NEO Scavenger Changelog and New UI Prototyping

Hey Folks!

I finally had more time to dedicate to development today, and decided to tackle two things.

NEO Scavenger Changelog

First, I finished up a draft of the changelog I mentioned yesterday. As of today, if you visit any NEO Scavenger page, the navigation menu will include a Changelog button. This changelog lists most of the game's change history in reverse-chronological order, with build IDs, dates, and expandable lists of changes.

I had to stop at September 2012 because it would've taken a lot of manual transcribing to do earlier builds. I do mention how to find those, however. And there is also a link to Game Dev Gone Rogue for those interested in ancient history.

Prototyping UI and Localization

The rest of the day, I decided to check out some of the UI and localization stuff available in HaxeFlixel. Lars created a handy demo which shows off this built-in UI system combined with the Firetongue localization library.

What exactly does this mean? Basically, it's a way to define the game's UI using XML files and images instead of hard-coding them. And the Firetongue addition means it can be localized into different languages using data files. After seeing how many people wanted translations of NEO Scavenger, I definitely wanted to explore this option for future games.

The good news is, this seems to be working without too much trouble! I have my latest prototype using this new UI/localization system on the main menu, and I can dynamically switch between languages. It took some doing to get all the plumbing in place (lots of xml, csv, png, and ttf files), but it should be easier to modify and maintain than NEO Scavenger was, since all the text content and layout is separated from the code into text files.

I have yet to use this in a production environment, so I may still encounter issues with large-scale use-cases. But for now, this seems like a promising way to make future games ready to accept translations!

Also, one of the other things I want to explore soon in my prototype is adding various UI elements for ship features. So this is a bit of a foundation step in preparing for that.

It's about quitting time here, though, and baby's starting to cry. So have a good night!