August 23, 2011

Tablet play

We have succesfully ported most of Family Farm code to Android and iOS platforms recently! User interface is not fully adapted to multi-touch, but you can play it with your finger already. Framerates on iPad and Asus Transformer were initially very low (like 1 - 3 fps). Such performance quite ruined that great feeling of the first run. We were little bit disapointed, because nvidia's Tegra 2 seems powerful enough. Hype? To put long story short, we needed to try numerous optimalizations and it sometimes helped to gain extra few frames per second. Offloading pixel shaders in favour to vertex shaders, resizing textures and limiting use of alpha channel, etc. It's not always about lower quality, but just doing things differently on a specific hardware. It looks really nice on a smaller screen anyway.

The game is now playable on Tegra 2 tablets, which is a major platform for 10" and maybe some 7" Android tablets. Because of very different controls, we have to tune content and even some mechanics, so you can enjoy it comfortably as regular tablet game.

Tegra 2 is comparable in terms of performance more to A5 (in Pad 2) than A4 (iPad). For this reason, framerate was really not picking up on iPad in the same pace as on Tegra. Maybe we are missing knowledge how to overcome certain bottlenecks, but we aren't seeing many complex 3D games there. I think iPad is going to stay as low-end tablet, if Apple plans to revive iPhone 3GS to catch up with Android phones. Hope they offer developers choice to support high-end devices only.

That's all for now. More info next time!

June 2, 2011

It's your story now

Update to 1.3.0 is here! We have finally added feature that many requested - custom story. You can set up a  location and various settings of scenario you are going to play with no goals. There are other minor tweaks you may notice like that characters go eat when they have meal nearby, some bug fixes as usual, etc.

I know sandbox play is quite popular nowdays thanks to Minecraft. It's a pity we haven't gone this way too and had more goal-driven players in mind. The problem is we had pretty exact idea about our audience which is really fuzzy now. Most of what we thought doesn't describe people who enjoy this game.

What's next? It seems there is first Android tablet worth of purchase - Asus Transformer Pad. This tablet/netbook is powered with fast nVidia Tegra 2 chip and contains 1 GB of RAM which means we could let Android users manage a farmstead with their fingers. We need to adapt user inteface of course but first we need to compile all the stuff and run it smoothly...

Note it takes some time to propagate new version into all channels which support updating like Desura or Ubuntu. Have fun!

April 22, 2011

Happy Easter!

We have been quite busy with development of Family Farm, but now it's out and I should take time to wish you happy Easter. I'm not saying it with empty hands. Let your game update itself and cook some Easter specialities...

A tiny content addition but it's first one. We would like to demonstate that we are not only going to fix bugs (which is progressing well so far), but extend the game content too! As you could noticed there is an autoupdating functionality within launcher app on Windows. Sadly, we can't support all Linux and Mac users this way (only those who buy at "app stores"). We are happy to see activity around IndieDB's Desura which could bring gaming to Linux in a big way. Not everyone is enjoying tar xvfz.

We have some work on Linux (64bit support, mouse glitches on some systems, etc.) yet before we launch at Ubuntu Software Centre in a proper quality. We had to leave it because of Mac version, which is going to be released boxed by Iceberg Interactive in May.

After finishing work on these platforms we are going back to focus on a game stuff and our priority list of features is following:

  • free play (sandbox) mode
  • freelook / farm overview mode
  • some autonomous behaviour of characters like going to eat
  • online "achievements" or hiscores

Most of these features were requested by community. Leave a comment if you support this list or have different view. We love to hear from you!