We are preparing to ramp things back up here at Cliche. James has been super bogged down with his day job and I've been dealing with moving to a new city and getting settled in. We've got a lot going on this spring.
Cliche Studio is going to North Carolina May 31-June 2 for con carolinas. We don't know what panels we'll be on yet but in the afternoon-evenings we will be showing off two games. Hexit Strategy and Fortunes.
Fortunes UI work has resumed and we have offloaded hosting of the work in progress to gamejolt. Their site gives me more flexibility with the presentation of the game without me having to be concerned about breaking the theme of the current website or muck around too much with wordpress settings. If you want to see how the game has progressed head over there, play fortunes, and leave a rating or a comment with some feedback.
James has done a good bit of playtesting with our newest version of Hexit Strategy, and our friend Corey has been working on some art as you see above. We hope to have 3 sets of the game ready for the convention.
I also discovered a nifty site called gumroad which lets us put up the print and play version for sale and handles everything for us. It is a pretty nifty set-up and we have the pdf as pay-what-you-want. We'll be sure to make an updated version once all the artwork is done. In the meantime go download and play.
Sidenote: To break-up the long slog through this lengthy project of fortunes and to hone my own personal skills I've been participating in one game a month. Some of these are not official cliche games but you can check out else I've been working on here.
So things have been slow lately with the holidays disrupting schedules and James' ungodly amount of work from his dayjob, but we are chugging along.
I have been working faithfully on the UI of fortunes because apparently people couldn't figure out what to do. That was quite embarrassing. Got a lot of feedback from the feedback Friday posts over on Reddit and done a lot to shape things up.
Only thing is there has been a resolution error between the Unity editor and the web player, and apparently what I thought was the visible area was in fact larger then what actually gets shown. So in the future I need to separate my build folder from what gets shown here on the website. Unless you all enjoy seeing my mistakes. Oddly enough even in full screen it just shows the same partial portion of the screen.
That is the name we are thinking of for the hexagon game we've mentioned recently. Thanks go to my friend Sam for the name suggestion.
We are editing a pdf for a print and play version with the current rules and then will be working on a variant based on our recent playtesting and feedback from Sam and we can see what works better and what people like more.
Hopefully we'll be getting a press cutter sometime next year and be able to make a copy of the game with actually symmetrical pieces instead of the uneven cardboard coasters we've cut ourselves.
So for all of you wondering how the project is coming along, now you can just go play fortunes.
So the divination has been worked out for the most part. Going to have to do a different but similar approach for the smaller screens for phones and what not. Also had some issues loading pages come up when I tried to throw up a web-player here.
How is Fortunes? What is unclear? What could we improve upon? Let us know!
So I haven't updated you all on fortunes in awhile.
I'd been updating testing, documentation, and refactoring a lot recently. Nothing too exciting for the non-developers out there. Recently I've been getting back into some UI though and am trying to implement gestures to play a card by sliding it up instead of just tapping on it. Avoid accidental plays this way hopefully.
Getting some odd glitches happening in some corner cases but its working for the most part. What's left for me to do? In no particular order:
- Tutorial(Not sure how necessary this is given the rule set will not be implementing this before making a web-version available)
- Audio Sliders: instead of just sound effects music on/off
- Respect the sound settings of the phone: This is a pet peeve of mine. If I have my phone on silent I don't want your game playing music/sound. I feel other people may feel the same way too.
- Save Divination: meeting with the client later this month to discuss exactly how this should play out since this portion of the game is more of her thing and is add on/lore/fluff for the game proper.
- Possibly go back and try and fiddle with AI some more.
The Audio sliders and the divination part are the main things I will be working on before something gets released(at least that's the plan) that you all can play. Well that and getting the glitches out of whats already implemented.
So as some of you may know I've been working on the tarot card-game fortunes. It's been great fun and I'm pretty happy about how it looks now except for the need to replace our stock art with the art our artist comes with. It is getting very near the phase of opening it up and letting you loyal readers hammer away at a web version of it, get any kinks we missed polished up and getting it worked out for iOS and Android.
Since the fluid design is pretty settled at this point I'm going back and doing something I probably should have done in the beginning; unit tests. Honestly I didn't because I didn't know much about unit testing for C#/unity as most of my unit test experience is with java/JUnit. I found the documentation of NUnit very useful and the realization that monodevelop had support for NUnit if i just downloaded it to begin with to be promising.
So looking forward to letting you all play fortunes in the next few months!
A big challenge I've faced recently has to do with data.
Getting data from non-technical people.
James created this fancy spreadsheet for Barbara to fill out for the divination part of fortunes and only have to deal with one card at a time. After handing me this huge spreadsheet I had to figure out how to get the game to use this data.
Proprietary data formats and multiple build targets
After a little bit of google research I got Unity3d and excel to play nicely and had a pseudo-database set up running pulling in data from multiple sheets in the excel file for various parts of the game. Now if any of the card values needed to change, not just the divinations but card names we could modify the spreadsheet and not worry about changing any of the code. Sounded brilliant but it only worked on a standalone windows player. A web player or android build got stuck repeatedly trying to pull in the data from a class it couldn't properly access.
You must take your eyes away from the tree before you can see the forest
I spent awhile butting my head over many days trying to get this excel file reading to work on various formats. I was almost ready to set up a PHP script on our site for the web player, but didn't like having a separate solution for that and for android. Eventually looking at workflowy I realized i was trying to solve the wrong problem. I shouldn't be trying to read the excel file on these separate platforms. I just need the relevant data from the excel file. Some poking from that angle revealed the Resources class in unity3d. Between a little bit of work condensing the data I need into one sheet, saving that off to a tab delimited text file, and writing some code to parse that file I've got the current version of fortunes working with the data on android, windows, and the web player. I don't have a mac to test that but I'll probably get my fiancée to test that sometime soon.
I've been chugging along polishing fortunes. Had an interesting issue with text windows and scrolling because I somewhere down the line changed the input settings in Unity and got scrolling to go the entire text at once.
Once I'm in an OCD enough mood to get the new NGUI interface all aligned properly I'll share some screenshots. In the mean time for the few of you who have expressed an intrest keeping up with the project: Fortunes
Thanks Sophie Houlden for informing me about workflowy!
I've Been working on using NGUI to update Fortunes.
The main benefit is that it will be able to automatically scale with resolution so we won't get awkward overlapping. But it also has some nice handling of drag scrolling that was frustrating me for the cards in hand.
Next up will be the most challenging part of the GUI update, handling Tarot Divination layouts. I have some thoughts from looking at some tarot apps and the better scroll handling should allow more flexibility in that regard.
What has been the most interesting tarot deck art you've seen? Let us know in the comments.
Last week We submitted an entry for edge online's Unity3d competition. We had six weeks and dayjobs in the way so we had to scale our original ideas down quite a bit but I think we did fairly well considering the constraints.
Update: I tried to embed the game in this post recently but do to some wordpress issues there were window sizing issues. you can play the game however here.
No Just Deserts today, been trying to clean up Fortunes so our client can show off what we have so far at RavenCon and at her talk at the library of congress. She wrote up an impressive amount of copy in this ungodly dark magic excel spreadsheet James designed and I've had fun wrangling getting unity to read from that. Apparently even if you get it working in the editor that does not mean the excel file will be moved properly when you go to build so I have to copy it manually after building each time. Future task: automate that process.
I additionally have poked around in conditional compiling since our code for saving a divination doesn't work in a web player which is something we want to be able to do. Just in case you're trying to do the same thing this page http://unity3d.com/support/documentation/Manual/Platform%20Dependent%20Compilation.html is helpful but not the first thing to come up when I was searching myself.