FPS meter

It was relegated to the back of the queue for a long time, but it will finally arrive in 1.26. Meet the FPS meter!

Fps

It’s in the top right of the screenshot. You can enable it in the Performance settings.

Apart from frames per second, it also shows memory usage (this does not include GPU memory though, which is the biggest hog) and a CPU usage percent.

For the knowledgeable, the CPU usage is a measure on how much the CPU has to wait for GPU to finish rendering. If it is close to 100%, it means your framerate is CPU limited (i.e. CPU is not waiting at all, but working flat out). You can gain more FPS only by reducing visibility range.

If it’s low, like in the above screenshot, it means it’s GPU limited (or hitting the FPS limit), and you can gain more FPS by reducing your screen resolution or removing the limit.

I’m working on heat calculations now.

[EDIT]

Adding coordinates is a great idea. But I don’t want to add them to the FPS display, which is for geeks only. And I only want them to be visible in creative mode. Getting lost in challenging is part of the experience.

Here’s what I came up with:

Location

Location is displayed in game menu, only in creative mode.

Nokia 1520 invisible animals

For some time now I have been aware of a rendering bug affecting newer Windows 8 Phone devices. Definitely happening on Nokia 1520, maybe others as well. The problem is that all animals are invisible – the shadows are there, the animals will attack and make noises, you just cannot see them.

I have finally found the source of the problem – it was a skinning vertex format! I used byte sized values as matrix weights. Apparently this is not universally supported. I have switched to 4-byte floating point values and it seems to have fixed things, at a small memory cost. The fix will be out with 1.26 – once you get it and have one of the affected devices, please let me know whether the problem is gone.

Btw. in 1.25 and earlier versions there is a workaround that makes the problem go away – go to Settings/Compatibility and switch on “Invisible Models Workaround” option.

[EDIT]

I also increased the default resolution to “High” for all Windows Phone devices. The time of 1st gen Windows Phone 7 being the king of the hill is gone. According to my data less than a few percent of sessions are played on these. Most people play on WP8 Lumias, which can run at full res without breaking a sweat. At the moment only certain older Apple devices default to “Low” (iPhone 4 or lower, iPad 2 or lower, and iPod 4. iPod 3 plays at full res because it has low res screen anyway).

Btw. here’s what the three available resolution modes in the game mean: High – full native screen resolution, Medium – 3/4 of native screen resolution, Low – 1/2 of native screen resolution.

Animals Aggression

I made a new video for you, have a look:

http://youtu.be/bIzymLy7yB4

I made some modifications to the AI behavior responsible for attack target selection. As a result, animals will now attach each other! This has been requested multiple times, and I always wanted to add it. Now it’s here, just need to wait a bit more for 1.26.

The predators become more aggressive at night and will come from further away to get a kill on something tasty. They generally don’t attack each other, but anything with hoofs or feathers is a fair game. What it means for survival is that you will now have to protect your herds and steeds.

I also added a small chance of non-predatory animals retaliating when attacked. In 1.26 even a lone cow can ruin your new jerkin :-)

Whale Watching

Some time ago I tweeted that I am working on a cool, small feature to do with whales. Here it is:

http://youtu.be/40hxT1Lkn7U

I could not resist adding this little gem, even though it took me an entire day to tweak the blowing particle system and add a new AI behavior to make whales surface.

In 1.25 and earlier, whales are fish, which is embarrassingly unrealistic. No longer! In 1.26, it will be possible to drown a whale.

To digress a bit, the AI in Survivalcraft is a fairly complicated affair, but it’s structured into multiple, simple behaviors, making it easy to maintain and extend. Only one behavior may be active at any time for a creature. As a result, each behavior competes for “activity” with others. The behaviors do it by advertising an “importance value”, and the behavior with highest one is activated.

For example, breathing reflex behavior in whales bases its importance on amount of air left in the whale lungs. When a whale is near drowning, the importance of breathing behavior is so high that it will trump anything else. The whale will abandon whatever it was doing, including chasing or running away from the player, in order to surface. As soon as the air is replenished, breathing importance drops to zero and next most important behavior is resumed.

New Cetacean

Traditionally, there is a bunch of new animals coming in 1.26. I know that the Orca is very popular and cool, so one of them is also a cetacean. And a cute one, too. See for yourselves:

Cetacean

Calling all zoologists out there, can you tell me what animal is that :-)

People are crying out to get spawner eggs for Orca in creative, but I think it should stay inaccessible as it is. At least there is something you have to get the hard way, even in creative! So, this new beauty will also have no spawner egg. To get one you have to go far into the deep ocean, find it and lure it.

