NOBLE APE MAILOUT - APRIL 2004
NOBLE APE SIMULATION 0.665 and 0.666
This month has been divided in two. The early part of the month was devoted to releasing the Noble Ape Simulation (twice). The latter part of the month has been devoted to fixing up the battle/AI simulation in Noble Warfare. There has been more development time - actual coding time - in the past month than there has been in recent memory. The primary reason, it's been fun. The Noble Warfare development, in particular, has reached a critical mass.
NOBLE APE SIMULATION 0.665 and 0.666
There were two releases of the Noble Ape Simulation this month. It has been nearly six months since the last Simulation release. The recent releases showed two things; the benefits of regular releases far outweigh the penalties, and download sites have changed quite a bit in the past six months.
Based on current statistics, there will be roughly 3,600 downloads of the Noble Ape Simulation for the month of April, compared to roughly 900 for March. The quantity of downloads over two releases is lower than expected however it also shows the traffic through download sites has decreased over the past six months.
So what is the best way to reach future users of the Simulation? Ideally users of the Simulation would write about their use online and give links back to the Simulation. Failing that, it is good to have thousands of downloads per month - magnificent download results.
The were too many changes to list between 0.664 and 0.665. Six months of relatively continuous code development resulted in a smaller application with more functionality - the mantra of the Noble Ape development to-date.
The main change in 0.666 was the introduction of a changeable mouse cursor. As the mouse moves over particular windows, the cursor changes to reflect the window. The Terrain window changes the cursor to movement arrows set into the 3d nature of the landscape displayed. The Map window changes the cursor to a selecting target to assist ape selection and movement.
The feedback from the two releases has been very positive. Linking the releases informally to Noble Warfare has introduced a number of users to the early development of Noble Warfare. I haven't watched the stats on the Noble Warfare site too closely, but I have noticed bookmarked site statistics. A large part of this has come through the Noble Ape Simulation releases.
In addition to the Noble Ape Simulation releases, there is also good news on the Noble Warfare development front. So far, I have found the upper bounds limit on a modern machine is about 5,000 combatants. This still is enough to create a challenging game. Mridul has looked at the simulated battle interaction, although the integrated user-playable version is still a while away. The beta is being developed under the title, Noble Warfare Skirmish.
The current version is being codeveloped on Windows and Macintosh through the Generic Platform Interface;
The dual platform development has a number of advantages. One of the interest points is that three different compilers and debuggers are regularly touching the Noble Ape code base. The automated component of Noble Warfare has racked up about six hours of playing time over the past month. I hope to have a solid day of playing time within the next month, then the beta release.
I put the question to the Noble Warfare mailing list:
What is more important, getting the beta out ASAP or spending additional time on honing documentation and ensuring the beta is as hassle free to initial testers? I err towards the latter.
I received the first track from Montreal yesterday for beat setting. The collaboration is being done over a number of file transfers. Now I am setting the final mix beat to the temporary vocals with final vocals to follow which I can then remix. In all, the process could take two-three months before a final version is available. The progressive work will be tracked through my log online.
Hope all is well with you all,
Tom Barbalet, 29 April 2004.