The Deadline

I know I haven’t written much on here for a while (because, frankly, nobody is reading this blog), but nevertheless, today’s post is about the self-imposed deadline I’ve been crunching on lately. Pretty soon I’ll be on a plane back to Australia to visit family and friends over Easter.  And what I intend to have on my phone before that flight, and currently have one day left to develop, is a build of Mood Flip that contains proper file handling for levels created in the level editor.  If I can complete that, I’ll be able to work on level design on […]

The school holiday doldrums

Next week is the half term school break for my son, which means a week of me having to keep him home, keep him fed, and keep him entertained, all the while itching to get back to Mood Flip. Life is about balance, sure.  And I will enjoy taking a break from game dev here and there to play Pinch Monsters with him or read a book together or take him to the cinema and afterwards explain for the umpteenth time why McDonalds is a poor nutritious substitute for “real food”.  But as anyone with kids can no doubt attest, the demands of […]

Buying a new computer, the Mood Flip origin story, and tutorial design

For a number of years now, I’ve been using a Mac.  While I’ve still been able to play some games on the Mac, it’s very limited in that regard, and my Steam account is full of awesome titles that I have not yet been able to play and have been stockpiling during sales in anticipation of my next real computer.  I’ve been okay with waiting until now, but with my Oculus Rift pre-ordered and soon to be on its way, it’s time to return to Windows and buy a new VR-ready gaming PC.  I’ll also be shifting my Unity game development […]

Recovery mode

Both myself and my son Matthew managed to catch a particularly feral virus a couple of weeks ago.  For me, it was fever chills and sweaty sheets and sore throat glands and general flu-like symptoms, although I don’t think it was the flu per se.  For Matthew, it was a slight temperature and a sore tummy and time off school with Dad looking after me, yay! so it’s been a not entirely productive schedule on the game development front lately.  We seem to be on the mend now, but this last week past, just as I’d settle in for a solid morning’s work, […]

“It’s a bug hunt!”

The last week has been spent mostly tidying up known problems, bad code, and general bug fixing in my various handler classes.  The pattern of work each day generally went like this: Rewrite handler class to remove garbage, tidy up methods to be more consistent, and then rework all the calls to those methods elsewhere Compile the code and see dozens of errors; beat head against desk and then spend a couple of hours fixing those up Test the code in the editor and discover that the number of bugs and artefacts have doubled; spend several hours puzzling out and […]

Comedy and Tragedy and a little Blender magic

After months of staring at the ugly placeholder icon for Mood Flip on my phone build, I have finally knuckled down with Blender and created the final (probably) icon and splash screen graphics:   Some of you might recognise it as a little “meta” play on those old theatre drama masks of Comedy and Tragedy:   Hence the title of this post.  Anyway I feel good to finally have some proper artwork in there after all this time. To make it, I loaded my highest quality model back into Blender.  While these meshes might look like simple spheres to the naked […]

Back to the backlog

Now that I feel like I’ve taken the load time improvements as far as I can (for now), it’s time to get back to the backlog. I’ve been using Clear for a while now to track my To Do task list and to jot down notes and ideas. Not counting closed tasks, I currently have 169 items requiring some sort of action. About half of these are just scratchpad ideas that need either further fleshing out or rejecting, but the rest are things I know need to be either fixed or added. A few days ago I started making a dent […]

Load screen first attempt

After a fair amount of tinkering, here’s my first try at putting a loading screen in before the menu, and also my first video showing off the main menu itself: Apologies for the poor quality – I still need to learn how to grab and convert these properly for uploading online.  This is also grabbed from the Unity3D editor rather than the iPhone, so the loading speed isn’t representative of the real thing just yet – still plenty of fiddling to do with the profiler hooked up to the phone to identify where the spikes are. I have abandoned the […]

Procrastination, perfectionism, and polishing

Much of my recent code cleaning/load time tinkering/performance refactoring has been just small skirmishes in a long-running overall battle with my tendency towards excessive over-polishing.  In the past I have spent far more time on, for example, my Log utility (nothing more than a fancy console logger with a dashboard for tweaking parameters on the fly) than I should have for something so trivial, and although it’s still productivity of a sort, it reeks of procrastination.  It’s almost as though my brain is paranoid about “smarter people” one day digging into my code and sticking their noses up at it.  And […]

The saga of the load times

As I’ve added more and more features to the Mood Flip code, the time it has taken for a test build to load on my old iPhone 4S relic has also gradually increased.  Although I’ve tried to avoid the trap of “premature optimisation” for as long as I could, when a recent build basically tripled the average load time to 76 seconds (counted as the time from tapping the icon until the moment the main menu comes up and can be interacted with) I knew I had to do something about it. For reference, creating a fresh Unity iOS build, […]