Exploding Devlog: Panels and Color Picker

I’ve been working on a panel system and a color picker for Exploding Editor.

I decided to start writing in-depth posts for the devlog instead of doing tweets because I can add explanations to things. Also, the last devlog was about what I had done before, but from now on, I’ll be writing about what I’m doing now.

Clean up and Panels

When I first started working on the Exploding Editor, it was just a personal tool, and I wanted it to get it working fast, so the code was not the best it could be. After I decided to release this to the public, I decided to go back and clean things up to save myself time and headaches in the future. While doing that, I also decided to make a major design change to the editor. Compare the two images below:

Here’s how the editor used to look.

Here’s how it looks now. The biggest change is the panels, but there is also space for a toolbar at the top, and it’s now possible to add a toolbar to any panel.

If you’re interested in the programming details, each panel is now in its own dependency injection subcontainer. I follow the facade pattern, so each panel is a facade and other classes have no access to the panel’s internals.

You may also notice in the current image that the textfields are a darker color. I wrote a simple styling system that I can apply to elements. That way, if I decide to change something, I only have to do it in one place. If you do things the regular way in Unity and use prefabs, getting everything to match style can be a real pain, so this is a nice simple solution.

Here’s the gist of how it works.

Color Picker

People will need to change colors of things in the editor, so I needed to have some kind of color picker tool. There are several solutions on the asset store, but there’s no way to try them out or see their code without buying them.

Instead I found a free one and then built my own while using it as a reference when I ran into trouble. It’s not completely done, but here’s how it looks.

Another reason I didn’t want to use any of the asset store solutions is that none of them use TextMesh Pro, the superior text solution in Unity. Exploding Editor supports retina displays, so it will be especially noticable if any text is low resolution.

The color picker doesn’t generate textures for the color box or the hue slider. They are implemented with shaders so they’re fast and use little memory.

Reactive Programming Example

The color picker UI is a great example of the benefits of reactive programming. I think in general not enough people use it, so I thought I’d show how using it can save you a lot of time and make your code lean and clean. The following code is in the ColorSliderView class which is used for each of the RGBA sliders shown in the animation.

Take a look at this code. It’s generating an IObservable to let observers know when something changes. It automatically combines changes from both the slider and the textfield, and it stores that value before sending the event. It also limits the event for the textfield to make sure it only sends it when the textfield has focus. This is to prevent a stack overflow.

And here’s where the IObservables are subscribed to. Whenever any of the sliders change their value, the function in Subscribe is invoked, and the color picker’s color is updated with the new values.

What’s Next?

There’s a little bit of work left to finish the color picker, and then I have to finish transitioning the rest of the editor to the panel system. I mainly just have the sprites panel and the panels related to tilemapping remaining.

Exploding Devlog #1

I started posting a development log on Twitter. Here’s a consolidated version.

I started posting a development log on Twitter. You can see related tweets by using #ExplodingDevLog. I’ll be posting consolidations of the devlogs on this site as well. Here’s the first one!

Started working on the sprite editor, but all you can do right now is look at a sprite sheet and drag it around. Not too exciting yet.

Added an assets panel that displays all files in the project instead of having a separate sprites panel. Also added very basic sprite slicing. Slices lines are drawn with Unity’s GL class.

Wrote the basics of the ūüí•Exploding Data file format (why is everything exploding with me?). It uses JSON because it’s easy to work with and is human readable. I also set up saving and loading of these files.

Added right click to assets panel to allow simple creation of entities, sprites, and animations. Also got basics of properties panel working.

Added grid overlay for sprite sheets. The cell size can be set in the inspector panel. Benefits of grid-based sheets and how they work with Exploding Editor will be shown later.

2018: Year of the Exploding Rabbit

Improved communication, regular devlogs, and several product releases are just some of the things to expect from ūüí•ūüźá in 2018.

The poor ¬†website has been neglected for several months. Let’s get you caught up!

Communication Skills +10

I recently got a community manager, as mentioned in this video, and he has been helping me to plan out a communication strategy that is sustainable and that covers several platforms. We’ve mainly been focusing on Facebook and Twitter, but the website will be getting some ‚̧ԳŹ as well. He’s helping me to make communication a higher priority, so I’m factoring it into how I do things going forward. His name is Jason. Here’s his Twitter.

Exploding Editor

When working on Glitch Strikers, I ended up making a small editor to simplify the development process. The editor kept getting bigger and more advanced as we needed features, and then it got to the point where it seemed good enough that other people could find it useful.

I decided to call it the¬†Exploding Editor¬†and made an¬†itch.io project¬†for it. I’ll distribute it through there as soon as I finish some remaining features and make it more user friendly. We’ll probably do some alphas and betas first. If you’re interested in participating, follow the project. The editor will not be free, but it will be affordable.

Exploding Devlog

I’ve always wanted to do a development log, and it’s finally happening. I’ve been tweeting it out about once a day, starting with the log for Exploding Editor. I’ll be posting consolidated versions of the devlog on this website. There’s also a devlog on itch.io, but that one is only for the editor. The devlog posted on this website is for all ūüí•ūüźá projects.

High Level Plan for 2018

The first task is to release the Exploding Editor. This should not take too long. After that, I’ll be finishing up a personal project I’ve been working on and off for several years. The editor is very closely tied to this project and some features were added to the editor just so I could finish it. The personal project is planned to be a free WebGL game. It shares a lot of similarities with¬†Glitch Strikers, but is simpler and will be a good appetizer.

