...And Under-Achiever

Hey Folks! Not such a productive day today. I think I may have coded myself into a corner, so-to-speak. And when I searched for backup tasks to switch to, I think each has obstacles of its own.

The achievement stuff I worked on yesterday prompted me to ask Tiago about getting achievement info for the current user. And that reminded him of a task that was nearly forgotten to finish the achievement integration. So he's been focused on finishing the remaining components of that. And since a lot of what I was doing overlaps his work, it's best for me to step aside until he's done.

I figured a secondary tasks that needs doing might be to try and update the video trailer for mobile stores. The current trailer shows the cursor and some old UI, so it's already out of date. And there are some easy improvements I can see making to the old trailer to make it ever so slightly less boring.

Unfortunately, there are some obstacles here, too. For one thing, recording on a mobile device is a different prospect than PC. After some research and testing, I was able to use Google Play to record Android footage of the game, but it only came out in 360p despite choosing 720p. It might've been due to the upload process, but I'm not familiar enough yet to know. And since it's currently using a debug build, there's some debug text in the UI I won't want there. So that would best wait for a release build on the device, which isn't happening for a while.

Then I realized I could probably just build it on PC and record it there, since the UI is the same. I'd have to hide the cursor, though, which would make playing it hard. Hmph.

I've read about some folks who just film the screen using an external camera, like their smartphone. And that might not be a bad idea, since it shows a more physical experience with actual hands touching the UI. But that has its own issues with auto-focus and lighting, and they had to resort to a special app to bypass the occasional lighting/focus shifts due to their hands moving in and out of frame.

I don't know. This is really kind of annoying. Maybe I just have the cursor there and say screw it :)

Lastly, I looked over the remaining issues and saw mostly rare crash bugs on the list, so I decided to go for it and try to cause them. And 45 minutes of heavy melee, scavenging, and crafting later, no crashes. This is good, of course, but not when you're trying to find a rare crash to fix it!

I guess I'd be remiss in not also mentioning my personal productivity has taken a hit lately. I'm usually a pretty diligent worker. But I feel like diligent days are getting pretty far apart in recent months. It could be project fatigue. Could be baby-induced lack of sleep. Could be our upcoming move. Could be all of these things, and probably is.

Could be I need a vacation :)

But I'm almost there. Just get this thing launched, then hopefully that will lighten the financial anxiety once a new revenue stream starts. I'll pick-up a new anxiety source: product support on mobile, but it'll be comforting knowing Tiago has my back for a little while after launch.

Phew! When did being an indie become such a grind!


linibot's picture

Sometimes a three-day weekend and a babysitter are much cheaper in the long run than a burnout. Juuust sayin'. :)

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ra1's picture

It is quite impressive to spend half a day trying to discover/recreate any bugs in your software and not finding any. Congrats. Take a step back and bask in it - as it doesn't happen very often.

I periodically spend ~30-60 minutes at a time "playing" (for lack of a better term) with stuff related to software development in general, but not necessarily "productive". This has the benefit of letting you both relax and think abstractly about stuff.

dcfedor's picture

@linibot, that's true! Though, our little one is in that phase where babysitter = babystealer and she squeals in fear in anticipation of mommy "going away." I think we need to socialize her a bit more :)

@ra1, this is true. It's not a bad state of affairs and probably a good problem to have!

And yeah, a little time on the side to blow off steam would not be a bad thing. I've used that to good effect when stumped on a dev problem. The mind often solves things when you're not noticing :)

This, however, is more of a pile of tedious work and loose ends, so the challenge is more motivation than logic. Historically, the solution to this (for me) is to short-circuit any procrastination/distraction urges just as they happen, and return to working. Once I deflect a few side-trips and gather enough momentum, it's easier to finish, and the completed tasks act as their own motivator.

Speaking of distractions... :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

layarion's picture
  1. "Maybe I just have the cursor there and say screw it " You might have been joking, if you were then skip this...If you did that and marketed it as the touch screen platform you would be shooting yourself in the foot. People would think your trailer is half-assed, so the game might be too. Or that you dunno what your doing if you can't tell the difference between touch screen and a mouse. It's all bad.
  2. Will these achievements be integrated with GOG.com Galaxy? Galaxy is new, but i like GOG more than steam. anyway
  3. Philip's universe felt very lonely, you could talk to looters and people, but aside from scripted encounters the conversation are one sided and i just felt there was never any connection to be had with the people around me. I felt like compassion was wasted and AI was just too simple minded in general to feel like i was in a world with other characters.
  4. You sure you still don't want some select testers for those bugs?

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dcfedor's picture

@layarion, I was only partially joking. I was pretty tired when I wrote that, and ready to call it a day :)

A (mostly) good night's sleep has helped me tackle this with new energy, so I was able to figure out how to record the mobile build on PC without the cursor showing.

Though, it looks really weird without a person's finger there tapping buttons and such. The cursor at least drew the eye to the activity, but things just flash and move around without the cursor there.

Have you come across any mobile game trailers where they solve this problem?

As for achievements and GOG Galaxy, not yet. This is purely mobile stuff I'm working on. In theory, this new Haxe-based engine would handle integration with Galaxy, without too much tweaking from the iOS/Android calls. But the build would need quite a bit of work to fully replace the old Flash one. E.g. restore mod-loading, "BIG UI" mode, fix-up mouse/hotkey controls, etc.

As for beta testers, I'm not sure, no :) It may still happen.

Anything may still happen :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

layarion's picture

"Have you come across any mobile game trailers where they solve this problem?" honestly i don't do much on the phone because i can't handle the lack of tactile feedback on games more complex than point n click. I'm excited to play the PC version unless i get both versions with one purchase (not usually)

I wanted to try and find some examples for you to brainstorm with, and honestly i didn't find many. Googling "Mobile game trailer" with any variation of "Show controls, hands" and so on still just gets you a lot of results not really related to what i was trying to find.

This is a game trailer that uses actual fingers, some mouse cursor on screen, and sometimes shows a trail following the mouse. Which i think makes it easier to follow.

Just scroll down a little until you see the illustrated hand interacting with the phone. While i don't know if i care for the art style, you can edit this hand into the trailer making move and slide, and showing the finger doing a double tap when needed.

Maybe you were looking for more of a Let's Play and wanted less editing done, in that case i may have wasted your time and i'm sorry lol.

One other idea is maybe you can have a yellow, highlighter looking circle follow the mouse around. Hide the mouse but keep the circle, to show the fingers position. Then have the circle sort of "blink" or something to simulate a finger press, have the blink last longer (or something) for long presses. It hides the cursor but at this point i'm not sure how much better this would be than to just show the mouse.

You don't have to use camtasia, with editors you could just record and edit some visual indicators of your own.

other stuff:
I didn't dig too deep into this, but if you scroll down it talks about capturing software and such.

oh and i wasn't saying that you can't put a mouse cursor on a trailer, it's just if it has mobile on the video's title and i see a mouse cursor it just stands out to me.

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