The Game Progress Report #23

My son has ported his Awesome Name Generator Android app to iPhone and iPad and released it onto the iTunes Store.

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Been back to the core engine for a few the last few months on and off.

The games tutorial engine that can be used to multimedia enable Twine stories is now feature complete.

Slowly working towards a Kickstarter project with one story author to publish their game.

At the same time thinking of Kickstarting the Tutorial engine as a separate spin off. The aim being to fund it to get developed to the level of a stand alone tool as well as a port to Unity.

As for Hex the game, I’m working on the world physics.

In the last few months I have managed to get working.

  • Navigation throughout the world. (Mouse, keyboard and game controller).
  • Basic Gas physics (with thermodynamics).

In the below demo I scroll around a bit while I simulate a 100kg ball of 100K degree ideal gas being released in the vacuum of space which then expands until it reaches pressure equilibrium with a cohesive force holding the gas together.

The colors I use don’t represent the relative temperature, more how temperature is changing over time.

I’m using a cellular automata send force messages between hexagons.

Red = heating, Blue = cooling, and Green = stable.

So the core is blue, because it is very hot and losing heat :)

You will see it eventually turn green as it stabilises. What happens before that is rather hypnotic, particularly just before equilibrium where solitons seem to form.

Working on performance and basic data flow at the moment (because getting the data flow correct is really important).

Happy so far. The physics is running hundreds of times faster than I need.

Next steps are to tidy up some of the navigation and simulate a form of gravity. Thinking of extending the cellular automata approach to allow messages passed between the cells to converge towards a curvature of space.

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The Game Progress Report #22

We are progressing with the game in our spare time, which has been very little but we are making progress.

My son has built an android game that we are publishing to test out all the commerce ‘stuff” we need to start selling games online through the many app stores that are now available.

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I’ve been expanding the Twine interpreter which is going to be used as the games tutorial engine and I’m working with two writers and an artist to publish their interactive fiction/Otome games using the engine as it currently stands. Release early, release often. :)

Here is a video of a play-through of part of a story-board using some found images on the internet as place holders for actual art.

The engine so far runs under iOS, Android, OUYA, Xbox360, SonyVita, PC, Mac and I’m now working on a WebGL port that will allow it to run in a web browser.

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My Twine engine adds a number of handy multimedia and dialogue macros. I can take an ‘twee’ file exported from Twine and have a running game in a few minutes.

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It has tooling that enables a graphics production pipeline to be created automatically from the story file as well as testing tools that can validate the story code by exploring all the possible story paths.

I’m looking for other Twine writers and graphic artists who want to publish their stories to collaborate on publications.

These two stories are currently at the story boarding stage so the plan is to move back into the core ‘Hex’ game features soon.

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I’ve Always Found Remote Controls Unnatural: Controlling Android TV and the XboxOne+Kinect

As an experiment I’ve been submitting myself and my exasperated family to the full  ‘real world’ XBoxOne + Kinect Voice + gesture experience using the HDMI pass-through for the last 6 months.

  • The XboxOne is always on.
  • All Video input from my Windows Media Center & Apple TV pass-through the XboxOne.

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The theory is that you can use voice and gestures to switch between TV and XboxOne Games and Apps.

The reality is that you get an annoying number of false positives which result in the XboxOne dropping you out of TV or bringing up a “What was it you said again?” style prompt.

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  • Sometimes it will lock onto your hand, because it is there.
  • Sometimes it will recognise audio from the TV, conversation in the room or a few times from a video played on my phone about how to control the XboxOne :)

A very annoying issue is that once it accidentally swaps you out of TV your voice is competing with audio from the show which continues to play in the background. You find yourself shouting “Stop Listening” or having to pause and do same.

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The most annoying issue however is an issue from the 360+Kinect days which is that the coverage of the Voice/Gesture control is not universal. If you accidentally switch to an app that needs an update you get shoved into the update UI which will not accept Voice/Gesture commands and you need to find a controller. Individual app updates happen a lot.

On the positive side I have noticed that with each update, command registration gets better. So given enough time I believe they can make this workable. But we are not there yet.

Also, we do use it.

We use it to switch between games and TV, to Skype my mother and to play/pause content when the remote is hidden under potato chips.

I still believe that this is the future, we are progressing, but it’s not there yet.

As for Android TV, the newly announced revamp of Google TV……

For me personally, using the phone/tablet to control the TV is better than a remote, at least in the experiments I have done.

But not how Google have implemented it.

Phone as Dpad is not the way. It’s just a more expensive, heavier, less convenient, more complex remote control

What works particularly well is if the browsing and control aspects of the interface are split between the tablet and the TV.

My favourite TV experience is pushing content from my phone or laptop to the TV via the Apple TV. There is some kind of joyful usability magic there beyond the technology.

Browse near, play far.

I’ve always found remote controls unnatural. There exists something wrong at the heart of the experience.

I think there is something basic in our sense of proprioception and in particular our sense of extended proprioception that is violated by a distance further than a short stick suitable for fishing termites out of a mound.

27-06-2014 11-02-54 AM

Browse near, play far. It feels more natural.

I hope that Google can bring some magic to voice and gesture, but don’t believe it will work in the real world yet.

 

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The Game Progress Report #21

Another video test. Playing this on a loop looking for any improvements I can make. Already have quite a few ideas to make it better.

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The Game Progress Report #20

 

Sped up the video encoder by an order of magnitude.

Here are some more example encodes. Just playing with random video that I have already split out into images to put the encoder it through its paces.

Going to try it on some larger videos and work on the file/streaming format.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Game Progress Report #19

Example video encoding using the hierarchical hexagon encoding.

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The Game Progress Report #18

Got stuck on the train a bit longer than normal today (heatwave signal failures) and added hexagon culling to the digitizer.

So this..

13-01-2014 7-51-18 PM

Now my favourite processing from the last post looks like this (which I believe is an improvement).

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If you look carefully, any sub-hexagon that does not contribute to the detail is culled, this results in an interesting effect and in the end is exactly what I was after. Some contrast is lost, but I think that’s a given seeing that I am applying an exotic ‘blur’. I’m going to generate some colour histograms later and see what spectral distortions I might be adding.

Here are some runs against some default the sample Windows ‘photos’.

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