Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dweller J2ME distribution

I'm currently trying different ways to distribute the J2ME version of Dweller. Recent versions are available via Handster and GetJar, but GetJar seems to be buggy and not allow downloads. It says that the game isn't compatible with the selected phone, regardless of what phone you try. I have set the most permissive download settings, but it doesn't seem to help and I don't get a reply from the GetJar staff either. Handster downloads work well though so please us them.

Some players have asked if I could use the Nokia OVI store to distribute Dweller. I looked into this tonight and it seems like it might be possible to use OVI as well. The biggest problem is that there's a big certification process which means that it takes a while (two weeks or so, at least for new submissions)  before a submitted app becomes available in the store. Nokia also requires the app to be certified by Verisign or similar company, but that costs quite a bit of money (€150 a year). Luckily Nokia offers to certify and sign apps for free. I'll keep you posted on any progress with the OVI store.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Dweller 1.16.12

This is a minor release including only two fixes:

#143 Corrupt graphics on Android using large tiles
#145 Increase size of d-pad

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dweller 1.16.11

First of all I'd like to apologize for the problems with GetJar downloads of Dweller for J2ME devices. Even though I have explicitly specified the release to be available for *all* J2ME devices the GetJar service responds with:

"We've got good news and bad news: we've figured out that you have a <insert_phone_model_here> mobile phone, but unfortunately Dweller RPG won't work on that phone"

This is complete rubbish and I do expect a swift answer from GetJar on my support ticket. Please use the Handster download link for now and I'll make a post here once GetJar works as expected.

Now on to the release. This is what's been done so far:

#121 Monsters should not interact with braziers
#126 Merchant should never sell artifacts
#89 Add an option to "use until full health"
#139 Add names to credits
#141 Don't show quickslots all the time on non touch enabled devices

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dweller 1.16.10 released

I'm happy to finally be able to announce a new release of Dweller. The release has been delayed for quite some time due to me being bogged down in framework and performance issues. I'm happy to say that Dweller is better and faster than ever. Critical/slow portions of the user interface are cached to bitmaps to improve rendering performance significantly. If you happen to come across any weird stuff such as corrupt graphics or delayed updates of UI elements please let me know!

Another major change is some improvement of the quickslots. All of the quickslots are now always visible which makes them so much more useful. You are now also able to use spell books from the quickslots without having to equip them first.

And last but not least I have also added some new spells and added different cast times to spells depending on their power and area of effect.

Download the latest version here.

Full list of changes:

#16 Quickslots always visible
#45 Run a new "Design your map piece" community effort
#70 It should not take any time to switch between spells in quickslots
#59 Large mini map
#80 Spell review
#93 Pathfinding move option in targeting mode gone missing
#97 Adjust healing
#98 Trapped chests always trigger when disarmed
#100 The rat quest description doesn't mention sewer rats
#102 Main menu pushed to upper left corner after changing settings
#103 Possible to "resurrect" dead character on game over screen by accessing inventory
#136 Change "Send Save Game" to "Send Bug Report"
#132 Separate tile and ui scale
#104 Performance review
#135 Add "Disarm" SCT and possibly also status warning of some kind

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Where's the release?

These last few days I have received several questions about when I plan to release the next version of Dweller. All I can say is that it has been delayed a little while longer. I am done with the UI changes and I've added a few new spells and given spells variable cast time depending on their potency (e.g. a big damaging area of effect spell will be slower than a single target damage spell).

My focus now is to improve rendering performance and make the game feel snappier than it does today. I've done some performance profiling and I spend way to much time rendering graphics. I am now working on ways to improve rendering speed to increase FPS and make the game feel more responsive. I will release the new version when I'm done with this, but I am at this point unable to give an accurate estimate. We are talking days, not weeks, but that's all I can say for now.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Status update #2

Ok, so I'm finally coming out on the other side of reworking the UI. I have not only rearranged the UI components but I have also separated scaling of the map and the rest of the UI components. You can now play with small tiles and still have large enough UI elements to interact with when using a touch screen. It took longer than I had planned but I think it turned out pretty well.

