Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lots of optimisation work - no content progress

Just a quick blog tonight..

I've had to crunch hard at work on a new project. Can't mention what it is because of the usual NDA's announced project bla bla bla.... Unfortunately means I haven't made much progress on Magelore content. I have managed to spend a couple of nights optimising it and fixing some memory issues... Reduced the memory usage on iphone 3g frame 17meg down to 7meg by changing the packing algorithm of my sprites. Also found my texture pipeline was not freeing up intermediate memory it used to build the open gl textures.

Also rebuilt the project from scratch because something in it was causing issues with the 3g version. In the process, I now have access to open gl 2.0 for ipad or iphone 4 if want to take advantage of shaders,  though not sure what I'd do with them - the focus is really on getting maps and quests in now.

Looks like I'm going to have to cut some of the side features if I want to make a christmas release - things like the town minigames might have to come after the initial release.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Starcraft II completed - back to work

Just a quick blog to say I've been temporarily delayed by StarCraft II but I've completed the campaign missions now and can start getting back into MageLore development.

I've been developing on iPad for a while now and went back to my old 3g phone and noticed the framerate has degraded a lot. Not sure when this happened :( I think it was running ok after upgrading to OS4 but its pretty unacceptable now... I'll have to trim the code back and see if I can spot what is taking all the time. I don't have that many poly's or overdraw so there's really no reason for it to run less than 30fps on an old ipod touch or 3g phone.

On a brighter night,  I got and iPhone4  and Venger runs like a dream,  even in 3d stereoscopic mode. Need to try and track down my 3d glasses again and have a go.  If you haven't played it,  there's links to all our games at   They all have free demos you can try.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tile edging technology

I spent a night working on the world map and soon realized it was far to slow to manually placing down the edging tiles for the paths and oceans. Also, having to draw all the edge pieces takes ages and precious tile slots. So I went to ground for a couple of days and developed an automatically edging layer.  I can now just have a single tile for each terrain type and the sys will add the appropriate edge tiles around the edge. The result is pretty good, though its a simple overlay system and has the limitation that everything must edge with the default grasss terrain. I'm pretty confident this won't be a major limitation.

Raw Map Data
With Edging Tech
Raw Map Data
With Edging Tech

This new tech means I fill out maps very quickly, and add in new terrain types quickly. The world map is quite large,  and I'm finding I need a few terrain types to keep the regions unique and interesting.

Other new things that can be seen in todays youtube video - I've upgraded the city graphics with some cheap models from TurboSquid. There's lots of great art on that site now. I've added the new tree and grassland section as well as a snow section that can be seen in this weeks you-tube video. There is now a blizzard spell and spell casting now has a target indicator. The town lamp graphics has been revamped and there is now a signpost object that will be found all over the game giving directions as well as the occasional clue.

I'm mainly adding content now,  though there are a number of bugs I need to fix, and features like shops and the minigame framework haven't been started yet. I really don't want to release the game with large parts of it missing but then I don't want to hold it back for years, so I'll probably have to work out which features can be added after release without turning away potential buyers.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

the content work begins

Added some more spells and began working on the real maps finally. New spells include a WoW style blizzard spell to freeze or slow a group of monsters, and a meteor strike spell, which is like the Rain of Fire except you pick 5 specific targets. Also added a heal spell and a magic shield enchantment. I've given trolls a high level regeneration enchantment so they will regenerate over time. I might need to make some extra strong monster-only enchantments since the player enchantments have to be balanced to be not too overpowering.

I've started working on the main world map.  It's 256x256 which doesn't seem too big until you start trying to fill it with interesting landscape.. I don't think I've got enough variety of tiles yet to give the world enough variety yet, but it should be easy to come up with some more. Also need to add some signposts to guide players around the map. I'll be starting the magenta city map soon also. This city of magic is where the player will start and his tutorial missions will begin.

Not too much to report. Between StarCraft II being released,  catching up on True Blood season 3, and a new project at work, it's been hard to maintain focus on magelore, but I'm still managing to keep some momentum which is good.