Interordi Menu
1 April 2020, updated on 17 May 2020 - By Doctacosa

Incoming wall of text! The quick summary:

  • Stuff's broken, repairs are incoming;
  • I'm considering dropping the Battle Network relation, what do you think?

As noted in the main announcement about the forum upgrade, Cyber Grid is currently unavailable. It needs a similar amount of rework to what happened to the forums, to modernize the layout and use the new data structures. I'll first see what additional work the forums need, based on the initial feedback, then I'll convert the game's pages to the new format.

Moving on from that, let's talk about Cyber Grid proper. Let's be blunt, the game isn't in a great shape right now. The long-promised defense update has been on hold for quite some time, as I focused my efforts on the Creeper's Lab. At some point, I accidentally pushed some of the new code online, which broke the battle engine. This is going to be messy to solve; I've since changed my workflow to avoid a repeat of that.

I mentioned in a previous post that I had originally built this using the YUI library, which is no longer being maintained. Javascript evolved a lot since, and that code will be rewritten using something else. While I initially considered going with jQuery, I might try to stick closer to vanilla Javascript since it gained so many new capabilities in recent years, cutting the need for additional overhead.

The backend of the battle engine might be rewritten completely. The current version is unfinished, unstable and very prone to breakage, and I'm thinking that a rework under a new model would work better.

The chip selection screens, upgrades library and so on are fine. While they need some love too, including a visual overhaul, I believe the current design is sound.

The entire thing has to be playable both on desktop and mobile. The forums now have a full support for mobile, so you can see how an interface can adapt itself for various screen sizes. The attack minigames already have some level of mobile support with the so-called mouse controls: tapping a touchscreen works equally as well, it only needs to be presented properly.

Beyond all this, going through my notes led me to think about something else entirely...

How about splitting this off from the Battle Network franchise entirely?

This entire game concept was originally designed as a web-based, multiplayer focused Mega Man Battle Network fan-game of sorts. Due to various limitations (notably, having no way to have real-time battles), the entire battle setup was designed very differently, as a turn-based system, with minigame-based attacks and a limited ability to dodge, yet still used known chips and characters. It was never meant to be a 1:1 of the game series proper.

There's also the issue of timing. While this might have been fitting ~10 years ago, as the series was winding down, most players are detached from it nowadays. Having it directly linked to a game series gives it a hook to fans of that franchise and allows a shorter description, but having it independent gives more flexibility and doesn't risk alienating those not familiar with the series. It also opens up a lot of potential growth, without having to stay lowkey due to using another company's property without permission.

Of course, something like that would need some core changes. Forget about the chip library entirely, the elements would need a rework, reusing any known (and beloved) characters is a no-no, and so on.

How I'm picturing it

It's no secret that I love the Internet, the concept itself and its technologies. Everything I've done online for years is centered around that, like building communities, online games and so on. The way I see it, dropping the Battle Network branding doesn't mean that the concept itself has to be abandoned: how about taking the core ideas of the franchise and remake them with a modern setting?

The setting of the game would remain the Internet as a whole, but grounded a bit more in reality. You'd design a character to represent yourself online, but which doesn't have to be you. Different body build, gender, whatever. For all I know, your fan-made Battle Network characters are still valid. We're talking about a digital entity, your personal avatar on the web. You'd use it to explore, battle (it's still a game, gotta have battles!), and trade with others.

Modernize the concept. View the Internet more like a social network of sorts, where you connect from person you know to someone they know to get to a destination.

Customize your character. What we have that are currently named "Upgrades" and raise your HP, speed or attack power could be presented as add-ons, plugins or even mods to reflect how games and software can be edited. Have each such upgrade have an amount of memory assigned to it, creating a natural limit to what you can equip initially. This memory limit expands as you build your power through the game.

A special move that temporarily boosts your abilities could be called overclocking. In battle, a negative status effect could be lag, forcing a slowdown or corrupting your movements. Frame dropping would make it harder to read enemy attacks. Replace the Aura concept with the motion of a firewall.

That still leaves a lot of concepts to define. There's a battle engine, okay. What are we fighting? Still viruses? Online trolls? Corrupted data? Something else entirely? I'm not sure on that point yet.

That's where my thought process is at the moment. I don't have all the answers, but I have an idea of a direction I'm considering taking. What do you think? Is it better to drop the links to the Battle Network franchise to create something that can stand on its own? Or would it be simpler to stick to a fangame of a known franchise, with the limitations that implies, yet with a widespread amount of existing content to build on?

7 May 2016 - By Doctacosa
No news have been posted in entirely too long here, and I believe an update is in order!

Work has definitely been slower than expected as the bulk of my efforts lately has been focused on the Creeper's Lab. I do have some updates in progress, although nothing quite ready to go live yet. In a typical way, I've been waiting to post an update until I had something to showcase, but then the improvements have been taking quite a while to get right. I did make some interesting breakthroughs that I'm looking forward to show off when ready.

At the moment, my primary task with Cyber Grid is to revamp its underlying code. I originally chose the YUI Library as a Javascript backend to power core components of the game, but that's been discontinued since. Additionally, while powerful, it was a bit unwieldy to use. This is why I've decided to switch to a mix of jQuery, jQuery UI and other additional components. I find that now is the better time to do this, instead of waiting until Cyber Grid is more developed. This means less code to adapt or rewrite, and less time wasted in debugging the current version before the switch to the newer one.

