8BitMMO – New Hardware Accelerated Engine Soon

The client java engine we’re using currently has two key issues:  1) it’s a software rendering only engine, which can make it slow in situations with lots of on screen objects or running in a large resolution browser window.  And 2) it was officially abandoned by its creators a few weeks ago as they move on to new things (best wishes to them in their future projects).

So, it’s time to switch to a new client engine.  I initially toyed with the idea of dropping Java entirely, but decided a full rewrite would take entirely too long.  So I’ve compromised, and am investigating a popular hardware accelerated Java engine libgdx, backed with the also popular lwjgl rendering system.

Most notably, the new hardware accelerated engine will make these things a reality:

  • Desktop client edition of the game – run from desktop, possibly without having to install Java first
  • The game will run fast even if you are surrounded by regions filled to the limit with objects
  • The game will run fast even in large resolutions
  • Fullscreen mode

It also means the following are possible down the line, but I’m certainly not promising them at this point 😉

  • Fancy eye candy, like depth of field blur when really high up, or smooth zooming between zoom levels
  • Increase to the region limit (we will have to do some testing here to find out how much/if it can be bumped up)
  • Zoom out farther
  • Android phone edition eventually?

One week into the rewrite, and I’ve already got a player able to wander around the world!  But there’s still lots of port work to be done, especially in the UI.  Fortunately, a lot of the client code works as-is, which means we’re only a couple weeks away from this being done.

TL;DR: I’ll be primarily working on the new engine portover for the next 2 weeks, and then there will be a new fancy version of the game ready for private beta testing.  If you’re interested in helping me beta it, lemme know in the comments.  In the meanwhile, thanks for your patience… I promise it’ll be worth it!

Also, next week I’ll be doing a little load testing & checking that the multi-servering system still works.  I’ll try to do it one of the evenings when there’s usually fewer people on.  🙂

UPDATE: Answers to a couple questions I’ve seen so far in IRC:

  • You will still be able to play in the browser window if you like (via java applet per usual)
  • This doesn’t affect the server at all, you won’t lose items or have to start over because of this.  This is only a client change.

25 thoughts on “8BitMMO – New Hardware Accelerated Engine Soon”

  1. Sim,

    I am interested in helping you Beta test. Please tell me what the procedure would be. (Do I have to download another thing or ill you just have a different site for testing>) Stuff like that. Hope I’m picked.

  2. Hi there, I’d be very interested in helping you beta test. As a game developer myself I’m very aware of what makes helpful feedback, hope I can help you out in some form.

  3. I would love to test it, and since i have played a lot of games that are/were in Beta, i know what to comment without commenting on every single thing.

  4. Cool, I’m interested in joining the private BETA but if I need to download it, like Minecraft, I might rethink it.

    P.S. will this new engine enable -Z Axis so we can go underground, maybe enable grass or minerals to spawn/grow or enable new Lawyercat species to develop through breeding.

    1. This update is just about the new engine — not expecting any content with this. But there will be more content in future afterwards 🙂

  5. Well you got a mod more than willing to help beta test 🙂
    Just let me know,I can help with bug reports/ load testing as well, it’s. Ot like I don’t have eoigh blocks in the world 🙂

  6. I’ll help if you allow me, (I’m a programmer) I’ll help developing new game elements while you work on this new engine.

    1. Thanks for the offer to help — contributing code gets very tricky as there are many intricacies with the US legal system, and I don’t have any of the necessary contracts in place for that.

      But, if you want to help, please do spread word about the game and get your friends to play 🙂

  7. Hello it is in my best interest to help you in private beta, hope to see you there and best of luck.


    1. Yes! I will be posting more details once we get closer — please keep an eye out for that post via your favorite news method (blog/twitter/facebook/newsletter/etc)

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