Shifty's new game brings console level control to touch-screens. Beta testers wanted

Discussion in 'Console Gaming' started by Shifty Geezer, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Huge thanks! I'll enquire on the fora.
    Seems like it might be a known issue (Android Oreo not working) that's been patched in later Unity's. Making the switch from 5.6.1 is something I've to do. I'll try that on the weekend maybe. Very close to getting procedural levels in. Star map is working nicely.

    Image1.jpg
     
    #121 Shifty Geezer, Oct 5, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
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  2. JPT

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    I tried what Turkey said and checked the permissions. When I enabled the two ones, it worked just fine.

    I am also on Android 8.0.0 and the September 5th patch.

    If you want screenshots of the permissions before I changed them I can send them or post them somewhere.
     
  3. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    That's okay. It seems it's a Unity thing and it'll be addressed when I upgrade or patch. That's the bugger with Android!
     
  4. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    I'm surprised no-one's complained about the crap AI! Noticed the enemies spent far too much time running away and eliminated a couple of bugs today so they put up more of a fight.
     
  5. Cyan

    Cyan orange
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    is it available in the windows 10 store?
     
  6. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Not yet. Steam only on PC. I need to get a decent enough game for those who have bought the thing first before expanding to new territories; it'd be poor form to take their money and leave them with the current anaemic build wondering when they'll get the promised updates.
     
  7. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Finally got it out the door! Woohoo! :steamhappy: Out on both Steam and Android.

    Version 0.5 is the first step of Iteration 2, being a more fleshed out and solid version of ionAXXIA. There's procedural levels and star maps which are the precursor to the strategic sub-game to come next. AI is much improved and can be punishing on anything other than easy difficulty, which is where using your special abilities and scenery comes in. Component upgrades are in so you can increase things like engine speed, weapon range, damage, hull health, allowing you take on tougher challenges.

    There's still some engine work to do and no doubt a few bugs have still managed to sneak through despite god-knows how many hours playing and fixing and playing and fixing and playing and fixing...

    However, I'm in a position now where updates should be far more frequent. Each change - moving to a better sprite system to allow larger ships, adding secondary abilities to the enemy ships, creating the strategic sub-game, adding more content - should be rolled out as they happen. The contrary to that is more Day Job workload so less development momentum.
     
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  8. Silent_Buddha

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    Everytime I look at footage of this game, I can't help but wish there'd be a proper sequel to Star Control 2. :) That's high praise, as Star Control 2 is easily in my top games of all time.

    Regards,
    SB
     
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  9. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Part way through I really lost momentum between life and work commitments because it wasn't fun to play and I wasn't sure whether it was an arena shooter or a proper SC 1-v-1 game. The lack of enemies having special abilities was a large part of that. When I finally got my head around my original plan, and not the changed plan (excepting that I changed back to the original plan), of recreating Star Control's strategy game that no-one remembers it got a lot easier. Plus adding a difficulty adjuster. Getting balance right was tedious, and then the slider idea just made it that much easier to get something between challenge and frustration and the core fun returned.

    I'm going to add a 'classic' mode in the procedural level creation that just creates a simple space with one small, central planet, for the purists.
     
    #129 Shifty Geezer, Apr 15, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
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  10. Cyan

    Cyan orange
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    haven't seen it on Steam. I searched a couple of weeks ago but I haven't found it.
     
  11. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Should appear as ionAXXIA. Or a link,of course.


    There's a killer bug though! Can't play past the tutorials; the screen goes black. A user posted this bug on 14th April but I didn't get any notification and only happened to chance on their message a few days ago so it's been two+ weeks unplayable :(. Found the fix last night and should roll out a patch today.

    Also, release notes didn't mention keyboard controls were in. Use 'Controller' in put. Hard coded to WASD and cursor keys plus Shifit and Ctrl for now.

    'Upgrading' to Unity 2017 is complete, bringing no benefits. The new sprite atlasing and management system doesn't support atlasing of normal maps, making it unusable. Still, I can get onto major improvements now, crossing my fingers nothing else (like Google Play integration) is broken.
     
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  12. Cyan

    Cyan orange
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    ah okay, hope that all of that gets sorted out. Got it already. I lent my tablet to my best friend, and she should return it whenever she wants, but I wasn't planning to play it on the tablet but on my laptop so it's fine.

