AND NOW FOR SOME SHAMELESS ADVERTISING!

Well, I’m almost done at my placement now – one and a half weeks to go before I’m FREE, and can then use that free time to make up all the hours of sleep I lost, and then I can start doing my own stuff again. ULSG! JetSquirrel! Mr. Physics Man (new project)! Maybe a bit of rendering! Woohaa! I can’t wait. 😀

We were planning to get 4-6 mobile games released while on placement, but of course, there’re always problems. Not really sure about anyone else in the team, but I’d never even thought about making a mobile game, especially for iDrone/iFad/iPlod, because of Objective C, which looks quite ugly and has a stupid name. Happily(!) however, we, for some reason unknown to me (probably price), decided to use Corona SDK, which uses Lua. Lua is okay, but the SDK? Nope. I think I already mentioned Corona in a post way back, but it’s a sloppy, partially broken SDK which has a completely unique and SPESHUL approach to almost everything, which gives you almost no control (you can’t just load a graphic, oh no – once it’s loaded, it’s added to the display hierarchy immediately, and it stays there forever until you call its removeSelf() method or pass it in to display.remove()). It’s also not that powerful, annoying, the developers are really not on the ball (Corona didn’t work with iPad 3 for some time because they couldn’t get one, lawl) and games you manage to create don’t work on Android as well as they do on iWhatever. Upside is that it has Box2D built in, which is fairly easy to use.

We only managed to finish two games, with two games still in progress (one made with UDK, the worst thing I’ve ever used (I didn’t actually like the game idea either, to be quite honest), and the other made with Corona). This is partly because of Corona making it almost impossible to debug, but mainly because of our utterly hopeless “we’ll do it tomorrow” managers. We understood that we had to manage ourselves, but when it comes to release, we need our actual managers to do important things ASAP, like, get us an Apple licence and an Android licence, and give us the details of the bank that they want profits to be deposited into. Oh, and it’d help if they would play the pre-release version of our games for more than 2 minutes to see if they approve. It was like they were never there when we needed them, but there when we didn’t, I mean, when we said we’d finished our games, they just so happened to get some guys in to give us ideas on how to expand them. And when we did add a bunch of new features and finished them a second time, they never really got any testers for us when they said they would. *sigh*

We did finally get them out on the app stores, and they were semi-noticeable for, oh, a day, until they were buried by the Apple and Android garbage trucks dumping their daily load of 200+ crappy, useless junk apps onto the app landfill. You see, that’s the reason why I would never make anything for mobile devices. And no, our managers didn’t bother with any advertising.

Anyway, I’ll be big-headed and post the one I worked on first – Katu Toka! 😀

You should be seeing the Katu Toka banner here, but you're obviously not, and that means I've messed up or your net connection suxx0rz. Sorry. :P(Sorry, Rich, but it looks like you were in a CBA mood when you made that banner. :P)

I worked with Dom (programmer) and Rich (designer) on this one. 🙂 The game’s pretty simple, you bounce balls into mouths. Yes, that in-your-endo was a pretty popular joke while we were making the game. 😛

Over the course of the game, you come across new heads and new rock types, and eventually find bombs. 😛 Some worlds are boss battles, where you have to bounce your rocks into a fat totem (unless it’s the Badass Boss – he’s quite well toned :P) to make it explode.

I managed to fit two of my “signature” gameplay elements in there, and anyone who’s played ULSG (barely anyone) will recognise them. 😉 There’s an “Awesometer”, which I now try to integrate into every single game I work on. This Awesometer is untraditional, though – instead of injecting points you earn with a healthy dose of OTT, it just shows how close you are to not being awesome and failing. 😛

And, because I couldn’t resist, there’s Fruit Frenzy. Oh yes. 😀 Sure, it’s a lot more restrained than ULSG’s Fruit Frenzy, but it still has its charms. 😉

It also used to play Ken’s theme when it was activated, but obviously I can’t keep that in there when the game’s going on the app stores. 😛

All this sexy arcade action can be YOURS to play on your Andwoid or iThingy for the low price of (lol)69 Great British pennies. 🙂 If you think the game’s gonna be crap and you don’t want to risk that massive sum of money (TBH, I totally understand – I don’t want to waste 69p on potential junk myself), we’re working on a “Lite” version which will hopefully be released soon. I’ll want to call it “Low Calorie”, “Sugar Free”, “Diet”, or just a “Trial” version, because “Lite” is just a crap variation of a perfectly spelled-right word. 😛

Right, that’s Katu Toka, so now for our second game: Lapsus!