This is going to take a while still, as IOBoard itself is being improved to be more flexible as a support for the game. More as it comes!

Thank you for your patience!

Edited by Dr. Cossack on May 6, 2016 at 22:12:17

18 December 2014 - By Doctacosa
I have been informed that the leaderboard wasn't updating itself every hour as it is supposed to. One little correction later, and its data is now up to date!

More to come later!

1 April 2014 - By Doctacosa
Cyber Grid is one year old as of today! The real launch has yet to happen, since the game is still being tested and core features developed, but I'd like to take the time to thank everyone who tried to engage in battles so far!

I figured the moment would be right for an update on the situation of the game. People took a liking to it immediately after launch, but one issue became quickly apparent: it's very unbalanced, as whoever gets the chance to play first will often win. Some discussions later, most of us agreed that defensive actions needed to be added. That's what I've been working on since last summer as the main priority for this project.

It's taking time to reach that point due to two main reasons:
1- It's a complex task that requires rewriting much of the current battle engine. Making it work for both PvP and battles against NPCs is proving to be tricky.
2- The popularity of the Creeper's Lab has required me to spend more time than anticipated over it to ensure that everything is running smoothly.

I've been trying to eliminate some elements from my schedule to give me a chance to get things really moving, and have been slowly fixing bugs in the defense system in the past several weeks. I can't promise any release deadline at this moment, although I'd like to reassure everyone that I very much want to make this a thing.

Long live Battle Network and Cyber Grid!

3 June 2013 - By Doctacosa
All minigames have been reviewed and can now be fully used with either keyboard or mouse/touch. This allows all players to use their favorite method of input without having to switch back and forth between the two. Mobile and tablet users will also be more competitive with full touch support.

I've made some good progress on defense integration, but I'm not quite done yet. Please hang in there while I get this difficult part through, then updates should resume flowing in a more timely fashion!

9 May 2013 - By Doctacosa
This update took more time to put together as I had to carefully design some new components. Web pages aren't exactly meant to synchronize content between various users in near real-time, so getting it right can be tricky. No active features are being introduced this time around, but more of the important groundwork has been laid. The only visible effect right now is a slight slowdown of PvP battles, which is required to keep all players in sync.

New today:
- Each chip and character's buster now has an attack speed and range (currently unused)
- Each character (including players) now have a movement speed (currently unused)
- More background stuff!

I'm aiming for this one to be the last "preparations" update before the defense system hits, but I might squeeze in an extra batch of changes not directly related to this. Stay tuned!

18 April 2013 - By Doctacosa
As a follow-up to the previous work come more background changes. I know that these are some boring updates for you, but they're required to allow the game to handle what's coming!

New today:
- At the end of a PvP battle, display a note in the chatroom when players leave the battle results screen
- Improved in-battle tracking of players (used to eventually diagnose connection problems and kick idling players)

10 April 2013 - By Doctacosa
The addition of defensive actions requires some major restructuring of the battle engine, which I've started doing. Instead of pushing the result when it's 100% done, I'll do it step by step. What you see today is the first part of that process!

New today:
- Display the status of players as they join a battle (PvP only)
- Properly return to a battle if you've left it by mistake
- Bug fix: don't reset a player's list of chips if he leaves and rejoins a battle

If you recently visited any RPG sections, it's possible that your browser retained some outdated files that will break the game in all kind of fun ways. If that happens, just do a full refresh (Shift-F5) when viewing the troublesome section.

6 April 2013 - By Doctacosa
As requested, more mouse controls and information are in today!

New today:
- Lower boundaries for sudden attacks ( "REACT!" ). Careful, some will trigger faster now!
- "Tempo" and "mash button" type attacks can now be controlled by the keyboard or mouse
- Allow longer descriptions on chips
- Display the memory capacity on a chip's details
- Show the maximum SP capacity when editing a folder
- Less aggresive battle notifications: players can now navigate the forum pages during a battle

Edited by Dr. Cossack on April 6, 2013 at 14:30:15

4 April 2013 - By Doctacosa
Here are a first batch of post-launch improvements! There's nothing too meaty yet, but these will improve the usability of the game for some players and prevent some inconvenient situations.

New today:
- Challenges can only be accepted from online users
- The leaderboard is now updated every hour instead of every day
- "Button series" type attacks (includes BubbleStar chips) now have varying difficulty levels (bug fix)
- "Hold button" and "Sudden attack" minigames can now be controlled by the keyboard or the mouse (click in the active area)
- The amount of Zenny available is now displayed in the Upgrade Center
- Option to create new folders to simplify chip management
- Option to rename folders while editing them

2 April 2013 - By Doctacosa
As I wrote in the main announcement yesterday, you should expect a lot of game balance issues that I'll need to go back to. The deadline I imposed myself left me with about no time to test that, and I apologize. The good thing is, we'll be able to make the game evolve together! Lots of tidbits were fixed all over the place yesterday. Once the basic flaws are ironed out, you'll be able to find the list of future changes here.

I also had to cut some corners to make it in time. Many features are currently underdeveloped or simply not available. Others, like the method to challenge another player, are far from optimal. Some sprites and images aren't of the highest quality. Improvements are underway!

Keep an eye out for future updates, there are plenty of ideas for this!

1 April 2013 - By Doctacosa
Welcome to Cyber Grid!

The Game Log is where all updates about the game will be posted: balance changes, new chips and characters, new events, bug fixes, and more. It's highly recommended that all players keep an eye on this space to make sure they are at their best in battle!