Indiegogo update 2015-04-29

This post has been published at Indiegogo campaign on April 29, 2015.

Screepers!

Private Early Preview will launch on May 20!

We worked hard, so now we have something to show you at last. Mark this date in your calendars, take leave at work, and tell family you won't be available: in 3 weeks, on May 20, at 17:00 UTC, the private Early Preview of the full-scale MMO World Mode will go live. This is exactly what Screeps was devised for. The Survival and Arena were just introductory modes purposed to test the engine and servers. Now is the time the real game begins!

Those of you who joined our Indiegogo campaign with $10 or more will automatically receive an email with the Early Preview activation code. You may enter it right now here. All the rest can fill in the request form on the site – we will invite new players as the capacity grows.

The game world map is already live on the site. Here is its part:

 

Download the full map image

When the launch countdown timer runs out, you will be able to place your first spawn in any room you like (inside the region available for settling) and set out on your long quest to the total dominance in the online world of Screeps.

Take note that the Early Preview purpose is to test and debug everything prior to the public launch. Please report any errors or bugs you may find as you play. After the end of the Early Preview, close to the public launch, all the world data will be wiped.

By the way, we will set up a forum on our site shortly. Stay tuned!

Indiegogo update 2015-04-21

This post has been published at Indiegogo campaign on April 21, 2015.

Screeps has very simple graphics. This game is about programming rather than explosions, special effects, and textures. Chess has no brilliant graphics either, but Crysis has fewer players.

However, simplicity does not always mean sameness. Your creeps must have unique appearance to be different from other players' creeps even as they are small spots on the map. To achieve this, we have introduced a mechanism allowing you create your own badge. It is already online and working.

Your badge will be displayed on all your creeps, spawns, and structures. By selecting the look and shape of your icon and choosing three colors from the palette, you create a unique appearance of your creeps that will differentiate them from those of other players. Besides, your badge will be displayed on the world map on top of the rooms you control.

 

 

You can create your badge in your account settings right now.

In a very short time, we will announce the date of the private Early Preview launch. Follow the news!

Indiegogo update 2015-03-24

This post has been published at Indiegogo campaign on March 24, 2015.

Multiplayer has arrived!

We are happily announce that we have just launched a new game mode – Arena. It's not a full-fledged MMO yet, but still a pretty real multiplayer!

The Arena features a confined space with 3x3 rooms with working passages between them. There are no spawns, structures, and base development in this mode. Instead, each player has only 4 immortal creep-gladiators that keep constantly respawning in portals after they die. Your goal is to find and mine energy lying on the ground in the rooms and carry it back to the portals. Each unit of energy carried to the portals adds points to your leaderboard record. And since all the players play simultaneously on a shared Arena map, you will have to do it quicker than everybody else so that enemy creeps can't deprive yours of energy. 

The Arena Mode is the last stage of testing server multiplayer capacity before the launch of the real World Mode.

Unlike the Survival Mode, your creeps live and operate in the arena on the 24/7 basis, that's why we have limited access to the arena only to the Indigogo backers. Soon you will receive an activation code at your email used for signing up on Indiegogo. Use this code upon your first access to the Arena.

Indiegogo update 2015-03-01

This post has been published at Indiegogo campaign on March 1, 2015.

The February 2015 season is over. Congratulations to user ANDMAN for the first place and 6274 points!

For the next season, we have prepared a brand new map with an interesting new feature. As has always been the case, there are 5 sources on the map, but 3 of them are now protected by special NPCs called Source Keepers. Though they are extremely lazy, their lairs are very close to the source, so your creeps will have to face and fight them to access the sources.

 

Such mechanic will appear in the online version too – in all rooms with more than 2 sources. So, even deep in your homefront, far from your domain borders, you will still have to figure out how to protect your workers.

This month, we have started deploying our infrastructure based on the Amazon AWS cloud hosting. It will allow us to flexibly adapt to any number of players and their scripts executed on the server. In order to test the load, we have increased the maximum CPU allowed to all the players 3 times, so now your script can use up to 300 CPU. If you could not implement your ideas due to lack of CPU before, now it is the time!

Indiegogo update 2015-02-19

This post has been published at Indiegogo campaign on February 19, 2015.

In this update we will talk about game mechanics of the open world that will be crucial to the game balance of the multiplayer mode.

