iOS Testing Going Well, and Music!

Hey Folks! Some good news from today's testing, as iOS seems to be a significantly better build. And Josh's new tracks are solid, as always!

Tiago updated the iOS builds this morning, so I loaded them onto my iPad 3 to see how our fixes/memleak changes were working. And I have to say, it's darned near done.

I played a full hour on iPad, exploring, battling, scavenging, crafting, and item arranging. Four separate music tracks came and went, one of them the long, looped one. Everything just...worked. Even memory, though it would spike when loading a music track, would recover a moment or two later with a garbage collection, and the game stayed well within our prescribed limits for the whole hour.

There were a few minor issues over that time, but one big one. It crashed a little after an hour when I tried to talk to some DMC guards. Reloading crashed, too. But reloading a second time placed me back in the game in the turn just before that, so autosave saved the day! (And incidentally, talking to a DMC guard after a reload worked fine.)

We'll be looking to fix that crash, of course. And whatever other bugs we can. But if a player can go a full hour without incident, and then reload 1 or 2 times to recover...well, I could live with that. But then, I'm a pretty forgiving person :)

Anyway, that's looking a lot better than I was expecting!

And what's more, Josh has sent me a pack of bonus tracks to check out. He's been chomping at the bit to replace one of the earlier tracks we approved for a while now. It's a great track, and I've told him not to worry about it. But he insisted on at least trying.

These new tracks give me a better understanding of why.

Basically, the old track was awesome, but had a tendency to steal the show. Instead of amplifying the current game mood, it would rather dominate it and change everything. And, it went through a few phases where it almost told a story. These things all make for interesting listening, but they can conflict with or blot-out what's going on in the game. Plus, the style was a bit different than what most of the other tracks seemed to be.

The new tracks are more ambient and subtle. They swell in, and instead of dominating the scene, they amplify what's already going on. Like most of Josh's original NEO Scavenger tracks, these help the story be told, rather than talking over it.

I still have to sort out which ones make the most sense. There are 7, and my current feeling is 2-3 of them are good fits. But as with any artistic decision, it helps to walk away for a bit and come back with a fresh perspective before making the call.

So a good day, despite my lack of "actual work." Maybe I'll get around to that tomorrow ;)


ra1's picture

I agree 1-2 continuous hours is a very reasonable gameplay timeframe. I suppose people may leave mobile apps (including the game) running for days (in the background). So, perhaps you could automatically pause/save and (silently) restart if the game has been inactive and in the background for at least 10? minutes. This could minimize any hard-to-find very-long gameplay bugs.

Side story: I follow another in-development game (single-player fps), and players are complaining about memory usage after 10 hours of continuous gameplay.

dcfedor's picture

Yeah, the game goes into hibernate when it loses focus, so that isn't as much the issue as 1+ hours of continuous playing. I think the only thing that happens if you leave it running in the foreground for long periods is periodic music tracks loading and unloading. They seem to bump memory usage quite a bit each, but usually the garbage collector cleans up each when done.

No doubt there will also be some 10-hour players of the mobile edition. Somewhere. So we'll at least try to make their lives easier :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games