Monday, February 24, 2020

EGLX, Last Day, Talk Day!

#SuzyCube #gamedev #indiedev #madewithunity #EGLX #EGLX2018 
Well, here we are, the last day of EGLX here in Toronto! If you're attending, I invite you to come check out my talk at 4pm in room 717A where I'll be sharing some of the lessons learned over the course of my three years working on Suzy Cube!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Hex Grid Guide Load Time, Part 2

Last year I reimplemented my hexagon grid guide with the goals of making it easier for me to add content and also making it possible to load faster. I was able to speed up load time significantly by pre-rendering the SVG on the server. This is called "SSR with Rehydration" on Google's rendering tech page.

screenshot of Google Lighthouse score
Load time with the prerendered SVG

Last week I experimented with this a bit more. At load time, I was replacing the static SVGs with interactive SVGs. However, there's no need to do this immediately. I changed it to wait until the diagram was visible on screen (using IntersectionObserver). This helps quite a bit! The "time to interactive" score goes from 9.6sec to 4.9sec and the overall page speed score goes from 63 to 89:

screenshot of Google Lighthouse score
Load time with deferred interactivity

I was wondering if I could make it even faster by prerendering only some things on the server ("CSR with Prerendering" on Google's rendering tech page). The page shrinks from 633k to 179k! And the page score goes from 89 to 96. Time to interactive goes from 4.9s to 3.5s:

screenshot of Google Lighthouse score
Load time with deferred SVG

Great! However, it started to bring back the problems that I had solved last year. This version doesn't allow printing the page, loading it without Javascript, using "Reader modes" (including Pocket, Instapaper, RSS, etc.), or Ctrl+F to find diagram text on the page. The more I used the page, the more little glitches I found. None of these are super important, but they're not going to get better. In contrast, the load time will continue to get better as cpu and network speeds increase, HTTP/2 is adopted, and compression protocols improve (Brotli, HPACK, etc.). Another consideration is accessibility. I've been told that most screen readers support Javascript, but deferring the creation of SVG using IntersectionObserver means the SVG may never get created, so it would have the same problem as printing and Ctrl+F.

I decided to keep the pre-rendered static SVG for now, with deferred interactive SVG. It's simpler for me and I have fewer corner cases to deal with. I'll revisit this in the future when I update my A* pages to load faster.

Friday, February 21, 2020

For Four Years In A Row...

Noelene du Toit (Educator-in-Charge of Northcliff High School's Esports Club) awarding learners awards for excellence in esports.
Success is often dependant on pure guts and staying power. Often those with oodles of pure talent are not as successful as those who with greater drive, ambition, and determination are willing to put in the work year-in-and-year-out to make a success.

Of course, the results of schools may fluctuate from year-to-year as learners come and go, but if the administration of the club is sound, the club should hold its own.

Thus the achievement of Northcliff High School is quite remarkable.

Mind Sports South Africa's (MSSA) Online School Championships is the first championship of the year, and represents the ability of the schools to gear up for thhe gruelling competitive year ahead. The points earned by the various schools in this first official championships, sets the ttone for the rest of the year as schools fight for the honour of being named, and known as, the best esports school of the year.

The remarkable achievement of Northcliff dominating MSSA's Online School Championships for four years in a row is previously unheard of. The result is testament to the hard work, dedication, and excellence of those few, but happy few, educators who put the best interests of their learners first.

The top ten schools for the past four years: 



2020201920182017
PosName of schoolPosName of schoolPosName of schoolPosName of school
1Northcliff High School1Northcliff High School1Northcliff High School1Northcliff High School
2Oakhill School2Paul Roos Gimnasium2Paul Roos Gimnasium2HTS Witbank
3Hoërskool Randburg3Empangeni High School3Parklands College3Hoërskool Wonderboom
4Monument Park High School4Hyde Park High4Westville Boys4Parklands College
5Sasolburg High School5Fairmont High School4Empangeni High School5SAHETI
6Curro Grantleigh6Curro Grantleigh6Grey High School6Cedar House School
6High School Zwartkops7Helpmekaar Kollege7Northwood Boys7Protea Heights Academy
8Redhill High School8Curro Aurora8Bishops College8Hoërskool Lichtenburg
9Hoërskool Klerksdorp9Curro Mount Richmore9Helpmekaar9Oakhill
10Empangeni High10Monument Park High School10SAHETI10Maritzburg College

Also read:

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Reventure Review (NSW)

Written by Patrick Orquia


Title: Reventure
Developer: Breadcrumbs Interactive
Publisher: Versus Evil
Genre: Adventure
Number of Players: 1
Release Date: 08 October 2019
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Price: $9.99
Also Available On: Steam




Indie games in pixel art style on Switch are dime a dozen. Like seriously, there are lots of them on the eShop, with widely varying degree of quality. Some are really awesome, like Celeste and Dead Cells, while the other, not so much. This game, Reventure, belongs to the not-so-much good category, and the developers know it and yet made the most of what they have created.




