Now that the Romans are being released, we want to give you all a chance to hear from some of the volunteer developers. Today, we are speaking with two of the Lead Developers of Project Celeste, as well as the Server Engineer.
Kevsoft: Hello everyone, my name is Kevin, a young programmer from Austria who has been modding games for almost a decade. My journey started with simple Bukkit plugins, then continued with founding a modding framework (LunaLua) for SMBX, and finally now with Celeste. Here and there I had a few other small projects. What I have learned is that exercise is important, especially if you sit in front of the computer a lot. Tennis is my choice, but in the current circumstances it is a bit difficult.
Luciano: Hi! I'm Luciano ("elpea" in other places), a brazilian-american software developer currently living in Florida. I have 2 kids- a girl named Penelope and a boy called Luca. In the past I've written modding tools, web sites (like aoedb) and many other things for the age community.
martinmine: Hi everyone, Martin here! I am from Norway and I write computer software for a living as an IT consultant. I have been programming for over 10 years now, where I started with working on private Habbo server around 2010. I also have a really big interest in science and technology, and of course internet memes. Those who knows me knows I have the best memes, believe me.
Kevsoft: Back then, I played Age of Empires 2 with my grandmother over the Internet against the AI. I really enjoyed that time. I am and will remain a casual gamer. I was very excited when my 12 year old self got a beta key for the game. I put in many hours and was very disappointed when Microsoft shut the game down. I never imagined the game being revived and on top of that being one of the lead developers.
Luciano: I've been playing Age of Empires since 1999 and AoEO since its early alpha (back then called "Project Spartan"). I used to work for the biggest Age of fansite (HeavenGames) and so I was lucky enough to be an early part of Age of Mythology, Age of Empires 3 and eventually AoEO.
martinmine: The first time I got to play Age of Empires was in the early 2000's, where I discovered a demo version of Age of Empires 1 on a Windows 98 SE installation disc. I was hooked. Me and my nephew usually played this together when our family got together during news year back then. Good memories. I believe I got introduced to AoEO through PF2K around three years ago or so, as he mentioned to me he was doing some graphical work for it.
Kevsoft: Back when Celeste started in 2017, I was still in high school. I had originally planned to take an early exam for my high school diploma, which I could have done in the fall, but my school messed up. With the two months off, which was basically unplanned, I had plenty of time. I wanted to do something else after LunaLua, so I offered to help with xlive development and the research of the game. And then things happened quickly: after just a few weeks, I found a way to enable co-op mode and was promoted to a lead developer
Luciano: I started the project. Back in the day there were lots of scammers taking people's money and promising they'd get the game back online but none delivering on that promise. One night I decided to try and do it myself and after a bit I released "Project Penelope" which was a hacky way to play offline. That was enough to grow a community and eventually some extremely talented people (kisonik, Ryddag, PF2K, Kevsoft) asked me if they could join and they really shaped the successful project we have today.
martinmine: It all started with the launcher. As I had tested out AoEO, I thought the game could use a bit of an improvement in the launcher. When you think about it, it is in fact a very important aspect of the game as it gives the first impression of the game and Procect Celeste. With the help of PF2K, we managed to redesign the launcher and rewrite large parts of it. It is still not where I would want it to be, but we have gotten a far way since when I started on it.
Kevsoft: My main role is the development of the xlive module, which allows us to add fixes and new features. A few years before, the focus was on reimplementing original features. Furthermore, I am responsible for the monitoring and administration of the infrastructure and server and therefore have some administrative tasks that are not directly visible to the player.
Luciano: Nowadays I'm not as involved as I was early on. I try to manage the money side of things and otherwise help if I'm needed. I've made a commitment to keep the servers running and the lights on for as long as there's someone playing the game but thanks to the kindness of this community we've had all our server costs paid for by donations so far. I am possibly the greatest fan of our other devs and my real goal is to remove any blockers that might keep them from producing their best.
martinmine: For those who see me on Discord, I have the "Server Engineer" role, which basically mean I maintain the server and make sure everything is running smoothly. I do a lot of coding on the server, both for new stuff we add to the game, but also to iron out bugs, and improve performance and stability. One of the biggest changes that was pushed out recently was the porting from .NET Framework to .NET Core. While players see no difference, it makes the lives better for developers, as it makes our lives more flexible, and the code-base for the server can live on for longer.
