Alpha 1.1 Update Published

Wohoo! Alpha 1.1 is out! Microsoft have decided it is not violating any of their numerous certification rules and put it in the marketplace for people to download. I hope it will make some of the reviewers happier :-)

One of the most important improvements in this update is the ability to take screenshots to your phone’s pictures library. You can then upload them to Skydrive (or somewhere else), and share images of your creations with other people.

What I would really love to do is to allow you to take videos as you roam your castles and tunnels. But on the phone it is a difficult thing to do, because the CPU is way too slow to compress the video data on the fly. So it would have to be saved uncompressed to isolated storage, and then transferred to PC for compression and publishing. I did some tests, and it seems the phone will only be able to sustain about 10-15 FPS at low resolution when writing each frame to isolated storage. It would probably look jerky and pixelated. Not sure if it is worth the trouble.

Update for Wikis

Latest set of blocks images and data: Blocks zip file.doc (you need to rename this file to have “zip” extension). The blog does not let me upload binary files.

This file also contains information about the blocks. Look at QuarryPower, ShovelPower, HackPower and DigResistance values in the XML file. If you divide dig resistance of any block by the appropriate power value of a tool, you will get a rough estimate of how long it will take to break down the block with the tool, in seconds. AverageToolLongevity is how many times the tool can be used before breaking, on average.

This is a lot of numbers and not sure if this is useful to anyone, but I have been asked by the wiki owners to provide this, so here you go.


  1. hypernova
    Posted November 30, 2011 at 11:34 | Permalink | Reply

    It doesn’t sound like its worth the trouble there are more important this to implement plus we have the screen shot option now I think that should be enough to please everyone especially considering how quickly you got this update out, i think everyone would enjoy more materials, crafting options and mobs if possible cause you get alot more playtime and options thus more enjoyment! Keep up the incredible work!!

  2. Gabor Omnia7
    Posted November 30, 2011 at 11:38 | Permalink | Reply

    I tested it early morning, i’m very happy. Thanks!

  3. Alex
    Posted November 30, 2011 at 11:43 | Permalink | Reply

    I think the most important is the torches and better lighting,, yey

  4. Callum James Yates (Calgen)
    Posted November 30, 2011 at 11:57 | Permalink | Reply

    absolute legend kaalus, im updating now, :D

  5. sam pryce
    Posted November 30, 2011 at 12:00 | Permalink | Reply

    Why isnt on my marketplace is there anyway to refresh it so new update appear?

    • Hmar9333
      Posted November 30, 2011 at 12:08 | Permalink | Reply

      Find the app listing, go into it, press the back button, and go back into it again. This will force the marketplace to detect the update, as it has yet to fully propagate through the whole marketplace.

  6. Hmar9333
    Posted November 30, 2011 at 12:11 | Permalink | Reply

    Love the update, so much easier to light my structures, performance seems a bit better and the new crafting recipes are awesome!
    My requests for Alpha 1.2 would definitely be stairs, doors and ladders :)

    • Posted November 30, 2011 at 16:43 | Permalink | Reply

      I agree. Running Extended & Full run much better on my Titan. Almost no different than normal. Awesome!

  7. Iain
    Posted November 30, 2011 at 12:15 | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks Kaalus. This is a really big improvement. Right now, SC demolishes MC on the iPad. Well done!

    Really looking forward to the mobs. One thing I wanted to see in MC was a siege mechanism. It’d be great to have mobs that could break down the walls and could be repelled by castle-style counter measures. It would be a big insentive to create elaborate buildings. Rent ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ for some inspiration ;-)

  8. sam pryce
    Posted November 30, 2011 at 12:34 | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks got it now, Great work on the update

  9. Savage1969
    Posted November 30, 2011 at 12:44 | Permalink | Reply

    Good morning. This is great news to wake up to. Thanks for working so hard to implement ideas quickly and communicating rapidly. It’s much appreciated.

    • Savage1969
      Posted November 30, 2011 at 14:00 | Permalink | Reply

      OMG! I just noticed: 2 wood = 1 coal. Thank you! My first world has a lot of time invested (and over 4mb) with not even one natural coal ore found. This recipe just saved me from having to start all over.

      Which brings up a rather valid request. How about allowing us to export our saves (in a future update) in case we switch/upgrade phones, have a hardware failure, or just want to share with friends/community members? That, dear sir, would be completely awesome. Cheers!

      • Robinsky
        Posted November 30, 2011 at 19:13 | Permalink | Reply

        Had the same save request here. I’m planning to get the Nokia soon and would love this option.

