Alta, Texas - Bx5G Slice of Life - Upd 1/13/2013 - Demo

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EwanG
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Alta, Texas - Bx5G Slice of Life - Upd 1/13/2013 - Demo

#1 Post by EwanG » Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:24 pm

Links in Last Message to Demo. For Historical Purposes, original post is below:

Per the title, name of the game is "Alta, Texas". This is a "reboot" of Senior Year written in Javascript to follow the Win 8 UI standard and be touch compatible. Approximately 100K words. Has also been rewritten to be "all ages" (i.e. no implied nudity or phrases of questionable content). Playable on any resolution from 640x480 up to at least 1920x768. All new music, several new scenes, filtered and edited backgrounds (to support scaling with less "mess"), and my original character art. No vocals as I will be charging for this, and would not feel right asking someone to volunteer, and am not sure if I would make enough to break even if paying a fair rate. Maybe if this actually clears enough copies I can do that as an update :D

Have attached the screen logo, and an early screen from the game to show how the UI will work. For those of you working in RenPy, you have no idea how much PyTom has saved you. Here is the RenPy for the screen attached:

Code: Select all

    l "Well, I normally ride the bus to school, but since it's such a pretty morning, I thought I'd take a walk."
And now the same in Javascript:

Code: Select all

            case 6:
                // this should put her approximately the middle of the frame
                imgMenuButton.visible = true;
                imgStreet_scene_sunny.visible = true;
                imgTalkSpace.visible = true;
                cBmpLindanear_happy.x = (canvas.width / 2) - (150 * SCALE_X);
                cBmpLindanear_happy.y = MARGIN;
                cBmpLindafar_surprised.visible = false;
                cBmpLindanear_happy.visible = true;
                myMe.visible = false;
                myMeSay.visible = false;
                myLinda.visible = true;
                myLindaSay.text = "Well, I normally catch the 64 bus to school, but since it's such a pretty morning, I thought I'd take a walk.";
                myLindaSay.visible = true;
                stage.update();
                break;
Game will probably be listed in January on the Windows App store (for $2.99), and then I will probably use Phone Gap to port to Android.

Figured if anyone else was interested in learning how to do a VN in Javascript or finding out more about getting into the Windows App Store it might be worth posting here.
Attachments
Linda_Early_Screen.jpg
Early Game Screen showing UI in Win 8
logo.png
Game Logo
logo.png (29.45 KiB) Viewed 2279 times
Last edited by EwanG on Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Alta, Texas - Bx5G - Slice of Life - Javascript

#2 Post by gekiganwing » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:15 am

It appears you're creating a thorough remake of Senior Year, including rewriting: "Has also been rewritten to be "all ages" (i.e. no implied nudity or phrases of questionable content)."
If you ask me, this sounds like a good design choice. I liked your characters and their relationships. But I wasn't sure if I would enjoy Senior Year and its follow-up more if there was content that would merit an R or NC-17 rating, or whether I would prefer a mild PG-rated version.

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Re: Alta, Texas - Bx5G - Slice of Life - Javascript

#3 Post by EwanG » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:10 am

Appreciate the comments, though not sure why you put your opinion in Spoilers.

Progress report is that all the "infrastructure" is complete (Loading and Saving Files in JS in Win 8 took longer than I would have expected), as well as the music playing functions (and menu options to turn off and on) as well as all player variables. Rewrite of the entire script is finished, and game has been programmed through "Fall Evening". Most of the reworked Linda path is done as well as all the "second chance" paths for all 5 ladies.

