Thursday, April 13, 2017

Optimizations..!

Moving right along. Many heroes for my idle game have been animated and fully programmed, along with the main systems for particle effects and such. With some more art and features underway, it should be playable quite soon.

Unlike Zombie Guard, I'll be releasing this sooner rather than later, followed by more regular updates to features and bugs. Eventually it will make its way to some of the bigger portals like Kongregate, then, as a standalone app for Apple and Google Play.

This is an HTML5 game that plays well on a PC/Mac browser with superb performance. I played it on my phone as well, both in the Chrome browser app, and, as a standalone app by packaging it with CocoonJS.

The good


Everything just frickin' works so I do not have to waste time porting my game to a different library for a different platform. HTML5 is proving to be very useful and I hold a lot of trust in its future. The design of this game allows me to introduce additional features over time. Google Chrome has incredible features to debug and benchmark performance so it will help tremendously. I would much rather debug on my PC, rather than fire up some esoteric software packages to extract debug information off my phone, for bugs that only appear on the device and not the simulator *cringe*.

The bad


The game can run quite slow on mobile devices like my Android phone. I can work with this, by sprinkling critical optimizations here and there. Particle effects will have to be reduced as that seems heavily expensive, likely due to the code compared to the actual rendering. Compressing all the code with Minifier helps a tiny, but it is better than nothing.


The game has excellent performance on PC, despite many art assets and animations.


Eventually I will be able to compile all LiveScript files to Javascript, reduce and obfuscate the Javascript with a service like Minifier, and then upload to a private domain along with recent changes. All this will be done automatically with a build tool like TeamCity which came recommended to me.

So, enough tech talk...



I recognize I have been going even further into a casual gaming direction. My previous work already was fairly casual, and now this idle game even more-so. The market for these kinds of games is strong and reliable despite the competition. My plan however is to create something far more artistic, stylized, and meaningful, following this idle game.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Idle, and why?... because botting is fun!

I want to share with you my motivation for making an idle game, a quickly growing genre in the past several years. These are games that do not require a lot of hands-on time to play. To me it just all comes down to one thing: progression. And steady progression tends to feel rewarding and "fun" to the player. It can be addictive.

One of my favorite idle games is not even an actual idle game. It is Diablo II that still has a community of online players. The game gets very tedious near the end of the game, to further progress and find items. That is where botting comes in, using custom scripts. Basically you design a character, play through the interesting content, and then have a program do most of the rest.

Sounds ridiculous and pointless right? But it actually is fun, to check in and find that your character mindlessly found that extremely rare item with a 0.000002% chance of dropping, while you slept through the night. You can then further refine your character by trading items online and revising the script files to improve your character, in order to reach level 99 more quickly - this takes an insane amount of actual time even for a bot.

Wait, it gets better. You can buy additional CD keys and run multiple characters at the same time. This is not my video, but it demonstrates the point:


By doing this, you get to find those extremely rare items more quickly, to arm additional characters. This way of "playing" transforms the game experience from skill to optimization strategies. Like, being a coach rather than an athlete.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Global Game Jam 2017

Global Game Jam 2017 was recently held worldwide. The event just keeps getting bigger with more cities and locations participating each successive year. NYC alone had over 500 participants hosted in the Microsoft Building in Times Square.





I showed up and collaborated with five others (four, after one had an emergency the first evening). We used the Unity engine and Discord to communicate easily and share extra files. I was really impressed by Unity's collaborate feature - built-in cloud source control.

The theme was "waves", which was open to interpretation - especially for fluent English speakers. Waves may only translate to physics based waves suggested by the keynote video, and not the additional interpretation of gestured hand waves.

This was the first game jam ever where I wrote virtually no code. I was basically an assistant artist, filling in gaps, and hunting down audio. So, needless to say, it was fairly relaxed for me, with the exception of the 36 miles I walked according to Google Fit.




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