I was a bit hesitant to post this as it is potentially too technical, and technical generally means “boring” to most of you and thus it will likely fly over your head. But anyways, we were a bit inactive in the past two weeks and I think you deserve to know what’s going on as of late.
Our Recent Hiccups
In Discord I have posted this short snippet of Proof’s animation. Pardon the incoming technical explanations – The animations so far (including Clown Dance’s posted on Twitter) were on UI space. Recently we decided to change it to Sprite space, which ended up with:
- Much easier to layout
- Much easier to scale
- More flexible to animate (this is a double-edged sword however)
The last point in particular was the big deal. We ended up making a quite DIY way to animate. This took up most of the time, in addition to making the sprites emulate certain UI functions. In the future I may make a more dedicated blogpost to explain this as it is certainly quite technical.
In addition, and perhaps a little side effect. The adjustments and additions we made to the animation system meant that we can also optimize the gameplay.
We saw quite a gain in performance, at the very least in my Samsung A7 tab that has performance issues. We do have a “performance mode” (which is actually very effective for its simplicity in implementation), but I decided to test the game without it to stress the tablet a bit.
- Song animation performance increases from an average of 30 to 45 fps
- Gameplay performance increases from 45 fps to a constant 60 FPS (Yes!!!!!)
Lack of sample size and all with a limited amount of device to test with, but the results are very promising! We still haven’t truly completed the optimization the song animation performance yet, but I don’t think there’ll be too much more gain from the aforementioned increase in 15 average FPS.
So, I may decide to give an option to throttle to 30 FPS outside of gameplay. This also saves up your battery 🙂
The Point Being…?
I decided to forego making content temporarily in order to ensure we have a better framework going forward. I did wonder if this eventually means we end up releasing later than we previously have liked. But our Q2 2023 release window was made from what I believe is a realistic POV – and considering the fact that I may be the sole programmer until that day.
I think at our worst-case scenario I will delay it slightly to Q3 2023, but at the moment although we are a bit behind schedule I am not considering it.
I know it sounds like I am coping with the two weeks of optimization, but knowing when to take a step back and improve the infrastructure while it’s still early days is important. In game development, very often I see developers churning out content in a really un-ideal baseline when it really could have been done so much better and faster.
A task you need a week to finish may end up taking 1-3 days only if the framework is optimized. However, if you are so late into development, what’s already working is hard to change. Especially if you have already shipped. You may instead end up breaking things that have already worked before. It ends up being a vicious cycle you want to break, but for multiple reasons, becomes very difficult to do so.
This vicious cycle is often visible in developers making their own first game. I also happen to see many people making rhythm games as their first project. In the next blog post(s) we probably can talk about this. On whether rhythm games are viable for your first project or not.
As an aside, we have published our Commission Guidelines for content creators. It still needs some polishing, but the general questions you may have when working with us on a commission basis… should be answered in that page. I will announce it publicly once I can replace the stock images.
Also, we should still be on-track for our relatively big announcement by the end of this month. We expect the next 3 months to be quite packed for us. In addition to this, we’ll definitely have to ramp up our marketing. Stay tuned for our updates!