There will be many rooms in the Screeps universe. At the start of the Early Preview, the world will be confined into roughly 50x50 rooms (i.e. 2500 rooms totally). Eventually this amount will be increased manyfold, and by the release date, by tens of times. This is a huge amount already, but still we are often asked: what if there appears a single ultimate AI that will capture the entire game world and kill the game for everybody else? To avoid such a scenario, we have envisaged a special balance mechaniс that is now absent in the Survival mode. Here is the idea.

Each room will have a special object dubbed Room Controller (RC) – an invincible structure impossible to destroy, but possible to capture. The RC owner is proclaimed owner of the room and can build his or her own buildings in it. No new structure can be built in a room without owning its RC first. Also, the icon of this player will be displayed for this room on the world map.

A neutral (with no owner) RC can be captured by any creep using the command creep.claimController(). Then the RC instantly comes under your control, and you can start building simple structures. 

 

However, in order to build, say, an extension or a second spawn, you will need to upgrade your RC to the next level. It is done the same way as the building of structures – you will need a working creep with body parts WORK and CARRY which must consequently apply the command creep.upgradeController() to the RC by utilizing energy. Having upgraded the RC level (RCL) to 2, you can build up to 3 extensions per room. RCL 4 allows building 12 extensions and a second spawn. The highest RCL 8 allows building up to 25 extensions and 3 spawns. Besides, high RC levels will unlock more new building and features, and there will be more bonuses as well. For example, the ramparts maximum hits also depend on the RCL.

 

 

Note that the amount of energy required for upgrade grows exponentially. Upgrading to the RCL 2 takes hours, to the RCL8, days. High-level rooms with advanced infrastructure capable of building powerful creeps with high performance will prove to be a real treasure for a player, but not easy to achieve.

 

And here we arrive at the second parallel concept which is even more important. 

Each energy unit that is spent on upgrading any of your RCs raises not only the local RCL, but the whole Global Control Level (GCL) as well. GCL is a characteristic not of a room but your account as a whole. The RCs may be attacked, downgraded, and re-captured, while the GCL cannot be decreased, and it is saved to your account forever even after all your rooms are captured, buildings destroyed, and you even stopped playing.

GCL is required to capture rooms. In the beginning of the game, your GCL equals 1 which means that you can own only one room in your domain. As the RCL of this initial room reaches a certain level, your GCL raises to 2 – and you can now claimController() in the new room. Now developing both of your RCs will give you a GCL increase until it is 3, etc. The amount of energy required for the GCL increase grows exponentially as well.

Even having lost to foes all your rooms or structures (or in any time as you wish) you can respawn and rebuild your first spawn from scratch at any vacant spot on the world map. And since your GCL is stored at your account, you can quickly regain your former influence in the new place, because you have already qualified for capturing as many rooms as your GCL allows. Certainly, you will have to develop your room levels and restore all the infrastructure, but now it will take much less time than developing your GCL.

Therefore, firstly, you should not worry because of temporary loss in the game (as in many other games of this kind, Screeps have a "losing is fun" rule). Secondly, no single player will ever be able to capture the entire game world or even its larger part. Though each of them will strive for maximum area coverage and influence, it will always be fun to compete!

Indiegogo update 2014-02-01

This post has been published at Indiegogo campaign on February 1, 2015.

Well, a short introductory January season is over.

Congratulations to the user trobro who managed to score unbelievable 6634 points! By programming a simple, yet effective tactic of blocking an exit by virtually immovable, but very well-protected "towers" with ranged attack, he showed how effective an extreme defensive strategy can be in dead-end rooms with only one exit, and how important strategically such rooms will be in the online Screeps universe.

Take a look at the replay of that record-breaking game: 

 

 

 

 In the coming February season, those who want to compete for the Survival rank will be challenged in a new, more difficult map with two exits. And there a small tactic puzzle will be waiting for you: two sources in the center of the map, available only from one square. Optimal mining of these sources will require a high-level harvester, and we are looking forward to see what tactic (and its successful programming) will win this season!

 

 

Good luck, and have fun scripting!

But enough about Survival modes for now. In the following updates, we will tell you about interesting game mechanics that are absent in the single-player mode but will be central to the game for development in a shared world. Stay tuned!

Indiegogo update 2015-01-21

This post has been published at Indiegogo campaign on January 21, 2015.

Survival Leaderboard is live!

The work on the Survival Leaderboard is finally completed. Now you can sign up on the site and compete with other players for top ranks in the global leaderboard.

