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M.A.S.S. Builder: Recent News

I've been distracted as all get out so here's a three parter. Having said that, I think once M.A.S.S. Builder releases either 0.11.0 or 0.12.0 I'm going to stop writing about the news itself unless it's particularly important. I want to make another shift since half...

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Begin (2024)

2023 ended weirdly abruptly for me, but I got the shot in the arm I needed in order to hit the ground running in 2024. This year's going to be absolutely crazy, but for me personally, I feel my worst years are finally behind me. I'm ready to stop drowning in a sea of...

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M.A.S.S. Builder: 0.9.0 Afterwords

by | Nov 26, 2022 | Blog, MASS Builder

VD’s no happier with the multiplayer release than the rest of us, but I personally don’t think it’s that big of a deal. This was their first attempt and it actually works. PvP’s going to be an absolute nightmare to get right, but at least the basic concept works.

I got around to trying out the multiplayer coop the other day and though the boss had way too much health (that and we didn’t have enough players for a 4vE) it was still alright. This is just the beginning, so I expected bugs and iffy balance, and I got bugs and iffy balance. My biggest complaint is that the M.A.S.S. units themselves are easy to miss at a distance. Sometimes it felt like I was fighting alone and I’d really have to lean back and take in the whole arena to find my teammates. They should be marked on the HUD for convenience.

Anyway, I think it’s better if I just quote VD from here. All of this is in the linked article.

Now! Let’s us use this time to explain how and why it took… almost 10 months to work on 0.9.0. We might have mentioned this before but as 0.9.0 was the update we worked on Multiplayer; the development process was us basically rewriting 50% of the whole game. Before this time, M.A.S.S. Builder was an “offline only game” where every part, every piece of information was calculated and stored within a player’s own PC. They could take that save anywhere, played it offline, and modify things however they like. We still wanted players to be able to do that, but now there’s a catch where multiplayers must not be affected by anyone’s modification of the game.

This made us scoured through every line of code in the game to see if it can be used maliciously. Doing so, we’ve discovered a lot of work that can be optimized, works that our past inexperienced selves have found to be worthy before looks to be something that hinders optimization nowadays, and we just cannot allow ourselves to overlook them. Thus began the optimization. The first few months after we started working on 0.9.0 are all about rewriting codes, optimizing them, merging some parts together, and planning we would structure multiplayer codes alongside every part of the game we did in the past.

But hey! Doing so allowed us to perform a much-needed upgrade to the game. Optimizations we never thought we could do, new systems in place such as the boosting curve, new features and functions that were created to further support tech nodes creation, and much more to come (just like that combo attack curve that faced a last-minute cut, we’ll finish it in the near future we promise).

Now, towards the main feature of 0.9.0 itself, multiplayer. We first wanted to just release a non-playable showroom with no endpoint in playing just for players to show off their units. However, with the rewriting of codes taking that long and speculated to take many more months, we discussed among ourselves if it would be worth the wait to just have a mode like that, and decided it was not. We assigned one of our six to start working on more aspects towards multiplayer immediately, and the best solution was to create a co-op mission that we might use to fully test out our features.

Well, the results are as expected, a buggy mess that took months to finish, an unoptimized mode of play, but at least, a playable multiplayer in the most basic sense. The problems stemmed from using P2P networking, but as we deemed this is the best method for us as an indie developer, it required much more countermeasures in place to make it a good system. Currently, players are mostly being kicked out of a session left and right, mostly because we did not have any locks or thresholds on pings, thus players from regions across the world can still connect to each other with extremely high ping, resulting in the network being faulty enough to disconnect players from each other, kicking people into the lobby itself. Looking at every bug, every complaint, every suggestion, and every discussion made by you, we know this is a long road to walk towards and that it cannot be done within a few weeks to fix for sure, so we’ll leave 0.9.1. in the state it is. We’re sorry how our anticipated update turned out to be, but we’ll strive to make it better by the next major update. There will be systems to better match players into each other, there’ll be more features in the multiplayer system, there will be many things coming to our game.

On one final note, we know that game balance is something that’s controversial in a game like this where we wanted to have a fun game where anyone could just take any build to play in any mission. We still stand by that mission of ours and will be turning easy and normal mode difficulty into some sort of a story mode where it’s almost impossible to fail. We’ll keep hard and very hard where it’s at that players making a mistake can cost a life immediately. Basically, easy and normal will be easier, hard and very hard must achieve what they set out to be, an aspiring content where one can aim for. Everyone must be able to have fun in some kind of way. That’s what our game will be.

Next week, we’ll talk about what’s coming next in 0.10.0. Please have fun with what 0.9.1 can provide for now and as always, feel free to send in your suggestions and discuss the game with us through the official discord channel.

Vermillion Digital Team


Recent Pinned Posts

Begin (2024)

2023 ended weirdly abruptly for me, but I got the shot in the arm I needed in order to hit the ground running in 2024. This year's going to be absolutely crazy, but for me personally, I feel my worst years are finally behind me. I'm ready to stop drowning in a sea of...

read more

Yamato Progress

Oh my goodness ... well, things may have slowed down exponentially compared to the first 24 hours of working on this thing, but that doesn't mean there hasn't been major progress. Check this out. The exterior is nearly finished (minus coloring) The catapults work...

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