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Space Grunts Beta now available

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Unlike many other developers, I like to work on my games without a lot of external feedback from others. At the start of Space Grunts I had some people look at it and give me some early feedback mostly concerning turn-based gameplay and mechanics, but for the last 4 or 5 months I’ve been working on the game without anybody else playing it.

So today is an exciting day, because the Beta version is now available for everyone who pre-orders the game ! (which can be done here:  www.spacegrunts.com)

Which means people will now start playing a game that I’ve been working on religiously every day for months and months, any game-developer or artist knows how scary it is to open your work up to the critics of the world, but that’s also kinda why we create things!

I’ll be using the feedback/criticism to improve the game while it’s in the current beta stage, planning to push out updates frequently and meanwhile also adding the various things that I feel are still missing in the game.

In the last few weeks I’ve been fixing and improving the interface to make it as ready and user-friendly as possible.
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Instructions and interface design have all been cleaned up, and where needed, added to make sure everyone can play and find their way around screens. And altho the screenshots show the keyboard-instructions, these are all added for mouse, controller, and touch-screen interfaces. A lot of testing has been done!

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One of the big things left now is adding the actual “ending” to the game, just in case other players are more skilled at the game then me. And then a lot of balancing hopefully based on feedback from the current players.

There is still a bunch of new stuff I like to add, including NPC’s that give you hints, or options to trade items with. Some more weapons, items, and monsters (can never have enough of those) and various smaller features and tweaks.

Altho September is still something that I would love to make as a release date, if only on Windows/Mac/Linux,  it’s really sneaking up on me with just a few more weeks. The problem with not releasing in September will be that I have to delay the game till January/February, because there is very little point in releasing the game in the middle of the big AAA releases that always happen near the holiday season.

So there’s some weeks of  crunching coming up to see if I can actually complete the game in September!

Now go Pre-order and play the game ;)

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  • cage

    Hi!
    You said it’s better to drop questions on blog, so here I go (It’s mostly about your choices of game design).
    1. Is there any reason why your classes are so big? I mean few thousands lines of code, many responsibilties per class. It seems you incorporate some designs patterns, but mostly ignore principles of OOP.
    2. Did I seen right, that some of your graphical props’ size for game aren’t in the power of 2?
    3. Is Look and Feel your only way of profiling your games?
    4. How your workflow looks? Do you regime yourself to make games X hours every day? Do You use any project management?

    ps. If any of these questions was answered – and I could miss many content – giving me directions where I can find answers is good.

    • cage

      5. Do you look for new algorithms and ideas to code only when You see that some part is lacking in performance, or You refactor your code from time to time to do something better? smarter?
      6. Do you have any list (I do :P) of good blogs, webpages about programming, game design?
      7. Can you tell me what is your source of art inspiration?

      • 5. I do like diving into creating new tech like most developers do. the challenge of creating something new. So for example the level-generators are fun to always rewrite based on what a game needs.. For various things I often copy+paste existing code, but it rarely stays unchanged.

        6. nope not really. I’ll hunt down specific blogs/articles when I run into it. Simple example, finding various A* path articles, or maze-generations (lots of fun ways to do this)

        7. can be anything.. mood, movies, cartoons, other games, comic books.. just as long as I can fit it into pixel-art ;) cause I love pixel-art

        • cage

          thank You for that answers :)

    • Hey,

      1. no specific reason for this, I’m more of a practical developer and not as much a clean-code or following principles.. I work alone, so I can afford to do it this way ;) If it works, it works!

      2. yeah possible, not all sprites are a power of 2, and why should they? :)

      3. not sure what you mean with this one

      4. Basically it’s my day job, so I try to work 8-10 hours a day, but obviously creativity can’t be guided into following hours ;) so especially the artwork and game-designing sides of things aren’t strictly done. The programming is often easier to force yourself to do, since it’s often a clear set of goals to make something work.

      • cage

        1. Ok, I can understand that. Though You are experienced developer :P. I see it works, but if You want to reuse something you have to copy-paste and change it. This lacks the layer of abstraction and tight code like i.e. instead of dependency injection of some interface you have to make stack of if-else.
        2. In most cases system reserves memory in power of two for images. It means that 256×300 sprite will occupy 256×512 or 512×512 bytes (it depends, but never it will be 256×300 bytes)
        3. Performace of your games – do You track what lags your game when gameplay feel is wrong or You just assume it’s the new feature?
        4. Thanks your that one

        • 1. I just find it faster to build games this way and not worry about OOP and principles that other people find interesting ;) I used stuff like that long time ago when doing corporate software, but for my games, it’s not really required.

          2. I usually dump many sprites into one “bigger sprite” which is often a multiple of 2.. but my sprites themselves obviously aren’t. Also from code those textures will be turned into multiple of 2 if they aren’t.. so there’s no point in making them that way and it works faster from my paint program to not bother about that.

          3. I play-test with every few changes I do, so it’s often easy to find when or where something caused lag or bugs. Running my game with java/libgdx is often done within 10 seconds, so it’s very easy to quickly change some variables, and start the game to try it out.

          • cage

            1. of course it’s not required! I just find it little disturbing. Changes in code (like adding new feature, even simple creature) requires rewriting many methods in code and remember to do that instead of delegating behaviour to specific object. Mega class like your canvas have to know about every detail.
            2. Ok, That’s good. I thought about this bigger sprites in game, not every single sprite I see on screen. Thanks.
            3. Bugs are simpler to find than lags. It’s very bold strategy, because if method A takes 50% of performance, but it’s made early it doesn’t show it’s horns. Then you make method B, C, D (which take say 10%) and after methid E it seems that something is wrong and it’s very important and heavy method. You optimize E as last of it’s kind, but still A would need trimming – like simple object pool instead of new object() would boost it. It was a common scenario for me when I hadn’t ben using profilers for JVM.

          • 1. as only developer on my games, I do indeed know every detail about my games. Also, most of my games use the same method names and “Tricks”, so I can even go back to older games and understand the code pretty quickly.

            3. you’d have the same if you use OOP or other strict rules. Bugs can always pop-up where you don’t expect them, that wouldn’t change.