 

 

It is important to note that the Survival mode is now divided into two modes, as we have said. In the Simulation mode everything stays the same with one exception: your record is no longer saved and accounted in any way. To place your record in the leaderboard, you need to play the game in the standard mode (the Game section on the site).

At that, this ranked Survival mode works on the server and is technically equivalent to the online mode. It has no speed control, and your script is executed without regard to your presence in the game. In fact, the Survival mode rooms are real game world rooms, but just disconnected. Your script is executed in all accessible rooms simultaneously (you can access available rooms via the 'Game.rooms' variable).

Since the script in the ranked Survival mode is executed on the server, there is a 100 CPU limit for each player.

Another amazing new feature we just added is GitHub integration. By linking your GitHub account you can set up automatic and instant copying of your code from any repository into your Screeps account. It can prove to be very handy in case you want to use your favorite IDE or write scripts in transpiled languages like CoffeeScript, TypeScript, Haxe, or even ES6 JavaScript with Traceur.

Please note that since this update is very latest, some issues may occur. We will be happy to know about them from you at contact@screeps.com. Thanks for being with us!

Indiegogo update 2014-12-31

This post has been published at Indiegogo campaign on December 31, 2014.

Campaign is over!

It is just about time to discuss the results. 522 people contributed to the campaign over the last 40 days. Totally we have been able to raise $9,301. Thank you very much!

All in all, it is a rather good result, and we are satisfied with it. Some people were concerned about the prospect of the project since the goal was evidently not to be reached. No worries! The $20,000 goal was set in order to make sure that we would be able to finance full-time work on the project and thus fit into the promised schedule. Well, it is ruled out now. We failed to spread the word about the project to sufficient number of people. But everything lies ahead! Though not on a full-time basis, we continue working hard on Screeps, and the raised sum makes us even more confident that our efforts are appreciated and the project has huge potential. Unique potential at that!

As said in the project description, Screeps will be polished and launched in any case. The Early Preview phase will not go live in January as it could in case of 100% funding, but we really hope it will happen not later than February.

Now, some news about the Survival Leaderboard. Watching the situation, we decided to set up a really serious leaderboard without any room for cheating. To that end, the local browser Survival Mode will not work when the game is against the points. Therefore, the Survival Mode will be divided into two modes: Training (browser simulation) and Ranked which will run on the server and place your result into the current season leaderboard. So, in order to launch the Survival Leaderboard we need to refine the server part of the game so that your scripts could work server-side. Such an approach raises reliability, but at the same time, makes the task harder. This is why we could not launch it in December, but we still plan to demonstrate it very soon, hopefully early January. And the good news is that this mode will be available to all, not just the Early Preview subscribers!

Thanks again for all your support. We, as well as you, really look forward to see what the result will be!

Indiegogo update 2014-12-08

This post has been published at Indiegogo campaign on December 8, 2014.

In this post, we want to pour some light on how Screeps will look online and the main difference between Screeps and any other game you have ever seen.

In any strategy game, you as the player need to contol everything. In classic RTS games, you have to closely watch everything happening on the screen and react as quick as possible. There have been many efforts to bring this concept online to make a full-fledged MMO RTS, but all of them were fruitless. Why so? Mostly because in an MMO with big persistent world you cannot:

  1. always react properly to whatever happens in the game,
  2. be aware of whatever happens when you are away.

No game can be a real strategy game until these problems are solved. And both of them are solved in Screeps!

In Screeps, your scripts, unlike you, are always online. Hence, having written a relatively smart script you turn out to be actually controlling the game – always and everywhere. But what about the second problem: how can you know what happens in the game while you are away?

In Screeps, we devised two mechanisms to solve this problem. Both of them are now absent in the current Simulation mode, but you will see them on the Early Preview stage.

The first is the Game.notify() method. You will be able to program your script so that the game sends you a notification via e-mail at any moment and with any data you need. An opponent attacked you while you were away? Send yourself a message, and you will be able to instantly come in and check that your scripts defend properly.

The second mechanism is room history snapshots. You will be able to set up live recording of everything in each of your rooms, say, every 10 minutes into these snapshots. Aside from automatic saving, it will be possible to create snapshots manually by using the method Room.makeSnapshot(). Later you can review them in the chronological order and thus restore the whole scene.

It will be like match replays on TV. By the way, the Survival Leaderboard that will soon be implemented will allow you to see replays of every match from the board. It will look roughly like this.

We hope to launch the Survival Leaderboard very soon.