Developer diary

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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Alien Blitz: bug correction, weapon switch, zoom, testing

Bug correction

Lots of small glitches corrected lately, mainly on 3d stuff, but some old stuff were also corrected.
For example there was an old bug with homing missile that could sometimes get slowed down a lot when there was an important height difference, it is now corrected and they behave correctly.

 

Weapon switch

Up to now you could switch weapons while they were reloading, it was intended, but I’ve decided to remove that when in hard or nightmare difficulty.

So in easy & normal you can fire a slow reloading weapon and immediately switch to another while the previous one is reloading. It is not possible anymore in hard & nightmare.

 

Zoom

I’ve added a small zooming feature on mobile, you can zoom out by double-tapping the screen (or double right-click on PC). It is a temporary zoom out, it will revert to normal after a few seconds.

To avoid problem and as it was useless anyway it is not possible anymore to shoot using touch screen, but it is still possible to lock an enemy.

2014-10-06 14.07.16 2014-10-06 14.07.21

 

Testing

Everything seems to be ready for release, so now all I need is to do the usual tests:

  • Make sure everything works on all my test devices
  • Make a full 100% run (probably cheated & on PC)
  • Make sure special features such as gamepad still work
  • Release a beta on Google Play, and make sure it still works

I will release the Google Play version first as it is quicker, it will ensure it works before releasing iOs version.

 

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Alien Blitz 3d: high quality option, new game +

High quality option

The high quality option is now completed

capture_2014-10-02_11-18-01_0973_Alien_Blitz_

It is disabled by default on mobile, and enabled on PC. It will not have exactly the same effect on both platforms, on PC there are more details in either case.

On mobile it will:

  • Activate opacity & color effects on sprites, making everything look a bit better
  • Enable dynamic lighting (limited to 30 fps, so it will look worse than PC)
  • Increase maximum particle count  from 50 to 100 (on PC is is a lot more)
  • Increase details of the fog of war (smoother)
  • Activate some particle effects (on lights and such)
  • Increase slightly viewport size

 

New game +

The nightmare difficulty mode is now clearly marked as new game +.

capture_2014-10-02_12-03-25_0637_Alien_Blitz_

The difficulty selection popup will now be displayed again after completing the game in easy, normal or hard. It is still possible to get access to nightmare mode earlier on by completing secret level of episode 1 (doesn’t make sense but could help speedrun of nightmare mode)

In nightmare the monster level is not anymore linked to the player level, but only to the preset level (because basically the end levels were harder if the player was level 70 than if he was level 60 due to exponential characteristics of the monsters, now they will be hard for everyone)

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Alien Blitz 3d: performance on mobile (update)

Performance on mobile (update)

I managed to improve FPS by optimizing some small stuff and mainly by removing some effects on Sprite.

Basically there’s no more color effect on sprites, it means monsters won’t be darker in darker areas, shadows are solid black now, and other changes. It doesn’t apply for the main character, the mecha will still be darker in dark places and change color depending on running power ups.
Since all this is around  a 5 fps gain and all these features will be on PC, it is ok. Maybe I’ll add a quality option on mobile too.

As for the tests:

  • Samsung GS3 (with power save on): 27fps
  • Nexus 7 (2012): 28fps
  • iPod touch: 17fps

On the GS3 it’s not a stable 27fps, it’s something between 24 and 30fps, but it should be good enough.

I will have to do a full run of the game on the GS3 to make sure FPS is ok everywhere, but seems good so far.

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Alien Blitz 3d: Mobile, low quality option, performance on mobile

Mobile

I’ve changed my mind… again… I will still try to release a 3d version of Alien Blitz on mobile 🙂

It’s a long time I didn’t work on it, so there are some glitches to correct, and I’ll try to optimize stuff.

Mobile version will be more limited of course:

  • Lower quality (see below)
  • Less “smart” AI
  • No level editor
  • No game mods
  • 30 fps

I think this can help Greenlight if people can have a pick at what it might look like.

 

Low quality

I’ve added a low quality option, it will be always activated on mobile, and will be selectable on PC (for very low end PC).

Limitations of low quality mode are (on PC):

  • No dynamic lighting
  • Less particles
  • Less terrain update
  • Other small things

Low quality on PC will be for very low-end devices such as netbooks.

 

Performance on mobile

I’ve set-up a “typical” resource intensive automated environment, the player gets teleported near monsters (including 2 bosses), they awake and start shooting, a static seed is used for RNG in order to get the same behavior every time. During 30 seconds FPS are recorded and average FPS is displayed.

Here are the current results:

  • Samsung GS 3 (power save mode): 21fps
  • Samsung GS 3: 25fps
  • Sony Xperia Ray: 10fps
  • Nexus 7 (2012): 25fps
  • Nexus 10: 29fps
  • iPod Touch: 12fps

At around 20fps it will not slow down the game as most engines run at 15fps and use position interpolation for frames in-between, but as some frames are lost so it will seem less smooth.

I think I need to get around 25-30 fps on the GS3 with power save mode on, and around 20fps on the iPod touch (which means it will run smoothly on more recent devices). If I can get these results I will release 3d on mobile (older devices will have to use 2d mode)

 

 

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Alien Blitz 3d: Greenlight, Desura, Android

Greenlight

I’ve continued working on small stuff lately, and I’ve been quite sick, so I’m late on schedule, which doesn’t matter that much as my next freelance contract is also late.

The first render of the trailer for Alien Blitz PC on Greenlight is completed, I will now check if everything is fine and make changes accordingly

greelight.mp4

This video uses the same music as the previous trailer I made, taken from game musics.

It’s a bit more “feature-oriented” than the last trailer, meaning I tried to show some of the features (level editor, weapons, upgrades) along with short gameplay footage.

I will now work on screenshots, logos, and texts, I need to make everything “perfect” for publishing, as most of the viewers will see the page within the first few hours on Greenlight.

If everything goes well I should be able to publish the Greenlight page next week.

 

Desura

As I said before this version won’t be released on Desura, even if it fails Greenlight, I don’t think it’s worth it, and furthermore I don’t really like the way Desura is going with them removing linux support (can’t be downloaded anymore as far as I know).

But If it is greenlighted it will be possible for Snorms buyers to get Alien Blitz Steam keys on Desura/IGS (if still possible).

 

Android

For the moment Alien Blitz is not planned anymore to be in 3d on Android devices, I will probably update it in 2d as I made some gameplay changes, but that’s all for the moment.

I will consider adding 3d later on (lower quality than PC version), depending on demand.

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