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State of GameSalad on 5-1-2013...

CodeWizardCodeWizard Posts: 1,143Key Master, Head Chef, Executive Chef, Member, PRO GameSalad Employee
edited May 2013 in GameSalad Kitchen
Hello! It's that time again... time for another weekly state of GameSalad post. Are you sensing a trend yet? Let’s get started:

Estimated Stable Build Schedule

0.10.2c: We were hoping to get 0.10.2c out to you this week. But, the folks responsible for finalizing builds and getting them published are out two days this week for training. New ETA is Tuesday or Wednesday of next week!

0.10.2d: This might very well be a tool revision as well, so we might call it 0.10.3. Not sure yet. Anyway, this will get in the pipe to go out to you as soon at 0.10.2c is ready.

Pending Updates

1. We've fixed a spurious crash related to null pointers being referenced in some cases. [ETA: 0.10.2c]

2. We've found and fixed an issue with image loading that caused white actors on occasion. [ETA: 0.10.2c]

3. We've found and fixed an issue with asset loading that negatively affects FPS of your games. [ETA: 0.10.2c]

4. We've fixed a bug that caused out of memory crashes at improper times. [ETA: 0.10.2c]

5. We’ve done an initial optimization pass on some of the Lua code. Especially related to how we compute delta times in the iOS engine. Should help improve general performance. [ETA: 0.10.2d]

6. An optimization pass has been completed for OpenGL 2 rendering. This should help out performance in several cases, especially particles. [ETA: 0.10.2e]

What We're Working On

1. We're continuing to profile the game engine looking for CPU bottlenecks and RAM hogs. We're continuing to identify places that should receive immediate optimization. This effort will continue for the foreseeable future. This is my main engineering focus for now.

2. An engineer is currently reworking how we load images to improve performance. Initial estimates are we should be able to reduce image load times by a minimum of 50%. This may make it into 0.10.2e but I’ll hold off on final prediction until next week.

3. We did some experiments with alternate sound file formats in the engine. The results were startling! When we moved over to using WAV files, sound effect load times were reduced by about 66%. Holy crap, that’s good! Our current thinking is to allow you to choose between ogg / wav when importing sounds. In this way you can make the tradeoff choice between slower load times and smaller size yourself. Once the texture work is completed, we’ll move on to a non-experimental version of this.

4. We're still working on getting the new nightly build process in place for Pro users. We have some creator changes we want to get in place before releasing this to you guys. These changes will help ensure that you won't accidentally corrupt your game projects when working with nightly builds. Once this is complete, we'll roll nightly builds out to line cooks and sous chefs to make sure all is well. Once everything looks good, we'll open it up to all Pro users. I expect the final engineering work for this to be completed this week. [ETA: line cooks & sous chefs next week, with general Pro release soon after]

5. We're putting the finishing code touches on supporting a new publishing platform called “Tizen.” This will be in QA for a while. Look for more news on this any day now.

6. We're wrapping up the major Mac Creator improvement pass. These improvements will greatly enhance the stability and performance of the Mac Creator. We'll be rolling this out to all Pro users for feedback once the nightly build process is ready for use. [ETA: Nightly Build]

7. We have an engineer doing an optimization pass on the HTML5 and Lua engines. This should help improve general performance of both engines. He’ll be continuing with this work for a couple of weeks.

What's Coming Down The Pipe

Our primary focus will remain code cleanup, bug fixing and engine optimization for the next several weeks. Once we're satisfied with where the core engine is at, we'll begin turning our attention to new feature development and additional platform support.

The top things on my list are: creator workflow improvements, custom fonts, automated texture atlas support, improved render batching and async multiplayer support. Some other odds and ends may come up first as necessary, but those are the main points I'll be pressing for. ETA of those features is not available yet, but they're top on my list to tackle as soon as feasible. More news as we make progress on our existing workloads.

Nightly builds are getting really close. We should be able to get these out to line cooks and sous chefs for initial feedback and testing next week. If all goes well, Pros should be seeing this soon after.

Summary

We're continuing to cook away in the kitchen to get some significant improvements ready for you. I’m still really looking forward to the nightly build process. There’s a bunch of stuff just waiting to go out to you once that’s ready. Good times!