  10. Alex
    Posted November 30, 2011 at 12:50 | Permalink | Reply

    Great news, I can’t wait to try it! I also want to let you know that Survivalcraft is the featured app of AppFlow! Good job man!

  11. IM0001
    Posted November 30, 2011 at 15:26 | Permalink | Reply

    Great work. Just got to check it out this morning and like others have said, the lighting and new recipes are great, auto jump is fantastic, performance does seem a bit more consistent and smooth on my HTC Arrive, and overall the game has already taken great shape vs MP. I have to say the ambition for video recording sounds almost crazy, but if it somehow is possible and makes showing off your world a little possible, then by all means put it in. It may be the first time anyone has done such a thing on a smartphone (that I know of) and would seriously set this game apart from others who would then probably strive to copy your work. ;)

    Still man, congrats on your first successful update, I continue to love the game, and as always, look forward to your future creations.

  12. Posted November 30, 2011 at 16:13 | Permalink | Reply

    been using it since about 7 this morning (EST) and I LOVE the new lighting…don’t need quite so many lanterns in my cavers now. And the new wicker lanterns look great, all my old one switch perfectly.

  13. Robinsky
    Posted November 30, 2011 at 19:14 | Permalink | Reply

    Played the update last night. Really nice additions. I will have to get used to some of the new recipes, but overall I like it a lot. Good work!

  14. Posted November 30, 2011 at 20:01 | Permalink | Reply

    I found a bug !
    I was mining with my little stone pickaxe and when it was destroyed, I was still able to mine very fast with my naked hand. Oo
    Anyway, it’s a great job ! Can’t wait for the next update ! I hope it will be possible to craft stuff with copper ’cause I found a lot but it’s quite useless.

    • Posted November 30, 2011 at 20:11 | Permalink | Reply

      Well spotted! This has already been reported in the forums and is fixed – will be out with Alpha 1.2 update.

      • Code5
        Posted December 1, 2011 at 09:03 | Permalink | Reply

        i believe i also found one (not to bash your Awesome work or anything)
        i tend to find parts of lakes/ponds Hovering over gaps, then if i modify Anything in the immediate area the water starts to go downward and flood the area below (like a waterfall)

        kinda annoying when i find a cave and find a Bunch of coal or something and then reach the surface to find my “exit” has water hovering above it, if i modify a block too close i flood the entire cave :|

  15. Thekillerguy69
    Posted November 30, 2011 at 22:29 | Permalink | Reply

    I would like to thank you for being a great developer and managing to get these updates out quickly :D. I have enjoyed playing survivalcraft and hope to continue so as the updates progress. A request I have though is to be able to re-grow trees. Thanks for being such a great developer :D

  16. Sean
    Posted December 1, 2011 at 03:18 | Permalink | Reply

    For video recording, perhaps you could start saving the state of the visible world, any chunks encountered, and the paths of all entities, then render/compress it after the player stops recording while showing the player a “rendering…” screen or something. I realize the shortcomings for long recordings, but it might not be so bad for snippets.

  17. Posted December 1, 2011 at 08:50 | Permalink | Reply

    The update is awesome Kaalus, I have really enjoyed finding iron (at the bottom of a very deep natural cave), although it seems pretty hard to come by and tools wear out quickly. I really like how you can mine stone faster with the pick axe, makes creating nice structures and tunnels much less laborious.

    Lighting is fantastic too, can finally see my way even in the dark, and the lanterns light up my castle nicely now.

    Only issue I still have is with the tap detection – the new setting in controls does not seem to make any difference to me, and even at 800ms I have the same trouble selecting tools or placing blocks. Not sure if this is to do with my phone (HTC Mozart). I am sure my taps are less than 800ms, but even setting to 200ms doesnt seem to make it any different, so I think this problem is not caused by the tap detection speed?

    • Posted December 1, 2011 at 10:49 | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Hal. I think tapping relies a bit on having a reasonable framerate. Are you playing in Extended or Full on a 1st gen phone? If so, can you try switching to Normal and seeing whether this will improve things?

  18. Posted December 1, 2011 at 10:57 | Permalink | Reply

    No, just playing normal, frame seems fine and it is very smooth and fast.

    I can try to take a video if it would help? The only person complaining about this was using Mozart so I wonder if there is something funny with the device.

    I don’t have issues generally with the digitiser, other apps etc are OK, which is odd as you said you are just using the built in detection.

    • Posted December 1, 2011 at 12:46 | Permalink | Reply

      I am not using the built-in detection, but I’m at a loss what could be causing your problems. As a last resort in the next update I may add some code that uses the built-in tap detection on top of my own. But this will only register if no other touch point exists when you tap. In Survivalcraft it is often the case that you hold one of the pads while tapping the screen, that’s why “system” taps are mostly useless. It should help with the inventory though.

