Friday, 15 May 2015

Sprint Update 15.05.2015 - Sock Puppet

It’s been a long sprint this one, as we had a couple of long and time consuming tasks to attack. But first…

Cabin Fever

Last month saw a lot of activity on the indie scene as devs rushed to get in applications for a new indie incubator, called Stugan, where 20 innovative developers are chosen to take 2 months out working on their projects together in a remote cabin in the Swedish wilderness. Unfortunately this sprint we got the disappointing news that we were down to the last few but we weren’t selected. Congrats to our friend and fellow London Game Spacer  Robin Baumgarten who got in though!
Part of the process was to make a team intro video, we’re looking forward to seeing more videos from folk we know who applied, but for the time being we figured you folks might enjoy seeing ours:

"the video is no longer available"

Not a bad effort eh! Wish we were going to a log cabin in the woods for it, but at least we got a new team member out of it, Sock will be joining us on the Semaeopus Ltd. team as the Business Development Officer pending contract negotiations.

Open Technology Fund

Luckily, Sock got straight to work once he and Pontus were done taking the piss out of Rich. We just applied to the OTF for a possible grant to help along development, with Off Grid’s mechanics promoting knowledge of  the type of circumvention tech they work to advocate. Fingers crossed we have better luck with that one!

Lecture at CSM

Rich was invited to guest lecture at Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design in London about animation in video games, and gave a demo of how finite state machines, blend trees, and IK targeted animation work in Off Grid, and was fortunate enough to be able to grab some Hohokum spritesheets off of the lovely Ricky Haggett from Honeyslug, to give them an intro to how 2D animation is put together in games, as well as reviewing the student’s character animation work.

There was some spectacular work being created for the students’ upcoming grad shows. If you are in the Kings Cross area at the end of June definitely go and check out their final films.

Project Optimizing and Cleanup

There’s been a lot of cleaning up and organising elements of the project better as it scales up. That has meant overhauling the use of materials and, as a knock on, better organising the models, prefabs, and textures in the game. It’s a ball ache, but it’s worth doing!

Universal data format standards, whoop!

Unlike the real world, we have control over all the data created in the game, and decided to spend this sprint converting all our different systems and the UI to use one and the same data structure.
This means we now have a data standard that allows us actually do what we’ve been planning all along, save any data to player’s phone, and then send it to any device or back to the game world as a new data point.
To get it working we of course had to spend a good amount of time combining all the features each different system needed, and adding unique identifiers required for searching the exact files we need. But in the long run it means when we need to add more features to our data system, we’ll only need to edit the one class in the project…

Plenty of UI work!

Now that we have more data, we wanted to start the work on tools that allow the player to actually manage it and view the files collected. So, it was time for new UI features, creating popup options menus and a file viewing application for reading any text files. And while at it, we also used the additional data info our new universal data format exposed to the UI, and filled our file browser with more useful details about the files. As a nice finish, we added long-waited automatic scrolling to the browser to make sure the file you have currently selected is always going to be visible…

Bug Squasher

We’ve had an app in the character’s tools that is actually a live debugger for the UI, we pushed some code through so that we can use it to display Unity’s debug log in the UI debug app now too, which means it’s really easy to debug and keep an eye on triggers and events while playing the game full-screen (or with a build). We also figured a proper log window would help mod developers in the future.
Because of our webkit UI, there was a bit of back and forth to do but it basically included parsing the debug data into HTML in Unity, sending Unity’s log to the UI side and formatting & coloring log entries to make them more easily distinguishable.

And that’s about it!

Should be some cool stuff to tell you about next time, Pontus has already pushed on with implementing encryption of data points as I’ve been writing up the post! See y’all soon.

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