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Messages - Ed

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If you've ever played Gang Beasts recently you've probably tried online multiplayer.  It's great fun until you want to find a server to join with friends.  That's when it all falls apart.

Just recently in the 0.5.x unstable branch of the game they added private server support.  So the solution for games online with friends is almost there but not quite.  There's a very bare bones interface in the game for directly connecting to somebody's private server.  It's clunky and still slows things down when people just want to get going.  To address this I've set out to supplement this feature with GangBuddy.

Read about the little app here:
http://www.groundtactics.com/index.php?topic=76.0

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Eds Projects / GangBuddy - Gang Beasts direct connect helper app
« on: January 10, 2017, 05:04:55 pm »
I threw this together in a couple hours last night.  This is used and tested with GB unstable 0.5.x.  It requires Microsoft .NET framework v4.5

Wish you could save favorite servers somewhere? 
Wish you could use friendly host names instead of IP addresses? 
Wish you didn't have to fumble with that awful direct connect interface within Gang Beasts?

This is the app for you!

Download here:  GBServerBrowser.zip

To use:

Unzip it somewhere and you'll find a single EXE.  Run that EXE.  It should look something like this:



Don't worry if the server list is empty at this point.  That's for you to manage.

To add a server, type it's address and click "Add".  If the server doesn't run on port 6000, you need to add a ":" followed by the port number to the address.

If you add a space after the address, you can type whatever descriptive nonsense about the server if you'd like.  For example:  "myserver.forgangbeasts.org:4321 This is my gang beast server" is a valid entry.

To connect to the servers on the list:

Simply select the server from the list and watch the status.  When the status bar at the bottom of the screen says "Ready" it's ready to go!

Finally, start Gang Beasts (if it's not already started) and begin an online game.  In the online game screen, use the "Direct Connect" option.  Then, simply connect.  Leave the address and port alone.  GangBuddy will intercept the server connection and send it off to whatever server it's pointing to for you.

Other info:

Don't close GangBuddy while playing.  It will disconnect you.
Don't change servers in GangBuddy while connected to a game.  It will disconnect you.
Check the spelling of the address you're connecting to.  Unresolvable addresses will crash GangBuddy.
Want to connect to a different server on your list?  No need to restart Gang Beasts.  Simply alt-tab out to GangBuddy, switch servers, then re-visit the "Direct Connect" option in Gang Beasts.

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GT StarMade support / Server shutting down for good.
« on: May 19, 2016, 05:43:34 pm »
The latest updates to starmade and the fact that I recently wiped the data have greatly improved the servers quality.  I've decided to leave it online for the foreseeable future.

Even though I don't actively play I figured it's no big deal and I can just keep the server running until the end of time.  Unfortunately, it's not the case.  The game still has issues that require me to fix every now and then and I haven't been able to do that in any reasonable amount of time.

I can't keep the server operating at levels that meet my personal standards.  If somebody else ran a server the way I run it, I'd skip it.  So I'm shutting it down on Sunday the 22nd of May.

Blueprint and download anything you want to save before I shut down.  If you want to recover anything after the fact just PM me and I'll help you when I can.

That's it.  It's been fun but that's it.  I'll keep this section of the forums running a while longer before I lock them and hide them.

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Ed's corner / Domain renewal snafu
« on: May 17, 2016, 12:33:08 pm »
Just a tiny bit pissed off right now, but it'll pass.

Even though I paid to renew this domain, something hung up with the registrar and it never re-activated.  From the outside world, I've been down for the last couple days.

I run mostly free services from this domain and don't even advertise.  Game servers and a few websites mainly.  These days what mostly drives what I host is my kids.  I mainly host games they play and maybe a couple extras between a few close friends.  I thought job pressure is bad, but that's nothing compared to my kids coming to me when they can't get into the Minecraft server I run because the domain name's no longer registered.

At least it's fixed and I don't have to try figure out how to explain how the DNS system works to a 4 year old anymore.

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Eds Projects / Re: Omega Virus Emulator V2
« on: May 12, 2016, 08:43:02 pm »
Updated version released today:

- Fixed a bug in the server where the computer didn't say 'blue' when teleported to blue docking bay.
- Emu will now do it's own version check and give you the option to auto update if there's a newer version available.

Updated the link in the main post.

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GT StarMade support / Re: getting tired of this so i'm leaving
« on: April 18, 2016, 02:07:55 pm »
Factions auto delete if no members sign on for over 21 days (I raised it from 14 days a few months back).  Sorry to see you go, but I can't help that you haven't been active enough to retain your faction in the first place.  I'd have hundreds of inactive factions by now if I didn't have some sort of auto-cleanup running.

