The gwobs are coming...

The gwobs are coming...

As of this week, Rank: WarMaster is running entirely off of our custom file package format, the gwob. This means that any image or sound file the game needs, it now reads out of dedicated single master file. For example, all sound effects now come from a file called, appropriately, "Sound Effects.gwob." We even have a custom-built program, Gwobster, just to create our gwobs; you can see a screen shot of Gwobster in action above.

It wasn't necessarily easy to get it working, though. The toughest bug involved a small subset of files that wouldn't read properly no matter how many times I verified that they were present and uncorrupted in the gwob. It turned out that the gwob was the the problem after all, but not because the file was bad; the bug occurred because the gwob was correct. It turns out that Windows doesn't distinguish between capitalized and uncapitalized files, so that two files named "cat1" and "Cat2" would be alphabetized intuitively, first "cat1," then "Cat2." This makes sense for a file system. But because of how computers represent letters, you can alphabetize things in other ways, one of which the game uses instead. Internally, the game sorts letters ordinally, which means via the numeric codes that computers use to represent letters. Alphabetizing ordinally, "Cat2" comes before "cat1," which prevented the game from seeing a small number of files in the gwob. It took a lot of careful reading of log files to figure this one out!

We've begun live-streaming our multiplayer tests; check them out at our Youtube channel!

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