UI Work, and Flash Projector

Hey Folks!

Hope everyone had a good weekend. My day off was a welcome break, and I felt much more recharged when I returned this morning.

After catching up on some emails and forum posts, I started my day by fixing a scavenging exploit, and emailing Mollom with some more info on the spam filter. So far, they're still gathering info on why the spam filter's going nuts, so I've been providing them with some sample data to analyze. Hopefully, we'll be able to narrow down the cause of the overactive spam identifier.

After that, I spent some time looking into the projector format. As you know, I've struggled with Adobe's decision to stop supporting Flash projector format after 11.2 (sometime in 2012). However, I happened across some interesting info earlier in the day.

It appears that with some clever hacking, one can cobble together their own Flash projector from the ones Adobe provides on their site. Basically, one just needs to splice their Flash file directly into the projector with the correct byte indicator and length info. Following some instructions, I wrote a Haxe/OpenFL app to do this, and it seems to be working. I still need to verify some settings on the compiled Flash output, to make sure the Flash file is also using the latest format, but it's looking promising.

The Mac version is a little more low-tech, since it's more of a package that can be opened directly (like an archive). Linux, however, is still stuck on Adobe's last version (11.2).

Why is this important? Well, for one thing, there's a chance that the newer projector format will run smoother. The updates beyond 11.2 were performance-based, and also might improve fullscreen access. I still need to test it out, though.

After that, I turned my attention to UI. It's been a while since I last addressed the overall UI. And lately, I've been accumulating more and more feedback on things that are rough. So I think I'm going to spend some time fixing up the rough spots.

One of the first things I want to look at is whether I can support a 1024 or 1280 width resolution. There's a pretty large gap between the two 800x450 and 1360x768 modes. Users with 1024 or 1280 width monitors (many of which are 4:3 or 5:4 aspect ratio users) are stuck with 800x450 scaled up, or 1360x768 scaled down. The latter is fairly illegible where small text is used, and the former's text can be difficult, too. Especially the encounter, message log, and other large paragraphs.

So I'm going to see if I can squeeze everything into 1024x768 for starters. I think it'll be restricted to all small graphics (like 800x450), but large-fonts in strategic places. And some UI elements might move around (like the item screen buttons).

In addition to this, now is probably a good time to also look into the graphics options controls. There have been some bugs reported there when in fullscreen, as well as not remembering settings. They are also placed in such a way that they can disappear off-screen if the window size drops below the zoom level. So I may break out the video options into a separate screen, like most games have.

And while I'm at it, this might be a good time to see if I can provide framerate limiter functionality. Since some folks report high CPU usage, this might help.

There are quite a few other fixes I'd like to explore while in the UI code, too. Maybe consolidating some buttons, or other tooltip functionality. All with an eye towards making the game more user-friendly.

Anyway, there's a lot to be done. I was a bit nervous about mentioning it, in case I can't deliver on any of these items. But I think it's worth at least trying!

Comments

Grelko's picture
Grelko

After switching, do you happen to know if this game will still work on Windows XP?

Scavenger's picture
Scavenger

Since it'll still be rather regular flash application with some projector stuff put in (and Adobe's projector stuff I believe is XP compatible) I'd be quite surprised if it'd stop working for XP without a chance for relatively easy fix.

adammada2's picture
adammada2

> One of the first things I want to look at is whether I can support a 1024 or 1280 width resolution. There's a pretty large gap between the two 800x450 and 1360x768 modes. Users with 1024 or 1280 width monitors (many of which are 4:3 or 5:4 aspect ratio users) are stuck with 800x450 scaled up, or 1360x768 scaled down.

Yes, yes, yes!.

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

@Grelko, as Scavenger says, it shouldn't affect XP users. Adobe's specs for Flash include Windows XP.

@adammada2, hopefully I can deliver!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games