Archive for December, 2009

Smiles New Years Sale (and more)!

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

It’s that time of year again. We did it last year, and we’re doing it again for 2010.

The New Year App Blowout.

Yours truly has put all 3 Smiles games on for New Years. Grab it while it’s cheap.

Smiles Zen$0.99 (Was $1.99)
Smiles Drop$0.99 (Was $1.99)
Smiles$1.99 (Was $2.99) – Contains both Zen and Drop

Of course, Smiles isn’t the only thing on sale. Check out the New Year App Blowout site for more great games and apps discounted for the new year.

I was 4th place

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

As the title suggests, I came 4th place with Smiles Zen (in Italian).

Hey, isn't that Fluffy art from the Blender movie?

Hey, isn't that Fluffy art from the Blender movie?

I imagine the English versions will be available soon. Samsung’s approval department might be taking xmas off though. 😉

Happy Holidays folks!

Another Port

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Well, I can relax now. 🙂

I have the results back from the Samsung contest, but I can’t say how that went … yet. There’s supposed to be a proper winners announcement deal on SamsungApps Thursday, so if I have anything to add, I’ll do it then.

So that’s one thing off my mind.

The other thing off my mind is Intel’s contest. Netbook ports were due today, the same day as the results for Samsung. So it was an… ahem… interesting night for me (that involved me omitting sleep).

I sent off my initial port around noon, the deadline being 6 PM my time. There was some confusion about how entering actually worked. I got caught up in the mistakes some people on the forum had made, so there was a good 5 hours of completely irrelevant stress mixed in. I’m tired, I’m allowed to be confused. 😀

How about some pics?

Smiles Drop, now with rotation buttons

Smiles Drop, now with rotation buttons

Avalanche with extra "Good Job, you lost!"

Avalanche with extra "Good Job, you lost!"

There’s a whole bunch of new things to talk about. I’m looking forward to some R&R, so I’ll be brief.

8×8 Playfield – This one made it in to the Omnia II version of the game too. The iPhone version featured a slightly larger 9×8 playfield, which meant ordinary games lasted a long time. Now with the 8×8, games are much quicker. Spend 5-15 minutes on a round, instead of 15-25.

Rotation Buttons – Now that the playfield is square, it can be freely reoriented without distortion. So that’s how the PC game gets around the fact that it doesn’t have an motion sensor (accelerometer). Windows 7 was supposed to add support to the OS, but I don’t have a 7 machine (or a non phone with an accelerometer) yet to test it with.

Wider Aspect Ratio – Since the buttons needed room, the virtual rectangle the game lives in had to grow. The game is scaled to fit whatever shape screen it end up on. The backgrounds are generated, so they feature enough filler to fill some of the weirder Netbook screen resolutions (Sony P-Series’s 1600×768). On the agenda is to properly support tall aspect ratios, since the game is already capable of reshaping how it plays.

720p Artwork – Though I do have 1080p ready assets, they’re not necessary for Netbooks. Though Netbooks don’t generally do 720p resolution, I have come across an Acer model that’s 1366×768 (i.e. higher than 1280×720). Either way, this PC version bundles the 720p Assets, so it’ll look nice and crisp on one of those, or even low resolution MID’s.

Touch Screen and Mouse Cursor detection – In practice, the only real way to tell the difference between a mouse and touch screen is that a touch screen doesn’t have hover events. Wacom pens do, but not touch screens. So when the game detects motion events, it shows a mouse cursor. If that cursor sits idle for a while, it hides it. That way, the game will function systems that do both mouse and touch. Eventually I’ll add a configuration option to pick which mode you prefer (or just leave it on Automatic).

So all that, plus many bugfixes that I can’t even remember half of them. One such fix is the placement of the Achievements and the thing I call “The Tony Hawk Score Popup”. On the iPhone version they overlap, so you can’t read them both at the same time. Several little things like that.

There’s still much to do. This version of the game was tuned to the Netbook experience. Automatically full-screening, lack of accelerometer, etc. That means I actually broke a few things in the game code, but not things you’d normally be able to see. This project crunch, like the Omnia II one was about getting the game working in several new platform configurations. So when I’m ready to get back to work, I have a whole bunch of code to reorganize in some unified fashion. Casualties of past month include my Linux build, which doesn’t even work anymore. Both recent ports required Visual Studio ingenuity, so I certainly let a few normally portable aspects slip.

A feature I cut from my TODO list was the configuration menu, which I consider necessary for a proper PC build. Some people might like playing in a Window, to force the tall orientation (even if there’s no motion sensor), or disable some automatic behavior feature of mine. The code’s all there to do this, it just needs to be cleaned up so it knows to do this automatically.

Now I’ve surely forgotten something, but that’s alright. The crunch is over (for now). I’ll be taking some time to rest now.


A Port and a Compo

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Wow. To say the last 3 weeks have been busy would be an understatement.

First of all, I ported Smiles to a new phone. The Samsung Omnia II, a Windows Mobile phone with a beautiful amoled screen and a custom GPU. Some photos.

What's Windows without a Registry Editor

What's Windows without a Registry Editor

Some Avalanche... a little blury though.

Some Avalanche... a little blury though.

Itz-a me!  Zen in Italiano!

Itz-a me! Zen in Italiano!

For those keeping score, the game unfortunately runs a little slow on the Omnia II. It’s definitely playable, but the GPU is no PowerVR SGX. I did what I could in the time I had, optimized my shaders and all that, but it’s what it is. I’ll post some videos later once I have more platforms to compare.

I’ll come back to this.

– – – –

Next is Ludum Dare 16, which was this past weekend. Amazingly, we got 121 entries this time, and it’s December!? Historically, December is always our slowest compo, but 121 is just 2 less than April.

Now, I don’t really know what happened, but 2009 has been an incredible year for Ludum Dare. In August of 2008 we ended the silly “constantly moving” game we’ve played over the years, and returned to Our entries for that and the next were average (I think 60-70 each, I’ll have to do some digging to get all the numbers). But 2009 hit and we’ve been setting records ever since.

I’d like to find some time before the new year to write up a proper retrospective of 2009. Voting ends January 3rd, so it’d be a fitting thing to have for then. We’ll see.

– – – –

But the crunch has only just begun.

Next on my agenda is to finish-up the Italian build of Smiles Drop. Yes, in case you didn’t notice, the Zen shot above is in Italian (but please ignore the word UNDO, k-thx-bye!). The Samsung ports I did for a contest held by Samsung. They wanted builds in both English and Italian, and I was able to deliver 3 of 4 (Zen and Drop standalone, no bundle). The Zen Italian build I finished and submitted 10 minutes before the deadline. If I had 2 more hours, I could have finished Drop too. Ah well. All that’s left is to fix is a couple lines of text that are too long, and to package it up.

After that, the crunch continues. I’d like to finish a Netbook version of Smiles by the 20th, or at least power through this features todo list I have in front of me. That’s the plan anyways.

After that, I guess I can take a few days off. 😉

So fun fun. Back to the grind.