Reventure is a typical Zelda-esque game, where you play as a protagonist who is tasked to rescue a kidnapped princess. That's pretty much it for the plot, and developers of this game knows that they really don't have much to work with, so they resort to being self-aware, peppering the game with lots of crazy 4th wall-breaking shenanigans. There is some semblance of a story, with lots of funny twists for shits and giggles, just to make sense of the hilarity of the endings you unlock. I personally appreciate the humor; the joke bits are genuinely funny. So even though the game is a roguelike wherein you have to start at the very beginning each and every time, there's something in it that would keep you playing it.




You will see very early in the game, possibly by accident, that this game main gimmick is its many endings. 100 endings, to be exact. One such is endings is when you "accidentally" kill the old man that offers you a sword because it is dangerous to be alone. Dangerous to be alone with you, apparently, so as the game over screen says. Yes, the games right there, 2 minutes in, and then you start again. Then after a brief yet humorous narrative exposition about that particular ending, you have a go at the game again. Then you're off to either finish the game by finding and saving the kidnap princess or find another ending. You will eventually stumble upon another ending as you explore the world, whether by getting killed by an enemy, killing an NPC, or getting crushed by your equipment because you're a greedy bastard. 100 endings are there in the game, and you will surely have a blast trying to find all of them, that is, if you don't get bored to death by the extreme repetitiveness of it all. To possibly combat this, each ending you unlock affects the overall narrative. For example, killing certain NPCs change the game slightly as you have to deal with the consequences of your action. Such consequences mostly don't matter much in the grand scheme of things, but they are mostly inanely funny.




Overall, Reventure is quite a good game, despite its very simple presentation and bare-bones structure. The pixel art is much too pixel-y for my taste, and the 8-bit music lacks much variety, but again, it is really funny and it is ideal for short bursts of play sessions and also in being played handheld. Don't bother playing this on your big screen TV, though if you want to marvel at the pixels in HD, go float your boat. At its price point, if you have the spare money to waste, go get this game.





REPLAY VALUE: High







PROS:
  • Cutesy pixel art style
  • The 8-bit soundtrack sounds good despite of its lack of variety
  • Self-aware of its shortcomings and more than makes up for it with its wit and humor and pop culture references
  • The multiple endings are not in chronological order, making unlocking one a humorous delight most of the time
  • Opened pathways remain open in succeeding runs, making the game less tedious with repeated play
  • Ideal for short bursts of handheld gameplay
  • You can rewatch the endings you have unlocked; they are pinned to your adventure gallery 

CONS:
  • Bland story
  • Lacks challenge
  • Becomes very repetitive very quickly
  • You can play multiple characters but all of them play the same
  • Unlocked endings don't show on the game, so it is more likely to trigger them again the more endings you unlock, making it the game a bit frustrating towards the end since you have to start again from the very beginning each time the game "ends".



RATING: 3.5/5 (not-so-happy) Endings


Product Review : Retro-bit's Metal Storm NES Re-release

Reproductions of NES games are nothing new, people have been making them and selling them illegally for years.  Recently the retro gaming market has shown such strength and durability that legitimate companies have felt there was sufficient interest in making new copies of original games.  These games would come packaged as "Anniversary Editions" or "Collector's Editions" and come in packaging and with extras that would easily eclipse the original game's.  This of course requires contacting the rights holder and negotiating for permission to release more copies of their game.  Recently, the relatively uncommon but well-regarded NES game Metal Storm received a release from retro-bit and I had the chance for it to come into my possession, so let me use this blog entry to review the game and explain why I had the opportunity to briefly handle it.

I have often in conversation referred to retro-bit as one of the "Four Horsemen of the Retro-Gaming Apocalypse", one of four well-known companies (Hyperkin, atgames and Gamerz-Tek) that have consistently released garbage retro video game products over the years.  They are hardly alone among lousy retro gaming product makers, but they are the most prominent.  Hyperkin can put out a decent controller, so I guess it has graduated, just barely, from the "Horsemen".  Can retro-bit do the same with its release of Metal Storm?  Let's find out.












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(22MB) Download Subway Surfers For Free

(22MB) Download Subway Surfers for Free


SCREENSHOT




System Requirements Of Subway Surfers Download For Free

  • Tested on Window 7 64 Bit
  • Operating System: Window XP/ Vista/ Window 7/ Window 8 and 8.1/10
  • CPU: 2.0 GHz Intel Pentium 4 or later
  • RAM: 512 MB
  • Setup size: 22 MB
  • Hard Disk Space: 200 MB









Wednesday, February 19, 2020

QA Gig @ Tripwire



Here is a great opportunity for someone about the graduate or has already graduated and is looking for a job. Tripwire is looking for some QA peeps
http://tripwireinteractive.com/jobs

Word is that they may be advertising for some coders in the new year.

Good luck!


Allan