Until next week...
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Comments

  • AxygamesAxygames Posts: 203Member, PRO
    edited May 2013
    WOW!!!! =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D>
  • PhoticsPhotics Posts: 4,172Member
    edited May 2013

    7. We have an engineer doing an optimization pass on the HTML5 and Lua engines. This should help improve general performance of both engines. He’ll be continuing with this work for a couple of weeks.

    What does that mean for additional HTML5 features... like proper exporting (so developers can host games on their own sites) and custom HTML5 sizes?

    The top things on my list are: creator workflow improvements, custom fonts, automated texture atlas support, improved render batching and async multiplayer support.

    Interesting! I listed the lack of asynchronous multiplayer support as the one feature that keeps GameSalad from being the perfect software for my next big game project.

    http://forums.gamesalad.com/discussion/56415/hey-gamesalad-what-about-opt-out-from-tracking

    ...obviously that's not counting the concern about tracking.
  • HoneyTribeStudiosHoneyTribeStudios Posts: 1,792Member
    All sounds good to me :)

    Give me a buzz if you need some original music in your games.

  • imGuaimGua Posts: 1,089Member

    We're still working on getting the new nightly build process in place for Pro users. We have some creator changes we want to get in place before releasing this to you guys. These changes will help ensure that you won't accidentally corrupt your game projects when working with nightly builds. Once this is complete, we'll roll nightly builds out to line cooks and sous chefs to make sure all is well. Once everything looks good, we'll open it up to all Pro users.

    And then to the free users?
  • PortymanPortyman Posts: 409Member, PRO
    What does async multiplayer mean? Is that through Game Center? Are push notifications anywhere on the Map?
  • The_Gamesalad_GuruThe_Gamesalad_Guru Posts: 9,904Member
    edited May 2013
    That mean async multiplayer as in two people on different devices can play the same game together. That is a bit of heavy lifting to do with matching the frame rates across devices. @Codewizard it would be nice if you guys could tune up the physics engine a bit. Collisions need to be more consistent. Other than that great work!
  • BBEnkBBEnk Posts: 1,761Member, PRO

    That mean async multiplayer as in two people on different devices can play the same game together. That is a bit of heavy lifting to do with matching the frame rates across devices. @Codewizard it would be nice if you guys could tune up the physics engine a bit. Collisions need to be more consistent. Other than that great work!

    I thought it was turn based multiplayer

  • CodeWizardCodeWizard Posts: 1,143Key Master, Head Chef, Executive Chef, Member, PRO GameSalad Employee
    Photics said:

    What does that mean for additional HTML5 features... like proper exporting (so developers can host games on their own sites) and custom HTML5 sizes?

    Additional major HTML5 features are not on the current short term plan. We're still shoring up the existing code and optimizing the engine to improve performance across the board. That's what it means. :)
  • The_Gamesalad_GuruThe_Gamesalad_Guru Posts: 9,904Member
    Ah at @BBEnk you are correct. Although, tizen and it's HTML5 capabilities does open the door I would think for HTML5 output. Maybe even ability to add our own java scripts....
  • CodeWizardCodeWizard Posts: 1,143Key Master, Head Chef, Executive Chef, Member, PRO GameSalad Employee
    edited May 2013
    imGua said:

    And then to the free users?

    Nightly builds are targeting Pro users first. This doesn't mean that "free" users won't get the updates. They'll just have to wait until the updates are stable enough for wide release.

    The nightly builds are rough builds based on our current work-in-progress. As such, they're somewhat experimental and a come with a fat "caveat emptor". We'll do what we can to make sure what we put in the nightly builds is working, but in some cases the nightly build may be broken or have partially finished work.

    The goal is to get feedback from the users sooner on our work-in-progress and help get more test coverage on our work earlier. This is also where we can rapidly iterate on optimizations and bug fixes without the current minimum week-long delay getting them to you. Once things are deemed stable then we'll roll them out for general release.

    While we could roll the nightly builds out to everyone, we're choosing to limit it to Pro only for business reasons. I feel the nightly builds are a good upgrade incentive. :)
  • CodeWizardCodeWizard Posts: 1,143Key Master, Head Chef, Executive Chef, Member, PRO GameSalad Employee
    Portyman said:

    What does async multiplayer mean? Is that through Game Center? Are push notifications anywhere on the Map?

    Async multiplayer stands for "asynchronous multiplayer." Asynchronous means: "not going at the same rate or exactly together with something else."

