No Time To Play

Tag: square shooter

Memory management and game performance

by on Jul.16, 2013, under Gamedev


I’ve spent the better part of a morning reading this article titled Why mobile web apps are slow. It’s a fantastic read, with citations, benchmarks and thoughtful arguments, and the tl;dr version is that mobile devices simply can’t be as powerful as desktop machines, and if you want performance then you need control over things such as memory management. And certain languages simply don’t give you any.

Now, don’t take everything written there as gospel. As a commenter pointed out, Python uses reference counting, so the argument doesn’t apply to that particular language. Also, this isn’t about ARM versus Intel, but mobile versus desktop. Remember Intel’s Atom line? I have the original Asus Eee PC 701, and believe me, it’s much slower than the 900MHz frequency would suggest. My game Buzz Grid stutters on it, and that’s a game I was able to port just fine to Java ME.

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Announcing Square Shooter Enhanced Edition

by on Apr.25, 2013, under Gamedev, News

When I first wrote Square Shooter in 2009, use of the canvas element was uncommon enough to earn me entrance into multiple game directories. Fast forward four years, everybody uses HTML5 and my little shooter was long in the tooth. The physics were broken (I had fixed them in the Python edition), it had no sound, and didn’t really adapt to different resolutions as it was supposed to. Worse, many of my friends now had touchscreen devices, and Square Shooter was unplayable on them.

A combination of burnout and indecision caused me to postpone this rewrite for a long time, and then it took quite a bit of experimentation to get things right. But it’s here now! The new Square Shooter runs more smoothly (thanks to the requestAnimationFrame shim from Three.js), looks good on any screen (except it strongly prefers portrait mode) and also runs on modern phones and tablets (though you need a fast CPU). It also features awesome sound effects courtesy of Open Game Art. I can never give enough thanks to the awesome people who make art for the rest of us to use.

So I give you the Enhanced Edition in all its glory. Play it. Fork it. And see if you can reproduce that one weird bug (you’ll know it if you see it), because I can’t figure it out.

Oh, and stay tuned because I plan to add graphics as well. Cheers.

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Square Shooter under the microscope

by on Sep.11, 2012, under News

Look what my friend @jerobarraco just found: a trio of articles from exactly one month ago in which the author dissects, I mean refactors, Square Shooter.

I left some comments there, but I’ll write a detailed article of my own, because this back-and-forth between two programmers is immensely instructive. Until then, enjoy!

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Square Shooter on the desktop

by on Jul.16, 2012, under Gamedev

Square Shooter was my first HTML5 game, and while that has allowed me to show it off easily (and brag about it when HTML5 was still fairly exotic), I always wanted a desktop version as well. And I made one! The most intense coding marathon I’ve ever done (500 lines of code in two days!) resulted in a game that’s easier to control and understand, and looks better to boot.

Let me tell you how I did it.

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