Friday, April 01, 2011

Starting on "Thwack!!"

Thwack!! with intense prototyping art
We thought it might be cool to go ahead and throw up a screenshot of our latest game that's in development, so you can get an early preview and see how it evolves over time as we iterate on making it fun and add in professional art and audio. For those more interested in the code, you may find these bits interesting:
  • We're currently localizing Entanglement, which has changed the way we are coding Thwack!! (ie. smarter). All the text is being exported from a single spreadsheet into language-specific javascript and html files that are generated from "language-less" templates. I plan to go into this with more detail in another blog post about Entanglement, but everything is being carried over to this project.
  • We're using a wonderful Javascript port of the Box2d physics engine: http://code.google.com/p/box2dweb/. If you're not familiar with Box2d, it was created by Erin Catto: http://www.gphysics.com/.
  • We're doing our best to make Thwack!! function well on portable devices from the ground up. The three biggest considerations for this are game loop and animation speed, the touch interface, and screen display size. We have a bit of experience with this from our work on Sand Trap, so we are using what we learned there to try to make this game work even better.
    1. Given that there's a lot of movement and we've added Box2d to the mix, getting animation and loop speed up may prove tough on slower mobile devices. If anyone has found great ways to speed up canvas draws on mobiles, we've already noticed we will need all the optimization we can get.
    2. Having touch events call somewhat equivalent mouse events has proved to work rather well so far. Thanks to Ross Boucher for a nice concise lead on how to go about this: http://ross.posterous.com/2008/08/19/iphone-touch-events-in-javascript/
    3. For entering Sand Trap into the SPIL Games HTML5 mobile competition last year, we put together a bit of code to auto-scale game-boards according to screen size and have used a variation of that in Thwack!! (as well as Entanglement). The hiccup with this, as before, will be scaling fonts appropriately.
Back to work now... ...oh wait... ...if you haven't seen the new Blogger layouts, my favorite: http://blog.gopherwoodstudios.com/view/mosaic