Downloads? Source? Branches? Madness!
We've got some exciting news on the "Downloads" and "When can I play this %*#@(&$ game" front which we're very happy to announce :) First up is what the user-end experience will be regarding the Server/Client stuff. There's some small news about platforms and compatibility, and finally, some BIG news regarding the old MUD version of Harmonia. So here we go:
Playin' the Game, Runnin' a Server
Harmonia will NOT be an "always online" game. Although originally conceived as a light-weight MMO (or just MO?), the nonsense with Diablo 3 and Sim City's "always online" policy has convinced us to add a single player, offline mode. Harmonia will come bundled with both the client AND the server. In single player mode, the server will run quietly in the background, similar to Quake, Minecraft, and... well, everything else :P
Just to be clear, Harmonia is still a multiplayer game at heart, and there are no plans to create an extensive single-player only campaign. Players will still be able to host their own online servers, register them with our master server list so other players can find them online, and tinker around with the game's scripts however they see fit. We hope that opening up the game's assets and scripts will encourage modding, which should make playing on 3rd-party servers a very worthwhile experience.
Multiple Platforms / Compatibility
I finally have a new laptop that isn't falling apart, which gives me a 64-bit Windows 8 environment on which to test, as well as a shiny new NVidia card to play around with. After a lot of hackery, the Windows build is now very stable, and graphics card compatibility is on the rise :) The Linux build is still working great in both 32- and 64-bit environments. The only other card I've personally tested so far is my ancient Intel Integrated Graphics card, which still runs surprisingly well. Hopefully we can get some more brands tested sooner rather than later.
Big news - We're splitting the current form of Harmonia away from its MUD origins, which will soon be available for download as "Harmonia Classic". Ideally, this game will be maintained alongside the latest Harmonia server, as they share the same source code, but the technical details haven't been sorted out yet. Harmonia Classic will be free to download, its many scripts will be free to edit, and it will very likely be open-source. We're looking forward to giving old MUD hackers the opportunity to play around with the engine, make a zone or two, and give us feedback on the shortcomings of our scripting environment. We're also hoping we'll see some pretty cool mods/upgrades come out of this :) And, of course, we want people to play ours games while we continue work on Harmonia!
Harmonia Classic will not have many of the features present in the Harmonia server - most significantly, you won't be able to use the client. This will be a text-based only game and will be Telnet- or MUD Client-only for quite a while. However, because Harmonia Classic and the Harmonia server share so much code, their scripts should be compatible, and updates should apply to both if we can pull this off the way we want to.
When can I get it?
We're already experimenting with running the MUD on our soon-to-be-released company website, and the code is almost organized enough to be split into separate branches. Licensing is an issue if we want it GPL'ed, so that's something we'll need to look over very, very carefully. There could also be some potential downsides to open-sourcing a lot of our server code, which we really need to consider before diving in. My gut feeling says this will take several weeks, not months, but I won't many any promises just yet ;)
That's it for now. Time for a break! :D