• Freejam Chris

Preview Build Now Live! Online Multiplayer

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

Hot Fix 16.12.2021

Hi everyone,


We’d like to thank those who have had a chance to try out the Preview branch which contains the very first iteration of Online Multiplayer!


We’ve just updated Preview to fix a number of issues that we were already aware of or were brought to our attention based on your feedback. Check out the full list below


Bug Fixes

  • Potential fix for timeout/error when connecting to a server

  • Fixed a bug that caused the wrong map data to be loaded when swapping between game modes. This caused a character to fall through the floor when loading into a world.

  • Fixed a bug that caused the screen to fade to black when entering Dirtfest

  • Fixed a bug with the volume boundary not working correctly

  • Fixed an error that could occur if the ESC menu was open while returning to the garage

  • Fixed a bug that prevented the build rule popup from appearing when trying to enter simulation with a machine that was over the limit

  • Fixed a couple of visual issues with parts being visible on an unspawned machine

  • Updated the name and description of the community map made by MgwEEM-x

  • Fixed trailer and transition effect in widescreen resolutions


Original announcement 15.12.2021

Hi everyone!


Today we’re releasing a ‘Preview’ build which includes Multiplayer, along with some bug fixes, tweaks and more. This can be accessed via a separate client in the Launcher.


Everything mentioned in the announcement below is only available in Preview.


Multiplayer!


Online multiplayer is one of our big core features for Techblox. It’s a massive deal for us as a studio and it’s really exciting to release the first iteration of it for you all to play. We still have a lot of work to do and are aware of many bugs and issues that we need to resolve before we can release it on the main branch. But we want to put it in your hands now so that you can experience it and help us polish a few things over the coming weeks.



How To Join An Online game

This preview branch introduces four new game modes which can all be played online.


- Rawxas Raceway

- Techkarts Indoors

- Dirtfest

- MgwEEM-x Circuit (Community created map)


The above maps have a decreased CPU and power limit. In time we will be looking to increase these for certain maps as we optimise the server.


To play online with others, select any of the game modes above, pick your machine and then hit Return/Enter. Assuming your machine fits the volume and complexity limits for that world, you’ll be connected to one of our persistent online servers.


Servers are persistent with no queue times! This means that up to six players can join and leave without affecting the gameplay of those already on the server. This is something we always wanted to achieve with Robocraft and have only just been able to achieve with Techblox. There have been some impressive ideas thrown around the office which take advantage of persistent servers and we can’t wait to explore them.


The server technology we are using is very powerful. A lot of the time, physics are calculated locally, the server takes this info from all players on the server and tries to find a common location to display for all players. This can be why when playing a variety of multiplayer games, a number of physics objects will not display in the same location. The technology we are using means everything is accurate and all players will see and experience everything together.


All physics in online multiplayer is handled using server side physics. This means that the physics simulation in multiplayer is just as good as if you were playing single player. Machines are able to push each other around and interact in ways that we could never do in Robocraft. There are some incredible possibilities for accurate online physics games like battle bots, demolition derby etc. This is something that we always wanted in Robocraft but was never possible.


If a server is full and another wants to join an online game, our back end systems will just automatically spool up another server so more players can play. Each game mode can effectively have loads of servers running simultaneously.


Offline game modes that have a higher CPU and power limit:


- Freibergring

- Culdehoosa Park

- World Editor


Machine & Player Spawning

A little while ago, we shared a new spawn system. We’ll be improving this over time but it was a necessity for online play that the first iteration was present. All players will spawn onto a server in the same location, but then you will get to choose where to spawn your machine. You’ll see a ghost representing where your machine will spawn and you can simply left click to place. If your machine gets flipped over or stuck, you can hit the R key at any spawn to respawn it


Notable Changes

We’ve made a few important changes throughout Techblox, from the way you return to the garage to some tweaks to part values. We’ll cover all of those here.


Local and Online play


Whenever you enter a gamemode that allows online gameplay you’ll have 2 options in the garage: Local Test and Play Online.


Local Test will place you on your own locally hosted game server where you can test your machine and iterate it quickly by yourself.


Play Online will search for available online servers for your chosen game mode and connect you to any that have space. If there’s no space you’ll be placed into an empty one, where other players can then join.


In offline only games Return will be used to enter your Local server.


The hotkeys for these are set to ‘T’ and ‘Return’ by default. This will overwrite any changes you may have made before but you can remap these if you want to.


Quitting to the Garage


One minor change to the flow for entering and leaving simulation is that ‘T’ will no longer return you to the garage. This has instead been moved to the ESC menu.


Joint CPU rebalancing


We’ve made some changes to the CPU costs of all joints as these have the biggest impact on multiplayer performance so we need to limit their use a bit more. Unpowered joints are 100CPU while all powered joints are 125CPU.


Jump Port on Basic Seats


We’ve added the Jump port back to the Go-Kart and Hatchback seats

New Parts

A number of new parts have been added in this update


Text Blocks


The Text blocks, as the name suggests, allow you to type some text inside the config panel, which will then appear on the block. You can use various HTML tags like <color> or <size> to customise them even further


Bit Blocks

The Bit block works as a memory storage block, with the value of 0 and 1 (off and on). It can be set to either state, or toggled via input ports.


Timer Blocks

The Timer block can be used to measure how much time has passed, create delays in your wiring and more. This block has a start and end time, which determines how long it counts for, with start, stop and reset inputs.When the end time has been reached the block will output a signal of +1.


Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a bug that cause powered joints to be unresponsive in the World Editor

  • Fixed a timing issue with placing/stretching parts while moving the mouse

  • RMB will now always delete parts while in crosshair mode

  • Fixed collision and placement issues with the Grid Tile

  • Fixed issues with the resolution dropdown

  • Fixed an issue with the colour mode cursor not updating

  • Blueprints that contain atmosphere blocks will now display a notification when you try to place more than one in World Editor


Known Issues

  • Occasional timeout when trying to connect to a server that is just starting up (Do attempt to rejoin if this happens)

  • Occasional errors or server crashes while playing online

  • Switching between multiple game modes in local test can cause the wrong spawn and collision data to be used

  • Swapping between the Gokart track and Dirtfest can cause the screen to fade to black when entering simulation

  • Foliage currently has collisions in simulation. Bushes should not have any collision

  • Certain parts are visible on other player’s machine ghosts

  • Build rule popup not appearing when trying to enter simulation with an invalid machine

  • Vehicles jittering visually


FAQ


How many players can play on a server?

Up to six players can play online together


Can I change my username?

Yes, follow the instructions from here


Can I play online with friends?

There is no party system yet. However, if you all attempt to join a server at the same time, we predict that the chances of joining a server together will be higher. Each time you return to the garage and return to play online, you will be placed into a server with an available slot, or if none are available, a new server.


Is there text chat?

Not yet. This feature may take some time to develop.


How long will multiplayer be in the preview branch?

Until we are happy with the quality of online multiplayer


Where are the servers located?

They are currently located in Ireland. We want to set up more servers across the world in the future.


Where can I share feedback and bugs?

We have set up a Preview-feedback channel on the Discord server where you can share bugs and feedback.


What’s next after multiplayer?

Game modes, damage and destruction are a few core features that we are still working towards.


Can I play online with worlds I created in the world editor

Not right now, we are however accepting world submissions. If you have made a great map, share it over on the discord and we’ll contact you if we would like to use your world for an online map. So far we’ve already included worlds by discordyouri5 and MgwEEM-x.