About Rao Dao Zao

Solo game developer and misunderstood artist, also known as "Robbie".

Blog 783: When the Freedom Slips Away: Gold

When the Freedom Slips Away is almost half as old as me — I finished it in 2006, making it 14. I was 16. I was still in school!

Time makes fools of us all, and much as I don’t like what Blizzard have done with Warcraft III: Reforged, I have to concede that it is now the “official” way to play maps and, since I’m still alive enough to deal with the situation, I feel compelled to do what I can to keep my seminal works in good order.

So I give to you: When the Freedom Slips Away Gold, a huge raft of bug fixes, a few compatibility tweaks, and some Known Issues that I can’t touch.

Head over to the download page to get it!

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Blog 782: The SPRPG Diaries: The Founding of Durotar

Every time I play “the Rexxar campaign”, or as it’s properly called, “OrcX”– uh, I mean, The Founding of Durotar, I want to write about it. It is the about most exquisite implementation of the Warcraft III RPG format you’ll ever see — perhaps not as inventive or bombastic or narratively compelling as anything the community ever produced, but compensating for any deficiencies with production values that are completely off the charts. This is by far the best thing Blizzard ever made, a sumptuous tour-de-force that exercises the full breadth of the engine in a way the base melee game never dares.

Today: The Founding of Durotar, by Blizzard Entertainment

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Blog 781: Knights of the Old Republic

On the Late to the Party scale, I have to concede that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic has been a major blind spot for me. After all, I love Star Wars (before Disney got their claws into it, at least), and if you mention Star Wars and videogames in the same sentence then KoTOR inevitably comes up (probably just after I’ve thrown Jedi Knight II into the ring myself).

So here we are!

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Blog 780: Shop Until You Drop

The natural counterpart to the inventory screen is the shop. It’s one thing to be able to pick up, equip and drop loot, but that is only half of the ecosystem. The other half is offloading that loot so you can hoard your wealth and never spend it because the best items are actually always in the world buy better things.

This week, I have been building shops… and quests, so you’ll have some money to spend in them (without me having to litter the train station with gold ingots).

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Blog 779: Updated My Journal

Much as I decry the trend in games of giving the player objective markers and leading them around by the nose, they can’t be expected to remember everything — especially in a complex RPG with many moving parts. Since I am intending to build a complex RPG with many moving parts, I need a place to store information about your current objectives.

Enter the Journal.

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Blog 778: Not Inventoried Here

The inventory won’t be particularly useful in the Arena, so I don’t really know why I’m doing it now. It may not an essential feature for the initial demo version of Exon, but it is an important feature for the long run — after all, you’ll find lots of equipment in your travels, not all of which you’ll want to use immediately.

So here I am, doing the inventory screen anyway because my mind did that thing where it started to fixate on the feature for no particular reason, and who am I to deny my subconscious whims?

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Blog 777: Predictable Manoeuvres in the Game

All of life is about compromise. I started off making my mechs use the CharacterController, but shied away from it as that meant I had to reimplement lots of physics. I replaced it with a Rigidbody-based system, but that started randomly bouncing off the floor and jumping was dangerously unpredictable. In movement system rewrite number three, I seem to have ended up with… a mix of both.

It took me far too long to understand why this third approach works, but I think I’ve got it now. Since movement controllers seem to be a perennial topic in the commUnity, it’s time for me to add some words to the mix!

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Blog 776: Sound and Stuff

I’ve been putting off adding audio to Exon for, at this point, years. I didn’t want to tackle it until all my other systems were pretty solid — I didn’t want to shove in a load of work to manage audio sources and play effects if there was a risk that I’d be re-engineering half of it after the fact.

Well, things have now been stable enough for long enough and… Well, I got put on furlough by my employer. What else was I going to do with the extra time locked in the flat but suck up a major project?

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