    As for Unity, I have completed reading my first Unity book. Pretty cool stuff, although some things are broken -newbie style- in the game I've built (because of experiments I made). It is the learning process I am most interested in, so I am happy.

    I started a new Unity book, in the subject I love the most aside from building games... AI for games in Unity -well, AI in general I like-. Probably too advanced stuff for a second book, I still need to hone my Unity skills overall.

    Next project is getting into 3D in Unity -I started with 2D development-. A 3D version of a classic Sega arcade machine called Typing of the Dead:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Typing_of_the_Dead

    In regards to Unity... 2018 version is out, I have the 2017 version already, it's how I started.

    Isn't your game a 3D game? I thought so... I mean, I didnt expect sprites in the 3D engine -new to Unity so I am not sure what I am talking about-, and your game looks more like it has textures rather than sprites, there are some cool lighting effects going on.
     
  13. Shifty Geezer

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    fixed the bug but found others play-testing it. :( Some are hard to deal with as they're inconsistent and don't appear in the editor when playing, only in the build. So after play-testing to death in the editor, you still have to test in the final build, and then get grumpy when weird things happen, like particle-systems turning invisible when you wrap around the screen...

    Don't be tempted to upgrade to the latest Unity when it comes out. Many projects will start on a Unity and stick with it to the end unless you need features. Upgrading Unity can introduce all sorts of headaches. I had my post effect fail because of a change in how post-effects work and no documentation on it, and a bunch of textures had their settings changed so what I thought was a problem with drawing sprites turned out to be a deactivation of mip-maps for some random textures.

    Technically, all games are 3D in Unity and many engines. 2D is just flat ploygons layered. Each quad (or even 2D shaped mesh) is called a sprite and has a texture to simulate the old bobs and sprites from yesteryear. Unity introduced them a few years back. Before then, when this game's first prototype was started, I just used a 3D 'quad' and did the 2D 'unofficially' as many games did. The 3D effect comes from a normal map, and it's so very convincing! I've a main light and a fill light. I also baked some AO into the sprites which provides a lot of depth.

    Image1.png


    Image2.png

    The rocks and anything that rotates in 3 dimensions are 3D objects. The end result is something that looks pretty good, doesn't suffer jaggies too much, and runs well on a Nexus 7 2013 just shading a few pixels, because the sprites are tiny so the pixel shader workload for normal maps, which Unity claims expensive on mobile devices, is easily in range of mobile performance.
     
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  14. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Couple of significant updates.

    A new release went out a month ago that brings much better playability. Enemies have secondary abilities, better smarts (although they're still bugged), and hopefully, save tweaks and bug fixes, I won't have to delve into the mechanics of the game much any more and can focus on content. I do need to rewrite the forces and max speed resolution though.

    Secondly, I've discovered Steam's Beta package options, so Steam owners can subscribe to that and get more frequent updates. Just rolled out are the beginnings of the new tactical game that forms the backbone for the whole thing.

    [​IMG]

    It's pretty much a rehash of Star Control one's tactical map as I felt that played so well and it's a perfect fit for pick-up-and-play short game sessions. There are also opportunities to have the ship designs influence tactical-map performance, making the design decisions far more meaningful than they presently are.

    Over the next week I'll be finishing this off. Each star can be developed with a mine, outpost, or fortification. Mines generate cash per turn; outposts allow you to repair ships and increase the maximum cash stores; and fortifications prevent enemies passing and increase scanning range. All subject to change, but that's the current plan. The mechanics of all this won't take long. Poking around with the AI might take a bit longer, but I'll keep it simple at first.

    [​IMG]
    Oh, I tried to build for Android but it wasn't having it. Seems a Java update has broken something again, and I'm still on the outdated tools (Eclipse) which weren't updating. So I'll have to update my entire Android build toolset to update the public Android beta, which I decided to put off until the tactical map was complete.
     
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  15. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    There's a notable update out today. The tactical map game is pretty complete save tweaking. I'm pleased that the game has reached a point where it's fun to play and shows where it's headed. I have to admit, I completely forgot I had a Beta branch on Steam I could have been updating! :embarrased: After the last update, I focussed on the Android build and then modifying a bit here and a bit there until, months later, I had a new release. For anyone who hasn't played it in a while, I'd be very appreciative of some feedback and any ideas.

