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

 

New weapon video

I finally finished working on the new weapon for 1.25. Here’s a video for you. Typically, it ends with a bang.

http://youtu.be/qbnjBTmctpQ

There are two types of ammo for it, even though only one is shown in the video. The player died before I could show you the other :-)

New weapon

One of the first additions to 1.25 will be a new weapon. I know the game has recently become much more difficult, mostly by introduction of large numbers of vicious animals like lions, tigers and hyenas. In 1.25 I hope to mitigate it a bit. Stay tuned, I have the weapon almost finished. And yes, it will need a whole new UI panel to operate.

Procedural UI

For some days I have been working on converting most of the bitmap-based UI in Survivalcraft to procedural drawn one. Along with that I am doing large refactoring of the code that handles the UI to be less rigid and easier to extend.

To give you some background of that work, in 1.24 every panel was hand drawn. Furnace, crafting table, inventory, chest, vital stats etc. As you can imagine, to maintain these panels required a lot of work. Horrible, mechanical work mostly. Bitmaps are inflexible, ugly in high-res, and are increasing download sizes and memory usage. I knew for a long time that they will have to go.

Because one of the features in 1.25 will require me to extend the list of these panels (hint, hint), I decided now is the time for a change.

For example, here’s how the procedurally drawn furnace panel looks like:

ProceduralFurnace

All the slots, text and even the arrow is procedural, everything declared in my homebrew XAML-derivative. For the coders out there, I even have attached properties. How cool is that :-)

Fonts are still bitmap-based unfortunately, even though they use a much improved rendering engine compared to what’s built into XNA. I’m not really up for making a cross-platform vector font renderer…

All this has interrupted my work on the actual game features, but I should be back on them shortly! Some major refactoring is needed from time to time if the game codebase is to stay healthy.

Happy New Year

Work on 1.25 is going on. I made quite a lot of changes in the UI to allow me to ditch many sizeable textures and keep loading times, memory use and download size small. It should also look much slicker, especially on high-res displays. Nothing to show yet, though.

Happy New Year everyone!

1.24.4 out for Android

Several people independently confirmed that the test build from the last post fixes the crash at startup problem.

The fix has now been published to Google Play and is available for update (version 1.24.4.0).

That means that I understand what was causing the problem. And it’s not pretty. For Android, that is. It is an extremely buggy system, and very inconsistent. Even when testing on 20 different devices one cannot be sure that the game works.

The problem is, it turns out, there were too many sound files being loaded in short succession. Android queues them to be loaded in the background, which I think is a truly idiotic idea – if I wanted to do that I could spin up a thread and do it myself. If too many are queued too fast, the whole process comes down, crash and burn. No errors, nothing. Testament to a great quality engineering! Moreover, this only happens on some devices, on others the limit does not exist or is much higher, I don’t know. Basically random stuff. And we’re not talking about excessive numbers of sounds here – there’s a couple hundred of them taking several tens of MB when uncompressed. What a joke on devices which have 1 or 2 GB or RAM.

Anyway, let’s stop ranting. The fix is to stop preloading all sounds during game startup. It means that on Android sound will not work properly until after sometime after the game has started. For example you will not hear first footsteps or block breaking sounds. Not nice, but it’s better than crashing.

On the brighter side of things I have started work on 1.25 :-)

Android bug contd.

While I still don’t have a device that allows me to reproduce the Android crash bug during loading, I have some further suspicions where the bug may be coming from.

I have built a custom APK for you to try. If the game does not load for you since the latest update (i.e. 1.24), please can you install this APK and check it out? Let me know whether it makes any difference in the comments or by emailing me at candyrufusgames@gmail.com.

Thank you!

 

Microsoft approved 1.24

1.24 is out on Windows Phone. It was approved yesterday, so should be already available for update on all devices.

Merry Christmas everyone!

ChristmasTree

Not loading bug

Now that all the platforms have been pushed out, I am looking again at the bug that causes the game fail to load on some Android devices.

The problem is I have yet to come across such a device myself.  I can’t fix this problem without being able to reproduce it.

The game starts flawlessly on all ~20 test devices I have. Today I went so far as to go to the local supermarket and test it on all the phones they had on display, including some cheap Chinese tablets. I hope I deleted all the account data from them afterwards :-) Anyway, no luck – works everywhere.

From the reviews and your comments I know that the device/OS combination that seems to be the most offensive is Galaxy S2 + Android 4.0.4. Also some older LG phones have it. As these are no longer in production, I will have to eBay again, it seems :-(

If the game doesn’t load for you, please keep listing your configurations in the comments (phone model + Android version).

iOS passed review

Further piece of good news – iOS passed review:

Approved

 

This is from 7 hours ago, so it’s probably not yet available for download but should soon be!

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