After that, I’ll get back to either Glitch Strikers or the game collection mentioned in this video. We’ll see where things are then and decide what’s best at that time.

Glitch Strikers Update – New Codebase and Design Epiphany

Glitch Strikers takes giant leaps forward in the code that powers it and in its design with an unexpected epiphany.

The last month of development on¬†Glitch Strikers¬†is the best month the game has ever seen. I’ve made two huge advancements with the project, and I am more confident than ever that not only will the game get done; it will be great.

You can watch the video above for an in-depth discussion or read below for a summary.

A New Beautiful, Clean Codebase

I rewrote all the code for the game in a much cleaner, scalable, and maintainable way. I’m very close to being done with the refresh; all I have left to do is the attack system and sound effects. If you’re not a programmer, this may not sound like a big deal, but trust me; it is a huge deal, and it accounts for about 75% of my confidence boost for the project.

I had been working with more or less the same codebase for four and a half years, and I accumulated a lot of¬†technical debt, especially in the months leading up to the trailer. In transitioning to the final iteration of the game, I was getting bogged down, so I decided to start fresh and apply everything I’ve learned since starting the project.

If programmers are curious, I’ve rewritten everything using¬†dependency injection¬†and¬†reactive programming¬†as a foundation. I’m also now using C# 6, which just became available in the most recent Unity beta.

A Game Design Epiphany

Throughout the development of this project, we never had a design that felt “perfect”. There aren’t many games that let you switch between characters that are very different because it’s hard to make every part of the game fun and challenging for each character. The more different the characters, the harder it becomes.

We solved the character switching problem right before the project was put on hold, and I never implemented the solution because I couldn’t figure out how to fit it in with the rest of the game.

Then… last month, an answer struck me like a bolt of lightning, and everything made sense. It’s a very simple idea, but you probably won’t recognize it unless it’s directly pointed out. I’m taking a well known game formula and tweaking it.¬†The best thing about it is that the game is now unique. Once people see these mechanics working together, they will no longer say¬†Glitch Strikers¬†is unoriginal.

This epiphany also gives me a very clear way to make a non-episodic game. We will instead make a small game based on this formula. Instead of episodes, we can do sequels, and backers will get sequels for free because you deserve the world for what you’ve been through.

Next Milestone? Beat the game.

In all this time, we’ve never actually had a “game.” By that, I mean we had gameplay and some fragments of levels, but we never had a game that could be played from start to finish. That’s where I’m headed next.

I don’t mean the next step is finishing the game. To put it simply, we have a diagram for the flow of the entire game, from title screen to credits. Currently you can start on any level, but there’s no beginning or end. So this next step is turning it into a beatable game. Once we have that, it’s just a matter of filling in content, and we can also start thinking about early access and private betas.

I plan on posting again after I reach the beatable game milestone. See you then!

Glitch Strikers Progress Update – 4/13/2017

We made a lot of progress and will be showing it in a demo video soon.

I made a video¬†talking about progress on Glitch Strikers since the release of the trailer. We¬†got a lot done, including a new feature I’ll be demoing in an upcoming video. I hope to have it ready in two weeks. There will be some other stuff shown as well. See you then!

Refuting the Kickstarter House Rumors

What actually happened with the Super Retro Squad Kickstarter house?

As we move toward the Steam Early Access release of Glitch Strikers, (formerly known as Super Retro Squad), I thought it was important to refute the rumor that I used the Kickstarter money to buy a house for myself.

When the Kickstarter campaign concluded, our team was distributed around the country, so we thought we could save money by living in one location during development so that each individual would not have to pay their own rent. I contributed personal money (with the help of my parents) to help one of the team members buy a house that was big enough for all of us to live in. The address of this house was 6386 S Canterbury Rd, Parma, OH, 44129.

Take a look at the public records on Trulia (or wherever you want). The records show it was purchased on September 20, 2012 for $139,000, and it was sold again on October 21, 2016 for $135,000. If the records let you view the owner, you will see that it was not me; it was one of the other people on the team. I have never owned a house, and I currently live in an apartment that my wife and I are renting in Wisconsin.

Personally, I lived in the house from October 2012¬†to April 2016. The house ended up being a terrible decision since I didn’t get back most of the money I contributed to¬†it. Looking back, I think it would have been smarter to rent a¬†house since we still could have saved money by¬†each individual not having separate rent to pay. I also think renting would have been seen as less controversial, but that is not something I expected at the time.

Glitch Strikers gets Greenlit!

Glitch Strikers is coming to Steam Early Access this summer.

Great news…¬†Glitch Strikers has been approved for distribution on Steam! This means we can release the game on early access later this year.

Although the greenlight process only lasted a few days, we received a massive amount of feedback, so we will be making some changes based on what we heard.

Many people were concerned that the games shown in the trailer were too similar to existing games, so we are focusing heavily on making them more creative and original. You will see some of these changes in an upcoming gameplay trailer.

Secondly, we’ve decided that instead of releasing separate “games” and later combining them into a story mode, we will make Glitch Strikers an episodic game with the story told along the way. It is very similar to what we already announced, but the overall story of Glitch Strikers will be woven into each episode, and each episode may not necessarily focus on one game world. The episodes will follow the story of Manni and his friends¬†as they travel across games¬†to¬†solve the mystery of the glitches.

Thank you so much to everyone who voted. Stay tuned for the upcoming gameplay trailer of the first episode, Hyper Manni Pals. We expect it to be ready in a few months.