog I had put up:
Added: Mac Port! 🙂
Removed: Single Player mode. All of it.
Added: Bots – though thier logic is poor, and they don’t follow all the rules at the moment.
Added: The ability to define that a game will have a minimum number of players , and the server will spawn new bots to fill the void, and remove them as players join.
Fixed: Model preferences remain between respawns and between games
Added: Chase Cam escape – Press ‘C’ when a tracer has been fired to return back to your base
Added: Accurate Shot mode. Press and hold R while aiming to kick into ‘slow aim’ mode – much better accuracy for both keyboard and mouse control.
Added: High Velocity Shots. Press and hold V while firing to increase the amount of power behind a shot by 50% – great for times when the players are just a little out of range.
Removed: Lots of redundant or useless weapons
Added: Better weapon rotation. Pressing ‘w” and ‘r’ scroll up and down only through available weapons now.
Added: Suicide option. Press ‘j’ (way over there so you don’t bump it) will instantly kill your player – at a cost of 50 points.
Improved: Particle LoD. Particle reduction occurs at close range like it did before, but, also occurs at longer ranges where the particles start becoming less important
Improved: Visibility on the HUD display for player names, shield remaining, etc.
Added: ALL player models are now available.
Fixed: Serious improvements on scoring.
Added: Armageddon game mode. This was the previous ‘standard’ gamemode for TZ
Improved: Much faster firing times in Armageddon game mode.
Added: Free For All game mode. Slows down gameplay considerably, and adds a new feature – 2.5 seconds after firing, you go into ‘shotcam’ mode and follow the projectile on it’s course.
Added: Countdown for game modes that have firing delays.
Added: Simultaneous game mode. Every 15 seconds, everyone fires at once.
Added: The Equalizer game mode. Allows new players to compete with skilled players just a bit better. Every time you hit a target, two seconds are added to your fire reload time. Ever time you fire, one second is taken off. Spamming ammo boxes with clusterbombs or boomstick ammo comes with a serious penalty in this mode 🙂
Fixed: Clusterbomb has better spread, and activates farther from the player (preventing self damage from random scatter – unless you fire straight up.)
Improved: Bandwidth utilization seriously improved over previous version
Improved: Lots of new hooks for mod authors to use, especially for writing thier own tweaks and game modes.
Improved: Load level music at a much more appropriate time, reducing the ugly poping and crackling that occurs during relighting.
Added: New item in ‘music’ tab in preferences to disable music.
Removed: Lots of redundant code
Removed: Lots of unused content
Improved: Level load times, particularly on server side
Enabled: Smoking craters for appropriate weapons
Improved: Weapon sounds
Added: Quit button
Added: Client side request for bots – hit “~” and type makebot(); and press return – a new bot will be added, and the minimum players setting will be increased by one.
Added: Random naming and model selection for bots
Added: John Kabus’es Torque Lighting Pack – incredible improvements on terrain, model, and interior lighting can be seen
Added: Randomized levels. Not perfect, but, works
Added: Eric’s TROFF level as a randomized level.
Tweaked: Almost all levels have had changes to improve FPS on Mac port (oh, my poor abused Powerbook 867 – I don’t think it was made to pump that many polys!)
Added: Bumpmaps to a couple of levels – really a “just because I can” thing. Most people won’t notice a bit of difference unless they find themselves zoomed in on the terrain. Eric’s work with the detail maps is what makes the terrain look awsome, not the bumpmap.
Fixed: Joining Internet servers.
Improved: Fixed lots of problems with starting a game, and selecting new levels.
Added: Dedicated Server setup finally. However, this beta will not be running in dedicated mode due to problems with terrain deformation and dedicated servers.
Added: Turret Lock. Press and hold ‘x’ to garantee your turret doesn’t adjust it’s angle or heading.
Changed: Player spawing. Players now drop in to thier spawn point. This gives you a moment to get oriented on the way down, and see where they other players are in relation to yourself.
Fixed: Transfering huge amounts of deformation information to a client no longer seriously bogs down the server.
Fixed: Sending deformations for random or regular deformations now displays information when the client loads up, not just a blank screen
Fixed: Order of operations when client is doing deformations on inital connection (improves how it’s handled and consistency.)
That’s not including a ton of restructuring and optimization stuff, and a whole pile of things I can’t even remember over the last couple of months. 
Unluckly, I lost some beta testers – they had emailed me, and my server aged them off. If you were someone who had sent me a request to beta test, but didn’t a beta email – re-email me. I’ll get ya’ hooked up.
TZ has been a very very long road. B3 doesn’t mark the end of that road, it marks it being MUCH closer now 🙂
Dylan Sale   (Apr 23, 2004 at 22:43)
Always good to see progress 😀
Ben Garney   (Apr 24, 2004 at 00:58)
Now that’s a big done list. I’d hate to see the todo list it came from. 😉
Good work, Davis. Keep it up!
Xavier “eXoDuS” Amado   (Apr 24, 2004 at 09:36)
Damn on it not working. Worked fine here on a NVIDIA card, I’m gonna try get some beta-beta testers 🙂
Edward Smith   (Apr 25, 2004 at 05:01)
Great beta I was up at 2am playing it lol :-D.
Before that I didn’t really see how it worked, but I’m very impressed!
I think the menu and buttons after the main menu look abit ugly, but thats cool :-). How did you get all of those voices by the way?
BTW: Great deforming of the terrian!
EDIT: I got a bug when using ‘C’ on the next shot after using ‘c’ it’ll go as far as it didlast time before I pressed ‘c’ and then it’ll take me out of the tracer mode (without ‘c’ that time…).
Edited on Apr 25, 2004 05:32

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