Developer diary

Alien Blitz on Steam Greenlight

Alien Blitz is now on Steam Greenlight, come and vote!

 

Click here to view the page and vote on Steam Greenlight

 

The PC version of Alien Blitz will include the same features as the mobile version plus :

  • Improved graphics, 60fps, more effects, anti aliasing,…
  • Improved AI
  • Level editor
  • Online level sharing (=> a lot more maps to play with)
  • Small mods: FPS view, cheating,…
  • Controller / Keyboard & mouse / Keyboard only controls
  • And more…

over water over poison bullet hell smoke over lava falling rocks rocket vs rocks fireballs

 

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Alien Blitz: camera with rifle, shoot accuracy, bug correction

Camera with rifle

Camera has been improved (in 3d) when using a rifle (or another weapon where you can move camera far away). It will now zoom out so that you can see a lot better if an obstacle is between player and scope.

The “auto-lock” is now also enabled when using the scope, in all difficulty level, making this feature a lot more useful.

capture_2014-10-16_12-03-50_0529_Alien_Blitz_

 

Shoot accuracy

When shooting the game looks for an enemy in the direction player is facing, else it would be too hard to aim (because of height differences and the bad accuracy when using touch controls)

Up to now it was using the direction player is facing to look for an enemy, making it limited to 45° multiple. It is now using the exact direction of the on-screen joystick / controller joystick making it more accurate.

 

Bug correction

Lots of small bug corrections again, nothing huge again but things that had to be done… So no release yet, hopefully soon.

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Alien Blitz: last minute update

Last minute update

And another update, I’ve noted that sometimes monsters could get stuck just doing nothing after falling, it was corrected.

While I was working on movements I’ve also improved the way monsters jump, it will work a lot better now and monsters will more easily find their way when there are obstacles (and it’s a good thing as there are more obstacles in 3d than 2d)

I’ve made lots of tests, I’m just making sure every detail is corrected, I don’t want to have to publish a patch soon after release.

So again I’m waiting for beta to be published on the Play store, test it, and maybe this time I can release it on mobile platforms :)

The trailer is complete, I need to make new screenshots and update the description…

capture_2014-10-14_16-38-27_0744_Alien_Blitz_

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Alien Blitz 3d: Trailer, mobile release

Trailer

I have been working on the mobile trailer today, as I said I lost everything (except title images) of the Greenlight trailer, so I’m doing it from scratch.

It’s almost finished now, just some tiny timing adjustments I guess, but it was quite quick to do as I just have to re-capture the same video footages (with the mobile version, so with on-screen controls) and apply the same effects. The part with the level editor is gone of course and it is replaced with a 2d mode footage. Other than that it looks a lot like the Greenlight trailer

logo_mobile

 

Mobile release

Lasts tests were successful, just a small glitch in High Quality mode (so I will upload and test a new beta) other than that it seems fine. I will upload it to all platforms soon, it will take a few hours for some to be available and a few days for others (even more if rejected for any reason, can happen because of small mistakes…).

I will make a full post (sort of PR) when everything is published.

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Alien Blitz: checkpoints, level up, ready ?

Checkpoints

Checkpoints have changed a bit, when used (when player dies and a checkpoint was activated) they will restore monsters health (those that are still alive of course) depending on difficulty level

  • 0% in easy
  • 25% in normal
  • 50% in hard
  • 75% in nightmare

It applies to bosses of course… but percentages are smaller (0%, 10%, 25%, 50%)

 

Level up

Level up has been a bit simplified, player will just gain one point now, but when applied it will work as if 3 points were used, making it quicker to assign points.

 

Ready ?

As always when I do tests I find some small stuff to change, but I think that should be it for now, I will build a new beta with all changes from last days, test it, and maybe it will be the release version.

 

capture_2014-10-12_14-24-12_0408_Alien_Blitz_

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Alien Blitz: updated LibGdx, chekpoint, difficulty

Updated LibGdx

I’ve updated LibGdx to 1.4.1 along with all dependencies (robovm and such). It makes the game work on iOs 8 & iPhone 6 (I don’t know if it was working before or not, I still haven’t updated my iPod touch, I just tested it on simulator)

I had lots of problems with this update, basically if you want to update an existing project just create a new one, and compare every files (robovm.xml, all gradle files,….). I also had to manually change the library files on iOs (build/libs folder).
And there were also some changes in UI stuff apparently, as there was some misplaced buttons, but it was quickly fixed anyway.

 

Checkpoint

I’ve updated the way checkpoints work, now in easy & normal mode they will automatically activate when near them, and they are free.

