Tuesday, March 13, 2012

And so it begins...

(Just found that this has been sitting as a Draft for the last six+months...)

Wow, another year goes by without a post. And granted, little time has gone to MMORF, what with life's other concerns and distractions. But, like the tides, my interests ebb and flow, and for now have flown back to MMORF.

I've started a skeleton structure for MMORF, abstracting the various server concepts and even putting together the roughest of text clients for testing purposes. Perhaps it's the complexity of the project, or perhaps it's old-age, but I'm finding myself needing to sketch and list out ideas and concepts a lot more than I used to...

I've been using Fogbugz and Kiln for a few months now, for a variety of projects, and have found that jotting down milestones and future ideas there instead of in in-code comments is working better than I expected. I've also realized that I really need to learn to use a tool like Visio so I can sketch out flows and connections, because my handsketched drawings just don't cut it.

Even though work happens in small bursts and fits, usually within the span of a lunchhour, I'm finding I'm learning the .NET libraries quickly and the cool C# features at the same time. With the Mono system as mature as it is, thanks to the guys at Xamarin, I feel C# and .NET are the right choice for MMORF. The Serialization support means I don't have to worry as much about a protocol between client and server or between servers, because objects can be used as the protocol and can be passed effortlessly between. Indeed, by choosing the method of serialization, I also leave open the ability to watch traffic by leaving it somewhat human-readable in XML, or streaming it in binary form for a bit of speed a little obfuscation.

As with all large projects (at least, for me), doing it so piecemeal has the big disadvantage of ramping up where you left off when you come back to it a day later. Unlike some other projects that I've been trying to work on, though, this one has been churned in my head for a long time (six-and-a-half years!) so the "where was I?" problem is definitely lessened.

Here's hoping that the next post is sooner than a year from now, and has some exciting developments!