No Time To Play

Weekly Links #102

by on Jan.10, 2016, under Gamedev, News

Sometimes experiments just don’t pan out the way we expect them to. But you know, that’s kind of the point. And sometimes the actual results are more interesting than those we were expecting.

I was going to write the article promised in the previous newsletter, but instead I found myself adapting the new mobile UI from the Deep Down prototype to an older game of mine: Glittering Light. Here’s the result after a few days:

So much for doing everything on a dumb drawing surface. Why should I reinvent the GUI wheel when the browser gives it to me for free? Just so it would be more like in other environments? Well, it’s not. It’s a browser game, might as well embrace that. It allows me to inline the credits and proper instructions, have a high score table, and as a bonus the buttons actually work in mobile browsers as well (unlike touch events, which should but don’t). Getting mouse events relative to the viewport was a bit of a problem, but now I can use a secret weapon: jQuery. As for that infamous delay when touchscreens simulate a click event, there’s a reason this game is entirely turn-based…

Experiment “write games using a standard GUI toolkit” is a success. Next, to embrace the paradigm more fully.

In completely unrelated news, my friend Sera alerts me to the fact that the Oculus Rift will cost nearly double the promised amount, and that’s on top of the already expensive gaming rig it needs to be at all useful. Dear Silicon Valley hipsters: some players make sacrifices to indulge in their hobby (and make you rich). Show a little respect. Oh, and you might want to look at a little competitor called Google Cardboard, which only costs a few dollars (by virtue of being make of literal cardboard), works with common smartphone models, and — check this out — is an open design, so buyers aren’t tied to a single manufacturer that might discontinue the product line or even go out of business at any time.

Sure, Cardboard is probably a toy in comparison. But it also has room to improve in leaps and bounds, with minimal investments that will be distributed across countless enthusiasts the world over. Good luck keeping pace.

Until next time, beware of overengineering.

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1 Comment for this entry

  • Nightwrath

    I have disagree on the Oculus Rift part – if you can afford to pay 350 bucks on a hobby piece of hardware it’s not exactly a catastrophe that it may cost 250 more. If you have problems paying your rent you don’t exactly start investing in VR ‘enthusiastic’ products (because, yes –
    Oculus Rift and VR in general are still very much ‘enthusiastic’ products, just like the latest i7 processor is an ‘enthusiastic’ piece of hardware, you don’t need one to run a computer when you can use lower ones)

    Yes, it is not very nice that the initial price was considered lower – but this is not exactly a product easy to consider, it’s not like the market is filled with VR products and you have a standard. So yeah, maybe it was a mistake and let’s leave it to that.

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