Not dead... just really busy. Been doing a lot of network debugging and optimization; I added zlib compression to the network packets, which cut down network bandwidth by about a fourth. I also streamlined a few network issues, added a simple network performance logger, and implemented simple client-side interpolation; everything moves much smoother now, even if there is a slight delay. It's basically a fact of life these days in online games; as long as hit detection is still accurate, a small delay is practically unnoticeable.

I've been somewhat inspired by Mass Effect 2. :) The fact that you only have two squad members makes things much more manageable, as you can use the Q and E keys to select them, rather than the number keys. I'm definitely stealing this idea; much more ergonomic. And I find myself using my squad members' special attacks in ME2 much more often then giving them positioning orders; I haven't had much success with getting them to flank or sneak up behind the enemy. That's something I'd like to be different in A3P, but currently, the only commands are "move up" and "fall back". That will change soon.

I need to refine the online experience a bit, mostly by adding leaderboards and an in-game score summary, and also by rewriting the code to allow for dedicated servers. I've been thinking about the online experience more and more, and I'm toying with various ideas, including a global sort of on-going tournament, where you fight your way up a certain number of levels to the top. Instead of being eliminated when you lose, maybe you would just lose a level or two. It would be like automatic match-making.

I also just added a new weapon, the pistol. Okay, it's sort of a pistol. It fits best into the "pistol" category. Basically, it shoots like a handgun in Counter Strike for example, but it shoots these big darts that, if you line everything up, can pin someone against the wall until they die. Note that I added a new model for the chaingun; the old chaingun model is now used for the pistol. Just in case anyone gets confused.

In other news, the Panda3D maintainers (mainly rdb) are looking into some issues with ODE on Ubuntu. Hopefully once those clear up, and I fix the gimmicky mouse control problems, A3P will be available in an easy-to-install .deb package for Ubuntu. Keep an eye out for it.

Last but not least, the lobby server is finally up and running, although lighttpd seems to need restarted every few hours to keep it working. Not sure what that's all about.