Well, time for a website refresh -- the flat look.
Small operation here and I've been going with the Sandvox tools. Seems to be working….
Sea Assault and Ant Planet have been updated for the new 4 inch retina display. In addition, the games now support both landscape orientations. These games originated in iOS 3 days. So, some retro fitting was needed. Both game updates have been submitted to the store.
Currently, the best option is to build the games with Xcode 4.5.2. Thus, that implies no more armv6 support. In other words, iPod 2nd generation and iPhone 3G will no longer be supported. iOS 4.3 is the lowest choice. The twist is only armv7 devices were allowed to update to iOS 4.3 and not armv6 devices. And you cannot downgrade devices to iOS 4 without serious magic. I was reluctant to build with the new tools -- there are too many new devices to support that require the new development tools.
The current game offerings work well on the new iPad. Well, I'll call it the 4th generation iPad. Everything looks to be running as expected. No maintenance updates will be needed for this case.
I've tested Rollerz on the iPod 5 today. There were some more issues but the game is now working with the 4 inch display. These fixes will address issues with iPhone 5 too because it has the same screen dimensions.
Locally, the iPod 5 has been in the store for two days. The store was sold out of black and white color models. I opted for blue. :)
All the other games appear to be compatible.
I really like the lightning connector on the device. When developing you upload to the device all the time. It feels almost instantaneous. The ear buds are much better too. Another surprising aspect is how light the device is.
So many devices to test these days…iPad 1,iPad 2, iPad 3, iPod 2, iPod 3, iPod 4, and iPod5. And throw in a phone or two. The situation is starting to get the pc video card feel. Still its better than dealing with ati and nvidia video card differences and permutations.
Its official, "Reliabit" is now a officially registered trademark with the USPTO and is registered to Reliabit,LLC. The trademark is in Int. Cl.: 9 For "DOWNLOADABLE COMPUTER GAME SOFTWARE VIA A GLOBAL COMPUTER NETWORK AND WIRELESS DEVICES". The trademark was approved on September 18, 2012. The mark was first used on October 3, 2002.
Please refrain from using Reliabit® without approval from Reliabit,LLC.
Its been a busy day preparing for iOS 6 which comes out on September 19th. Frankly, I thought things were going to go more smoothly.
Now that I have the gold master for Xcode and the gold master for iOS 6, I've done some regression testing.
It appears there are two serious issues with Emerald Run and Rollerz. The fist has to do with shader validation. The validation method changed! So, there was a validation failure. This issue has been corrected. But it would result in the game not drawing. That is black screen. Apple recommends removing shader validation in released code.
The second issue that has been addressed is view rotations. There is a different methodology doing this on iOS 6. Emerald Run had problems with screen rotation on iOS 6. This has been corrected. Rollerz uses storyboards which appear to have dodged this issues.
Another issue is Xcode 4.5 supports a minimum of iOS 4.3. So, Emerald Run users will now have to have at least iOS 4.3 to run the latest and greatest Emerald Run. Moreover, the new Xcode does not even build for the old armv6 anymore. Though, there is now a new build architecture option of armv7s specifically for iPhone 5.
Rollers was approved for sale in Apple's App Store. There were some minor glitches in the initial submission that created a delay of one week -- resubmitting puts the app at the end of the queue. Since I had to resubmit again, I improved the settings view layout and fixed some other minor issues too. The game is available for iOS 5 or greater.
I've initially finished a game called Rollerz. I submitted the app to the store.
The game is real simple. Rolling stones orbit the center stone. You need to collect all the blue gems on the board. When the collection is complete, then the center stone turns green. You need to goto the center and touch the green stone to advance. Each level the stones roll faster. There are some bonus levels with robot fights etc. Occasionally, a UFO will land in the center of the board and throw you off -- it can be hard to run away because of the moving stones.
Lots of new technical features in this game compared to my previous games. The main focus is character animation. The player and the robot models are animated with bones and weight maps. Also, there are different takes. If you double tap the main player character will kneel. When I replaced the input model format with dae, I get all the character animation data too. Before, I was reading in obj files which are only static but very compatible. The modeling programs I use do not export multiple takes with dae. So, I have to paste the extra takes into the dae file by hand when needed.
The latest version of Emerald Run contained some audio improvements. These improvements were added to Sea Assault prior but they carried over to Emerald Run too. If I see an improvement in one game that I can carry over to another, I usually implement it.
When Emerald Run would first start, there were some minor hiccups in the frame rate that would only happen on first play. If you rebooted the device, the skip would happen once again only on first play. Just once...The issue was happening only in OpenGL ES 2. These have been resolved. Just doing a pre warm draw of every model ( and clearing the depth buffer for each model ) into a offscreen fbo fixed it. I suspect the shaders get complied and cached -- but the cache gets cleared on a reboot. Drawing each model before playing and populate the cache seems to be the solution. These issues started when iOS 5 first came out.
There were some minor text formatting issues in the scores table that were fixed. Once you localize a UI, you have to be really careful. Each single fix turns into half a dozen fixes.
Been focused on creating my next game and have not had much time to blog post. Things are moving along. I have not gotten to that point yet were one can see the end of the tunnel. But it does feel like I'm in half way done land.
There is going to be an Emerald Run update, though. I'd consider it a minor maintenance update. I want to put in some changes to prepare ( as much as I can at this point ) for the anticipated iPad 3. Added a few minor graphics tweaks. Also, it will be built using the new Xcode 4.3 tools.
The main focus of the next update is localization support for Emerald Run. The supported languages will be French, German, Portuguese and Spanish. I'll expand to more languages in the future.
Also, there will be some improvement in the graphics shaders. iPad 2 shadow mode should be better. Another interesting tidbit is that doubling the shadow map resolution on iPad 2 does not really harm performance but yields much better results. Lower end armv7 devices should run a little better too.
iPad 2 players its your lucky day ! I have enabled OpenGL ES 2 graphics on iPad 2. The OpenGL ES 2 switch is enabled after the update. You will now see wind effects on the trees, shadows, enhanced water and bump mapping. If you do not like the new look, you can always disable it and go back to the old graphics. The screen layout on all iPads has been updated too.
Speaking of wind effects, one thing I've always wanted to enhance is the pine tree leaves. The leaves now sway in the wind -- vertex shaders can be a wonderful thing. If you travel to the tops of hills, there are wind gust sounds. The trees also make pine needle sounds. It gives the environment an ambient feel.
The OpenAL sound model was adjusted and there is more of a roll off effect with distance sounds.
There are more particle effects when Spiders are destroyed. Purple sparks are emitted.
When the truck is moving on steep hills, it will kick loose debris and make additional sounds. Moreover, if you are lower on steep hills, the camera will elevate itself and the ground is not clipped.
I've submitted a free update for the Emerald Run game to the app store. The focus of the update is optimization and bug fixes.
As a side note, the game runs marvously well on an iPhone 4S with all settings turned on max. Also, the shadow sample rate is double on the 4S!
On the flip side, there will be speed ups in graphics especially with shadows turned off -- 3rd and 4th generation iPods and iPhone 3GS should see this improvement the most.