University and Glow Drop DX Update

So as of today, the first semester of my final year of University is down, two more semesters to go! All exams are finished, and three assignments are done, all that’s left so far are the marks, two assignments due in second semester and a Final Year Project (which I also did a midpoint review yesterday). This is awesome for me as it means more work for the FYP and other game dev stuff, and I can schedule out the other work that I need to do.

Glow Drop DX

I’ve been adding and improving stuff in Glow Drop DX, the update to my Ludum Dare 31 entry planned for Windows and Android. Here’s the list of new stuff since Ludum Dare:

  • More Visual Effects: This includes connection lines when selecting drops and a flashing background when the drops are overflowing. The name of the power up also appears after you touch it, so that should clear up what the power up does.
  • New Shapes: That’s right, new shapes. After tweaking the way glow drops are handled, I can now have it generate different shapes. You now get to interact with Glow Spheres, Cubes and Pyramids, and they also include power ups as well.
  • New Power Ups: As well as the original three power ups (Randomize, Impulse and Clear), new power ups join the fray, Freeze, Part Split, Shake.

Porting Problems

Unfortunately, porting a HTML5 web game isn’t a completely straightforward process. A few adjustments have to be made to get the game to perform optimally, which isn’t too bad. With a few changes in values I was able to cut down the amount of effects without drastically changing the visuals, and managed them better.

For more platform specific ones, the Android port is being handled by Intel XDK, which allows me to use some android specific libraries with the HTML5 code. One of the challenges is that Google Play has a 50MB upload limit for each apk to be 50MB, which is surprisingly small compared to Windows Phone upload limit. Since Intel XDK’s JS Wrapper adds a 15-20MB overhead, that means I need to manage the game’s overall filesize.

Windows Phone has a few hurdles of its own, first is that Windows Phone 8.1, while having a lot of performance improvements over WP8, has some features missing from the HTML5/JS development side, as well as a major audio performance bug that both Construct2 developer Scirra and Microsoft are aware of, and as of this post hasn’t been resolved.

Fortunately for Windows 8.1 users, the Windows Store port is the most stable, so for Tablet and Surface users, you can play Glow Drop DX on the go!

Hopefully other platforms might improve over time, so I’ll keep you posted on Twitter.

Finally, just like to point out that Global Games Jam is next week, this’ll be my third at Stafford Campus at Staffordshire University. It’s one large on site game jam that lasts the entire weekend! Last year’s wasn’t too perfect for me, but this year I’m hoping to work on something finished! Wish me luck!

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