Thursday, 4 September 2014


Updated 868-HACK again. Even after all this time minor things still show up.

It was possible to get the tutorial frozen by dying on the step that advanced to a new message. I saw it when showing the game to someone last week, nobody had reported it but chances are it had happened to someone and ruined the game for them completely. I try to be thorough, and have some wonderful people who help test things for me too, but it's really hard to avoid things like this completely. Practically you have to look at the odds and accept a few people having a bad experience in exchange for ever actually getting around to releasing the damn thing but it still feels bad. So if you ran into that: sorry.

I'd justified .PULL having a lower acquisition cost than .PUSH because, although it combos well with some attacks, in isolation it's riskier to move enemies towards you than away (thought I'd written that in this post but apparently not; maybe I edited it out). But I was finding myself using it all the time, because it's so easy to find a combo for it I rarely needed to use it in isolation, so I've pushed it up to 4 to match. (Yes Leon, you were right all along.)

You can't use progs that have no effect. This seemed like a reasonable constraint to prevent some accidental moves and help people learn the rules. I was worried it might be too "hand-holdy" but the game's hard enough. (Now I'm not sure how much it did help with learning - it makes the rules for when you can use a prog complex rather than just "do you have enough resources", so some people were confused about why you can sometimes but not others.) Anyway this ended up giving me a whole lot of bugs, situations where something was permitted but shouldn't be or vice versa. And there was the question of what to do when the player didn't know whether there was an effect: when there's an invisible Cryptog that might be affected it could give away its position. I decided to make it not give away information and just permit things when a Cryptog is out of sight, but I put an OR instead of an AND and it was doing this whenever one was on screen at all. Also I'd forgotten to add this to the .DEBUG check since usually they won't be affected unless you've done something special, but for consistency it should apply there too. This is so so minor but hey perfectionism.


Got back to finishing off Helix. Mostly boring technical stuff: it was born in a jam and was in some parts quite inefficient, so even though it ran fine on my ipad it was a bit slow when I put it on my ipodtouch and I had to figure out why and optimise. Main thing was I was drawing everything on the CPU and then just uploading one big texture for the whole screen, so I shifted some of that work to the GPU and it was suddenly way faster. (Except, for some reason, on the ipad1 - so I ended up using the old method for that WHAT THE HECK.) And then for some reason on the iphone5 the colours got messed up but I just changed ten different things and it worked and I don't know why. Thing is, I have an ipad2 and an ipodtouch but there's all these other models things can go wrong on and I rely on other people to let me know and I don't want to waste too much of their time (and mine) changing something / uploading a build / sending a message / waiting for a reply. The simulator picks up some things but not everything and also it's slow as heck.

Andrew Toups is doing sounds for it, he did the music for Tim Rogers' ZIGGURAT which is amazing and Tim introduced us. Anyway he's doing some last few things and I'm trying to deal with some nonsense (it does have the image mentioned, I don't understand) and then we'll be good to go; release early October.

Ugh this game's been hanging on far too long, it feels good to be finally purging it. This and the 868-HACK PC release (which will happen some time honest) have been getting in the way of me doing new things and it's frustrating, I miss two years ago when I was constantly making things. Although I get paid now so that's a definite plus.

Okay the other thing
the important thing
I don't know what to say just
be kind

okay a while back i'd done a talk somewhere and i was reading some responses on twitter afterwards, i clicked on one of them and someone had replied to it in quite a nasty fashion
it seemed a non-sequitur
but then i looked at the rest of their tweets and there were dozens, all directed at the same woman, full of the most horrific violent threats and insults
i read them
i fucking read all of them
i was pretty certain she wouldn't have, she'd probably just blocked him immediately, you get pretty quick at blocking when you endure this kind of harassment
but i read them
and i sat there in the corner, by myself in a room full of people, shaking
just shaking
she's one of the gentlest people i've ever met and even if she wasn't nobody deserves that

and this is a thing that happens regularly, if you're a woman on the internet
i've seen it a bunch of times since. messages directed at women. always women.
and it's not okay

so if you're criticising someone, anyone but especially women because that's who get this all the time, bear in mind this context
even if you think you have a valid point, maybe you do, i'm not saying anyone's above criticism, but when you come in the middle of this sickening stream of abuse you have to make an effort not to be part of it
and sometimes just don't, just be quiet because others are already making enough noise

and if you're one of the people writing this abuse
you are the problem
not women infiltrating games
not 'social justice warlocks'
you are
you're above this. you're a human being. have dignity. you don't need to do this.
stop it
you can change. we all do bad things, that's part of life, you have to admit that you were wrong, turn aside and do better. when you realise you're wrong it's easy to go into anger and denial. it's hard to change. but it's worth doing things that are hard, you become more than you were. please.