Show me your LOOOOOOVE!

So hey, after getting a burfday e-mail from Nintendo containing 300 Platinum Points which are POINTless ehehehergh, I saw that Super Mario Run was 50% off for a limited time, bringing it down to a price which, y’know, seems kinda sane.

In general, I really don’t like mobile games. The core game is rarely good, and usually it’s just designed to get the player addicted before slowly pissing them off with a scripted economy and annoying gameplay mechanics, and eventually it reaches a point where advancement is insanely slow or impossible, and instead of quitting, players feel the need to spend money on one of the game’s insanely overpriced in-app purchases which do nothing but give a small progress boost, despite the fact that the game is usually never ending. I mean, if you enjoy the game, that’s fair enough, but the vast majority of successful games are so catastrophically bad that I literally can’t comprehend why anyone would spend money on them.

Anyway, blah blah blah going off on a tangent again. ๐Ÿ˜› The point is that I’ve never found a mobile game that I felt was worth any amount of money. A mobile game’s lucky if it manages to stay installed on my device for more than a week, to be honest. ๐Ÿ˜› Despite this, I thought I’d give Super Mario Run a try, since it was on deal and it’s Mario. And… well. It’s much better than I was expecting. It’s so polished, and so friggin’ smooth to play. And it was made in Unity! I was surprised when I realised that, because all the games I’ve worked on with Unity haven’t felt anywhere near as slick as Super Mario Run does.

It’s definitely the best game I’ve played on mobile so far, and the first mobile game I’ve ever bought, BUT… I probably wouldn’t have bought it if it wasn’t on sale, and would’ve hesitated for a while if I didn’t have ยฃ3 of Google Play credit lying around. I got that in an M&M’s promotion and was supposed to use it on a film, but WHY would I want to watch a film on a friggin’ 5″ screen durrrrrrrr. ๐Ÿ˜› Besides, I very rarely watch films anyway. So the game cost me like ยฃ2. Definitely worth that. ยฃ5 is sensible. ยฃ10, no. Most of the game’s content is an infinite loop; you play Toad Rally to try and get more Toads so you can get more decorations and characters, you play Remix 10 so you can get more decorations and a new character, and you replay courses in Tour so you can get all the coloured coins to unlock a few special courses. The core objective of completing World 6 in Tour only takes about 1-4 hours depending on skill. I tend to be a completionist when it comes to games I actually like, so I’ll play it way more than that (especially since I’m being paid to do almost nothing at work right now :P), but even so, ยฃ10 sounds pretty steep to me. I imagine that price might sound insane to non-completionists. ๐Ÿ˜›

Anyway, did I mention the game’s soundtrack? No? Well, it’s pretty good. And now that I’ve said that, let me move onto the point of this post: Remix 10, the new mode. ๐Ÿ˜›

I’m not really sure whether the mode’s name is a reference to Rhythm Paradise, or whether it’s just a coincidence, but in each run of Remix 10, you play 10 really short courses back-to-back. The more runs you do, the closer you get to rescuing Daisy, who then becomes playable after you reach her. I reckon it’s the most entertaining mode of the game, partly because it’s more varied and exciting than the other modes, partly because you get more and better kewl lewtz, and partly because of the soundtrack. The music is pretty nostalgic; it’s a minimix of classic tracks from previous Mario games. But the first part of it makes me giggle like a schoolgirl, because VOCALS. Just like some game music from the good old days. It might be really dumb, but it’s memorable and makes me laugh. ๐Ÿ˜€ Check it:


I like it so much that I went through the faff of ripping it. I don’t know how to rip assets out of Unity games because they’re all packaged up and obfuscated, so I did it in the less intelligent way: by plugging the phone’s headphone jack into my PC’s microphone jack, finding a Remix 10 stage with a pause block in it, and staying still for the duration of the music loop while recording. Heeah, have it if ya want it. I also love the Starman music in Remix 10; it’s like an upbeat techno version of the Wing Hat from SM64. ๐Ÿ˜€ Since the Super Star has a time limit and there’s way too much going on when you pick one up, it’d be near impossible for me to rip the music in the same way as the normal BGM. :/ Ah well.

Anyway, Super Mario Run is good. If I wasn’t lazy and slow, I would’ve said “it’s still on offer, so go ahead and give it a try and buy it if you enjoy it, before the price goes up again”, but the offer’s already over. Sorry! ๐Ÿ˜›

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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! ๐Ÿ˜€ Oh, and that epic background and the badass neon Chinese characters? That was my lame Photoshop skillz in OVERDRIVE. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ˜› 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. ๐Ÿ˜›

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. ๐Ÿ˜›

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. ๐Ÿ˜›

What else… ah yes, Ultimate Lame Ship Game. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜› 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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ˜› 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. ๐Ÿ˜› 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.ย 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. ๐Ÿ˜› 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Alright… I think that’s all for now. ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ll see ya later. ๐Ÿ™‚