      • Posted December 1, 2011 at 15:08 | Permalink | Reply

        that is pretty odd…I could possibly get you a device to test it that would help?

      • Posted December 2, 2011 at 09:33 | Permalink | Reply

        Kaalus – the setting does actually make a difference – set to 800ms I find I can click and hold until the circle starts filling up a tiny bit, then if I let go it places a block (sometimes). Then other times a short tap that does not even bring up the white circle doesn’t place a block. It’s like it just doesn’t register the taps at all sometimes.

      • Posted December 2, 2011 at 15:31 | Permalink | Reply

        Hi Hal. There is another reason why the taps might not be registering. The release event needs to be close to press event, i.e. if the touch point moves too far while doing the tap, it will not register as tap but as drag. Maybe this is too close, and the value needs tweaking.

        I noticed the tap issue happening here when another person was using the phone – he seemed to have exactly the same problems as you. I will try to collect some debug data when he uses the phone to see why exactly this is happening, but I suspect this is the distance issue. If so, it should be easy to fix.

        As an interim solution – I find that the lighter the tap is, the better chance of it succeeding. The person that I’ve seen, every time a tap failed to register, he tried again, but stronger. Eventually he almost punched a hole in the screen from frustration :-) This only made things worse. Try tapping very very lightly instead.

  19. Posted December 1, 2011 at 17:31 | Permalink | Reply

    Hey Kaalus,

    Quick question, will the new blocks in the 1.1 update (copper ore, etc) be applied to worlds made with 1.0?
    Seems like I’ve been mining for hours (literally) without finding 1 block – been mining mountains, ground level and to the bottom of the world :-P

    Loving the new content though :-)

    • Thekillerguy69
      Posted December 1, 2011 at 21:11 | Permalink | Reply

      A quick question; are you mining where you have explored before? Because you might have to travel far out for the terrain to generate ores, because they have already been generated where you are at. Let me know if this works :P

      • Posted December 1, 2011 at 22:36 | Permalink | Reply

        *gasp* exploring outside my comfort zone? I’ll give it a shot and get back to you…. Mahoosive underground tunnel time!! XD

      • Posted December 2, 2011 at 00:03 | Permalink | Reply

        Hmm, searched, explored and mined for an hour without seeing one bit of ore on my v1.0 world. Made a new world, explored and mined for 40 mins and found 4 iron (hurrah!)

        However! Made an iron pick axe, and I wasn’t impressed, the effort for the iron is definitely not worth it as it wears away only slightly slower if not the same speed as the stone pick axe and the speed increase is only slight.

        I’d probably suggest to the dev to make it a lot more durable or make iron ore more common than it is. :-)

    • Posted December 2, 2011 at 09:34 | Permalink | Reply

      Best way is to find natural caves, esepcially deep ones. Go in with some torches and look all around really well. If you see 1 ore block, mine all around it as it comes in seams.

  20. Posted December 2, 2011 at 09:31 | Permalink | Reply

    The Iron pick axe is much faster, so much better for mining stone! I dont know why it seems only slightly etter than stone to you, I can mine huge tunnels quickly with the iron pick axe

  21. Posted December 3, 2011 at 02:21 | Permalink | Reply

    An update to this, I found strains in the v.1.0 generated world, but as Thekillerguy pointed out, you need to venture outside of any pre-generated land. The method described by Hal, searching natural world generated caves seems the best way to find iron ore strains – typically there are around 15-20 blocks in a strain. (cheers guys)

    I still stand by what I say, I still think iron pick axes are not worth the effort – I still think there should be some balance to either greatly improve the durability of iron pick axes, or even nerf the effectiveness of the stone pick axes. The result would be the reward of finding iron for creating these better tools seems greater and needed. Just my 2 cents.

  22. izemize
    Posted December 5, 2011 at 08:33 | Permalink | Reply

    What if you did the following:
    1. user presses “Record video”. The game creates a copy of the current world.
    2. after this, events/keypresses/etc. are recorded, not actual graphics
    3. “Record” is pressed to stop recording.
    4. When replaying / exporting the video, the events are replayed on the snapshot of the world.

    • Posted December 5, 2011 at 10:42 | Permalink | Reply

      Hi izemize. Thanks for your suggestions. I’m investigating ways I could add video recording to Survivalcraft, it is going to be difficult and most likely involve an external application you need to run on your PC that actually compresses the video.

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