October 24, 2004
Moon Base get it's one millionth visitor!
Launched in March of 2004, Moon Base has been up for eight months and today it
received visitor number 1,000,000! MaidMarian.com is currently averaging about
25,000 visitors/plays per day and we're expecting that to double over the next
few months. The Sherwood Game Play Video was launched on this site October 19
and a press release officially launching the Sherwood was sent out via wire
service on October 23.
February 19, 2004
MaidMarian.com named as CFOX Geek of the Week site.
Here's what they had to say... "You MUST check this site out. A while ago we had
a link to Colin's Crazy Carrara which was a really nice looking shockwave
driving game put together by local game developer Gene Endrody. Well now see
what it's evolved into: immersive 3D worlds where you can drive around, chat,
play smash up derby and explore with your friends. Marian's World is set on a
wooded island and Moon Base is on the surface of the moon." .
Ratinator makes The Adrenaline Vault's list of Top Shareware Games of 2003.
(AVAULT) "Looking for a fun and whimsical shooter? Then you can’t do better than Ratinator. Around every
corner of a 3D maze within an infested house lies unexpected perils and
opportunities. What with customizable mouse and keyboard controls, first- or
third-person perspectives, portals, spawn points and destructible walls, this
offering has it all. You’ll face some pretty imposing bosses, too, and you’d
better be quick on your feet. You can also create new levels using the powerful
editor. The graphics are crisp, colorful and cute, and the audio is enjoyable,
with the title tune being mesmerizing. Ratinator includes 40 levels, over 20
different enemy types exhibiting unique behaviors, joystick and gamepad support,
the ability to save your progress and an online high score list." Bob Mandel
Ratinator is officially launched on Shockwave.com and GameBlast.com!
Ratinator has made it to the #3 spot in the Top Action Games and averages 4 out
of 5 stars in user reviews.
Colin's Crazy Carrara linked from FHM.COM's Big Eye On the Web.
So if you've been wondering if I've abandoned this project in the last six
months, the new version is finally up. This version includes a major redesign of
the interface. I felt it was important to design an interface that looked less
like a multi-media application and more like a computer game. The chat console
is integrated into the 3d environment. Maid Marian has been remodeled and
textured. She has a lower poly-count than the old version (faster frame rate)
and the texture mapping has improved the overall visual quality. Terrain
following has been fully implemented and multi-layered texturing was used to
ensure that the mountain textures don't look pixelated when viewed close up. The
entire interface can be rescaled to any screen resolutions by just resizing the
browser interface. Sorry the rewrite took so long. I hope you like it.
Since the site was opened in April, there's been very little done to generate
traffic. MaidMarian.com currently gets about 125 visits a day, primarily because
Macromedia is using the Maid Marian Tech Demo as one of the Shockwave 3D samples
on their website and links to us. My goal is 1500 visits a day. With this level
of traffic, there should always be about five to ten people in the 3D Chatroom.
I'm optimizing the site to generate more traffic through search engines.
I'm participating in a banner exchange program with RPGDot.com. RPGDot and
RPGsites are a network of role playing and gaming sites. So far I've had a
banner click-through rate of 2.5%. Considering an industry average of less than
1%, this is encouraging.These steps should boost the site traffic to 350 or 400 visits a day in about
four weeks. The rest will hopefully come from participating in networks of
similar websites, the quality of the 3D experience and word of mouth.
Major breakthrough. I found a creative way of approaching the collision
detection issue without using the Havok Xtra. This involves a major change in
the way the 3D environment is designed but I have the benefit of being able to
follow uneven terrain. There also seems to be no loss in frame rate with a
virtually unlimited number of collision objects. The Terrain Following Example
uses a similar approach. The current version of the Maid Marian chatroom has
these changes implemented, but I still need to redesign the 3D environment to
take full advantage of these changes. (Hopefully soon.)
