Developer diary

Alien Blitz: cleanup, Alien Mayhem: integrating

Alien Blitz: cleanup

Made lots of small changes to the potential future version of Alien Blitz on PC, mainly because they were standing in my todo-list for too long and I needed to clean it up:

  • Aim assist is now configurable (not used when using mouse to aim, only when using keyboard-only or controller)
  • Improved options, made a nice list box to select resolution
  • Camera is a bit farther on PC, and a bit slower to adapt (works better on PC like that)
  • Barrels explode more quickly on PC (as it doesn’t matter if it makes more calculation in a short time)
  • Some bug correction specific to the PC version

 

Alien Mayhem: integrating

I’ve decided to give a try to adapting Alien Mayhem to the new engine, without forking it… I guess I have some work to do now:

capture_2014-10-24_15-27-02_0810_Java_AlienMayhem_core_src_com_microbasic_am_generi

Only 849 errors left to correct… (most of them are just messing with imports, but some are more tricky)

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Alien Blitz 3d – release began, Alien Mayhem ?

Alien Blitz – release began

I’ve finally began releasing the new version of Alien Blitz, it is now available on Google Play and this website (if coming from Desura). I will update it soon on Indie Game Stand, but I’d like to write a small newsletter for this first with a link to the greenlight page.

I’m performing some last tests on iOs, I have some problem debuging with new iOs 8, but the game seems to work fine… So I will send it soon for review…

The update will be live soon on Amazon also, but no one bought it there, so there’s no rush…

bossfights

There will be a specific news when all is released.

 

Alien Mayhem

I had a game based on Alien Blitz 2d called Alien Mayhem (technical name, not the final name) that I never released (I wanted to finish other stuff on Alien Blitz first) but which was almost completed.

It was a mix between a tower defense and Alien Blitz, so:

  • Waves of enemies
  • Turrets to buy, place and upgrade
  • Weapons to upgrade
  • Combo system (kill fast)
  • Player you control
  • Player has to help turrets, go on the field and shoot
  • Player has to pick up money where enemies died
  • Player has some special abilities

And some other features:

  • 11 heroes to unlock
  • 51 maps + 3 tutorial maps
  • Random waves mode

Capture d'écran - 28012014 - 17_39_44

It was supposed to be a free to play, with the story mode free (20 maps, 5 heroes IIRC) and more maps + random waves + more heroes + no ads to be unlocked with a unique fee.

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Technically the game was working on a fork of Alien Blitz, so it doesn’t include any of the new features (such as 3d), and it was using an HTML / JavaScript UI for menus.

So if I want to publish it I need to implement the features I added in this game back in current Alien Blitz engine (and not fork it, to hard to maintain), add the missing models (new monsters and new sprites), re-do the UI from scratch (thankfully it wasn’t too complex), and check if I can get all libraries to work on both Android and iOs (ads is ok, Game Center / Google Games is ok, IAP I don’t know)

Capture d'écran - 28012014 - 17_29_50

I am not 100% sure I will work on it, but it seems like a good idea as gameplay was solid and a lot of the work is already done…

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Alien Blitz: easier, bug correction

Easier (mobile)

I made the game easier on mobile version, monsters have 3/4 health and deal 3/4 damage… I did this mostly because it’s harder to play and move on a virtual stick and because most people don’t expect a mobile game to be too hard.

But if you want more challenge just use the hard difficulty mode, or try to reach the secret level of episode 1 quickly to enable nightmare mode.

 

Bug correction

Some more bug correction: it was possible in some circumstances to have negative money after buying upgrades and some monsters could have a negative level.

The good news is that next release should be really bug free, the bad news is that it is being constantly reported.

 

tonsofbullets

 

 

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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.

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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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