    So, yeah, turn-based is a good example of this. For a nice reference point, think of "Words With Friends." :)
  • BBEnkBBEnk Posts: 1,761Member, PRO
    @CodeWizard

    Why Tizen us just tell us. :)
  • CodeWizardCodeWizard Posts: 1,143Key Master, Head Chef, Executive Chef, Member, PRO GameSalad Employee
    @BBEnk
    I think that's very punny of you. lol
  • ChakkuChakku Posts: 1,513Member
    @CodeWizard

    Could you clear one thing up for us- as of now, is the native code engine looking to be delivered as a gradual update, with optimizations in each creator update that add up to the same performance enhancement overall, or as a single deliverable in one massive update?

    Chakku
  • The_Gamesalad_GuruThe_Gamesalad_Guru Posts: 9,904Member
    I don't get this infatuation with the so called native engine. I thought he was clear in his posts we would have a hybrid of sorts and that there will be no finished engine but a stream of constant improvements.
  • SocksSocks London, UK.Posts: 12,822Member
    @CodeWizard

    Initial estimates are we should be able to reduce image load times by a minimum of 50%.

    We did some experiments with alternate sound file formats in the engine. The results were startling! When we moved over to using WAV files, sound effect load times were reduced by about 66%.


    Fantastic work !!!! :)>-
  • zoopezoope Posts: 210Member
    Awesome news, keep up the good work GS!

    Cheers
  • selectsoftselectsoft Posts: 38Member, PRO
    edited May 2013
    @CodeWizard

    "creator workflow improvements"

    Does this mean updated mac creator UI?

    I can't stress this enough... Creator is front and center to GS developers. It's the tool we use to create the games we so hope become a success, and sadly the current Mac version is in desperate need of an overhaul. There's been some ongoing issues with Creator that greatly hinder development productivity.

    Thanks CodeWizard, your weekly updates are a site for sore eyes!
  • CodeWizardCodeWizard Posts: 1,143Key Master, Head Chef, Executive Chef, Member, PRO GameSalad Employee
    @selectsoft
    Here's what I mean:

    We have an engineer collect the top creator improvements that the community would like to see. Then that engineer starts implementing them, easiest first. We dump them into the nightly builds for feedback. Rinse and repeat.
  • TomCoffeeTomCoffee Posts: 175Member, PRO
    Wow... thank you! This stuff all sounds amazing!

    All these improvements are well and good, but how about fixing the REALLY important stuff like... lowering the volume on those damn fireworks when you publish ;) After two years they STILL make me jump...

    http://spillingcoffeemedia.com/ - Apps for Parents and Kids

  • tenrdrmertenrdrmer Posts: 9,934Member, Sous Chef, Senior Sous-Chef
    :-bd

    It's not my fault I never learned to take responsibility for anything. ;)

  • outsidethebyteoutsidethebyte Posts: 115Member
    Amen to the ridding of the fireworks. I got scared out of my chair so many times that I started getting paranoid and silencing my volume and speakers before I dared to start publishing an app.
  • SnapFireStudiosSnapFireStudios Posts: 1,603Member
    Lol, that fireworks sound always causes such a stir xD
    Anyway, great updates! I actually thought the new platform would be OUYA, but Tizen looks cool as well. Any updates on OUYA @CodeWizard?
    - Thomas

    Ignore females. Acquire currency.

  • PhoticsPhotics Posts: 4,172Member

    Fireworks sound removed!? THANK YOU!!!

    Wow, this really could be a new era for GameSalad. HA HA!
  • SnapFireStudiosSnapFireStudios Posts: 1,603Member
    Also @CodeWizard, what's the news with the Windows version? Sorry if I missed your response to this question earlier. :)
    - Thomas

    Ignore females. Acquire currency.

  • floydianspiralfloydianspiral Posts: 308Member, PRO
    @Codewizard Well done! I'm curious as to why loading wavs takes less time than oggs? Does this have to deal with how GS opens and assigns individual sound channels or upfront loading into memory? If in the future we are allowed to use wavs (i'd like that), would all of my sounds in my project (currently converted wav > ogg files) need to be re-imported as wav? Would GS handle that as file overwriting or side-by-side? Sorry for all the questions but hopefully you see where I'm coming from.
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