Got Win 10 Mobile up and running

Loving Windows 10 Mobile so far and I have no plans to go back. However, it did seem to lose my phone numbers (at least, the ones I had manually entered from my old tracfone and actually cared about). The GPS navigation seems to have a lot more options, Skype now seems built into the OS, and most importantly my little physics game runs on it. But to say it runs slowly is an understatement. The physics plugin may be too demanding for the demo I have on this site (10+ objects), or perhaps simply limiting the app to 256 colors would speed it up. More thoughts on Win 10 later!


Physics! 3

And so the technical problems begin. It seems the software I’m using to develop this, Clickteam Fusion, is unable to compile in a way that Windows Phone 8 can handle. Naturally, this makes first-hand testing that much harder and of course would limit the potential audience. I’ll need to see if it works on Windows 10 Mobile too.

Another limitation I noticed is that ink effects (like making objects semi-transparent) seem pretty limited.

I’ll look into this, (creating it for Windows and exporting as XNA), but then there is this. (XNA support is being phased out already).

Really, I just hope the HTML5 stuff DOES work on Windows 10 Mobile and that my Lumia will get that upgrade available soon — that seems like the least complicated way forward. Until then, I may have to concentrate on adding features while at the same time factoring in that I don’t know which platform I’m compiling this for yet… Maybe I’ll install a preview build of Windows 10 on my phone and see where things go from there.

Physics! 2

I’ve made some updates to the physics sandbox. I spent a couple hours struggling with getting collisions and friction correct between two jagged edges before resigning myself to using simple geometric shapes to construct the puzzles (only circles, rectangles and triangles) so as to avoid the issue entirely.

I’m thinking that this could have a “Lemmings” twist where, with some puzzles requiring on-the-fly intervention while others can be solved entirely before pressing “start” on the simulation. Screenshot of the sorts of things I’m playing with below:


Nonlinear level design

In the past, I’d design nonlinear games with a certain series of events in mind. I’d try to put myself in the player’s shoes and ponder, “What will they probably do here?” I’d place enemies, traps and items in ways to encourage a player to think and do certain things — but whenever I had the chance to see someone playing my level, they would not do as I had anticipated. It was kind of frustrating, but also a lesson. Short of non-interactive cutscenes or linear level design, you can’t control the way a player is going to play your game. They struggle on parts you thought were easy, will attempt to explore areas you don’t anticipate, and indeed have a will of their own.

In my current project, whose WIP title is Super Team Fortress 2, the world is nonlinear, modeled after games like Super Metroid and Castlevania: SOTN. I’m putting forth real effort to simply design an interesting and engaging world rather than attempting to fit sections of a level to a script. The player will be using 8 different characters to navigate the world, each with their own unique puzzle-solving and navigation tools. It feels not unlike accepting criticism for my written work — it’s kind of a bittersweet feeling, but the right thing to do.

Ultimately, certain checkpoints will require that the player have explored most of the world by the time they reach the end of the game. Other than that, it’s a free range. Of course, I’m not done yet, and am open to having certain parts (like boss battles) linear — I had a lot of fun making linear, gimmicky levels in my last project.

Just looking at this slightly out of date picture gives me a sense of satisfaction, though — it looks like a place you can explore, and that’s what I want.