The next major challenge in the development of Maid Marian's virtual environment
is cleaning up the collision detection and handling. I thought I had this sorted
out earlier, but when I ran a test using Director's collision modifier on 100
test objects (cubes), the frame rate dropped from 77 frames per seconds down to
45 fps. As you can imagine, this really limits the size and complexity of the
So, back to the drawing board. I decided to try the Havok Physics Xtra. Havok
produces a great physics plug-in for Director that implements collisions, forces
and rigid bodies. I ran the same test with the Havok collision modifier on 100
test objects with a loss in frame rate of only three frames per second. I had to
rewrite the entire character navigation system to use Havok's impulse forces to
move Marian around and collisions are more difficult to control because Marian
tends to "bounce" off of obstacles in the environment, but the approach has
Most of May was focused on the process of creating the 3D virtual world and
streaming it in once your online. I teach Alias/Wavefront Maya 3.0 in the
Digital Animation Program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in
Vancouver, Canada (my day job) so the initial environment was created using
Maya. No final decision has been made on which 3D package is going to be used
for building Sherwood Forest. The final test environment ended up less than
350k. Camera clipping and fog is used in the world to keep the polygon count
down and still allows for a large environment. A lower polygon version of Maid
Marian was created for better performance on systems without advanced 3D
graphics cards. This optimized version runs at over 100fps on my PC. (850mhz,
GeForce II GTS)
Screen grabs from the Maid Marian Tech Demo were used
in an article covering Intel's quarterly results on Sunday morning's CBS Market
Watch. The article talked about Intel® leveraging it's Internet 3D Graphics
technology to find new markets for it's chips.
Macromedia nominated the Maid Marian Technology Demonstration for a People's
Choice Award at UCON2001. This is Macromedia's yearly User's Conference at the
New York Hilton. I used the opportunity to take my wife and kids to New York for
a week. I was up against two very large competitors, Sapient and Intel. Just
like David and Goliath, except I lost. Oh well, it was an honor just to be
"We are proud to announce that Maid Marian.com was
nominated March 26, 2001 by Macromedia, Inc. for a People's Choice Award at
their User's Conference (UCON 2001) at the New York Hilton on April 22 along
with two other finalists. The People's Choice Awards are presented yearly at
Macromedia's User's Conference in eleven different categories. The Maid Marian
Tech Demo was nominated in a new category for Shockwave 3D content. During the
awards ceremony, once a short demonstration is complete, the audience votes
immediately using electronic recording devices. The winner is announced within
seconds of the vote. The other two finalists were Lode Runner by Sapient and
Intel Architecture Labs's Glass World. Sapient, a leading business and
technology consultancy, has 2600 employees with offices throughout the world.
Intel, the world's largest chip maker, is also a leading manufacturer of
computer, networking and communications products. Intel employs 85,000 employees
in 45 countries. Intel's Architecture Labs provided much of the technology
present in the new Shockwave 3D Player and is a development partner with
Macromedia. Considering the size and influence of the other two finalists, we
consider the nomination of Maid Marian an honor and hope it's a sign of good
things to come. "
November 2000 to April 2001
I was fortunate to participate in the beta program for Macromedia Director 8.I was fortunate to participate in the beta program for Macromedia Director 8.5
with it's new 3D capabilities. The support and encouragement from the employees
at Macromedia and other developers in the beta program was amazing. Macromedia
and Intel used the Maid Marian Technology Demonstration to help promote
Shockwave 3D to the press. Many of the beta testers participated in server tests
to help troubleshoot early versions of the 3D avatar chat. As the beta came to a
close I finally had permission from Macromedia to open up the web site in late
April. Macromedia continues to use the Maid Marian Tech Demo to promote
Shockwave 3D on their site.
"We are proud to announce that the Maid Marian
Demonstration movie is being included, along with seven other examples with the
Public Beta of Macromedia's new Shockwave Player. Macromedia and Intel
previously announced that they had formed a technology relationship to bring
pervasive 3D to the Web via Shockwave Player. Macromedia Shockwave Player 3D
Public Beta is the first available test version of the resulting Shockwave 3D
technology. Because this is the first opportunity for most users to have a look
at the 3D capablities of the new Shockwave Players, we are very happy to have
our Maid Marian movie included with the release."
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