Here’s the next post in my series detailing new features coming to Def for the PC / Mac / Linux (and OUYA !) release. Todays feature is: speedup !
Okay, I’ll admit that’s a little underwhelming as a major feature, given that most tower defence and RTS games have a way of speeding up time to zip through any lull in the action. But it’s significant since it’s a feature the version of Def currently out on OUYA doesn’t have. Most levels in Def are designed so that there shouldn’t be many moments where you are idle enough to need a speedup feature, but it does happen occasionally. My initial attempt at implementing this before the OUYA release hit some bugs I couldn’t solve, and I opted to release rather than have this one non-essential feature hold everything back. That said, it’s a nice feature to have, so I devoted a little more time to get it working, and now it’s coming !
Some API / behaviour changes in Android 4+ (ICS, Jellybean), mean that many Sony LiveView plugins no longer are listed in the LiveView manager. For developers out there that are still supporting LiveView plugins, you should add the intent-filter (below) to your AndroidManifest.xml for the main Preferences activity.
<action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />
<category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" />
This will give your plugin an icon under the regular launcher along side other apps, and it should also appear in the plugins list under Sony’s LiveView application.
I’ve recently made this update to Wrist Tweets to make things easier for users.
For my app WristTweets, I implemented a feature where the user could press a button on the LiveView microdisplay to open a URL if one appears in the tweet. If there is no URL shared in the tweet, ideally I wanted to instead open their preferred Twitter client on their phone showing the tweet so that they could take further action (eg retweet, reply, block).
Several clients (‘official’ Twitter app and Plume) successfully capture ACTION_VIEW intents for any twitter.com URL and will display the tweet as desired. Other clients capture various other intents but don’t appear capable of opening a specific tweet via an intent. In some cases there are other undocumented intents that will allow a user profile to be opened via an intent – this is what WristTweets falls back on for clients that can’t directly open a tweet via an intent.
Since others may find this useful, shared below are the intents I discovered for Tweetdeck, Plume, Seesmic, Hootsuite, Twidroid Pro / Ubersocial, and the ‘official’ Twitter app. As far as I know none of these are officially documented, and they obviously may change without notice in future updates.
Well, it’s not an official entry, since it’s way too late. You can see what I was trying to achieve here and here. Essentially, I was attempting to entertain myself in the boring parts of a plane flight from Rome to Melbourne, via Hong Kong, by making my Ludum Dare entry. Various problems, mainly to do with finding working laptop power, prevented me from submitting it by the deadline.
This is the product of about two laptop battery charges (~2.5 hours), and one hour to polish, fix the odd bug and package .. so in total it’s about a ~6 hour game. It’s based on the garbage compactor scene from a particular space opera that had it’s heyday in the late 70’s and early 80’s. You could imagine it was one of the ideas that was considered, then discarded, before the early arcade developers went “Nah, we should do a 3D X-Wing game with vector graphics. That would be much cooler”.
You are the (inexplicably) green hero. You play with the arrow keys. You move bits of junk (grey) such that you can jam the compactor before it crushes you. Some bits of junk (white), are too large to move. There is only one level and no sound.
Play it here (Java applet, requires the Java plugin that you most likely already have installed).
Here’s a new game I’ve been developing on-and-off for a few months now. I’ve become pretty busy at “The Day Job” recently, and due to commuting time I haven’t found time to add all the features I’d like. I thought rather than sit on this game for many more months, I’d just release it as is. It’s polished enough to play … but you’ll need a friend (if you live in Melbourne … I’m happy to drop round and play it with you :) ).
Phobocore is a two-player hotseat game, where the aim is to capture all the planets onscreen by shooting them. It’s sort of a cross between Asteroids and Risk/Galcon, with a respectful nod to open field overhead shooters like Robotron, Bezerk or Gauntlet.
Download Phobocore (v.09 for Windows & Linux) [10.3 mb]
The experience of creating this game has been quite enlightening so far. It really got me thinking about aspects of game design I hadn’t thought deeply about. I threw around lots of ideas relating to ‘resources’ and ‘defenses’, particularly thinking about how RTSs like Starcraft require balance in play style between defense building, offensive maneuvers and resource gathering. Good players must multitask and proiritize to get the upperhand on their opponents. Key questions like “Should captured/neutral/enemy planets be solid objects or unhindering ?” occupied more than one dinner time conversation, bearing out all the ways these would changed the game. I had great fun testing the effect of different game rules, and how these changed the dynamics of the gameplay (with huge thanks to my long-suffering girlfriend for playtesting. The next best thing to writing an AI player :) ). If you are keen to fiddle with these game rules yourself, you can throw various flags in the phobocore.py sourcecode to test how these variations change the play style required to win.
I also spent considerable time tweaking things like fire rates and the “planets-held to ammo recharge rate” ratio to try and make the game somewhat fun. It works pretty well for players that are equally matched, but much like Galcon, once one player gets an edge, it can be hard to recover and things are over pretty quickly.
Big features I’d love to add in the future: an AI compurer player for single player mode, and maybe network play. I need to work on the collision detection, improve the graphics, add background music, and add a help screen / tutorial screen and slap on a license (probably GPL for code and Creative Commons for audiovisual assests).
Have fun & feedback is, as always, welcome !