Game Stats

Another addition in the next version is detailed game stats:

Stats1.jpg

This shows up in the game menu instead of the old limited data. I could not resize the screen any further, but there’s a lot more below it :-)

It only works for the worlds started in the latest version, before that the game wasn’t collecting the data, so you see this instead:

Stats2.jpg

One of the stats is “Easiest Game Mode Used” which shows whether anyone claiming to only use challenging actually used creative or harmless to help himself build that great thing :-)

If you have any suggestions what else I should be calculating statistics on, please let me know in comments.

Ah, almost forgot, you can also see the cause of death on the death screen:

KillCause.jpg

 

Pistons

All there is to know about pistons in Survivalcraft, see the video:

I hope you like the way it works. I am not sure myself what clever machines are possible with it. It extends up to 8 blocks, pulls up to 8 blocks, has variable speed and is all controlled by electronics. I am pretty sure I only scratched the surface in the video and you will be able to build way more amazing stuff!

Actually, it’s not all there is to know about pistons. I forgot to mention that diamond block is a special case for pistons and it cannot be moved. It’s handy when you want to stop a piston from moving something – just place diamonds behind it :-)

piston2

Now for something different.

Did you know that in November this year 5 years have passed since I released first version of Survivalcraft on Windows Phone 7? Is there anyone here who still remembers that?!

It was the time when Notch (what happened to him?) was still in control of Minecraft and they were preparing to unleash 1.0 onto the world. Minecraft PE barely existed and was severely limited with no mobs, no infinite worlds, no fluids and no crafting. Phones were so slow and memory so scarce on them that anyone making a blocky game faced enormous difficulties. All the tricks in the book had to be employed to get anywhere near playable framerates.

That was a long time ago.

Since then, I released 29 updates for you. For some time now with each update I have been thinking about doing something different, but always postponed it. However, the time is now: 5 years anniversary, furniture and pistons.

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The next version will not be called 1.30. 1.29 was the last version in 1.0 series. It will be 2.0. And it will be a new app in the store. That means you will need to buy it again to enjoy new features and continued updates. On the other hand, I intend to heavily discount it for a period of time, so that people who follow the blog and know about it can have it cheaply before the price goes back up before Christmas. I think that’s fair.

2.0 will be of course fully backwards compatible with 1.29 and will continue to work with older worlds and community content.

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Sea Level?

I realized that there is no reason I only allow changing global temperature and humidity in creative. So, in the next version you can change it in Challenging modes too.

But that’s not all, have a look at that:

SeaLevel.png

Yes, you can also change global sea level!

Setting it to +16 is pretty extreme. There’s sometimes no land in sight when you spawn. And as you well know, the lonely guy is not a great swimmer. How are you supposed not to drown?  What about the sharks?

Well, I made a little tweak. If you spawn in water, you at least get a free boat :-) And it has 50% more strength than in 1.29.

SeaLevel2.png

Nice and cosy.

To really test yourselves, how about setting temperature to -16 and sea level to +16? You will end up in the ocean all right, but it’s a frozen ocean. So no boat for the poor castaway. If you survive the first day in that, hats off!

SeaLevelFrozen.png

I tried, and was promptly eaten by a polar bear. On the second try I froze to death in minutes. On the third try, I frantically reached an island, with screen almost totally frozen over and 3/4 of health gone through frostbite, and (clever, clever) made myself a dugout!

Temperature simulation in Survivalcraft is pretty good. It’s fairly warm in the dugout if it’s small and you seal it. You can survive and even unfreeze your screen a little, wearing just old shirt and trousers. But you can only jump out into the open for a minute, or you’ll freeze in -16 environment.

So I was trying to get hold of some fur for clothing and wood to make weapons and a crafting table, all in one minute bursts, when a tiger got me. Bad luck!

Back to work!

I am sure you’ll fare better. Or maybe you won’t. For extra difficulty set humidity to -16 too, and game mode to Cruel. Don’t forget to record it, so that you can post replay on YouTube as a proof. Otherwise no one will believe you :-)

 

Made With Pistons

I made a quick dirty build in 15 minutes that uses pistons. See video.

Pistons in Survivalcraft are quite different from pistons in Minecraft. I’ll tell you about the differences later and show you more stuff.

The new feature

It’s ready. And I added a lot more fancy stuff to it than I originally meant to. But, as it takes time to make videos, I haven’t got anything grand to show you yet. Hopefully this little picture should set you thinking:

Piston.png

 

Love making sandcastles!

Furniture does not always have to be furniture.

Sandcastles.jpg

Slab textures fixed

Some of you reported that slab textures were upside down! That’s now fixed. Everything lines up correctly:

slabsfixed

Not sure if I mentioned it yet, but the next version has a unified lighting system for all block types. There should be much less lighting artefacts where different types of blocks meet.

1.29 and earlier use different lighting code for blocks, slabs, stairs etc. and the results are not consistent, resulting in visible light artefacts at block joints.

This upgrade is a byproduct of furniture, I had to do it to have furniture lit properly.

Also, little holes that were previously very dark no matter how many light sources you put around them should be much less dark now.

A Cabin In The Woods

I meant to show you the new cool feature today, but ran out of time. So have a look at some more furniture goodness instead:

 

 

Isn’t the piano and the model ships cool :-)

Spent a lot of time before I got them into the complexity budget (a piece of furniture cannot exceed 300 triangles), but it’s doable.

Performance bug

I’ve just found a significant performance bug in code that handles pickables (i.e. items lying on the ground).

The reason for the problem is that the game tries to find a suitable inventory slot for every pickable in the world every frame, even if the pickable is far away from the player. This is a performance killer in creative mode, because player has around 1500 inventory slots (including creative items slots). So for every pickable, 1500 slots are scanned every frame. This takes some time.

As a result, if you have hundreds, or even just dozens of pickables floating around, it will kill the framerate.

I’ve just seen it in the profiler and almost fell off the chair. It must have been in the game since time immemorial! How could I have missed it all these years?

The good news is that it’s trivial to fix. If your game slows down to a crawl when there’s plenty of stuff lying around, just wait for the next version.

I am now putting finishing touches to a new exciting feature that has been requested more than once and was long long overdue. Can’t post any pictures, because it would be a dead giveaway this time :-)

The next version must be released before Christmas.

 

Sea life

I once showed you a picture of a sea urchin. Well, there’s a lot more underwater stuff than just urchins coming in the next update:

sealife

32 bit blocks allow me to do a lot of cool things that were previously impossible. These underwater plants are both water and a plant – the water will flow from them like from a normal source block and plant can be broken down and picked up like on land. There is some trickery to make it all work properly with physics, collisions and rendering, but the engine can stand it.

I also tweaked underwater fog. It changes colour and density with water temperature and humidity. In humid places like jungles the water becomes very murky. The depth also influences fog – if you dive deep, you’ll scarcely be able to see anything.