Edit:  If you've actually gotten kicked only to come back on and find your faction gone, I also can't help that you waited until now to raise the issue (unless you're referring to that time waaaay back that I did fix - referenced here).  If you do decide to change your mind, look at the bright side - other abandoned factions ships/supplies end up becoming fair game for you to salvage if you're keen enough on laying claim quickly.

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Ed's corner / Re: OVEmu - An Emulator for The Omega Virus
« on: March 23, 2016, 10:56:28 pm »
Guesswork based on observation and some common sense measures taken to prevent unwinnable scenarios.

The board is randomized for each instance with a few rules during initial generation. 

Each player has his/her own instance of the board with only the virus room in common.  A fixed number of each color of rooms (except for green) in each instance has a bad outcome assigned to it (I don't remember how many offhand).  For green rooms, one green room in each sector is randomly chosen for each instance to have a bad outcome.  This is so a green room with a positive outcome assigned can substitute for another colored room when sectors close and no rooms of that color are left with a positive outcome assigned.  It's probably not exactly official, but it prevents an unwinnable scenario from occurring for any given player's instance.

I spent an obsessive amount of time trying to figure out a way to do it that makes sense, keeps the game winnable, yet still feels authentic when played since I never did know exactly how the game's logic determined this. 

I'll take the fact that you're asking if I reverse engineered it as a compliment.  If you're not even sure, then I suppose I did a good job at the goal I set out to do.

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General Discussion / test
« on: February 06, 2016, 06:24:01 pm »
test

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Eds Projects / Omega Virus Emulator V2
« on: February 02, 2016, 01:36:10 am »
Woo!  An update after nearly a year! 

After a year on hold, I've returned to my work on an emulator I've developed to replace the computer portion of the 1992 board game known as "The Omega Virus".  I've aptly named this emulator 'OVEmu'.

Need more info on how good the original Omega Virus is/was?  Check this one out:
https://boardgamegeek.com/video/69304/omega-virus/omega-virus-complete-tutorial-full-game

The way OVEmu works is it emulates only the computer part of the board game.  It doesn't simulate the board or serve to replace the game as a whole.  You can use this program on a laptop or to replace the computer in the original game if you want.  Alternatively I made it so it works within tabletop simulator

In networked game play, somebody hosts a server while the players connect to it.  It then acts like one single computer unit synchronized across all clients.  Anybody can press the buttons much like they could if they were all sitting with you around a table with the original unit hooked up.  If you just want single player, then host a game with nobody else connected.  Easy.

For use in Tabletop simulator, it goes a step further.  The emulator is designed to be controlled by the embedded tablet for seamless integration.  Once you're either hosting an OVEmu session or connected to somebody elses, simply direct your tablet to http://mee.pe/omegavirus.  The one caveat is that this is NOT some magic multiplayer website that will let players join your tabletop sim game without the emulator.  This particular site tells the tablet to connect to your copy of the emulator and yours alone.  Simply put:  OVEmu must be running for EACH player who wants to use the tablet to interact with the game.

I started this project because I've searched around the net for this very thing and was amazed to find it doesn't exist.  I saw in a few different places some hobby programmers promising to make it but they were always empty promises leaving nothing to show for anything.  Having finally come this far, I can understand why this may have been abandoned by all those who tried before.  It's something that's pretty much too difficult for your average hobby programmer to do, yet not worth the time of any professional programmer.  The amount of work needed to re-create the depth of game play the original computer supplied was much more then I expected.  I'm not a programmer by trade.  It's just a hobby for me.

Current stage of development:  Beta V2 Release candidate

Download here (NOTE: I've noticed chrome can be an ass and complain about this download.  Tell it to keep the file and scan it yourself - it's safe.  Chrome can be paranoid when a file is not 'popular' enough... chrome is a jerk).

To use:  Extract the zip somewhere then run ovemu.exe.  More detailed instructions are located in the program itself under the 'Reference' menu.  This will only run on Windows 7 and above as it was written with the .net 4.5 framework.  Speaking of which, you may also need the .net framework.  Get that here if you don't already have it.

For anybody who cares, the reason it took me so long to get from my first version to this one was licensing.  I'm using a new component in the emulator package that requires me to change the license to GPLv2.  While I don't mind sharing my creations, I'm not particularly fond of sharing my methods.  Because of this, I've separated OVemu into a client/server model.  The client is GPLv2 licensed and the server is still licensed under Creative Commons.  At least the majority of my work remains mine this way.