    Image1.jpg

    I feel it's got to a point where it's worth getting onto UWP and XBox. The next step for that will be adding full controller support for navigating the menus. However, development is going to be mostly on hold for a while now as I have other stuff to bother about. Might manage some little updates though. Definitely want some ambient soundtrack during the tactical map, like the old 4X games of the 90s had.

     
  16. Cyan

    Cyan orange
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    what do you mean by 4X games?
     
  17. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    Explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate. Civ etc.
     
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  18. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    A spate of space empire games from the 90s like Master of Orion and Ascendency and Galactic Civilisations. DSoup gave the definition.
     
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  19. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Long awaited epic update

    [​IMG]

    After a totally unexpected silence, I'm back with the most significant update yet. 0.6.3 introduces the galactic map that brings the whole game experience together. Plot a course of discovery through the galaxy. Each star can be played either as a strategy game through the star-system, or a straight forward fight to the death (Super Melee in StarControl terms).

    [​IMG]

    One of the major issues with this Early Access process has been a real lack of content variety for you guys, for which I'm sorry. Until the core systems were in place, I couldn't start adding more aliens and ship components.

    [​IMG]

    The joyous news is that those systems should now be finished. So this update sees the introduction of a new weapon, the cluster missile, and three varied enemies. The cluster missile showcases the varied firing mechanics - fire once to launch and a second time to detonate and release the multiple warheads, while the three new enemies each have some peculiar tricks which I can make available in future ship components.

    [​IMG]

    Going forwards, the primary concerns are game structure and economy. How do people want to unlock components? I'm thinking to have them hidden throughout the galaxy, perhaps in unique enemies that have that component. Choice of star route through the galaxy should be made to accumulate resources ahead of taking on harder challenges. How much you get paid for a victory is an important balancing act and one that needs feedback.

    ---

    One of the hardest things at this point is actually the repetition of the playing! The game mechanics themselves are now becoming really good. Just like Star Control, there's a rock-paper-scissors aspect to ship pairings, and where you have a bad pairing, your skill as a pilot counts to make the most of it (hmm, I'd better remove the retreat option from melee mode...). So I end up enjoying the encounters, but having to play over and over and over for testing and balancing is kinda exhausting. Not physically, but just wanting a break from the game. So much has changed that I need to make a new trailer. I've hooked up the Elgato capture unit to the Surface Pro, but just can't bring myself to play it at the moment! Might need to take a break 'til next week.

    If you have a copy in your Steam library and haven't played in ages, on account of the game being a bit pants, please do take another look and provide feedback on how you feel it ought to go. There are lots of tweaks I can make to how the strategy game and galaxy economies work and I need suggestions!
     
    #139 Shifty Geezer, Apr 26, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
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  20. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Another update. Economy is 'done' barring tweaks. You've a pool of Monies which you budget for completing a star system, and the less you use, the bigger the wins, promoting the creation of your own super-efficient strategies that work for you. There are a few more components too including some odder weapons and specials. Also, big, deep, heartfelt story! The new intro trailer, based rather unsubtly on a classic 90s intro, explains all, and how much is at stake.

    Difficulty can be really ramped up if you want. I tend to pootle about on the lower difficulties trying to get more efficient wins. But if you want, you can set the base number of ships to more than one, and face two or three at a time, which really challenges. Along with difficulty that adjusts health, damage, etc., and AI performance (base level AI can't shoot for toffee), you should be able to find a game that's suitably fun and challenging for how you feel. This also means it can be toned down to something that fits your preferred mobile interface as 3 on 1 in higher difficulties may be great on PC but it presents some unwanted challenges on a tiddly touch-screen.

    Next two steps which shouldn't take long are cloud saves and controller support. I'm looking at MS's Azure based PlayFab service for the former. Seems big and well supported but it's barely talked of in Unity circles.
    Just needing sync'd data between different devices so you can take your game from Steam to mobile to console. Once cloud saves and controller support are in, I'll see about a UWP port and get this on XBox to finally justify this thread's existence on this Console Forum. :oops:
     
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