Author Archives: Kaalus

The new feature

It’s amazing how many guesses were correct given so little information. Yes, the new and final feature for 1.25 is customizable character skins.

The code for the feature is about 50% done. The game displays and uses the new skins without trouble, but most of the remaining work is in the UI. There are quite a lot of changes I need to make there.

Here’s a sample of a different skin in action:

Skins

You will be able to create your own skins and upload them to community content.

Actually, here’s the default skin template. You can start chipping away on new skins now to be ready for 1.25 release.

Human

The default skin is 64×64 pixels, but the game will support skins of up to 256×256. The file format must be PNG, 32 bits per pixel. The extension of the file will have to be changed to .scskin for the game to recognize it.

On the forum front, it’s with sadness I have to announce that Warpgamer decided to step down as an admin. He’s been with us for a long time. Have a look at this thread to wish him the best for the future.

 

Stone Fences

I added another small feature to 1.25, stone fences. They have the same looks as cobblestone. Unlike wooden and iron fences, they actively attach to all solid blocks around them – look at the fence next to the dirt block on the screenshot.

There is no stone gate, but you can of course use wooden and iron gates:

StoneFence

I am now working on something fairly large that has been frequently requested, guesses welcome :-) Hint: it will add a new type of thing you can upload to the community content.

Hopefully it will be the last feature for 1.25, it’s high time to get it released.

Mayhem!

In 1.25 I am adding a lot of new ways to obliterate the environment in funky and inventive ways. Here’s a new video for you, please have a look:

http://youtu.be/WUm56P3V1LY

To summarize, you are getting fire arrows for the bow, explosive bolts for the crossbow and bombs for throwing around at leisure.

My chief concern was that the survival mode gameplay would degenerate into a fireworks fest, but I made sure they are not too easy to produce in large numbers. You have to use them carefully and conserve your resources. Not so in creative mode, of course. I think I should rename it “Destructive Mode” as of today :-)

Explosion Debris

The work on explosions is done. They are quite fun, see for yourselves:

http://youtu.be/EYXYbNK-tSU

I spent most of today playing with them instead of working on new features, couldn’t stop. One monster explosion I made as a test almost dug all the way to bedrock :-)

The major improvement is that the explosion algorithm is single pass, making it a lot faster than the previous one. I also made sure that one explosion can never be too large – the trick is to only explode nearby charges simultaneously. Charges which are too far away (more than 2 blocks) are treated as an independent explosion and executed in the next frame. If they are very far they might even fail to explode at all, and turn into projectiles. Projectiles explode only when they hit the terrain nearby, or your face if it’s not your day.

Another improvement is the explosion debris – destroyed pieces of terrain don’t just stay there, they fly away at tremendous speed thrashing any living thing unlucky to be nearby.

Yet another improvement is that the pressure propagation works properly. You can make a very long shaft from a strong material (e.g. iron blocks), explode even a small charge at one end and see the flames come out at the other, even if the distance is very large.

In general, the new explosions are much more deadly in tight spaces. When confined, they will propagate to every nook and cranny and scorch all that’s in their path.

 

 

Not finished!

No, Survivalcraft is not dead and I am not a zombie, source code is not lost and my laptop is still in one piece :-) I haven’t posted anything for a while, but it doesn’t mean I am not working on it.

Actually the work slowed a bit for the last several days, but I have a good reason for that: I am moving house!

Unfortunately this will be dragging on for some more time, but I am still finding bits of time now and then to get some work done on the game.

Anyway, here’s the latest screenshot from my explosion testbed:

Explosion

The yellow/blue stuff is the explosion pressure (the more yellow the more pressure).  Grey blocks are walls. On the screenshot, the explosion originated in the far end of the little tunnel made from walls. It then propagated out of it, hit the wall and spread sideways, finally fizzling out in the open space. You can see that as long as you are inside of the tunnel the pressure stays high, while it quickly drops once in the open space. This is what this is all about!

Actually the world there is 3D and you only see one 2D slice of it, but it doesn’t really matter.

The post will now get a bit technical if you forgive me.

As you see, what I am trying to achieve is realistic pressure propagation. It also must be fast, because it has to run on the phones. I thought it will be easy, but it’s anything but. All the successful schemes I tried so far involved multiple iterations through the entire explosion space, and this is just too slow. Single-iteration algorithms are hard to come by, because they must propagate “globally”. For example if there is a hole in one side of the tunnel, the pressure on the other side must be lower, even though the two places might be far apart and not knowing about each other.

I went as far as looking into Minecraft wiki to see how they do it. It turns out they simply shoot rays straight from the explosion point, so there’s no pressure propagation there and no fireballs will ever chase you through the bendy tunnels. As a result I won’t be tempted to cheat by doing it their way.

My current idea, the one behind the screenshot, is pretty novel and came to me only two days ago while I was doing house stuff shopping. It seems to work, but it’s too early to call yet. The biggest problem with it is that it does not produce completely spherical fireballs in the open space and that it is surprisingly slow where it shouldn’t be, but I will get to the bottom of it.

I think 1.25 will be the weapons update.

 

 

 

Top Charts

It seems that after the Christmas period popularity of Survivalcraft picked up.

We are now at #2 in Amazon App Store, squished between a pair of 3D and 2D giants of blocky games:

Amazon

 

We are #6 in Google Play, #8 in Apple App Store and #13 in Windows Phone store (no pictures because it’s not as impressive as #2, he he).

That’s nice and very humbling. Hope I’ll be able to keep the quality high and features coming so it stays that way!

Explosions

For the last several days I’ve been playing with a new explosion system.

The current system is reasonable, but it doesn’t do what I want it to. When I was working on it about a year ago, I had to abandon further development and keep whatever was there, because I needed to make a release. We have been stuck with it ever since.

Unfortunately the work on the new system is not going all that well. I had a seemingly brilliant idea that took me a couple of days to implement and another couple to realize that it’s fatally flawed :-(

As a result, I am pretty much back to square one. I really wanted to show you something with this post, but alas it was not meant to be.

Anyway, I will go on trying. I need to upgrade the explosions, otherwise the new weapon will not make much sense.

 

2014 Codes Sweepstakes

The admins of the forums are organizing sweepstakes where you can win free copies of Survivalcraft on iOS. Please have a look at this forum post:

http://survivalcraft.lefora.com/topic/19404442/2014-Sweepstakes-have-Begun-Participate-here

Unfortunately free copies for other platforms are not available – Google Play, Amazon and Microsoft do not allow publishers to give away free copies :-(

Sound Delay

I have a new video for you:

http://youtu.be/tfDX8N7_m48

I am working on a new weapon and it’s rather powerful. Unfortunately, it does not sound very well with the audio engine in 1.24, so I had to upgrade it a little and introduce proper sound delay system. The only thing that was delayed with distance in 1.24 was thunders. In 1.25 everything gets this treatment, should add a bit to the realism.

The speed of sound in the world of Survivalcraft is quite a bit lower than in the real world, to make the effect more pronounced with the small distances we have in the game.

I am sure many of you will be able to guess what the new weapon is :-)

Beste Kinder Apps

Survivalcraft has been selected as one of the best apps for kids & teens in Austria, Switzerland and Germany.

http://bestekinderapps.de/kids-teens-apps-2013-kinder-app-preis-51554

Nice of them!

Best Apps for Kids & Teens Award 2013

 

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