OVEmu Client by Edward Schuyler is licensed under GPLv2 - http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/gpl-2.0.en.html - it's a shitty license and I hate it, but I will comply with it and it doesn't matter to anybody who just wants to use my work to enjoy a classic game anyway.

Features:
  • All base difficulty levels
  • 1 to 4 player support
  • client-server model with networked multiplayer
  • Game token tracking
  • Instanced board for all players
  • Inventory tracking
  • All items, probes, traps, and dialog working
  • The original speech and an optional alternate speech set
  • Timer
  • Timer shutting down sectors
  • Endgame out of time failure
  • Endgame virus battle and victory
  • Secret difficulty mode (the easter egg from the original)
  • pvp
  • multi language support
  • Version check and auto-update option

Things I'll probably be adding soon:
  • Um..  videos showing how it works?

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Chit Chat / Re: Looks like the forum is dead now :O
« on: January 15, 2016, 04:47:42 pm »
I probably scared everybody away when I announced I was considering a server wipe.  The wipe never happened though - too much work for something I haven't had the time or interest in for a while.  The work coming from the fact that was promising to carry over as much as I can yet still reset the universe. The reality is I just don't have the bandwidth in my schedule to work on that.

So basically, I check up on the server occasionally now, make sure I don't fall behind on updates, and just keep things going.  As long as it continues to cost me nothing to keep the server going and I continue to see at least a few people log in at various times per day, it'll stay running.

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GT StarMade support / Considering a server wipe.
« on: September 23, 2015, 11:55:43 am »
As everybody who plays should know, Starmade is an alpha game.  It's constantly undergoing development and major changes all the time.  Since there have been a lot of changes in the game since I opened a server, I've been considering a server wipe.  I'm sure it wouldn't be the last wipe either as long as Schine is still making major changes.

The wipe would speed things up and clean out a lot of crap.  It would also make it easy for me to implement a few changes I wanted to do.

One change I want to do:  Blueprint uploads.  My server manager program currently reads the bp files and calculates the amount of blocks and accepts/denies the blueprint upload based on how many you purchased.  The file format keeps changing making this function break a lot.  I want to simplify it to a flat cost of voting points per blueprint (not blocks).  Turrets/docked objects would still be counted as separate blueprints and increase that cost though.

Another change:  Overall voting totals:  Right now I track voting points, but that's it.  I don't keep a history of how many times somebody's actually voted for this server.  I want to change that so I can set up tiers of rank/awards for players who vote more.

Tracking of time spent playing:  Another way to assign reward tiers.

I have other things in mind, but can't think of them right now.

Preparing for the wipe: 

All announcements will nag everybody about the upcoming server wipe and warn people to download/save blueprints.  I'll pick something as reasonable as I can for a time frame to prepare in so hopefully everybody will be able to grab their stuff.


After the wipe:

My server keeps track of every player who's every logged on and a few other variables where I can at least tell if they did more then just log off within seconds.  All players who've been on within the last 3 months on and actually played will be given a bunch of free voting points and awarded an upgrade in rank whenever I figure out what the rank system will be like.  They'll also have a bunch of credits deposited in the bank for them to recover when they return.  For some it will be more then what they had.  For others less, but for everybody, it'll be more then what new players will get.  Lastly, these players will get free blueprint uploads for a limited time so they can recover quickly and start re-claiming territory.

I'm considering retaining factions/faction points as well and bringing them across.  But need to test how well that'd work first.

Feedback/thoughts are welcome.

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GT StarMade support / Re: Pirates not spawning
« on: September 21, 2015, 03:34:07 pm »
And they were in their usual bunch of Isanth ships this time around?  I've been reading on the official starmade forums that this is a larger problem then just GT Starmade.  I'm stumped to find a good answer myself.

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GT StarMade support / Re: Pirate encounters
« on: September 10, 2015, 03:38:02 pm »
The schine team fixed up one of the admin tools that's been broken for a while.  I was finally able to go in and find all the offending blueprints and take them out of the loop.

They've also added extra config settings for pirate waves.  I'm going to look into seeing if that makes my life easier.

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GT StarMade support / Re: I have a life folks!
« on: September 10, 2015, 02:34:13 pm »
Update is applied.  Thanks for the heads up.

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GT StarMade support / Re: Not spawning in ._.
« on: September 08, 2015, 10:17:26 pm »
It's back up again.

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