I'm currently in a very unproductive phase of the Happy Pony Project, but not because I'm not doing work. On the contrary, I'm working like crazy, it's just not yielding results. Not visible ones, anyway. I have been hacking away at internet stuff, and it is pretty fun to do, although usually very exasperating and confusing.
What I have achieved at long last is a miracle of modern technology: a server that doesn't recognize when people connect to it, but a client that does connect to the server! Or it connects to something anyway. If random characters start spilling out of your fax machine, that's me. But, on the positive side, the server can interact with my MySQL database, which is both awesome and a big deal. Equally big is the fact that I managed to create this server and get it running (with a lot of help) on unix. And best of all, it's cross-platform code - I first was testing it on my PC, connecting to myself, which does work. So I can test locally and run across the internet... eventually, once the internet part works.
There's also something else I did recently. I'm not going to link to it, but many people have heard about this stuff in the past - there are people who have developed homemade WoW servers, which is a pretty mind-boggling achievement. They of course made them in order to save $15 a month by pirating this stuff and hack the game up with all kinds of cheats, but that's not why I got it - I'm still paying my money, and I have my server set up for local play only, nobody can log onto it (and I didn't hack it much, I kept things fair! But I did do some tweaking... after all, I'm alone in the world, I can't make money auctioning things to suckers!). I'm sure even this use is probably also illegal, but only under the absolutely ludicrous and inhumane DMCA, so I don't care - it's definitely not any more immoral than taking apart your radio to see how it works.
So playing that offline (and tweaking it) is cool in itself, despite a large number of weird glitchy behaviors (hey, it's homemade), but the real cool part is that I get to see how these people did this. I am looking at the database structure and stuff, and seeing just how sort of semi-simple it really all is. Maybe there really could be a Loonyland MMO... this simple online stuff I'm doing for Happy Pony Fun Time is the first step, anyway!
The stuff I want to have for HPG is all possible just doing HTTP connections, but I wanted to delve deeper than that. It's about time I got a chat system in-game like I've always talked about doing, and I'm going to go from there. I want to do what I can to make this game a community experience instead of a loner adventure. Of course, it will always be a single-player game - nobody will ever be joining you on the battlefield. But wouldn't it be cool if you could buy and build a freakish monster, and then choose another player to unleash it on as a surprise, with a note attached? I also want auto-updating, because I hope to add more stuff to the game over time. No reason London can't magically expand over time!
Ah, but it all starts with getting this little text client to actually transmit "hi" from the computer to the server. Let's hope that can be achieved... someday.