Monthly Archives: February 2012

Fiery stuff

That’s how the fiery stuff looks inside of a bucket:

And it’s called magma! I am now working on the piece of code that randomly spawns pools of magma underground. So far I discovered that my current code for spawning is not good enough, because it would spawn flying chunks of magma inside caves while I want them to pool on the ground. But I’ve got an idea how to do it.

Of course, I really should be working on sharing of worlds and creative mode but I have to finish what I started first :-)

Magma emits light and can light large areas, as you can see on the screenshot below.

 

Game modes

The analytics stuff I added some time ago is a wonderful thing. Among all else it shows how many people use each game mode:

By far the most popular mode is Harmless. Because of that I think the next priority thing for me will be adding a proper creative mode. There seems to be demand for it.

World backup and creative mode are my 2 top priority things at the moment, but I’m working on something else anyway – typical me :-(

Using old versions of Survivalcraft

The analytics library I am using tells me that a lot of people still use an old version of Survivalcraft. Actually only about 25% of sessions seem to be played on Alpha 1.7 as of today, remaining 75% is on older versions. I don’t know whether this is true or how accurate this is.

The number looks highly suspicious to me, but maybe a lot of people just play the game and never look in the blog or see the update notifications on the phone? Maybe I should add some form of update notification to the main menu screen.

To clarify, there is nothing wrong with someone playing an old version if he choses to do so, it’s OK with me :-) But you’re missing a lot of features.

On the game front, I am working on some hot and fiery stuff now.

Make your own swimming pool

I spent most of the last week experimenting with water and I got a functioning directional water propagation, which is important, because without it controlling of water flow is hard. And I got these:

The buckets will be made of copper (iron rusts too easily).

The remaining problem is that on the phone chunk updates take a long time, and this is very noticeable on my Omnia 7. So initiating water flow will make the game run very slowly for a short time until the water ends spreading. I need to have a closer look at it whether I can make it run faster. I don’t expect miracles though.

Anyway, you can make your own swimming pool now.

Industrial water accident

I was experimenting with water physics and I broke something causing a massive wave to propagate itself across the entire world destroying everything in its path and leaving a checkerboard of water blocks behind. It was pretty cool.

Alpha 1.7 in the marketplace

Got the email from Microsoft several hours ago.

[EDIT] Uploaded Alpha 1.7 block images/data for wikis. Available here and on the left sidebar as usual.

Alpha 1.7 submitted

I submitted Alpha 1.7 yesterday. It’ll likely appear in the marketplace sometime this week.

I am now thinking what to do for the next update. At the moment I am inclined to work on dropbox sharing of worlds as the main new feature.

[EDIT]

I forgot to include the changelist.

  • Added wooden trapdoor, iron trapdoor
  • Added water animation
  • Added snowballs
  • Dead birds no longer make noise
  • Recipaedia counters added
  • Recipaedia is now available without leaving the game
  • Manually placed leaves do not decay
  • Added spiked plank
  • Added grass trap
  • Added wildboar
  • Added raw bacon and cooked bacon
  • Water current now carries player, creatures and pickables
  • Added 3 game modes: Harmless, Challenging and Cruel
  • Reduced amount of basalt
  • More iron and malachite is generated

 

 

 

Game modes

There are, roughly speaking, two kinds of people who like to play games like Survivalcraft or Minecraft. Some just love to build, and any obstacles preventing them from creating the next great piece of architecture are just an annoyance for them. Others like to play the game and feel the challenge of staying alive, hear the monsters crawling on top of their puny shelter trying to get in. For them, building has only the utilitarian aspect.

As the survival element of the game becomes more fleshed out and living in Survivalcraft world becomes dangerous, the first group of people would have their fun ruined. It’s time to introduce game modes.

Initially there will be 3 game modes: Harmless, Challenging and Cruel.

Challenging mode is the default one, and in this mode the game will play pretty much the same as previously.

Harmless mode exists to cater for the needs of the building folk. It is not completely devoid of danger, but it will be much easier to stay alive there. Animals will not attack unprovoked, fall damage is reduced, health regeneration is very fast, and all digging is speeded up by 25%.

Cruel is for the extremists. That mode is the same as Challenging, but with one twist. You only have one life. Once you die, there is no respawning back into your world. Everything you made is lost forever.

These 3 modes will become available in Alpha 1.7 on top of all the features already mentioned.

In the future I also plan to introduce another mode, which will give you access to unlimited number of resources and some form of flying. This is too much work to fit in Alpha 1.7 timeline though.

Btw. I’m still on track to submit Alpha 1.7 today, which means you should get it around Friday.

Also the video from wp7connect article is now public:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnl9BhfSy3w

Alpha 1.7 video

Have a look here for a video of the new animal, traps and bacon.

http://www.wp7connect.com/2012/02/11/exclusive-huge-survivalcraft-update-coming-soon-v1-7-video-changelog/

Nokia Lumia impact and Alpha 1.7 progress

My plan is to submit Alpha 1.7 over the weekend. The new animal is ready, but I still need to do some testing how hard it is to kill it (or get killed by it) on the phone. Today I was improving water so that the new animated flow carries the player, animals and pickables along with it.

And now something completely different. Survivalcraft has a basic analytics module that collects numbers of new game installations and errors encountered during game execution. The errors have not been very useful so far, but what I can see are models of the phones used by Survivalcraft players. And it’s especially interesting when you divide the data by continent. Here’s Europe:

Sessions of Survivalcraft by phone model in Europe

You can immediately see the impact that Nokia Lumia 800 has made. It raced past all other phone models and accounts for 31% of all sessions, which is as much as 2 best competitors together. And it has only been on the market for 3 months, as opposed to over a year for all 1st gen phones. This is an awesome sales performance. In comparison, another 2nd gen phone, HTC Titan has more down to the earth results with 13%. This is still respectable when you take into account the short period it’s been in the market. What is surprising are poor results of Lumia 710. Maybe it wasn’t cheap enough and sales were cannibalized by Lumia 800. Or, more likely, people don’t want yet another mainstream WP7 device. They want the best. Microsoft take note :-)

Here’s the data from North America (US + Canada):

Sessions of Survivalcraft by phone model in US and Canada

Lumia 800 is not available for sale in North America yet, and so the old guard of 1st gen phones leads the pack: Samsung Focus and HTC HD7. But the new 2nd gen Samsung Focus Flash is making long strides, and will likely overtake them soon. Interestingly, Nokia Lumia 710 which has been available in US for some time is not selling well and accounts for less than 1% of sessions. Maybe people don’t like mainstream phones. They want top models only. Or, simply, people in the US are not so in awe of Nokia as Europeans are. It will be interesting to see what happens when Lumia 800 and especially 900 hit the market.

Concluding, it seems that something is moving in Windows Phone world. Despite the short time since they were introduced, 2nd gen phones account for almost 50% of the market already, especially in Europe where phenomenal Nokia Lumia 800 has destroyed the competition. Keep going WP7!