October 18, 2014 at 9:06 pm #3610
Davis Ray Sickmon, Jr.Keymaster
When we released Beta 1 of Jumpman Forever for PC & Mac, we figured there would be some bugs to hit, but nothing major. It was already running on OUYA fairly decently, though there were a couple of post release quirks found – no biggie.
So, we released Beta 1, and it worked on about 50% of systems. The ones that it didn’t work either had a white square appear in the middle of the screen, then exit without an error in Windows. Or, the screen appeared, turned 90 degrees, then closed on Mac OS X. A little investigating, and we thought we had it nailed down, and shipped Beta 2.
Which promptly did the same thing. Now, at this point, we couldn’t replicate the problem – we had taken a wild guess at the issue, and missed the mark. So we went back and talked more with some of the folks that reported issues (and a few who didn’t have an issue, just to have a control group)
When we said Jumpman Forever was a retro-styled game, we weren’t kidding – we actually drive the screen at some fairly low resolutions. Which ended up being the source of the problem – some video cards were highly unhappy with such low resolutions. In fact, we had been a little overconfident – there was an option within the engine to simply discard all resources and references to higher resolutions entirely, and it’s considered to be an option that can’t be undone once you select it.
But, we managed to convince the engine to undo the undoable. Cool. But a new problem arose: the engine now happily ran Jumpman Forever in much higher resolutions, but that resulted in a seriously blurry set of images. Ug. This left us with only one choice: all the graphics and levels had to be redone. It’s not quite a “from scratch” situation, but it’s a huge amount of work. For instance, re-doing the background graphics meant we had to re-do the backgrounds themselves in-game.
That did give us a chance to go back and fix a lot of stuff, too. Most people won’t notice the difference – but, for instance, between the betas and the release, the bombs changed. In particular, the shields around them didn’t seem “right” for failing – now there’s a little more chaos in it. The background stars were very static – now, they are a parallax effect (and more subdued) on most levels (with the “warp effect” coming in an upcoming set of levels 😉 ). It’s a LOT of little cleanup stuff on the graphics (damnit, Jumpman still feels “lopsided” in his run – that we didn’t change, and probably won’t until 2.0)
Throw a couple other projects to keep the bills payed in the middle of that, and suddenly what should have been a couple of weeks between betas suddenly stretched into months!
Hopefully, we have a great deal less drama with the releases of iOS & Android – which will bring us to the point of releasing more levels for the existing platforms! 🙂
Davis Ray Sickmon, Jr
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