Lapsus

I didn’t work on this, and haven’t really played it much, so I probably won’t be able to write much about it. 😛 Lapsus is also pretty simple – just knock all the dominoes over in one push.

Each puzzle earns you a star rating out of three – Terrible, Bad or Average, depending on the number of moves you make. 😛 As you earn stars, you unlock new worlds, which have more complicated puzzles and more types of domino.

If your mind isn’t completely fucked over by the time you earn 200 stars, you’ll unlock Playful World, which has been unanimously deemed “ridiculous” by the studio. 😛

A nice, challenging puzzle game with 100 levels, available on Andwoid and iDevices for only (lol)69p. 😀 Again, a trial (they’re calling it “Lite”, guh >.<) version will hopefully be available soon. 🙂

Aaaand advertising over. 😀 I’ll be making a trailer for Katu Toka if I have the time (or can be bothered :P), and I think Lapsus might get one as well. I’ll post them here if they get done. 🙂

Until then, I’m off. See yas. 🙂

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That’s how many months now?

Just under 5 months of notpostingonablognoonereads-ness! Wow. *blows dust away*

How is everyone? Good? Great. I’ve been hard at work on my placement, but we’ll get to that in a sec. 😉 First of all, I finished a new render today. I’ve posted it in MongMaster’s Other (Bad Word) already, but if you haven’t seen it yet, here it is:

Year Of The Dragon - DracoAurarius

Sure, it’s a little premature, but happy Chinese New Year, y’all! Couldn’t miss the opportunity to create something for Year of the Dragon. 😉 It was my first time ever rendering with the Eastern Dragon, and although his crazy length outfaced me at first, posing him turned out to be pretty interesting! 😀 Oh, and that epic background and the badass neon Chinese characters? That was my lame Photoshop skillz in OVERDRIVE. 😀 I’m planning on making similar pieces for the Chinese New Year from now on. Especially can’t miss Year of the Horse – that’ll be my year. 😉

Anyway, yes – I’ve been on my placement for about 4-5 months now, and it’s… alright. It’s cool that we’re making games in a team and not doing uni work at the same time… well, sort of – we’ve gotta do stupid reports and a dumb diary to pass the placement year. What a pile of crap – surely you auto-pass the placement year if you don’t get fired? But yeah, it’s alright. We’re making two mobile games (yes, mobile games, *shudder* :P) at the moment; a domino-knocking-down puzzle game called Lapsus, and a tiki head-breaking action-puzzle game called Katu Toka – the one I’m working on.

I don’t like Lapsus at all. It’s one of those puzzle games where you end up looking at a single level for ages – I find it really boring and really frustrating. Katu Toka is alright, I guess. It’s fun, but I don’t know whether that’s the gameplay, or the ridiculous sounds and music I’ve put in as placeholders. 😛 Those’re just my opinions; I hope they both do well, of course, but I doubt they’ll get much attention, and they probably won’t sell. Because neither of them are like Angry Birds. But hey, at least they’re not shit and don’t completely rip anything off. 😛

We’re making them using a horrendous SDK called Corona. You program for it using Lua, which is simple enough, BUT it’s not object-oriented. And that makes it painful. What makes it even more painful is the way Corona has over-simplified everything. It actually makes it less powerful.

