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DF Oliver

Programming Interlude 1: Platforms, platforms, platforms

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nice work :D, is that toilet paper behind the mac laptop?

Next everyone'll be looking for the hidden dildo... :P

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Why are they putting the game on so many platforms? I feel like Mac-Windows should be enough for a good classic adventure game.

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Why are they putting the game on so many platforms? I feel like Mac-Windows should be enough for a good classic adventure game.

Bigger potential audience?

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Such a type of adventures doesn't make a lot of sense on phones due to the small screen sizes and the reduced input accuracy/lod in your scenes. You need to invest some extra work into all the platforms so that the low level hardware doesn't compromise the potential gameplay experience for more suited platforms (too much). Mobile phones run games designed for mobile phones the best. Mobiles might turn into better general purpose gaming device once the input works differently and they stream/project their audio/video-signals with a low enough latency (hi electric smog) but then again who knows how the other devices will have evolved then. PC (OS X, Win, Linux) and tablet support (iOS and Android) sounds right for the first wave, maybe adding other suited devices later on (Wii U, PS4, ...).

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... and tablet support (iOS and Android) sounds right for the first wave...

Well, there you have your reason: If you support tablets, that means supporting iOS and Android. If you support iOS and Android, you can without too much hassle support iPhones and Android phones as well.

I agree with you that phones don't seem to be a good platform for point&click; (or in this case touch&touch;) adventure games - but Tablets are. So if there is obviously only "little" extra work needed to support Phones based on the Tablet OSses, it would be stupid of DF not to support them.

Also: I think it's kind of too late now anyway ;-)

EDIT: Oh, thanks for the update, Oliver! The programming updates are amoung my favourites.

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I was talking about how you design a game differently for a tablet than a phone due to the points i've mentioned before. You might add more detail, more hotspots, more demanding routines, ... just because it runs the same OS doesn't make it the same experience.

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I was talking about how you design a game differently for a tablet than a phone due to the points i've mentioned before. You might add more detail, more hotspots, more demanding routines, ... just because it runs the same OS doesn't make it the same experience.

Of course the experience is different if you use a device with a different screen size and grade of mobility. But when it comes to development effort adventure games have only very simple interaction mechanics (i.e. point at stuff and click on stuff). Therefore there is nearly no effort to be made to adjust the interaction design depending on your target plattform. As far as I can see there are only three different types here:

- Mouse-driven (PC, Linux, Mac)

- Controller-driven (Ouya, Optional for PC, Linux, Mac)

- Touch-driven (Android devices and iOS devices including tablets and phones)

And since there does exist a vast array of screen sizes and technical specs for both Android (a gazillion of device types and specs) and even iOS (Retina, non-retina, 8" tablet, 10" tablet, different aspect reatios) you need to approach this device-independent right from the bat - even if you would only target tablets. Therefore it all boils down to operating systems, not specific devices.

Even the performance-specific parts of the game have to be flexible right from the start. Event if you only support tablets you have a big range of different processors - heck, even if you only support the iPad you get different specs for each one (processor and GPU differs for each and every iPad type out there). So you have to either clock the devices performance and auto-adjust the features (lighting system etc.) or make a profile for each device type. But you already have to do this even if you do not support Phones.

That the user experience is different on a tablet and a phone is clear - but it's the users choice if he/she wants to play it on a phone. And since there is nearly no exta effort to publish for iOS and Android phones it is a no brainer to support them, especially because you can target a much wider audience.

If you are developing a game with a more complex interaction scheme (let's say a strategy game), than it's a different story because each and every element of the HUD has to be visible and clickable/touchable so that there is a lot of resolution and pixel density issues here, but for Adventure Games it's prettry straight forward.

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Nope, it's not, i named the reasons already. You might design an adventure which works on all devices but it's not the same as if you design it keeping only larger/reasonable scaled devices in mind.

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That does not mean more effort, because an interaction design for an adventure game that is suitable for phones (large enough hotspots, enough distance between hotspots) works perfectly well on larger systems as well.

So you still just need one interaction design.

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You can't generalise this, it depends on your specific game design.

I didn't generalize - this is valid for point and click adventures (as I clearly stated) because the main interaction (pointing & clicking) is already in the title.

Yeah, if DoubleFine would add the need for keyboard inputs or other crazy stuff or puzzles with tiny elements that would need precise interaction, that would be an issue. But it's pretty safe to assume based on all we saw up until now that it's basically pointing and clicking. Or in case of touch-driven devices it's touching.

Bottom line: Supporting phones if you already support the tablets and your interaction design is as simple as this is a no-brainer.

