Friday, April 17, 2015

Steaming Ahead - WEEK 09

Yay! The Little Crane That Could -- steam edition is finished! So today, I submitted my game for review, and if it gets through, it will be out on April 27.

I also made this launch trailer:

I'm excited for its release. I've worked very hard for 9 weeks after I got the Steam green-light. And now it is here! I will reward myself with some Scottish Whisky tonight.

At launch you will be able to grab your Win/Mac/Linux copies at 15% discount. And last, let me phrase why this game stands out, and is unique among its peers:

The terrain is the real hero in this game! With never seen before dig-anywhere technology™ you can shape the world. Any changes to the world will persist between levels and game sessions, and there are no restrictions: cliffs, overhangs, caves, tunnels: it is all possible.

The world size is near infinite: you can dig a hole, then drive for an hour in a random direction and backtrack by following your track impressions in the terrain. You will then find your dug hole as you left it: no short-cuts: real terrain simulation!

One disclaimer: I did not solve the problem of 'floating terrain' though... dig away all the dirt below and round an area, and the remaining dirt will float mid-air. I think it has limited effect on enjoyment and playability though, and as it is far from trivial to fix, I will leave it at this."

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Steaming Ahead - WEEK 08

The eighth week of work since I got Steam Green-lighted has come and gone. So as promised, here is a weekly update on the progress towards the Steam release of The Little Crane That Could.

I have done most of the Steam API integration, and tested this on Windows and Mac builds. The integration went reasonably well, so there may be a simultaneous release for multiple platforms. I did notice some issues of the steam overlay on OSX with retina display though. I have added Steam statistics and achievements as well. Because I use the steam folder for game storage, I intend to lock the game to steam. This means that it will not run if the steam client is not running.

I have added fog to the game so that the popping in/out of terrain geometry is less glaring. You can still easily see it, but it is less prominent now. The fog also adds a depth-cue. And I added a simple sky gradient from white at the horizon to blue overhead. So the visuals are still far far away from cutting edge, but at least they look a little better now. This game's strength is the state of the art simulation code, not its pretty looks.

I also added reconfigurable keyboard control, where you can assign keys to the functions in a .txt file. And to help, cheat-sheets for keyboard control and gamepad control are added.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Steaming Ahead - WEEK 07

The seventh week of work since I got Steam Green-lit has come and gone. So as promised, here is a weekly update on the progress towards the Steam release of The Little Crane That Could.

Some good news: Again, I added two new levels this week, bringing the total to eight levels, which I think is enough for a first release of the game. I particularly like the last level, in which the Crane and the Bulldozer need to work together as a team. I think the veteran players of the mobile game will like how it turned out. I also made a big leap in quality for the simulation of the excavator. The bucket now interacts with the terrain a lot better.

Because some good strides have been made towards release, I now need to spend time on non-engineering tasks. I started to create a store-front for on Steam, and getting the artwork in place. For what is called the 'box-shot' I turned to what is my favorite rendering tool: Kerkythea. This renderer has good support by Wings3D, so I can setup the scene, and the camera in Wings3D, and have Kerkythea do a great photon-mapped rendering of it. Let me know what you think of it in the comments!

I tend to do most development on Ubuntu, with an occasional jump to OSX if I need to do profiling. But now I switched to using Visual Studio more, and have been dusting off the Microsoft Windows port. All this in preparation for the steam release of course, where Windows is the most important platform. For next week, I will work on integrating Steam's API into the game. I have already started reading the documentation on it.