Dev-Diary: 92

Hey everyone~!

So I’ve been super flat-out lately (nothing new there~), between the classic trifecta of Inflorescent Games Co-op, PokéStudy, and of course roll. I won’t go into the Inflo work, as that cool biz stays with them for now, and if you’d like to see what’s been up with PokéStudy, well you should go check it out over on YouTube~!

YouTube : Radioactive Magic

So let’s focus on roll for a bit and run through some of the updates! But if you’d just like to check-out a short sneaky look at how the game is now, go check out my Twitter post here!

  • Audio:
    We finally have audio! Okay, the game has had audio for a while, but what is even better is that we now have music and some basic ambience! There’s still a bit to go, particularly with setting the ambience to change at appropriate times, but the game suddenly went from a silent rolling game with some tinkling effects to an actual experience. Even in alpha, testers have just sat, casually exploring their little maze world, and chilling out. I’ll give a full ramble on what makes the music in roll so unique one day, but for now, I’m just incredibly proud of where it is~ (You can also now finally listen to some of the amazing work my musician has been doing~!)
  • Camera Control:
    Now, this is a single-input game, and that input is telling application where you’d like your little ball of light to move to. As such, there is no additional input for moving the camera around. Looking around, getting a view of your surroundings, and just knowing what you’re barrelling into, has been something requested a couple of times by testers. Concepts such as the camera guessing where you’re going to just zooming the camera out a bit more didn’t really work out, so what did I do?

    I made the camera control button and the movement button the same input! Now you look where you’re pointing! It’s so simple! The last time better camera movement was suggested, I took a final stab at it, and while cleaning the code up to optimise the camera functions, it struck me! Now, granted, it needs to be tweaked a bit, the camera kinda feels like it flicks around a bit, and it is possible to look away from where the orb is going while traveling at high-speed and actually have the orb move out of view, but it is a massive improvement in my books! Not only does the player have control over what they see up-ahead, but they get a much better view of the world around them (and with what I have planned, I’m hoping that view ends up being mighty pleasant~).
  • Frame Limiting:
    roll is predominantly a mobile game (hopefully looking for a cheeky web-release as well if I can though~), and as I’ve said before, that means optimising it to run smoothly on mobile devices. This has come across in numerous ways, and you can see a lot of those through my previous posts. While I’ve done quite a few optimisations in the recent updates, most notably from cleaning up calculations and processes, to reducing graphical processing with faster images and simpler effects, a really interesting trick I’ve stumbled across is frame limiting.

    I spent a lot of my optimisation time working to make the game run faster, and it does! Currently gameplay can run almost a steady 60fps (which is a miracle considering the post-effects and procedural world!), but something was still wrong; random freezes where it seemed the graphics had to catch-up to what was going on, and even worse, a super-hot phone. Turns out when you run custom render effects at 60fps, your phone isn’t really happy..

    The fix is simple enough luckily, cap the framerate! Essentially, tell the program to only run at 30fps. This gives it breathing room to calculate the wild graphics, while also reducing the stress on the phone itself! Honestly, I’ve even considered reducing it further to also preserve battery life, but 30fps is a good balance for now between performance and visual spectacle. Further tinkering with the framerate also has other benefits, such as increasing and decreasing the cap at various times to both allocate more speed or preserve power respectively. Ultimately, this ended up being an interesting little optimisation that made a world of difference~

Okay, I’ve been chatting for a little while now hahaha~ I have another batch of updates planned to help expand and tidy up the world generation, but we’re slowly approaching the exciting point of development where I get to focus on making content! Building the worlds, bringing in the stories, and designing the art! Talking about art quickly, my artist has done AMAZINGLY with key art assets so-far! I can’t wait to show you them down the line~ 😉

That’s it from me for now though, I hope you’re all staying safe and wonderful~! Continue to support the beautiful lives of all Black, Asian, indigenous, and queer-folk, and till next time, all the best~!