One other major difference this time around has been to "expose" more of the first third of the game. I found that particularly in the Flash version folks were playing through once, or occasionally twice. Given how the initial game was trying to reward multiple plays by ensuring new content each time, this meant that many folks were missing 30% or more of the game. While there still are some things unique to each of the first choice paths, I have made sure that two plays will expose the majority of the early game.
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Re: Alta, Texas - Bx5G - Slice of Life - Javascript

#4 Post by EwanG » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:19 am

Quick update. All of Linda's Path done, most of Carla's path, and half of Annette's path completed. Am hoping a good push today will get those all completed, and then tomorrow get the credits and some testing done (want to be on both ARM/RT and Desktop - so have to run compatibility tests for both), and possibly submit to MS late Friday. We'll see if that holds up or if I end up needing part of the weekend :-)
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Re: Alta, Texas - Bx5G - Slice of Life - Javascript

#5 Post by EwanG » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:08 pm

Looks like I probably will end up needing the weekend as my middle daughter's nurse didn't show up last night, and so not quite as much progress as I had hoped. Did finish up all of Carla's path and most of Julie's, but still have a bit of Julie's to do, and then the second halves of Becky and Annette. Oh well, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it, right?
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Re: Alta, Texas - Bx5G - Slice of Life - Javascript

#6 Post by SusanTheCat » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:51 pm

Did you write the JavaScript from scratch or use a library?

I played around with JS-Vine and liked it. (http://thecatsweb.com/AllAreInvited/) Of course I mutilated it beyond recognition to do things it wasn't designed to do, just like I do with Ren'Py.

Susan

P.S. Some of the sprites might look familiar ;)
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Re: Alta, Texas - Bx5G - Slice of Life - Javascript

#7 Post by EwanG » Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:24 pm

SusanTheCat wrote:Did you write the JavaScript from scratch or use a library?
Combination of both. Started with the CreateJS series, and then had to work out my own procedures for writing and reading files, as well as the case statements to allow me to jump to any particular spot you might have saved at. Main difference is that in RenPy, PyTom hides a lot of that complexity (I presume he is doing similar things under the hood) so that you can concentrate more on the story.

I took a look at JSVine, but since I want to release as an App, I had to go with something that would play nice with Visual Studio.

On the game you linked, I was seeing some "odd" behavior. Sometimes a blue block over some of the text, etc. Not sure if that is a Chrome issue, or if it was trying to do something (indicate something going on in the background?) and I just wasn't picking up on it.

Thanks!
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Re: Alta, Texas - Bx5G - Slice of Life - Javascript

#8 Post by SusanTheCat » Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:18 am

EwanG wrote:Combination of both. Started with the CreateJS series, and then had to work out my own procedures for writing and reading files, as well as the case statements to allow me to jump to any particular spot you might have saved at.
IIRC - Undum uses a cookie that remembers all your choices and runs through them REALLY quickly when you reload the game.
EwanG wrote:On the game you linked, I was seeing some "odd" behavior. Sometimes a blue block over some of the text, etc. Not sure if that is a Chrome issue, or if it was trying to do something (indicate something going on in the background?) and I just wasn't picking up on it.
Yeah, it doesn't play nice with Chrome. I think it is trying to select the block or something. I was trying to get it to respond to the space bar. I might take up the challenge again. :)

Keep up the good work,

Susan
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Re: Alta, Texas - Bx5G - Slice of Life - Javascript

#9 Post by PyTom » Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:55 pm

EwanG wrote:Main difference is that in RenPy, PyTom hides a lot of that complexity (I presume he is doing similar things under the hood) so that you can concentrate more on the story.
The Ren'Py interpreter's big data structure is an abstract syntax tree. The parser turns text into AST nodes (and stores them in .rpyc files, so future loading is much cheaper). Each AST node has a unique name, and a bunch of magic with rollback ensure that the state of a saved game is always at the start of an AST node.

The "big switch" approach works - but I'd worry that it will scale poorly, and be hard to maintain, compared to a data driven approach. (Then again, modern javascript VMs seem to have a lot of support for crazy things like emscripten-generated code.)

I'd strongly recommend, if you go forward with this, encapsulating a lot of the state in functions, and probably using some sort of program to translate a language (tab-delimited?) into those function calls. I suspect that the cost of writing a translator in something like python, perl, or ruby will be much less than debugging a lot of hand-written code.
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Re: Alta, Texas - Bx5G - Slice of Life - Javascript

#10 Post by EwanG » Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:21 pm

Not saying Big Switch is desirable, but at some point it comes down to whether I want to write a Visual Novel, or write a tool for creating Visual Novels. We will see if it does well enough for me to even create a second one, in which case taking the longer view will be worth the investment I suspect.

