AFLobby Update

Some of you have been wondering what is happening with AFLobby lately? Well I have not given up hope, and I have made many many changes over the past few weeks. Work has been slow due to examinations and courseworks and the obvious attempts at revision, as well as personal issues, but Im getting there!

One qualm people had about the battlewindow was the tabs and how they would miss chat while looking through game options, and that there were simply far too many tabs. This is all gone now, as all the tabs have been eradicated completely in the battlewindow. Instead, a ribbon bar has been placed across the top with drop down panels. At this stage this is still an experimental work in progress so I do not want to shoot myself in the foot by posting screenshots of unfinished work.

I have also taken it upon myself to move MOTD and other server messages out of the first tab in the main view and into a dedicated tab so that I can improve the starting tab at a later date. I’ve also added various icons form the tango icon set to buttons and tabs everywhere to make the GUI less intimidating.

Other changes to the main view include coloured borders around buttons, such as a red border around exit buttons and a yellow amber border around security and password boxes. The hosting tab has also been subjected to a make over, and is now a step by step wizard, greatly simplifying the process of hosting a game. Once the necessary options are selected the user can skip the more advanced steps and start the game using the default or saved options.

Some internal work has also been conducted to help make AFLobby appear smoother and run faster. One example is the addition of a channel handler that doesnt rely on the GUI, this means all the channels can be joined at once at startup with no messages lost, before the GUI is created, allowing super fast startup when you have 30-60+ channels ( and yes there are people who join lots of channels). This should also lay down some framework for saving sessions and reloading them at a later date, which should come in useful for when you’re disconnected. Improvements have also been made to combat network issues such as timeouts, making AFLobby even more resilient to minor interruptions.

Work has also begun on a springlobby style singleplayer mode. A minimap with bots and starting positions that the player can drag around. There will be some minor differences between the AFLobby implementation and that of springlobby, but the general idea is the same. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

There are a number of changes and extra things I want before I release the next AFLobby however, and I am also curious to see what happens with the new tasclient and springlobby builds. ( Its also nice to see satirik pinching a few of my ideas, such as the searching of the side user list or the join random game in his suitably labelled ‘quick join panel’ ).

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