Optimizing for Hololens and Low-End (video summary included)

“Tactical Twitch” is undergoing major refactoring (video summary at bottom). The current prototype works fairly solid, and displays well; however, it has trouble on low end devices. At this time, I am rewriting all of the functionality. This really sucks, but it will be completely worth it on the other end. Let’s look at what caused this situation, and all of the benefits a rewrite will include (hint: Hololens edition).

What Happened?

After my previous look at object pooling instead of instantiate and destroy, I began to realize a number of ways in which I’ve written unoptimized code. For one thing, object pooling is better done with Lists than Arrays. New insights such as this are coming from both peers and my nearly complete BS degree in software development from Bellevue University. I now have a much better grasp on good object oriented design.

The current “Tactical Twitch” demo represents about 2.5 months of development time, much of which occurred over two years ago. As I look back, I realize it is easier to rewrite the game than to optimize what exists.

I started this game in Javascript with enough self taught knowledge to accomplish just about any thing I could think of; however, everything I created struggles to run on low end devices. The addition of education has helped me recognize where my pitfalls are, and I there are bad practices threaded throughout my code.

At first this sounds like a terrible thing, but it doesn’t have to be. The prototype works well and to everyone I’ve shown it to personally, it has communicated the game I’m trying to make. It has received generally positive feedback from unbiased sources. I not only like what I’m making, but I have proof that it works and is fun. With that knowledge, I’ve left myself a clear blueprint of what it is I’m trying to code. It’s now simply a matter of execution. I look at the current build as a task list for the code I’m now writing.

I suspect there won’t be much visible progress until next Summer. I’ll likely start my next round of active development with something that looks very similar to what I have now. The difference will be that it will run on just about anything that plays Unity built games.

Benefits of a Rewrite

The new version is built with Hololens in mind. The same game will function well on low end devices, as well as deliver a slightly altered experience for Microsoft Hololens.

The new code has a nifty feature I’ve been working on, randomly generated levels. This is very important. As a one man shop it is hard enough developing a working game, let alone all of the content players will expect from it. Level design is largely what held back my “Legend of Sky” game. The platforming was received well with my select audience, but I just didn’t have time to create the levels. The algorithm I’m creating for the “Tactical Twitch” level creation can be reused in any other game I choose, and of any genre. To shorten that up, when complete, I will have largely removed my hurdle of time to develop content. Future games should be made faster.

The last minor (but still important) gameplay issues have be resolved via a slight re-design of gameplay. More on that when I reveal the new demo.

Video Summary

*Video note: My project files load slow in this video, because this is the second part of my GPD Win test. GPD Win is the first handheld Win 10 pc to be available. You can see my full review at techup.step2digital.com.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned folks. I look forward to giving you more updates and ultimately something to play!

Tactial Twitch AR Prototype Website is Go!

* Maintenance Update: The Argon browser is currently at ver 4, and ver 3 is likely not on the app store anymore. This demo is not yet compatible with ver4. I will update it soon. Thanks for looking!

Just in time for the 2016 Game Developer Conference, the “Tactical Twitch” AR website is up for you to check out. The image target is my new business card. If you don’t have one, the image is on the instruction page, so you can print your own. At this time the AR browser is only on iOS, but is soon coming to Android. For all of the details, check out the video below, or head over to the new “hello” page.

Fall “Tactical Twitch” Progress Report

 

During this year’s Thanksgiving recess at CART. I was able to squeeze in a couple of development days for Twitch. Here’s what’s new.

  1. The final major player ability was programmed in. There is now a fast roping feature between the helicopter and Twitch. That’s right, you can airlift Twitch within the map.
  2. Bugs were addressed in areas ranging from bad collision to event triggering with action tiles, and camera movement issues. The experience is overall more solid.
  3. Tested different game pad layouts, including use with the new Steam Controller. If you’re interested in reading about my experience with the Steam Controller, check out the review I posted to my Tech Up blog.
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Testing my game with the new Steam Controller

We’re now 3 weeks away from the holiday break. At the end of December I will be in two week recess from both my teaching position at CART, my BS program, and my credentialing program. Some of that time is reserved for family, but you better believe I’ll be getting down to business with Twitch. My holiday goal is to implement the basic ai for npcs and enemies.

As a note for testers, I’ll have a new build up when the break begins. That will be the build that features your first look at the fast roping ability. While I’ll be working on a different feature set, I’ll try to address your feedback by the end of the holiday break.

Stay tuned to my development blog, and Facebook page keep in touch.

Thanks for checking in!