Humble Launch, and More UI Work

Yesterday's Humble Bundle launch seems to be a success so far. As of this post, Humble is reporting over 31,000 units sold. And looking at my Steam stats, there are just under 23,000 new NEO Scavenger key activations since yesterday. That's a lot of new players!

And what's more, I think the bundle is doing a great job of making a lot of new people aware of Haxe, OpenFL, FlashDevelop, and Ren'Py, the open source tools we're supporting with the sales. Judging by the number of times I've had to explain how they are "not Flash," it sounds like those are some new tools to many people. Hopefully, this exposure gets a lot more folks involved in making those projects even better!

Back on the development side, I was able to get some more UI work done today. I'm still working on a new "Options" screen for the main menu, to hopefully make things not only clearer, but more reliable.

Today, I focused on making the user-preferences save and load more reliably. Previously, fullscreen was fairly flaky when restarting the game, and it would always start in windowed mode. I may have found a way to fix that today, and so far, testing seems promising. I have a suspicion that this might not work on Linux (since Flash is frozen at 11.2 there), but I'll see if there is anything I can do about that.

I'm also rethinking how the user will select the resolution. Currently, the user has four resolution buttons:

  • 800x450
  • 1360x768
  • 1600x900
  • 2400x1350

My intent was to give 4 basic layouts to choose from, and let the user choose "Stretch" if they wanted a perfect fit. And since "Stretch" can cause aliasing, I also added a "Filter" button to smooth some of the jagged edges. Not perfect, but these are the limitations we have with pixel art.

Unfortunately, most people don't understand why these are the only options. (Indeed, apart from the two middle resolution choices, they do seem rather arbitrary.) So instead of making the user choose, I've rewritten the UI to auto-select the biggest possible resolution for the current window or fullscreen size.

I opted not to have "Stretch" turned on by default, since it makes some art and fonts look weird at some resolutions. Non-stretch tends to look crisper, even though it has black bars.

And, just in case the user doesn't like what the game chooses automatically, I'm going to still let them choose.

IMAGE( Some of the buttons on the new options screen.

In the top right, we see the new resolution buttons. "Small GUI" is the 800x450 mode, "Big GUI" is the 1360x768 mode, and the "4:3 GUI" is the new 1024x768 mode.

I renamed them like this to avoid people looking at the specific numbers and saying "where's my personal favorite resolution?" This way, the user can focus on the real differences between the three layout choices: aspect ratio, button locations, and font sizes. They can click each, see which they prefer, and just stick with that. And if any of those are too small, they can opt to "Stretch" them to be bigger.

"AUTO" does what it says (or what I hope it says). It basically chooses the biggest resolution possible without expanding beyond the edges of the window/screen, and without stretch. And if, for some reason, it does expand beyond the edges? That's there the "Reset" button comes in. Clicking that will restore all defaults: auto-resolution, no stretch, no filter, no fullscreen. In theory, this should help in cases where setting cause all controls to be pushed off-screen, since the "Reset" button is dead-center, and will always be visible no matter what window size you have.

I still have more work to do here. I'd like to see about adding volume controls, framerate preferences, and other settings, too. I'll likely start on those Monday.

That's all for this week. Hope everyone has a good weekend!


Banjo's picture

4:3? 1024?! Please tell me I'm not dreaming, Dan! :)

I kinda skimmed the post when I saw that, but finally getting back the ability to play on my big 4:3 PC monitor (rather than playing on my tiny 16:9 backup monitor or running cables to my widescreen TV as I currently) has been top of top of my wishlist for NeoScavenger ever since it was removed from the game, and honestly I'd given up hope of ever seeing this fixed.

My own happiness aside, fixing the resolution issues is a massive step for NeoScavenger; it's one of those niggling "makes the game look unprofessional even though it isn't" things; right now, it *never* remembers your graphics options between sessions or even save/loads, parts of the GUI is insanely tiny on some settings, and there's awful blurring when playing on 4:3 with "stretch".

The new sample screens look WONDERFUL (I also very much appreciate the change of the "other things you can craft" interface that I'm betting was a constant source of tech support email woes... "Why can't I craft X... oh, that little orange arrow?").

Superb work, mate. I'm thrilled that I took a bit of a break from NeoScavenger and have now returned to find this level of awesomeness/new development. I am currently LOVING the new primitive tribe village (a new trading post at last!) and the new items it brings.

My Mods:SaveMan|Fishing|Shouldered|Bottles

dcfedor's picture

Hey Banjo,

Glad to hear you're enjoying the updates! And hopefully, the new 1024x768 mode helps out at least a few folks in your situation. It's mostly larger font with the usual 800x450 graphics, but if you're using a 1024x768 monitor, it should be an upgrade from 800x450 with "stretch."

I think there are still some monitors out there with non-ideal layouts to choose from, but I think we're better off with more choices!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

luciuskiller's picture

my face will be black and blue after the many face-palms I will give to myself at the noobs ignorant comments on pre explained stuff.

:) :( :D >:(

And oldie and I would say goodie but not particularly

FlyingShisno's picture

Wait, I don't really get the new modes. 1600x900 is my native resolution, so I won't be able to use fullscreen 1600x900 mode without lower quality? Because I was able to use that mode before with no drops in quality, and filitered/stretch mode will drop it for me.

Edit: Wait, does auto only choose the biggest resolution from your "800x450, 1360x768, 1024x768 mode" description? Or any resolution in general? Like, will it automatically pick 1600x900?


I've killed innocent civilians and taken on squads of DMC Guard in the name of fashion, and a sweet set of military apparel.

dcfedor's picture

@FlyingShisno, I think you should still be able to play at 1600x900 by choosing "AUTO" and "Fullscreen." "AUTO" might choose a lower resolution until you switch to fullscreen, but I think it should work after that.

"AUTO" chooses from 800x450, 1024x768, 1360x768, 1600x900, and 2400x1350.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

FlyingShisno's picture

@dcfedor Ah, I see now. Thanks for the reply!

Edit: Also, I'm new to the community, having picked it up in the Humble Bundle. Is there a place where I can see the change logs for the public test build, or any build?


I've killed innocent civilians and taken on squads of DMC Guard in the name of fashion, and a sweet set of military apparel.

Rovlad's picture

"Judging by the number of times I've had to explain how they are "not Flash," it sounds like those are some new tools to many people."
Bwahaha, that's pathetic.

dcfedor's picture

@Rovlad, indeed, it was bizarre and a little frustrating. Some folks definitely shoot first and ask questions later.

@FlyingShisno, no problem! If you're looking for the digest version of the builds and their features, Desura's probably got the best version:

It's lacking 0.985 and some really old builds that existed before I was on Desura, but most of the relevant stuff is in the last year.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Burzmali's picture

The Steam version for Linux has some significant flaw, all of which seem to be traceable to Flash.

- Very limited keyboard input in fullscreen mode (I think tab and space work, but not WASD or arrow keys)
- Item manipulation via keyboard never works (can't rotate objects or split piles).
- Input lag renders game unplayable within 20 minutes requiring a restart.

Is there a way to launch the Steam version under Chrome instead of the standalone player?

dcfedor's picture

Hey Burzmali,

The fullscreen keyboard limitation is unfortunately due to Adobe ceasing support of the Flash stand-alone player on Linux (11.2 doesn't have Fullscreen Interactive mode, which fixes this). The input lag, on the other hand, might be the game itself.

Would you mind trying the demo version in your browser, and PMing me to let me know if it solves all of the problems above?

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games