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Prototyping: Chess Quest v0.3

(I’m prototyping a new game (working title: “ChessQuest”) – original post here)

Three major changes:

  1. You have a health bar, and can die
  2. The trackball is now supported for movement
  3. Performance is literally 1.5x – 2x faster

Download link

Chess Quest-0.3.3

So, a friend of mine tried it out today, and he couldn’t move around at all – something wrong with his HTC Desire (even though I’ve been testing on near-identical phone, for some reason his phone was losing the input gestures). This evening I did some improvements and fixes until it began to work “tolerably” on his phone – and I threw in some new small features too.

It’s still test stuff – not indicative of the final gameplay, but I’m trying out different basic ways of achieveing the stuff I want to achieve in the later versions.

Overview of what’s changed

  • You have a very basic HUD
  • There’s a couple of coloured powerups scattered around – red restores health, green increases maximum health permanently
  • Enemies actually kill you now, every moment you’re touched by one, your health drains continuously
  • You can choose different levels at the start – I included one of the early test levels that was easy for me to upgrade with recent changes. I’ve got another one I can probably add quickly later (one which generates 100% random mazes each time you play)
  • The ultra-simple EntitySystem I’m using was running too slow. There’s no simple fix I can see – the ES really needs to be written for performance, if I want it to be high performance – but I was able to do a 10-lines-of-code workaround that took the worst piece of bad performance in my game and made it literally 5 times faster. That’s good enough for now!
  • Input system has changed *again* – the Android OS has poor input management, a bit buggy, with an inconsistent programming API, which *also* runs differently on different phones – so I keep trying to do as little work on this as possible. The Android OS is desperately trying to prevent me from doing any prototyping at all – it’s begging for me to write hundreds of lines of code to make up for Google’s inattention there – but if I do that, I will lose all the time I would have spent doing game design and dev, and the whole project will be a failure. So, yet again, I’m putting on a band-aid and dodging the rest for now. But … at least now you can use trackball instead of / in addition to swiping on the touchscreen
  • There’s an FPS counter on the screen

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