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Turtle Paint

No, the Frozen Fractal blog is not dead. It’s just been, well, frozen. A lot happened since the last post: I got a job at Google, moved to London, and made a little game for Ludum Dare that I’ll post about later. But a lot also didn’t happen: I didn’t... Continue reading

Feature cuts

Back to work after a much-needed break, I have gained a better perspective on the current state of the game. I concluded that, if I am to finish this game on time, I’ll have to reduce it in scope significantly. The following are the changes that I made to the... Continue reading

Bits and pieces

Game development can be a pain sometimes. Remember my writings on threading last week? This week has been more of the same kind of stuff: engine improvements, code cleanups, bugfixes, and only some small new features that are actually visible. Did I say visible? I meant “audible”. The biggest change... Continue reading

Threading

More work on performance this week. Things were getting a bit too slow for my tastes, meaning that they would likely be unplayable on medium-end phones. This work involved quite a bit of refactoring (which is jargon for “creating new problems to replace your old ones”), so I now have... Continue reading

In-game graphics

As announced, I made a large sprint this week to bring the artwork closer to completion. I think it’s about halfway done now, but I’m getting more and more experience with this, so the second half should go a lot faster. Here are some screenshots of the game as it... Continue reading

Title screen

Like I announced, lots of work on graphics. In-game graphics are beginning to come together, but are only halfway done, so the overall result still doesn’t look too good. The title screen is mostly finished, though. I had to trade in a bit of “obviously being a shopping cart” to... Continue reading

Let chaos reign!

I’ve been looking at my crappy placeholder graphics for too long. Every time I launch the game, a tiny voice at the back of my mind tells me how shitty it still looks. Every time I show it to someone else, they comment how they initially only saw the red... Continue reading

Toast!

I more or less finished one of the first powerups that you’ll encounter in the game: the toaster. When you pick it up, it appears in the item box at the top right. You can then tap a point on the screen, and your cart will fire two rapidly spinning... Continue reading

Game architecture

Although games vary wildly in appearance and mechanics, the structure of the underlying classes and objects is often similar. There is a “world” object, which contains everything else; there are multiple “entities” representing stuff in the world, there’s a “renderer” which tells each object to draw itself, etcetera. My game... Continue reading

Performance measurements

After a week partly filled with lots of food and other Christmas celebrations, I’m back on track. I’ve done some polishing to make the game more game-like. There’s now a neat countdown at the start of the game. You can start racing before the countdown ends, but there’s a little... Continue reading

Activity flow

In Android, generally speaking, each different screen presented to the user is called an ‘activity’. Until recently, the only activity in the game has been the game itself. I’d already added a few menu screens this week, like you saw before, and have now been working on putting it all... Continue reading

Menu layout

Like last week’s, this post is a day behind schedule as well. Since I’m working on my part-time side job on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, it was a silly schedule anyway – changing to Thursdays to accommodate. Today, I designed and implemented the look of the game’s menus. At first, I... Continue reading

Game structure

Sorry, no screenshots or videos this time. Instead, I’ve worked on the overarching structure of the game, the bits that should make you keep coming back. I have coded some menu screens too, but they don’t yet show the correct data and most of them don’t even fully work yet.... Continue reading

Death Rally: an analysis

Recently, I’ve become mildly addicted to the old-school top-down combat racing game Death Rally. Now, I’m not really prone to addiction, nor am I particularly good at racing games, so I found this quite interesting. What is it that makes Death Rally so compelling? What got me hooked, and kept... Continue reading

The manager

The manager is the third and final part of the game’s AI. He is responsible for the high-level strategic decisions. The core of the manager is very simple. He searches the surroundings for potential objectives, divides the benefit of each objective by the cost, then instructs the Navigator to head... Continue reading

The navigator

The Navigator is the part of the AI that is responsible for pathfinding. Actually, his algorithm is fairly straightforward. Given an objective by the Manager, the Navigator determines the shortest path through a series of waypoints that are defined in the level file, then hands each waypoint in turn to... Continue reading

The driver, the navigator and the manager

The new AI is making good progress; I’d say it’s about 90% finished. (The other 90% remains to be done.) After writing the code, it cleanly fell apart into three largely independent modules. I like to name my classes after corresponding real-world things, so these are called the Driver, the... Continue reading

Moving pictures

It’s difficult to do a screen-cast of an Android game. You have to root the device to even take a screenshot, and with the game taking up most of the CPU, a live video is out of the question. The emulator that ships with the SDK is too slow to... Continue reading

Fragments

After deciding in which direction to take the game, the last few days have been a matter of implementing this. Due to various circumstances I haven’t been able to get as much done as I would’ve liked to, which is why this post is relatively short and fragmented. I started... Continue reading

Back to roots

Due to other activities, I haven’t gotten round to much coding in the last few days. However, a lot of thinking happened that is equally, if not more important. In spite of my previous discussion about the game’s objectives, I’ve decided to take the ‘shopping’ path after all. Since none... Continue reading

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