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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Current Status of Tenshi-Oni

Again, really sorry about having yet another hiatus here on the site.  Been busy with a number of tasks like coding a newer / better blog here at CAS, finally getting something viable for Anime.fm, doing voice acting auditions over at voices.com, fixes/some important changes for the anime figure store and, most of all...work on my game, Tenshi-Oni.  The game has sure become somewhat like Phil Fish's FEZ, nothing but talk, talk, and more talk about it's development with little gains over the past 2+ years.  Well, like FEZ's development, the game is being made by mostly me and like Phil... life & the disappointments it can bring got in the way numerous times throughout development.

Actually, FEZ has nothing on me in terms of delay. If any of you have been here with the site since the beginning, you'd know the game and the character of Fumi with her angel/demon transformations were first thought up in 2003 & I began a very early alpha build in Flash in '04.  So.. this game is really something that has been 10 years in the making...that's Duke Nukem Forever territory!  Hopefully, unlike Duke Nukem Forever, this won't be a complete disappointment.  Being that it's based on original characters and starting on IOS...don't expect a game like Last Of Us but at the same time, I hope to bring the same fun, polish and hopefully the engagement/fandom seen in something like Angry Birds (oh just a fraction of that and I'd be a free man from the day job forever).

So, what's actually new about Tenshi-Oni beyond my typical "it's coming out eventually"?  Well, a few things...and no... no amount of fan bitching (if this ever gets popular enough for it) will deter me from game development like the bitching & downright pettiness of some fans did to Mr. Fish and his now cancelled FEZ 2 game.

Here's where Tenshi-Oni stands, and it's some good news...

Second to life's crazy challenges causing my game dev to be delayed was some very dire fixes needed for the game.  First, the game was allocating way too much memory and it continued to do so until the game would blow up like a balloon and well... pop.. or well, crash since the iPhone has safeguards from extreme memory usage.   The game does have full length songs in it, a healthy amount of particle effects and pre-rendered graphics but it's no Infinity Blade 2.  There's no reason why a 2D side scrolling shooter with anime sprites should be causing my iPhone 4s to have lag and blow up the ram when the player restarts a stage.  I was sort of dealing with the same issues the devs of Skyrim dealt with with the PS3...but with a much simpler game.  So, I needed to know my code inside-out AND become a better programmer.

Despite being kept with only a few hours with work and all to do this, I did it...I fixed the memory problem.  When a player changes to a new stage or the title screen, the game allocates & deallocates like it's suppose to.  With the help of the sometimes confusing mac Instruments app, I not only found the source of the game's ballooning allocation, but I even was able to fix ALL of the memory leaks.  In doing so the game become noticeably faster.  It was a thing of beauty to see it finally do not only what I programmed it to do, but to do it with almost no lag.

Another fix I did thanks to this was the "Lily bug".  The Lily bug was a game crashing bug when the player summoned Lily.  It was the first major bug I had and until now wasn't fixed since it would happen randomly.  I won't go into the details on what caused it but in short...you should never have an NPC run actions before it exists.

With these major fixes completed, I soon got back to actually building the game.  Though a bit of a learning curve (and with recent updates to the APIs), I've installed Facebook and Twitter functionality in it and two nights ago.. I surprised myself by completely coding from scratch fairly polished scrolling credits that read image urls and various text straight from a .txt file.  In short, I feel I'm becoming a true programmer.  There's still many flaws in the way I code, like one of my .mm, where all the action happens, being 12,000 lines long instead of being modularized.  Yet, I feel I've regained the ground that I lost when I began working at my webdev job.  A dayjob that sadly has me doing everything but real web dev.

So what's left for the first release of TenshiOni?  I still need to add some game options, control instructions (but not the kind that holds your hand), fix up the Final Attacks, add some more enemies and add that fan art gallery I promised.  For the sake of getting the game out sooner, I'm NOT going to have the Story Mode available for the initial release.  Trust me, it's a goal, but something I'd imagine I could flesh out a lot better and make much more enjoyable for the player if the game becomes my main source of income.  I'll instead put in a Time Challenge Mode with various challenges to complete the stage.  Any smart phone game is great when you can play a stage or two while waiting in line or in other situations where you need to just kill off small chunks of time.  Also, the game is almost set up for me to make this kind of mode anyways.  A Story Mode is meant for those who want to be more involved with the (minor) lure I'm trying to create with this game and I hope once it's made, that I can create an oldschool gaming experience.

As stated before, the game will be available in both a Free version and a Paid version (for $.99). Both the paid and free version will have the Survival Mode and Time Challenge Mode stated and of course and both will have most if not all current and future play mechanics.  The free version won't have as many stages/challenges as the paid version though and will have some ads (I promise to keep the ads from being too intrusive).  The paid version will of course have no ads, more stages, more challenges, the full Story Mode (once made).  Also, I plan to create a secret mode in the game after the release... let's just say you get to play as some rather grumpy individuals if you make a certain score out of 10.

 That last bit is up in the air but I know if I make that mode (and do it right), the game would skyrocket in popularity on the web...thus I'll more than likely have that mode unlockable in both versions for all you gamers out there.  Before the game is released, I plan to do one more video preview oh, and make sure those in the Beta can play it early too.

..now, back to my coding.

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