Curious Games: Bugs and Lags

adventures in gaming, curious games, indie, Process Writing

This week, I added some more actors and events to my game and started to do the work of playtesting. Some new features that you can expect to see are the very dangerous freeflow — complete with bubble animation, loss of air sound effect and corresponding loss of air from the air bar, a cameo from the Diver Quest divers and some very happy flowers.

I also started to playtest and ran up against one of the limitations of flash: handling many actors at once. It turns out having all those fish and all them animated flowers in the background in addition to the normal actors I have in the scene makes flash lag like nobody’s business. I spent nearly an hour and a half trying to figure out what I thought was a scene transition bug, only to find out that the game was going so slow that it just hadn’t reached the scene transition yet.

It is with great regret that I have halved the number of fish that swim in front of the player’s face in the happy level, and also had to decrease the number of flowers. Pippin suggested to me that I might want to create an animation of the fish rather than having the fish be one-by-one actors. That would save an awful lot of resources, and I may yet, but it also means that I can do one of two (simple) things: make a fairly detailed animation of however many fish comprise each actor, or have the fish move all one way. Right now, they’re each set on a slightly different wave pattern, which makes it look like they’re moving differently and therefore “independent” of the school somehow. I like that.

I have temporarily halved the fish so that I don’t have to make a decision on this right away: it doesn’t lag quite so much now. Having to do a whole animation seems like a lot of work for something that already works, really. But I have to work within the limitations of the resources that I am using. I want to do the larger, more complicated animation. If testing and debugging goes well, I promise that I will attempt to do this.

In other debugging news: everything seems mostly fine but I have only played all the way through the game a handful of times — I always run into something that I want to tweak and then end up tweaking it/playing with it.

This weekend, though, I am going on an overnight trip with scads of divers – a whole bunch of them! Ideally, I will get some of them to playtest it in full scuba gear (although I am leery of bringing my laptop around the water). If I do this, I promise I will also get pictures.