I still have a fair amount of work to do on the clothing, the largest chunk being linking it up with the survival system. After that – release.

Have you heard the news yet? Notch sold Minecraft to Microsoft. It’s a bit of a shame, I don’t fully understand why he did it. Apparently, neither does him: “I’m aware this goes against a lot of what I’ve said in public. I have no good response to that“. That sums it up, really. Certainly, not for want of money…

I don’t know what effect the sale will have on Survivalcraft. Hopefully none. Hopefully, Microsoft will not go onto a legal rampage to extinguish “Minecraft clones”. In theory game mechanics (such as blocks) cannot be copyrighted, only tangible assets can, so we should be safe. But God is always on the side of better paid lawyers :-)

I was happier when Notch owned Minecraft. At least he was a sensible guy. Multinational corporations are scary.

On a more jolly note, my friend from Jake Games made a free version of Wreckin Robot for anyone to try – and the paid version has 5.0 stars! Here’s the link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jakegames.wreckinrobotdemo. Try it out and give him some feedback.

New Animal Behaviors

Windows Phone 7 does not support shaders. This is true. It is probably the cause of largest amount of pain of all the things to do with Survivalcraft. WP7 is the lowest common denominator platform for me, and is giving me shivers. Because of lack of shaders, I am still working on clothing/armor. If I could only do what is trivial with shaders. But I can’t. It’s nigh on impossible to render clothing properly without them.

However, I will do it somehow. So sleep well :-)

If WP7 keeps pissing in my cornflakes like that, I may eventually ditch it and switch to supporting Windows Phone 8 only.

In the meantime, to cool off, I want to talk about something more pleasant. 1.26 will make a substantial change to how animals behave. I won’t spell out the details yet, but the changes were requested by you many times. And they make the game more interesting. For now I’ll leave you to guess what exactly these changes are, I will likely do a video to show you what I mean before the release. For once, they are already done and partially tested, unlike the clothing *&$%#^.

Survivalcraft

Now something else. A friend of mine has recently started working on a mobile game of his own, and (how the time flies!), he’s now released it to Google Play:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jakegames.wreckinrobot

It’s a cute physics based game and he’s still updating it, so needs all the feedback he can get. Here’s a link to his blog: http://www.wreckin-robot.blogspot.co.uk

 

Clothing

Have a look at that:

Clothing

 

Yes, the new, big feature coming in 1.26 is clothing. Obviously, clothing will be integrated with survival mechanics. The basic stuff, like armor (certain types of clothing protecting against hits) and temperature effects on health (wearing thin clothing in the snow) should be included. Suggestions for anything beyond that welcome!

New default skin

You will not believe it at first, but there is a new default skin for the player coming in 1.26.

Here’s how it looks like at the moment:

NewSkin

 

I know it looks spartan, with just boxer shorts and no other clothes. But there is a good reason for that – it’s the new major feature coming in 1.26. Because of it, the player will not look like that when he disembarks the intro ship, despite having a half-nude skin texture. The new feature will also hopefully make survival mechanics a little more complex.

With this monster hint I am sure you will easily figure out what the said feature is :-)

The default skin is still in work in progress and I may change it a little.

Memory Changes

The new build with fixed memory leaks and new texture is already on Google Play (1.25.15).

I also decided to completely change the way terrain memory is managed. This should result in large savings in memory usage at the cost of more frequent allocations. As a result, the game should be playable (without running out of memory and crashing) at higher visibility ranges than previous 1.25 releases.

Because it’s a large change, there’s always risk of screwing something up. Please download and test, I want to publish for remaining platforms as soon as possible and get back to work on 1.26.

I’ve already completed work on a bunch of smaller new features for 1.26, but there is a new large coming as well. Has been requested many times. Guesses welcome as usual :-)

Memory Issues

I haven’t been writing for a while, but that does not mean nothing is happening in the world of Survivalcraft.

First of all, I am going to make another interim release in 1.25 series before 1.26 hits the headlines. The are many reasons for that, but the most important one are memory issues. I discovered a fairly nasty memory bug in the game that causes some serious leaks from time to time. I am aware that people have been reporting more frequent game crashes with the latest version, especially on memory constrained devices such as iPods and older iPads. As of today I stopped work on 1.26 features and applied myself to fixing that.

Another thing is a new blocks texture and icon:

Icon

When Survivalcraft was created in 2011, mobile devices were much slower and their screens much smaller than today. As a result, the game was designed for a 4 inch 800×480 screen, which was high end back then. Obviously, it’s no longer the case in 2014. Therefore, I decided to up the resolution of the default blocks texture to 512×512.

You can already find the new blocks texture in Amazon version of the game. Other platforms should receive it soon as well.

 

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