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I disagree due to input and visual issue which can occur depending on your game design. For an example the size of fingers, your fine motor skills just don't scale this well and details can get lost on smaller scales, so you add less detail, place hotspots keeping the restrictions in mind, design the tolerance for an interface differently etc., to repeat myself, this can be a completely different beast and last but not least it always is a difference if you support a hardware officially or just allow software to run everywhere no matter if it makes this much sense.

But let's just end it here, feel free to disagree but i've been through all these things already.

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I disagree [...] But let's just end it here, feel free to disagree but i've been through all these things already.

Yeah, that's always classy. Ending a discussion be declaring it over.

But you are still right and wrong at the same time. Yeah, with smaller screen sizes hotspots have to be big anough. But that does not mean that you would need different interaction designs for different device classes and/or screen sizes since you just can take the design for the small screen and scale it upwards instead of starting with a complex design that has to be adapted to a smaller screen.

You still need just ONE design. That's it. And also from the picture Oliver provided you can clearly see that Phone support is alive and kicking - so it's safe to assume that DF thought about that before hand (it was known since before the Kickstarter ended). So suggesting that they should not support something that they are clearly already supporting is kind of pointless.

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- Mouse-driven (PC, Linux, Mac)

- Controller-driven (Ouya, Optional for PC, Linux, Mac)

I'm going to assume that the Ouya version will have Mouse input as an option (just like controller is an option for desktop). Playing ScummVM on the Ouya with a Bluetooth mouse is much more enjoyable than using the controller, and this game should be no different...

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Yeah, the OUYA + Bluetooth Mouse is a really nice Scumm Machine :-)

Mouse-Input for OUYA would certainly be welcome - but I think (since they have a deal with OUYA if I got that right) that they will primarily support the orginal OUYA controller and mouse input might be an alternative input method.

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Thanks for that! I find these kind of updates very interesting! A bit surprised you rated Android as hardest to debug needing print statements in the code, but one lives and learns.

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any chance to make save data accesible regardless of which device youre on??? like say Im playing on my pc, and I want to continue to play my game on my android phone... how much of a possibility is that???? I would love something like that

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any chance to make save data accesible regardless of which device youre on??? like say Im playing on my pc, and I want to continue to play my game on my android phone... how much of a possibility is that???? I would love something like that

Cloud saving was mentioned in update 11, so I think it's already been done. See here: http://www.doublefine.com/forums/viewthread/9930/

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Fragmentation! Bah, but then you have to design for more than one screen size! ;)

Oliver, for designing for different sizes, did you guys just scale the game, but try to have the UI roughly the same size in inches?

Or did you try to maintain aspect ratio on the game, or even something more over the top, such as having parts of the background that are only seen on wide screens?

Can you post a random screen of the lowest resolution device + highest you're testing on?

(And I would assume the least Android version required will be 2.2 or 2.1, 4.2+ would only be about 6% of devices, 90% of devices are 2.3+, and a lot of Google's new SDK's only require 2.2+)

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Or did you try to maintain aspect ratio on the game, or even something more over the top, such as having parts of the background that are only seen on wide screens?

I think they already mentioned going for this "over the top" solution, with extra (non-essential) content on the edges that will be visible if your aspect is wider/higher than the nominal one.

You can see some example screenshots of this in the "Data Pipeline" programming update.

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But, but... what about my Windows Phone?! :D It's alright, I can always play Broken Age on my Surface Pro. Are you guys going to release a RT-compatible version or even a Windows 8 "app", or will it be desktop-only for Windows 8?

Specifically for touch devices, are you doing anything special with touch that's different?

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I know the game won't launch on this platform, but how hard it'd be to port it to the Wii U? Curiosity, that's all.

I was thinking about this a lot lately. I do hope that eventually they decide to port it to the Wii U. By the time that they would have theoretically ported it I will have finished the game on my PC, but honestly, I'd likely buy it again. I am in love with the idea of playing an adventure game on a nice big TV with the Wiimote pointer; I think it would work really well. I guess we'll see if it comes to that eventually.

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I know the game won't launch on this platform, but how hard it'd be to port it to the Wii U? Curiosity, that's all.

I was thinking about this a lot lately. I do hope that eventually they decide to port it to the Wii U. By the time that they would have theoretically ported it I will have finished the game on my PC, but honestly, I'd likely buy it again. I am in love with the idea of playing an adventure game on a nice big TV with the Wiimote pointer; I think it would work really well. I guess we'll see if it comes to that eventually.

Just wanted to chime in and say this was a) reasonably easy to set up on my pc running Kubuntu, and b) a very fun way to play the game :)

Just following the instructions here helped me to get the Wiimote-as-mouse running in a matter of minutes (decoupled one of my Wiimotes from the console to have it running and powering the sensor bar while pairing the Wiimote with my notebook). After connecting the tv to the computer, big-screen remote-pointing fun was up and running :)

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