Last Updated May 31, 2018
Disclaimer: At least a few of these questions listed here have not been asked by anyone.
Windows 10 is required to run Zancrunio
- What operating system is required to play Zancrunio?
Windows 10 64-bit
- Why Windows 10?
For various reasons, Zancrunio is a Microsoft Store app rather than a so-called classic Win32 application. More specifically, it's a UWP app, and that requires Windows 10.
- Why a Microsoft Store app rather than a classic Desktop app that could run on Windows 7 and later?
Zancrunio was originally going to be a desktop app that would run on at least Windows 7. However, in recent years, some problems with that approach have developed. Windows 10 has something called Windows SmartScreen. If you try to run a desktop app on Windows 10, and the app is relatively unknown (like Zancrunio currently is), then Windows SmartScreen will block it and display a message that looks scary to most people. Unfortunately that scary message is worded in such a way that many people might misinterpret it to mean that Zancrunio contains a virus or something like that. But Windows SmartScreen always displays that message for every relatively unknown app. On top of that, you have to have some know-how to unblock the app. Store apps avoid that problem. Every store app that I submit is verified by human employees of Microsoft to be safe before Microsoft will publish it to the Microsoft Store. Also, I don't have to write an installer program or patch program for updates. Installation and updates are all automatically handled by Windows 10.
- Could you avoid that SmartScreen problem by signing the desktop app with a certificate?
Such a certificate would set me back over $100, and it's not even guaranteed to solve the SmartScreen issue. Even after it's signed, SmartScreen would still pop up and be scary for the first few times that people download it. I'm not sure how many downloads it would take for it to establish enough reputation for the SmartScreen warnings to go away. Even if I purchased an extended certificate which establishes initial positive reputation (which costs way more and might even require me to be a company rather than an individual), there might still be SmartScreen warnings for a while. It only cost me roughly $10-$20 (one time!) to join the Microsoft Store.
- Okay, so how about a Windows 7 desktop app anyway? Windows 7 doesn't have that SmartScreen issue.
I can build a desktop version of Zancrunio using the same codebase as the Store version. In fact, the game server for online mode is built off the same codebase, and that is a Windows desktop app that I run on the server. However, it does take me some time and effort to do this, and so far there hasn't been enough demand to justify this. I think it's more worthwhile for me to spend my limited resources improving the game itself in other ways. I've read that the number of people using Windows 7/8/8.1 has continued to decline in favor of Windows 10. If there's enough demand for the desktop app, then I'll make one available. Keep in mind that I don't have any Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 PCs to test with (just Windows 10), so I would need some help to make sure the desktop app actually runs on Windows 7! That all being said, I may have other reasons to put out a desktop version out in the future... if I want to add certain features that I cannot add to the Store version for some reason. I'll talk about some of those things below.
- What about a Windows 8/8.1 Store app? I'm still using Windows 8/8.1 and such an app would also run on Windows 10.
The API for Windows 10 Store apps (a.k.a. UWP apps) is different than that for Windows 8/8.1 Store apps. As such, it would require a lot of time and effort on my part to make it happen. The number of people using Windows 8/8.1 continues to decline in favor of Windows 10. Sorry, but I cannot justify it right now unless there's demand. Again, I'd rather use the effort to improve the game.
Online Mode Issues
- When I play online mode, there doesn't seem to be anyone else online! Why? I find myself thinking I might've entered offline mode by mistake.
As of May 31, 2018, Zancrunio is still a brand new game that not many people have heard about.... yet!
- Is online mode still fun even if there seems to be no one else online right now?
As of June 1, 2018 (Beta 5), all of the enemy stats, player stats, items, abilities, etc. are the same as they are in offline mode. As long as you don't incur extra charges for using too much data on your Internet connection, you might as well play online mode instead of offline mode, and if no one else is on right now, play it like it's offline mode. Maybe someone will come on while you're on! My goal is to make sure the game is fun whether you're playing in offline mode, playing in online mode with others on, or playing in online mode with no one else on.
- Is there anything I can do so I'll see more people playing online sometime soon?
Tell your friends about Zancrunio. And if there's any improvements you or your friends want me to make to this game, in order to make it more fun to play, please let me know on this forum, and I'll make those improvements first before making others! I'm going to keep updating this game with improvements!
- In online mode, are my characters stored on the server or on my own PC? I've noticed that if I play offline mode first, then switch to online mode, that I can select the character I made in offline mode to play online with!
Currently, your characters are stored on your own PC. The same character list is used for both online and offline modes. You can start a character in offline mode, level him up to say level 3, switch to online mode, play that same character who is at level 3, level him up to 5 online, switch back to offline mode, and he'll still be level 5. The same applies for all items, coins, etc. At least for now!