The behavior does not change in hard & nightmare (you have to manually activate them as they cost some money).

capture_2014-10-11_17-57-41_0200_Alien_Blitz_

 

Difficulty

Lava & poison

Lava & poison now deal a percentage of your max life as damage and the effect lasts more or less time depending on player level. It does not change behavior that much at high level (at level 50 it’s about the same time/damage as now), but at low level it makes things easier.

capture_2014-10-11_17-57-52_0430_Alien_Blitz_

 

First monsters

“Brownie” and “blue can” will now deal less damages (makes first levels easier).

 

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Alien Blitz: GPU memory, iOs, release date

Graphical memory usage

As always it is important to check the memory usage of games, especially on mobile.

I regularly check “classic” memory usage, it’s easy with tools such as jvisualvm, and it can be done very quickly.

But GPU memory is always a bit tedious, on my computer I need to close eclipse to switch to the nvidia card (bumblebee, as I can’t find this information on the Intel card) and check if memory usage change with nvidia-settings. So I didn’t check it for quite some time and began being suspicious about the new 3d stuff. And indeed I wasn’t freeing the meshes used for the voxel terrain, so on every new level GPU memory usage was increasing.

Furthermore I had problems on iOs, where the memory is more limited, so I decided to clean up memory usage.
Now less fonts instance are loaded, and the big background images (map selection, main menu background) are loaded only when they are needed and unloaded afterwards (it means menus are a bit longer to load now, just a few milliseconds). I also optimized some small stuff.
Globally the game now uses two times less GPU memory, for a total of around 50mb (depends on level size) on my computer (for the mobile low quality version), 20mb being used by LibGdx/OpenGL apparently (allocated at startup). And it uses 3mb less “classic” memory (for around a 25mb total)

 

iOs

As I said I had some problems on iOs due to limited memory (even after correcting mesh problems), I don’t know why they happened, maybe I was just using too much memory, or maybe some memory isn’t freed correctly (everything seems correct on PC, but I cannot diagnose that easily on iOs). So I might have fully corrected the problem, or just postponed it (ie the game might crash after playing a few levels, a restart fixes it, but that’s not very nice).

I will continue testing, I have some other ideas to free even more memory if necessary (such as switching to texture mapping instead of per-vertice for terrain lighting, I don’t like that because we will loose details and smoothness).

 

Release date

I had some other problems lately: one of my screens died (farewell 223bw… you’ve been very helpful through these years) and my external drive crashed too.

That and the above problems mean release will be postponed a bit, next week should be good.

capture_2014-10-10_16-53-29_0652_Alien_Blitz_

 

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Alien Blitz: iOs, trailer

iOs

I have completed tests on iOs, everything seems to be fine.

2014-10-08 23.09.01

There are some lags on my iPod Touch in crowded areas, but it’s still playable (mainly frameskip, sometimes slow down if too many frameskips). Most of the time it’s fine, lags occur mainly in big rooms with lots of enemies / bullets.
So I guess it should run perfectly on iPhone 5S & iPhone 6, that will be the minimum recommended devices for 3d (but it won’t be disabled on lower end devices).

I will try to perform some tests on an iPhone 5 soon.

I said it before, but I will say it again: Libgdx + robovm = awesome stuff :)

 

Trailer

Before release I need to work on a new trailer, again, for Alien Blitz on mobile (in 3d this time)… The bad news is that a faulty network mount on my nexus 10 caused a lot of data to be deleted on my computer, and of course all the footage for the Greenlight trailer were lost in the process :( I have to do it all over again… And I hate working on video stuffs…

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Alien Blitz: camera changes & monsters, new beta

Camera changes & monsters

A friend reported some troubles with zoom level and distinguishing monsters, so I made a few changes :

  • The camera zoom in/out according to room size has been improved, it is now closer and responds better to changes
  • When there is some action the camera will automatically zoom out (up to a maximum) to either the farthest monsters shooting at the player or to the monster the player is shooting at.
  • The monsters are brighter
  • The monsters are bigger

For the last two points here is a before/after comparison

capture_2014-10-08_15-00-27_0800_Alien_Blitz_ capture_2014-10-08_15-17-51_0203_Alien_Blitz_

 

New beta

A new beta has been pushed to the play store, tests continue…

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Alien Blitz 3d: first build (mobile)

First build (mobile)

The first builds (free & full versions) have been uploaded as beta version on Google Play, they seem to work fine so far but I have to wait for them to be deployed for actual tests.

I had to remove the music sadly as apk was over the file size limit, it might come back later as an expansion pack if asked.

The network related permissions of the full version have been removed as I don’t use them. They are still in the free version because of ads.

So basically the only permission asked is the permission to vibrate the phone, that’s all!

I expect the release version to be deployed by the end of the week on all usual platforms (Google Play, Amazon, IGS, App store, this website).

capture_2014-10-07_17-54-38_0060_Alien_Blitz_

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