Thursday, January 17, 2008

Logitech G15 support

One of the things I love about my job is having a bit of freedom to work on my own pet projects from time to time. As long as I run the feature/idea past our technical director or producer and no one has a problem with it, I try to make time to work on things that I'd like to see in the game.

My latest pet project is something I've been wanting to do for over a year, and thats add support for the Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboards. If you haven't seen the G15, its a very nice back-lit keyboard with programmable macro buttons. But the coolest thing about it is a popup LCD panel at the top of the keyboard. Logitech has an API that applications can use to interface with the LCD screen and display custom data.

The possibilities for gaming are endless, and many other games have had support for the G15 for a very long time. In that respect, EQ2 has fallen behind. Granted it's not a huge feature, but there are enough users out there with the G15 that people have been asking for this for quite awhile.

I could have had this feature done a long time ago except that I tend to sometimes over-complicate things. In the past couple of days I decided this is something I really wanted to finish. I re-evaluated my plans and came up with an implementation that is much simpler. So I stayed at work until about 10:30 tonight working on it, and basically have it done now.

The nice thing about the implementation is that UI modders can decide what data they want to put on the LCD. Using our existing UI files, modders and players can create as many pages of data as they want and have them displayed on the LCD. Anything that we refer to as "DynamicData" can be displayed. This can be data like your character's name, class, stats, etc.

I'm excited about this feature finally being done, and I think the community will really enjoy it. Hopefully you'll see it go live in about a month.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Go Chargers!

Despite some pretty crappy ref calls, a missed field goal, and too many penalties, the Chargers still managed to pull off an impressive win against the Colts on Sunday!

Now the only thing that stands in their way of the Super Bowl are the 17-0 Patriots.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Armor Dummies

This was actually a feature I did before Christmas and wanted to blog about it. For awhile we've wanted a way for people to display armor and weapons in their homes.

The art department made some great mannequin models and I had to come up with a way to allow you to equip armor and weapons on them. The easiest way to equip an item is simply to drag the item from your inventory and drop it on the mannequin. Assuming you own the mannequin, it will equip that item on it, but the item will remain in your bags. This will allow you to display your best set of armor without forcing you to leave it behind in your house.

I also created a new UI window that you can access by right-clicking the dummy and selecting "customize". This window shows all the slots that this item allows you to equip things into. This was done so that down the road we could create items where you could only equip specific things, such as a display for swords, or maybe some kind of stand that you'd set a helmet on.

The cool thing is that anyone can access this window, even if they don't own the mannequin, so people can see what item is equipped on it. This is a great feature for craftsmen that want to set up a store to show off their wares.


Connection Statistics Window

No doubt if you've played EQ and then tried EQ2 at some point you were probably wondering where the window is that shows your ping to the servers. I think it was F11 in EQ. I know this is something I always wanted to see in EQ2 and I'm not sure why it was never put in. This feature eventually made it into our "Bucket of Awesome" which is just a queue for tasks we think are good ideas and will try to implement at some point in the future.

When we got back from our Christmas vacation and while many people were still out of the office I decided I'd go ahead and try to implement this feature. It went through several iterations before what I ended up with was a window that shows three statistics, ping, bytes per second and frames per second. Having a built in FPS meter will be handy for trying to determine what settings give you the best possible performance.

There's also a handy little bar graph to the right of the statistics that graph the last 30 seconds of data. Originally this graph only showed ping history, but I made a change so that you can display 30 seconds history of either of the three stats. You also have the ability to hide the graph altogether if you just want to make the window as small as possible and only care about your current stats.

Assuming no one has any issue with displaying these statistics in game, hopefully this window should make it onto live servers with the next Game Update.


Hello again

I've decided to resurrect my blog and see if I can keep it going this time. In October of 2006 Tiffany and I relocated from Memphis to San Diego because I accepted a position as a programmer with Sony Online Entertainment. So in the past year, I've certainly had plenty of things I've wanted to blog about.

I'll try to write as much as possible about the things I'm working on since people may find it somewhat interesting. Of course there are certain things I probably can't go in too much detail about, and some things I just can't talk about at all until the time is right.

However, I'll give this disclaimer right off the bat. Obviously anything I write about here is my own opinion and does not reflect the opinion of SOE or other SOE employees and management. When discussing game-specific features I might be working on, or ideas that I have, this in no way guarantees that the feature or idea will appear in the game at all, or as I've described.