Above you can see the untitled farming game I mentioned last week. It’s been going pretty well – I’m getting more comfortable writing in C/C++, so things are taking much less time. You can build fields, barns, and your headquarters; fields have a little state machine implemented for planting, growth and harvesting (not visible above as I’m in the middle of changing it); there’s a game clock with speed controls; and you can hire workers, who don’t yet do anything because I’m in the middle of writing their code.
In other news, I’ve recommenced work on the Quick Quote update that I stopped in February, while waiting for feedback on App 2. Firstly, by cleaning-up the Frankensteinian project set-up,where I had 3 separate Git repositories! It’s now a single repo, and builds using Gradle so I can use the Android support libraries. Secondly, by taking a good look at each screen and redesigning it. There are issues with usability, both from inexperience, and from adding extra features without properly considering how they should be used. Not everything is decided yet, especially with some unimplemented features unaccounted for, but I can make a start on tidying it up soon.
So, it’s been a little while since I’ve posted. Rest assured, no news is good news!
Firstly, App 2 is continuing on well. I’ve just about reached the point where I can get people to test it – feature complete, but with some rough edges. There are just one or two bugs that need fixing first.
I’ve been dabbling a bit with designs for city-building games, both SimCity-like and Caesar-like. The current idea in my head involves mixing the two: a Caesar-like set in the modern era, with proper traffic simulation. I think it would be a good replacement for the traditional “walker” mechanic. Other city-builder designs include a near-future one set across multiple space colonies, and a casual browser-based SimCity-style thing. As you might be able to tell, this genre is a mild obsession of mine! One day I’ll make one, but it’s a huge undertaking for one person, and I’m not ready for that quite yet.
The next Ludum Dare is next month! I’m looking forward to participating again, and am in the middle of a MiniLD entry right now. The theme is Pong, and I’m making a fairly plain Pong game, but where the paddles gradually disintegrate as they hit the ball. It’s not much, but I really want to keep my 1GAM up.
The Quick Quote reorganisation work continues. In fact, I’ve just about finished it- a couple of minor things that stopped working that need to be reimplemented, then test the upgrade system until I’m confident it’s stable. Doing this sort of conversion is a little nerve-wracking as it has the potential to completely erase the user’s existing data if it goes wrong. It also looks like it will have taken 5 times the estimated time, which is pretty terrible. I’m still working on estimating though, so I’m not going to beat myself up about it.
One thing that makes all this conversion worth it is that I’m having to learn all the database code that I’ll need to use in my next app. Sometimes mistakes are OK, if only because you know not to make them in the future! I’m no longer convinced this update will be done this year, but it should be out before the end of January.
I think I’m going to need a game side-project soon, I’m getting itchy!
Last Saturday I had a new graphics card arrive, a Radeon R9 290, which is enormous and shiny and will hopefully end the various crashes and visual glitches I was getting. My old card had 512MB of RAM, which I think was causing the problems, along with it being old enough that it’s not supported properly by Windows 8, and I had to find some fairly old drivers to even get it to work at all. The new one has 4GB, and runs anything I’ve thrown at it at maximum settings with over 60fps, so it should last me a long time. 🙂 Unfortunately, Firefox was still having the same problems as before, so I’ve swapped to using the Nightly build because it actually has a 64-bit version available. It seems… a bit flaky, but as it hasn’t had any catastrophic failures yet it’s still an improvement. If all else fails, I’ll switch back to Chrome, but I do like Firefox.
There are a couple of little articles I’m planning on writing, examining little things in games. The first, about limits in Paradox Development Studio’s grand strategy games will be out in the middle of this week. I had been working on a longer article about shaders, but it got a bit long and meandering and muddled, and was going to take a forever to finish. So, shorter articles and dev logs until I can figure-out how to write an outline and then stick to it. 😉