Januari 2016 blog archive

This page contains all the blog posts from january 2016. To read the most recent blog posts, click here.

31/01 - testing wrap up

At this rate, i'm expecting the testing to be concluded within the week. That means there's a good chance the beta patch will be out late next week, or early the week after that, if no new problems occur.

Since most of the testing has been automatic, i've had some extra spare time. The 'explore' part of the game is slowly coming together, though i can't say yet when i can start implementing it. There are also a few new ideas for events, which are to be added in the future. I've also set up a new website for my music projects here : www.nulll.net/udom/

24/01 - testing the beta patch

I'm running out of things to talk about - even though HD3 is getting closer to beta release, the last few things that remain to be done aren't very exciting. With that in mind, i'm considering posting an update once every two weeks, instead of every week.

HD3 has been in automatic testing for almost a week now, but two persistent & rare bugs still remain. I'm hoping to fix these soon, though due to their rarity, i might released the beta patch with these in the game, seeing how the patch itself is otherwise complete.

I'm not pinning the beta release on a fixed date just yet. At this point, a fixed date doesn't really matter, as there has been no promotion done for HD3 anyway. A few things that are planned in that regard are better off with a functional beta in any case.

17/01 - preparing beta patch

I've temporarily stopped working on the 'Xyth Mercenaries' game and went back to HD3. Xyth Mercenaries would need a bit more work before it can be released, and i'm not sure the game is worth releasing in its current state.

The HD3 beta patch contains a lot of changes behind the scenes. There will be a new error and message logging system with better performance. Many messages that were being logged have been removed as they only served a purpose for specific alpha tests that have been completed a while ago already.
There are also several minor bug fixes and performance improvements everywhere. I also updated the code in many places to make it easier to work with in case there are future upgrades. While working on the game during the alpha, code gets changed often to work with large, new mechanics that are added. There are several places in the game where the code wasn't very efficient since it relied on things that were still going to be added, and when those other elements were finally added, the original code wasn't always cleaned up. This doesn't affect performance in any detectable way, but it makes it easier to read the code, which matters when things need to be changed or upgraded.

I'll also have a look at the mercenary bosses for the 'Mercenaries' game mode. Only a small number of these have hardcoded stats, while the rest are being filled in by the custom boss generator. Providing proper hardcoded data for the 200+ bosses that still need it isn't planned, since it would take a lot of work. Instead, i'm trying to figure out if the custom generator can be used to create temporary bosses.

10/01 - wiki updates

The HD3 section of the wiki has received some updates recently. As with previous HD games, pages have been added for cards and various card lists.

For the first HD game, each card page was created manually. There weren't as many cards (some 280 i think) back then, but it still took a while to write all these pages. The card images were created from in-game screenshots, so this was also something that had to be repeated many times.
Not much changed between HD 1 and HD spectrum, so most of the card pages remained in effect.

With HD Xyth, a lot of new cards were added, bringing the total close to 500. Not looking forward to writing that many card pages, i wrote some code that was part of the game to create the texts for the pages. These texts were then copy/pasted into the wiki (still one page at a time). This made the whole process faster, also because the cardlists were created automatically. For the card images, i still had to take screenshots in-game however.

Eventually, for HD3, i managed to speed up the process even more. It takes less than 10 minutes now to generate all the pages, images and lists. All i have to manually, is upload everything to the wiki. Again, some additional code exists in HD3 that reads the card data and turns it into card pages right away. This code also forces the game to create a card popup for each card, which then also gets saved as an image file. In total, the game creates 1023 files (card pages, card images, card lists) which are about 36 MB in total.
Even though the code that does this is part of the game, it only functions in my test client, so regular players won't have to worry about the game generating a ton of files for them. The reason this is part of the game is because all the information about cards is not only part of the game, but if a card were to be updated, the first place that will reflect the changes will obviously be the game itself. So whenever the stats of a card change, or new cards are added, i simply run this piece of code again and i'll have an updated set of files for the wiki.

03/01 - plans for 2016

Planning is generally flexible - i don't bother with forcing myself to complete things on a specific day or within a certain amount of time. I never had any planning for HD3, for instance. Instead, i have a list of things that still need to be done, where each entry gets broken down in a number of steps, depending on the complexity of what needs to be done. Then i just go through this list and get things done. So, when i talk about plans for 2016, it'll be mainly a general idea of things i'd like to, and might end up doing.

HD3 : obviously, work on HD3 will continue. The game will go into beta relatively soon, then i'll start working on the most urgent remaining features.

Other games : once HD3 is well into beta, i'll stop working on this game full-time, i.e. every day. I might get started on another game once the more complex remaining mechanics of HD3 are finished. One thing i'd really like to get started on is an RPG.

Writing : The first draft for Xyth Era 1 was completed a while ago, then i left the whole thing for a few months before starting on cleaning up that draft. The cleaned up version has been completed several months ago, so again, i'm taking a break from working on this for a bit. In the near future, i'll have another look at the book, to see what else can be improved or needs to be changed. If i'm happy with it at that point, i might release it, else it'll be put aside for a few months before doing yet another revision.

Music : I haven't written anything in almost 5 years. I did work on a few smaller things over that period of time, but nothing serious. I'd like to get started again, and this might happen very soon.

Other than that, as usual, there will be improvisation where needed.