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RealmExplorer moves to Unity5

As those who follow us on Facebook and Twitter are probably already aware, we are in the process of moving to Unity5. I will be taking charge of this migration as we need to upgrade our UI renderer (CoherentUI) to a new major revision (From 1.x => 2.0).

This will require the modification of various scripts and assets and waiting for packages we’ve purchased from the Asset Store to upgrade their own resources which according to recent posts by those developers, should be relatively soon.

That said, we’re not sure how long this could take due to the size of the project. When Unity tells us something will take a few minutes, it usually takes a few hours. If Matt and I were in the same office, this is when we would duel.

Right now though we are waiting for CoherentLabs to upgrade our license. Once that is complete we can move forward.

Unity5 is an important upgrade for us, as of late, working in the editor in Unity4 is very challenging, we can at best last a few minutes before the editor crashes for one reason or another due to memory restrictions (the editor takes up a lot more memory than the game). The Unity5 editor is fully 64-bit, so all our out-of-memory headaches will instantly disappear once we’re working with Unity5 fulltime.

On that note, Steam’s Hardware Survey for gamers shows that over 80% of PC users have 64-bit systems. With the last Intel 32-bit CPU having been released in the Intel Core line in 2006, its likely that most or all of the 11% of Windows 7 32-bit users have 64-bit CPUs, but just don’t have the 64-bit OS installed. That would bring us to ~95% of users with 64-bit processors. Lastly, anyone using 10 year old hardware probably wasn’t going to be able to play Realm Explorer in 32-bit anyway.

Armed with that information, we’ve made an important decision. We’re going to be upgrading the client to 64-bit in order to take advantage of today’s modern systems. We’re not making this decision lightly, nor are we using this as an opportunity to get sloppy, in fact, our new and improved terrain system will be more efficient in terms of RAM usage in the next version.

We’re very excited about the near term future of Realm Explorer and hope you are too.

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Last week tonight…

This last week has been pretty busy for me. I ran into some PC problems and took the opportunity to build a new one since my old rig was over 6 years old.

I also replaced the problem components in the old PC and setup a new server for us to utilize which should help spread out the responsibilities of all the things we do to another machine.

We moved to dynamic entity loading/unloading which I am sure Zeruel will get around to covering in his first blog post, and I implemented a backup mechanism which will help prevent corruption issues on the server side if something goes wrong while writing out realm data.

Next I fixed an issue we were having with status bars on NPCs. Oh, by the way, we have NPCs now! Anyway, when hovering over a sheep you can see its health but some JavaScript non-sense was causing the values to zero out which I removed/fixed.

I also found that all the Enter/Esc actions in the main menu were not working probably since we switched to TypeScript last year. Oh well, fixed!

Lastly, I’ve been doing content setup today. We recently developed art assets for Soft and Hard leather, as well as Chain armor sets for both male and female characters. Look for these armor sets in-game soon!

That’s all for now.

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Bugfixes

Fixed an issue with the loading bar today. Once our “movement” component is loaded we accelerate the progress bar to get the player in-game faster. We do this 2% at a time. This means that if the value the terrain engine was at when this happened was odd, we’d overflow to 101%. I added a simple Math.Min constraint to what we send to the loading screen solving the issue.

Another issue was that un-equip was not simulating properly, the client would have to wait until the authoritative update came from the server to see what slot the unequipped item went into. I tracked this down to the simulation method, the item’s quantity was being set to 0 only on unequip… I think this was a remnant from before I had refactored the way things worked in the inventory system. Setting the quantity to 0 was supposed to make the item that was clicked disappear, not the target item. Removing this line of code resolved the issue.

Did some preliminary work on changing realmexplorer.com a landing page, and transforming realmsource.com into this dev blog.