My plan now is to do some more work on spells and then package a new release, hopefully by the end of the week. I hope to get back to a faster release cycle since I have a ton of stuff in my issue and feature tracker that I'd like to get out to all of the players.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Status update

I've started adding some new spells to Dweller to make the wizard more interesting to play. I've had to do a bit of ground work on the whole spell/effect code and add some handling of new areas of effect. So far spells have only affected a single target, except for Book of Flames which had a "chaining" behavior where the spell jumped from target to target. I have prepared for other kinds of areas of effect, but not really implemented them, and now that I need some new areas of effect I've had to spend some time coding them.

I've added a new AoE which affects targets adjacent to the caster, up to a certain radius, and added a cyclone spell that knocks back and damages monsters adjacent to the player. Useful if you get swarmed. I've also added a "fire sweep" spell that does fire damage to adjacent targets. Next up will probably be some kind of mass sleep spell that affects monsters in a small area of the casters choice. A "cone of cold" or "dragons breath" spell with a cone shaped area of effect would also be nice, but I haven't written the code to handle that kind of AoE yet.

What I've also worked with since the last release is to make the quick slots more useful. In previous versions they've been to cumbersome to use since you had to long-press the quick slot button to get access to other quick slots than the most recently used. I want the quick slots to be immediately available and usable with a single click. The main problem here is one of screen real estate. There's so much info and interactive elements  that I need to make available to the user at any given time, and it all needs to play nicely on a touch screen.

This is the current state of the UI. This is a work in progress!

Some comments:
  • Character. I'm not sure yet how I want this box to look. It should provide a link to the character screen, but besides that I'm not really sure. Should it show HP and XP as it does in the versions available for download now? Could I get rid of both? I've moved XP down into it's own bar and HP could be put in a small bar above the player character. The problem with HP only as a bar and not a numeric value is that it's pretty important to know if you have 3 or 6 HP left as it will affect your decision making (eg. drink a potion now or finish the fight?) I'd also like to have somewhere to put buffs/debuffs such as Poisoned, Slowed, Flying, but maybe those should be shown as small icons elsewhere?
  • XP Bar. I moved this away from the Character box and down into it's own bar. I'm not sure if I need to show a numeric number here as well. Probably not.
  • Quickslots. A horizontal bar with 10 slots. The bar is scrollable left/right if all slots don't fit on screen.
  • Menu, inventory and targeting mode. I'd like to get rid of as much as possible here. I could possibly also ditch the Menu button and only make that accessible via the phones Menu soft/hardkey or key binding, but I think that might be annoying for the player. Inventory and Targeting/Look is a must and I don't think I can leave these out.

And the same in landscape mode (note that the quickslots share the same horizontal space as the rest of the buttons):

Android Market is now Google Play

Today Google announced the launch of Google Play, a revamped Android Market with apps, games, movies, music and books. I think this is a brilliant move and I'm thrilled that Android is my current OS of choice. As for Dweller nothing will change. The old Android Market link will redirect to Google Play, the download links on this site are updated and your current Dweller installation will remain and you are not required to do anything to receive future updates for Dweller.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Non-approved Dweller distribution

I have recently come across versions of Dweller on different app and software distribution sites (GetJar and Mobile9 so far). So far it's only been the J2ME version and luckily I haven't found anyone trying to sell Dweller for money yet...

I have never really liked the idea of alternative app stores since it becomes very hard as a developer to get your game out to as many users as possible, and it also adds a lot of overhead when releasing new versions or bug fixes since it has to be uploaded to several sites instead of a single one.

It is important to keep in mind that Dweller is still a work in progress and therefore contains bugs and unfinished features. By distributing Dweller in ways I have not approved prevents me from controlling software updates and bug fixes.