As much as I think there should be more blue skies in video games, MMORPG Tycoon 2’s default appearance possibly was a little over the top, and it made everywhere in the world look a little bit the same. As of now, each MMO game region now gets different environmental settings, in addition to the different terrain tints which they already had. These environmental settings will be (but are not yet) adjustable by the player. The first three are above.

In other potentially-interesting changes this week: The UI cursor is now a little less insanely stretchy (whilst still being stretchy), and has been moved into a 2D scene, which means that it will now keep the same size on screen if you resize the window; previously it got larger as the window got larger, since it was part of the 3D world (but didn’t act like it; it was always floating 50 meters in front of the camera).

I’ve made another pass over the edit-mode camera, which should make it nicer to deal with. Biggest fix was that previously, the camera zoomed in faster than it zoomed out, due to math. (It would generally take about twice as many ‘clicks’ of a scroll wheel to zoom out than to zoom in that same amount)

Crashed servers are now very visible, whether you’re in edit mode or on the grid view. And even if you somehow miss the graphical cues, it also enters a chat log alert, which when clicked will take you over to the crashed server, for easy rebooting.

Speaking of which, I mentioned before that level-zoning of regions has now been implemented. Rebooting servers is also now implemented, and it’s easy to see from either game mode whether a region is zoned or unzoned, which should make it more obvious which areas you can work in, and which you cannot.

There were a few reported issues in the last milestone build; one of which had to do with connecting too many paths to an intersection — that turned out to be a pretty nasty bug with a lot of heads on it, but it should now be completely sorted out; intersections still cannot connect more than four roads, but now you can’t connect a fifth road, instead of having the game crash if you tried, or if you split a road which was attached to a full intersection.

Another reported issue was about NPCs being snapped to roads, as if they were buildings. Fixed! Also, I noticed that at some point I had disabled NPCs from walking around. Oops! That’s re-enabled, now. (Although they still only wander around near their starting position; I haven’t yet implemented the ability to set paths for them to follow, though I’d like to do that at some point).

I’ve also begun playing with the thought of removing the context matrix — that grid of nine buttons to the right of the information panel about your current selection. Instead, those abilities would be added to the action bar, so you’d activate them and then click on a target (or vice versa). I’ve done the ‘Destroy’ action as a proof of concept for that; not yet certain whether I’ll go ahead with that change. MMORPGs usually work in a “click on an object, then select the action to use on them” interaction model, while Tycoon games usually work in a “Select the action to do, then click where you want to perform the action” model. MMORPG Tycoon 2 currently uses both styles of interaction for different things, and it feels very inconsistent, and occasionally surprising. I need to play with this some more and then make a decision.

By percent, my task list says that I’m 30% of the way to the next milestone build. I’m planning to have this next milestone build ready around the end of the month, and I seem to generally be on track to do that. I’ll post more when there are new things to show off!