Saturday, February 05, 2011

Chaos 1.7 and Android Market on the web

I added Chaos 1.7 to the Android Market the other day. It's now passed 3000 downloads and I've had several emails and 5 star reviews from Chaos fans, so I'm pretty pleased that it's gone down that well. The only downer is that it really is for fans only, I just don't have any idea how to teach anyone brought up on modern games how to fight their way through an 8-bit world. Patience is needed, I guess.

This release was the first time I'd linked to the brand new web-based Android Market. Until now I've always pointed to Appbrain. I think Appbrain has been struggling to keep up with the new additions that Google have made - like bigger icons, more screenshots and promo graphics. Appbrain has also had some down time and synchronisation issues, with comments being out of date or not appearing. I'm not sure what will happen to the 'brain. They have done a great service for Android users and it would be sad to see them disappear, but their business model was the classic snatching nickels from the path of an oncoming steamroller. I do hope they stick around, if only to keep Google on their toes.

Anyway, back to Chaos. The changes in this release are:
  • Remember preferences
  • Several performance improvements for better battery life
  • More consistent frame rate on newer Android devices
  • Attack sound no longer plays when sound is disabled in the options
Saving the preferences was suggested in the comments on the Market. I hadn't added it before because I didn't know how to save stuff on Android. Turns out it is really easy and doesn't even need extra permissions. Actually, I'd already learned how to save for the next game I'm doing so a nice bit of "copy paste" later and it was done. Ah, good old copy and paste. The best form of code re-use.

The performance improvements included not redrawing every single square every single frame, which for some reason I was doing before. If you spot any odd graphical artefacts because of this, do let me know.

The frame rate fixes were due to my recent discovery that newer Android devices are locked to a maximum of 30 frames-per-second. Hopefully Chaos now runs at the same speed across the board. If anyone wants to buy me a 2nd generation Android phone to check this on, please get in touch ;-)

The attack sound fix was a silly non-interesting bug. I fixed it ages ago but also got a prod by email to actually release a version with the fix in place.

I've updated the Nintendo DS and GBA versions too. These don't save the preferences, and I haven't tested them on hardware so let me know if they do not work at all. Apart from that, the DS and GBA are compiled with optimizations now (somehow this got lost in the last GBA/DS release) and should go faster. The GBA version was particularly sluggish last time round.

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