I did make sure that the "infrastructure" can be used by any game I would come up with. So other than the switch statements, the rest of the game is plug and play.

Interesting data point. While I can't share numbers, the trend is that there are much more App Store download for Paid games than Free. Substantially more in fact. Not sure how much that is thrown off by Angry Birds though (which only is available paid for Win 8).

Final package was about 41 megs, and it will run on Win 8 and Win 8 RT. MS can take up to a week to approve, but I am hoping it will go a bit quicker so I can get some of the folks who are unwrapping new Win 8 devices. Will put an announcement in the correct forum when it is ready in the store.

Biggest challenge at the end was the automated certification. While all the File Save examples use the Default Documents Library, an individual developer is not allowed to read/write there. Took me some frantic searching to find out the right way is to use the App's local directory. Also the library files I was using, and that are recommended by Microsoft and Adobe, don't pass the certification unless you first encode them as UTF-8. Which would be more obvious if the failure message wasn't "Syntax Error".

In any case, now to enjoy a brief Christmas Break while I decide if it's time for another VN or if I want to do my own take on CIV, or if I want to build a Manga Reader.
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Re: Alta, Texas - Bx5G - Slice of Life - Javascript

#11 Post by jack_norton » Sun Dec 23, 2012 6:17 am

Don't know if you read this:
http://news.softpedia.com/news/Angry-De ... 2836.shtml
his original post was here:
http://www.rubicondev.com/blog/windows-rt-born-to-fail/
it's from an indie I know, he edited the original post, where he was posting poor sale figures for Win 8. In shorts, the big player is still iOS by a LARGE margin (even if only a few devs make more than $1000/year in percentage which says something), Android is "so-so", and the Win8 while in the early stages is not really promising :)
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Re: Alta, Texas - Bx5G - Slice of Life - Javascript

#12 Post by EwanG » Sun Dec 23, 2012 8:01 am

I don't doubt he had some points, but I also note that for some reason his app (which I have paid for on Android) is marked to only be playable on Win 8 RT. At the moment that isn't where the lion's share of Win 8 licenses are. I would be very interested to hear from him (or anyone else) what they see their sales do on December 26th.

Interesting data point on the Windows Store. Once they have one of your apps submitted, you can look at market trends (with sales numbers) for categories your app is in. So you can see if it's the category in general that has an issue, or if it's "just you". Then again, maybe I'll get lucky and since I am a "Win 8 Exclusive" at the moment, perhaps MS will offer to feature my app. :D
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Re: Alta, Texas - Bx5G - Slice of Life - Javascript

#13 Post by jack_norton » Sun Dec 23, 2012 9:24 am

I know figures from a featured app on the Win8 store and are really astonishing... not in a good way :D anyway, of course things can change in future, who knows!
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Re: Alta, Texas - Bx5G - Slice of Life - Javascript

#14 Post by EwanG » Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:53 am

Turns out the joke is on me. You can read the full story here, but in a nutshell, Microsoft doesn't understand Visual Novels, and so failed my app for being "incomplete" after playing through one route. Um... I don't even know where to begin with that...

In any case, I should be able to VERY quickly get this back into RenPy, and distribute the more "usual" way. I just wish I could have the two months of weekends and several weeknights back. On the plus side, the posting I did on my blog on how to read/write a file using Javascript was my most popular ever, so there is that.

Will let y'all know more when I am back to ready to release (again) :D
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Re: Alta, Texas - Bx5G - Slice of Life - Javascript

#15 Post by jack_norton » Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:17 am

Wow. Welcome to the world of the appstores! That really sucks. But also a lesson, better use cross-platform languages if you attempt to go in those "obscure places"... :mrgreen: if you used Monkeycoder for example, you could have published the game instantly for other, more open, platforms :shock:
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