Jan 6

Happy New Year! I hope that all had an enjoyable holiday, and feel re-invigorated for 2018 as I do. Before I talk about progress on Dehoarder 2, there is one piece of business that I need to take care of.

iOS End of Support

Support for Prepare for Warp, Breaking Block, and Vintage Pachinko on iOS devices will end on March 3, 2018. This coincides with the date that my Apple Developer Program membership expires. I am choosing not to review my membership for a number of reasons; there are two main ones that matter.

First, without resources to continue active development (i.e. all my time needs to be focused toward Dehoarder 2), the cost of the Program, including the cost of maintaining Apple hardware exclusively for this purpose, relative to the trickle of revenue that it now generates cannot be justified. The second reason is more personal. The mobile market with its F2P microtransaction nature never really suited me. It made me feel sleazy and uncomfortable and did not reflect my ideals. While Vintage Pachinko is a virtuous app that only charges a small upfront cost, I feel that Prepare for Warp and Breaking Block were cheapened by the application of the F2P model to them.

So what does end-of-support look like? Apple has this to say on the subject of Developer Program expiration (emphasis mine):

If your Apple Developer Program membership expires, your apps will no longer be available for download and you will not be able to submit new apps or updates. You will lose access to pre-release software, Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles, and Technical Support Incidents. However, your apps will still function for users who have already installed or downloaded them, and you will still have access to iTunes Connect and free development resources.

My interpretation of this is that anyone who has already downloaded my apps can continue to enjoy them on the devices that they were downloaded to, but the apps would not be available to install on new devices. I find this unfortunate; I would much rather everyone have access to install apps that they have already licensed on any future devices, however, I do not have control over Apple’s policies.

It seems that there is a way to back up the app package from within iTunes, in order to keep the app to install on any new devices. I have not tried this so I cannot vouch for how well it would work.

Long story short, please download the iOS apps to all devices that you desire them on, and complete any package backups in iTunes before March 3, 2018.

The Android versions of Vintage Pachinko, Prepare for Warp, and Breaking Block will continue to be available for the foreseeable future. These apps currently have zero maintenance cost on the Android platform so there is no incentive to decommission those versions.

Now that that has been handled, back to talking about Dehoarder 2 and progress made in December.

Squashing Bugs and Paying Down Debt

Most existing bugs have been fixed. This includes one particularly ornery bug relating to items spawning from boxes, where items would spawn within a nearby wall and would often get stuck and become non-interactive due to how the game divides up the world into physics zones. It turns out that the spawning volume was unintentionally being offset, and it actually was in the wall!

A lot of technical debt has also been paid down. I was able to fully decommission several old systems that have long been replaced by better designs. Having all of that clutter removed will make the next phase of development much easier.

Engine Enhancements

The next big effort will be a final round of game engine enhancements, mostly centered around supporting more advanced event scripting to meet the demands of the story. These enhancements will also fix the remaining bugs and implement a couple of frequently-requested features that came out of the GDEX 2017 feedback.

After these enhancements are complete and I’ve started adding content around them, I should have a much better idea as to when the game will be ready for alpha.

Categories: Breaking Block ,Dehoarder 2 ,Prepare for Warp ,Vintage Pachinko

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