It has been a very long journey. Started on February 16th 2014, the SimAntics & World Development thread was the first attempt at re-implementing the complex Virtual Machine behind both The Sims and The Sims Online. 17 months later on July 28th 2015, we ran our first online playtest, where everyone appeared as Bob Newbie, the server crashed every 5 minutes and many tables were stood within. Now, 17 months later again, for New Year 2017, we’re finally launching the game in the large scale MMO context that we’ve been working towards this whole time.
Hello again! It’s been a while since our last post, and a lot has changed. First of all, we have completely ditched Bass.NET for a custom solution using only Monogame (like the rest of our audio) and a decoding library called Mp3Sharp. This lets us play mp3 music through the same channels as our sound effects, meaning, you guessed it, speakers ingame (and robot job) can now play game music! No longer are you stuck dancing to silence.
Last month, the simulator underwent one of the largest and most important changes it’s faced recently – the addition of Permissions and checking them.
Hello folks, it’s been a while since I posted an update. A number of things have happened since the last post, so I’ll go over them quite quickly.
Firstly, a lot of work has been put into our resource editing tool, Volcanic. It is now possible to make, test and debug new objects entirely from scratch within FreeSO! This is the culmination of 6 months work; you are now able to fully modify and create most resource types that TSO uses.
Many object interactions have been fixed – specifically the food counters, beds, campfire and bubble blower. There are a lot of small changes, but the gist of it is that now there are very few objects that do not work correctly. The only remaining main SimAntics VM features are permissions, budget, and the “plugins” system that drove things like “Pizza” and the sign posts. After these, we can get started on the MMO server.
You may have noticed that the forums are currently down. Don’t worry, we haven’t gone anywhere! They should be back up soon, but while you’re waiting here’s a little teaser for what I’ve been working on. 😉
For all you anti-forums folk, a lot has changed since the last update. The change suit primitive now works correctly, TV sounds are half working, and most importantly the game can now serialize and deserialize entire game states, avoiding the huge wait times people were seeing when connecting to servers.
Chat bubbles and chat history have been added, a ton of bugs have been fixed, and work has begun on a full Independent Development Environment for SimAntics to let users create their own objects! (and us modify existing ones 😉 ) There will be more on this soon, once it’s in a stable state.
To better support the objects and environments present in the original game, we had to switch routing algorithm to one which supported more accurate routing without incurring a huge cost. This combination of a rectangular cover algorithm and A* is performant, fit for purpose and seems to be quite similar to the way the original game does things.
As well as this, a large number of related changes have been made to routing, as well as smaller changes to SimAntics which fix objects such as the Whacketball set, computers and job carpool. Things should generally look smoother and work a little better, but I encourage users to look for regressions and bugs in the new code that I haven’t found on my own!