Kevsoft: The sad truth: anti-cheat. Some people can't refrain from cheating. It's important to me that it's fair for every player and I'm doing everything I can to guarantee this for the future. I could certainly use my time for other things, but unfortunately it is necessary.
Luciano: Early on it was definitely the researching, studying and understanding the game code/engine. Lucky for us, Kevin and Kisonik are geniuses and got us much farther much faster than I ever could. Nowadays the biggest challenge for our team has probably been preventing and catching cheaters. It's sad how much effort has to be diverted from new features to code anti-cheat.
martinmine: In every project that has been going on for a while, a lot of stuff gets written between lines of code. So when I make a change, I need to understand the impact of said change to make sure I don't break anything unintentionally. This, combined with all the areas of the game I don't know anything about is what I think would be the most challenging parts.
Kevsoft: Any client-side features I will do. If certain features need server-side changes as well, I'll discuss that with Martin. If a feature needs a user interface, then I discuss that with Pooya. In some cases I also work on the server code, especially if it is just a small change. Generally, besides administering the server, I focus mainly on xlive.
Luciano: A lot of communication over discord and organization over tickets.
martinmine: We talk together on Discord and plan stuff out. We have some stuff like a Trello board, but sometimes the work on AoEO becomes so rapid or unstructured that I don't bother dealing with that stuff.
Kevsoft: Clean up some xlive code. It's as boring as cleaning the house, but it has to be done at some point.
Luciano: To keep everything running smoothly and keeping the team happy and worry free.
martinmine: Daily rewards, lottery, server improvements here and there, and the launcher. There is still a lot of work left on the launcher. Personally, I think the installation process for AoEO is way too technical and convoluted and can be simplified a lot.
Kevsoft: Feature-wise, I would say Recordings. Since AOEO uses the same engine as AOE3, in principle the technology exists, but the changes made in the development of AOEO make it really hard to make this feature usable, even if some player claim otherwise.
Luciano: I'd really love to fix some of the bugs that the original dev team left behind. As far as new features, I'd love to rethink of how to generate and collect capital city resources.
martinmine: A statue of PF2K.
Kevsoft: Definitely Reforge. It's nothing big, but it was the first newly developed feature for Celeste. When I started with Celeste, I didn't think we would get this far. Close second is definitely the new arena UI. I invested a lot of time in this feature and it turned out well.
Luciano: Honestly I think my best contribution has been gathering the right people and helping shape this community and its culture. We've made it very clear that we want to involve the fans in everything and that means creating a community where contributions are welcomed but toxicity is not. I can confidently say that these core values are reflected in the quality of the work this team has produced and will continue to do so.
martinmine: I think the launcher, beause of how well it has turned out so far. Mostly thanks to PF2K, the launcher looks pretty awesome. Seeing people being so happy with it is really awesome to see.
Kevsoft: I am not a fortune teller and therefore do not make predictions. In retrospect, however, there were always lows and highs and especially now is a prosperous time. There is still potential. My motto is: Everyone is a piece of the puzzle for a great picture.
Luciano: I see this community taking everything to the next level again. We have a great solid RTS base to work from and to produce some very creative mechanics. You're seeing it with the Romans and you'll see a lot more of it in the future.
martinmine: While I cannot say much about the direction of the game itself, I do have plans for both the server and the launcher. I want to make the launcher easier to get started for new player by having some sort of installer that installs everything required for the game. For the server, we have discussed to move the production server to a Linux host, but this remains to be concluded. There are also some interesting ideas I have for the server database as it is not very optimal the current way it is implemented.
Thank you so much for reading, and we will see you all next time!
Project Celeste Development Team
What do you think about this week's blog? What would you like to see next? Let us know in the comments below!
The Romans are coming on March 15th, 2021! Watch the Overview Trailer.
Project Celeste is completely free and always will be. However, we gladly accept donations for our overhead costs, which are larger than we have budgeted. If you want to support us, you can do so HERE.
Read every Romans related blog HERE.
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By PF2K on Mar 7, 2021 at 3:19 PM
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