February 2017 Postmortem - Lumberjack Online
This February, I worked on a game called Lumberjack Online - The world's first massively multiplayer lumberjack game. Probably.
A friend and I have had a long running joke about a game where all you do is chop down trees, and then those trees would grow back in real time. Real time as in, 20 years for a tree to grow back. So, I decided to run with this idea (minus the tree growth, for obvious reasons) and at the same time, learn some more about game networking. Unfortunately, It didn't really work out.
The actual MMO part wasn't that difficult. Within a few days, I had players connecting to a authoritative dedicated server (which could be run headless on linux) and chop down trees to collect logs. That was cool. I ran into a lot of issues with Unity Networking though. It is now apparent to me that if you are going to make a networked game in Unity, that is anything more than a prototype, you really can't use the native networking solution. It has tons of issues and shortcomings. Some of these issues seem to be fixable - but horrible, outdated documentation of the underlying systems make sure to stop any progress on that front. Do yourself a favor and either write your own solution from scratch, or use an existing one, like Photon or Forge.
Anyway, I was making progress, and then life pretty much put the brakes on all of that. First, the school semester started back up again and I spent a few days getting settled into the new schedule. Then I was contacted by Microsoft recruiting, and was flown to literally the opposite side of the country (New York => Washington) for a last minute interview at the beginning of the month, so I lost a few days to that. Additionally, things with RentMi started to pick up again, and we've started working at peak capacity to try and get the website done. We're also working hard to secure some investments, so a lot of time has been lost preparing for (and doing) pitches.
To top it all off, I lost a ton of time because I got a new keyboard, and had to pretty much learn how to type from scratch.
Due to these circumstances, Lumberjack Online never really got passed the stages of a "funny tech demo".
I don't think I'll ever come back to this project. I got what I wanted out of it - some knowledge, and a confirmation that Unity networking is lacking. I won't be releasing a playable build of what I have, because it's just not worth it to keep a server running. On a lighter note, though, I got the internship at Microsoft! So, the month was not a complete loss after all.