- Couldn't some people cheat by hacking their stats to go to max level and 9,000 coins, and then go online and defeat the king in one hit?
Currently, someone could alter the data file to obtain max level and 9,000 coins right away. However, stats like your strength and HP are calculated from your level and equipment, and the game (online or offline) does not accept levels higher than the max (currently 7 as of June 1, 2018). The game also doesn't accept equipment other than what's defined in the game. Even at level 7, and the best available equipment in your equipment slots, the king will still be a challenge. At present, due to various factors, hackers should not be able to impact the fun of the game for anyone else. I realize this situation will change as the game grows, and I have ideas on how to combat this.
- How about storing online mode characters on the game server instead to avoid that problem? This would require account names/passwords.
AFAIK, Microsoft Store policies prohibit me from having account name/password authentication in this game. Zancrunio was actually going to use such a system before I found out about this rule, which Microsoft implemented very recently, in April 2018! The unreleased Desktop version and the game server still support that system. There are other Microsoft Store games/apps which use account names and passwords, but Microsoft's policies permit them to do so because their developer accounts are "company type" (more expensive) rather than "individual type".
- How do you plan to get around that in the future, when you want to offer "online mode only" items and such?
My current plan is something like this: You defeat a really tough boss, who is only fightable in online mode. That boss gives you a new hat which improves your stats. That hat is only available from that boss, and thus only available online. So when you receive that hat, the game server will generate a code that your game client will store in its data. Meanwhile, the game server will store the code and what its for (that powerful hat) in its database. So whenever you log in, your game client will send that code to the server, and that's how the game server will verify that you really have that hat. If I ever implement say, an in-game auction house, or you somehow trade that hat to another player, then the game server will generate a new code for whoever receives the hat, and a new code for the in-game currency you receive in return. The server will then change the old code to be worthless. I currently believe that such a system is compliant with Microsoft Store policies.
- When I run into another player online, why is his/her character's name always show as "Player", even if I know for sure that's my friend playing and he/she named his/her character something other than that? And sometimes I'll see the character's actual character name for certain characters.
So there's two issues. The first is that I don't want to run afoul of Microsoft Store policies. The second is that I want people of all ages to enjoy this game. In fact, I actually have some real life friends who are very religious who I've discussed this game with, and I want them and their young children to be able to enjoy this game (including online mode) without ever seeing anything that they might object to. That's also why all the characters in this game are robots (no living beings), and I've tried to make the abilities as non-violent as reasonable. For this reason, other characters' names will ONLY show if I've added the name to a special approved names list on the server. What I do is I check the server logs to see the character names of those who have been playing online mode, and if a name is okay, I'll add it to the list.
- So that's also why there's no chat at the moment?
- I think I've seen other Microsoft Store games that list player names and have online chat.
You're right about that too. I have very religious friends though.
- Is there a way chat can be part of the game in the future?
I'm aware that Microsoft has some sort of Parental Controls system, and I plan to look into that. One disadvantage of course is that in a lot of households, the children are the computer experts, and the parents are completely unaware that any sort of Parental Controls even exists in Windows 10. Although I'm not yet exactly sure how I'll deal with this, I'm pretty sure there I'll make at least a checkbox that lets adults toggle chat on/off for when their young children play. There will be a way for players to tell if other players have chat enabled or disabled. I'll also look into how other Microsoft Store games with chat handle this situation.
- How will playing with other players be doable in online mode while chat is disabled?
I've been giving thought to this as well. For the time being, I'll try to design enemies, boss cubes, etc. around the idea that players cannot communicate yet. Currently, as of June 1, 2018 in Beta 5, all of the enemy/player stats are the same in online mode as they are in offline mode. So even the kings' stats are designed around just one player fighting them.
- Is chat actually already in the code, but just disabled?
Yes. In fact, the unreleased Desktop version has it, and the game server supports it. If someone chats, the game server will only send the chat to other Desktop players, and not any players using the Store version.
- So what does this mysterious unreleased Desktop client version support that the Store version doesn't?
Chat, seeing all of the other online players' names (whether approved or not), and two online play modes. The first online play mode is the same as "Play Online" for the Store version; with the characters stored on the game client and shared with the "Play Offline" mode. The second online play mode is the one that's only on the Desktop version: You login with a name and password, and the characters are stored on the game server. So on the title screen, there's actually three buttons instead of the two you see in the Store version. And finally, the Desktop version MIGHT run on Windows 7 and later. I don't know for sure because I don't have any Windows 7/8/8.1 PCs to test it on! I only have Windows 10 PCs. I do believe that in order to run it on Windows 7, that the so-called "Platform Update" from Windows Update has to be installed in order to enable the DirectX 11 API, which Zancrunio uses. I know for sure that it won't work on Windows Vista or earlier, because DirectX 11 is not available for them.