Thursday, October 25, 2007


So, let's explain what I'm up to all this time.

Personal situation

Last summer I landed a job as System Administrator at a company. The company itself had about 150 employees, and my job was assisting the sitting sys. admin to keep the servers up and running, fixing issues, etc. While the job was fun at the start, it become pretty boring in the long run. Esp. when the main sys. admin was on vacation, I had almost nothing to do. But, I needed the money to pay for college coming year. This was one of the reasons I stopped development on Dune: I came home from work after around 18:30, had to make dinner, eat and clean up again. By the time everything was done, the last thing I wanted to do was code.

Eventually, when classes started again, I worked there for 2 days a week, as it was a nice solid income. However, after a few weeks, I got an e-mail from a professor, with a job pamphlet. An acquaintance of the prof was looking for a student who wanted to do some C++ / OpenGL development on an existing CAM software package. So I called the guy, went in for a job interview and got hired.

So, right now, I'm working 2 days in the week as C++ programmer on CAM software. The software itself loads a CAD model on which the user can then do several operations to prepare the model to be cut out in wood, plastic or metal. Editing the model has to be done in CAD software, so the transformations are mostly simple ones. A pro of this job is that it pays 50% more of my old job, which is even better.

I also have a load of school assignments to do, which have a higher priority than Dune has.

Dune 2: The remake

I never intended to permanently cancel the project, I just didn't have any time to work on it. The downside of hobby projects eh? Anyway, I intend to continue development in the coming months and pick up where I left off: The networking engine.

Last night, I was considering my options on what I could do to get it working across the internet. Initially, I intended to go with a Star Topology network using UDP. Each client would connect over TCP to the host, which would then assign a port number to the client. Using NAT Punchthrough, the client would then connect to the host over UDP over the assigned port, and disconnect. The other clients would then connect to the client as the port would still be open. However, this is quite complex, and I do not know if it works. Since UDP is connectionless, the UDP port should stay opened in a router for a short time span, even after "disconnecting". However, I would need to test this to verify that it actually does.

If it won't work, I'll to go with a traditional client/server approach. However, I still intend to go with the same approach as AOE, go with turns, etc. However, this would be a problem in a P2P setup, because how do I ensure that each player executes the same commands?

For instance, consider player 1 moving units 10 and 11. These orders will be send around the network to be executed for gameturn n. Each client will respond back to player 1 that they received the orders. But, how do the other clients know that all the other clients have received the order aswell? If one client does not have these orders, and all clients execute the turn, this client will run out of sync, and gets kicked. So, I need to work out a little bit on how we're going to do this. I could technically let each client send a hash / CRC of all received commands from the other clients to the 'host', which then determines which commands get executed and which get re-scheduled for the next turn.

As you see, lots of thinking to do. I should make a few diagrams of this, as it's quite confusing in words only.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More info tomorrow!

I'm writing this in my bathrobe as I'm preparing for bed, but I got quite some ideas. I intend to work these out a little bit more tomorrow(Technically today, but it's tomorrow since I haven't slept yet :P) in a blog post, and try to examine the different possible solutions. Especially geared towards the networking engine.

I shall also try to explain my current personal situation and the amount of time I have at hand to work on the project, because I also need work 16 hours a week, and have class.

On a sidenote, someone commented that I used the term "fans", and said some of them are interested onlookers. I never meant this in the way of, "wooo, I got sum fans lol!", just as a little joke / term to described people interested in the project. But, the onlookers and die-hard Toolmaker fans(The ones having my name tatoo'd all over their body), rest assured, I shall try to work on the game a bit :). Good night for now.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Not dead yet!

Sorry guys! I have been really busy with a lot of things, so I couldn't spend any time working on Dune.

Last summer I worked the entire summer(I needed the money to get through this college year) and when I got home, I didn't really feel like coding anymore, even tho it was a system administrator job. After summer vacation was over I dived into school and got covered in work.

I recently started a new job as C++ programmer, for 2 days in the week besides to school. I didn't do a lot of coding for the past few months, so perhaps this will get me rolling again. I feel like coding a bit on Dune later this week. I don't have an awful lot to do this week.

Again, sorry for the lack of updates and the lack of progress. I know my "fans" are watching :D