First tests on a real device
I finally have an android device for testing our game on android. It took a while until I found these instructions on how to enable USB debugging and get your computer to recognize the phone correctly. However, after that, deploying and debugging on the device worked like a breeze, thanks to LibGDX and IntelliJ.
It works surprisingly well and dragging stuff around has a good feel to it. But developing for such a small screen provides additional challenges. The UI will have to be adapted to make everything easier to see and touch. On the other hand it’s fun to play around with features like the accelerometer.
No PlayStore Developer
Last weekend we tried to officially become Google Play Store Developers, to be able to distribute our game over the Play Store. The biggest hurdle to overcome is paying the 25$ entry fee, before you can call yourself a proper (Google Play Store) Developer. The problem isn’t getting the 25$, but paying them to Google. Especially when you have no credit card…
The payment has to be made with Google Wallet, and they only accept credit cards. We tried it with a pre-paid credit card, called cash4web. They claim to work everywhere where you can pay with mastercard. Unfortunately it doesn’t work. So this dream is stopped for now, until we have a credit card.
We will still publish a desktop and an android version of the game. We will probably provide an .apk for download, and people will have to manually download and install it. But we will worry about the details later.
Since the Play Store is ruled out for now as a distribution platform, we will have to search for an alternative. One store front I had on my radar for a while, but never really checked out is itch.io. Itch.io is a great marketplace full of independent games and game developers, so I think this will be a great place to start. And most importantly, they have no entry fee.
Progress on the game was relatively slow in the last couple of weeks. I hardly managed to get myself to do something for it.
But still, I managed to add at least some content, like new special bombs and a screen transition effect.
Then I wanted to create some GIFs to show off some new content. Simple, right? WRONG!
GIF away your sanity
It turns out creating a GIF in reasonable quality/framerate/file size is near impossible. I tried out several programs, online services and tool-chains, but no solution really works without some drawbacks or workarounds. So, for a short duration I stepped into the hell that is known as video encoding formats, video editing softwares and screen recording softwares. And this is the conclusion I came to. (Besides that my computer is not fast enough to record and play a game at 60 fps)
There are many ways you can go about this issue, but every solution fulfills another requirement:
- Use a time-lapse program to capture screenshots of your display at an intervall. Edit and modify every single picture and convert it into a GIF or video with some other tool.
- Good for making timelapses of your work
- Bad for recording game footage as screenshot intervals unlikely go beyond 1 fps
- Use a screen recording program to record a video, edit it with a video editing software and later convert your video into a GIF.
- Good for making actual (gameplay) videos (skipping the ‘convert to GIF’ part)
- Software recommended for recording: Open Broadcaster Software
- Software recommended for video editing: None (Please, if you know of any great video editing software that’s free, tell me right away)
- Nearly ensures horrible quality while maintaining an immense file size. (Wonderful combination, right?)
- Use a screen capturing program that records directly to a GIF.
- Good for creating short GIFs of your games gameplay
- Still not the best quality (hey, what did you expect, it’s gif) and often only supports recording for short timespans.
(honorable mention for editing GIFs: ezgif.com)
Although I found some new and interesting software, I’m sure this won’t be the last time I will have to struggle with this. Next time, I’ll probably just go with WebM and hope that it already replaced GIF…
The part everyone was waiting for
So here are some animated gifs (created with GifCam) showing some new features in action.