Also, when you get an error, it’s USELESS. It only ever gives you a tiny piece of the stack traceback, saying where it thinks the error occurred, but it very rarely tells you what was called before that. Oh, and it CAN’T detect syntax errors properly, it spams the console if it comes across an error in an enterFrame event instead of just halting the simulator, and 90% of the time, Corona directs you 200 miles away from the error, leaving you to figure it out for yourself. Many times, I’ve had to put a massive number of print statements where I suspect the error is, and find out where the code stops executing, so I can understand at least WHERE the error is. For simple stuff like crappy recipe apps or lame little games, it’s excellent, but if you wanna do something complex with it… God, it’s horrible. It’s like Multimedia Fusion 2 – trading power for ease of use. 😛

Anyhoo, they’ll be out on the Apple App Store and Android Market at the end of this month, hopefully, if SOME people decide to pull their thumb out of their ass and get some testers in to help. 😛

What else… ah yes, Ultimate Lame Ship Game. 🙂

Now, because of the placement, it’s almost impossible for me to find time to work on it. I’m not doing it after work, cuz I’ve just been working all day. I’m not that interested in doing it over the weekends either, cuz again, I’ve been working all week and want to chill. 😛 It’s kind of annoying, because I DO want to work on it and get it done.

I was updating it last weekend, aiming to figure out why it was being so slow on a low-end PC, or when it was being run off a memory stick. To be honest, I’ve had this problem with it ever since college, but it’s never been as intense as it is now. I didn’t understand the problem back then at all… but now, I think I do. 😀

When the game loads, it copies all its data into a temporary folder on your PC’s main drive, so I figured it wasn’t an internal MMF problem such as inefficient rendering, or a user performance problem such as a slow card or slow loading times or anything (can’t be anyway – I’m running a GTX 295 and a Solid State Drive, and it still runs slowly off an external drive for me. :P) So… if it’s still slow, the game must access something ELSE on the external drive while its running.

*click* Of course! The save file! That stays in the ULSG directory!

What I think is happening is that the crappy INI extension I’m using looks directly in the file for information, instead of loading the file into memory and reading it from there. Because of this, I also think that every time data is changed, it updates the INI file. This… is very, VERY costly, especially when you’re running it off an external drive which can only communicate with your PC using the comparatively slow USB.

So, I’ve gotta change the extension I’m using. I’ve started converting my code to use Ini++, which actually loads the file into memory. In addition, you can control exactly when it saves and loads data. This should help. One problem, though. It’s going to take FRIGGIN’ AGES. I’ve gotta go through every single event that has something to do with the INI, and change all the actions. And there are many, many actions. >.< This, paired with a ton of other tedious crap I’ve gotta do, is NOT helping my motivation. Especially when I could be working on ULSG V14 – a nice clean slate devoid of lame code. 😛 I’ve really gotta set myself some sort of target, such as working on it every other weekend, or making a major update every month or something. Otherwise it’ll never get done. 😛 Speaking of updates, there’s something I’ve decided. I’m changing the place I make updates. Might be a separate blog dedicated to ULSG, might be something else, I’m not sure, but I’m not gonna use The Daily Click any more. No biggie, cuz I doubt the site’ll last much longer, due to the oh-so-massive amount of money it costs to run. >.> I’ll post the final version there so people can find it, but won’t make updates.

Why? Cuz I’m not liking how the site’s turned out. People are constantly whining about the admins, who aren’t doing their job. One of the site founders left, probably because he can’t be bothered with all the bullshit he has to put up with. And I swear that the core of this site is just a circle of friends. For example, an admin apparently left, but I’m not sure how they knew because he never said anything about leaving anywhere on the site. “Well-known” members who have been around since very early on seem to get special invisible privileges, such as the admins and other “well-known” members siding with them automatically, even if they’re in the wrong.

Also, people keep talking about members that disappeared or got banned, like they’re gods or something. One of them actually came back and started spamming news posts and stuff, and hasn’t been banned again for some reason. It’s ridiculous. And members only ever care about the games that the “well-known” members make, that is, if they’re actually making a game and not just sitting around the forums whining and moaning. I bet if I were to update my devlog there, it wouldn’t even get looked at. On the other hand, if a “well-known” member updated their devlog, people would swarm all over it. It’s a site where the rule seems to be “the longer you’ve been around, the more authority and popularity you have”.

So, anyway, like you even care about that crap. 😛 The bottom line is, I’m making updates elsewhere cuz TDC’s community is annoying me. I’m pretty sure I’ll just make another WordPress blog and do it there, or maybe there’s another site out there that has good features. I’ll post the link to it when I decide. 🙂

Alright… I think that’s all for now. 😀 I’ll see ya later. 🙂