PlayExpo and Texture Improvements

PlayExpo

Over the weekend Against the Wall won People’s Choice at Long Island University’s PlayExpo. It’s a small competition, and was a good opportunity to show my game off.

All of my efforts to promote my game have been paying off. However, this also led to me hitting the data transfer limit on my website yesterday. I ¬†upgraded my account to allow for 100GB more data transfer, but I am already about to hit the new limit. I will eventually have to start hosting my game on a service such as Amazon S3. For now, however, it has been my goal to reduce the game’s file size.

To do this, I began playing around with a piece of middleware called Substance Designer. It’s a program that lets you create textures that are generated through code. It’s actually pretty crazy. Before, the brick textures took up 100 MB on my drive uncompressed. With the procedural texture, the bricks take less than 1 MB. This has reduced the download size of the game by half. Plus, the graphics look a whole lot cleaner and nicer when prepared by this program.

One last note: I’m looking forward to the Ludum Dare this weekend. It will take a nice chunk of time out of my main game’s development, but I need a breather from constantly working on it.

Against the Wall - Forest 0.53Against the Wall - Windmill 0.53

Post-PAX East and Alpha 0.52

So PAX was a success, at least in that I survived through to the end. I made a ton of contacts, and have been busily sorting through this stack of cards and sending out emails. In the meantime, I’ve released the new and improved version alpha 0.52 of Against the Wall. Not much is different in this version on the content side of things. Rather, this is a graphical facelift, changing the skybox, the wand, major bug fixes, higher resolution textures, performance improvements, and new structures for the city.¬†This release is also compiled with Unity 3.5, the newest version of the engine. All the bells and whistles of the new version are included… in addition to all the new bugs. Will be seeing a Unity rep tomorrow at this meet up in the city. He’s going to be giving a talk about iOS optimization. I don’t really care about mobile, but techniques for improving performance is a subject of great interest to me. The faster I can get the game to load chunks, the more seamless it is and the better it will run on low-end machines.

Oh, and I heard that my game was mentioned in the Giant Bomb panel at PAX East! I’ll need to check this out right now, as a longtime fan of the site.
Edit: Here is the video of the audience member asking a question to Patrick. Thanks for mentioning the game’!

The Lead-up to PAX East

Against the Wall Wand

A lot has happened in the past week Today, For instance, I got into the NYU Game Center’s MA program for game design! Need to go and accept their offer now.

Last Thursday, Against the Wall was featured at a party at Kickstarter HQ last Thursday. The game was projected onto a large screen for random people to play. Met a lot of interesting folks there. Good networking, fun party, and got some good insight into how people play and react to my game.

On Friday, I moved into a new home office. I live with my parents while I lack any real income. My sister moved out of the basement recently, and I’ve taken over the finished basement for work. Here are some shots of my new setup:

Home Office 1Home Office 2

I used to live down here some years back. Good to be back in my old space. You can see my main desktop and laptop in the pics. Have a few very old computers lying around too. The tall right-hand monitor is used for scripting and such, and I also run previews of the game there. The left monitor is my usual desktop. Random stuff lying around as well, but decidedly not messy. Not yet, anyway.

I’ve also been researching posters and banners for PAX East. I have some table space, so I want to have at least one decoration besides business cards and such. I’ve designed a poster and will pick it up later today. I’ll be using an old artists easel to prop the poster up on the table. I’ve also bought some cool Sony heaphones: ZX-100. They’ll be handy for sound design tasks, and I may bring them to the expo for people to listen to the game on.

Still polishing AtW, reducing floating point errors in the wand and in the world and such. Less jitteriness all around thanks to some crazy workarounds. The wand has been modified yet again. This time changes follow concept work by Chris Pivot, a fan. The wand (pictured up top) is now shorter, and the main joint is more pipe-like. It’s also made out of a slightly glossy metal. I’ll give the shaft a rustic wood texture in the near future Thanks for the inspiration Chris!

Just a note: regular gamepad functionality has stopped working for some reason, and even XInput does not work in Windows builds. I am not sure, but it may be related to the 3.5 update of Unity. Guess I’ll only have a keyboard and mouse at PAX. There’s also this bug that swaps red and blue vertex colors when some meshes are combined. It’s a real pain, especially since the workaround is a performance-expensive hack.

Finally, I’m bringing by buddy Phil along to the expo. He’ll be sure to have more fun while I spend my days talking to folks in the Kickstarter Arcade. Stop by and say hi if you’re going to be there!