Tag: publishing

Kindle Fire HDX and Unity

Unity and the Kindle Fire HDX… a Christmas story!

As most of you know, I have been working on my wife’s game, Notespace, for the last year. It has been an epic adventure filled with joy and peril but treacherous waters of publishing on Android. You can avoid a lot of the problems by publishing multiple builds per texture compression but every now and then you get those sharp rocks that come out of no where. And that, for me, was the mysterious crashing on Kindle Fire HDX devices.

Now before I move on, for those that don’t already know, Android devices use an array of GPU’s where as iOS devices only use one (Power VR). This generally does not affect you in anyway except when it comes to texture compression that has alpha. Unity’s default Android compression setting is ETC 1/ RGBA16. What that means is that it will compress power of 2 textures with no alpha as ETC 1 (an older OpenGL format) and will set compressed textures with alpha to RGBA 16. On average, RGBA16 will be at least double the size as your compressed texture so it has the ability of sending your GPU memory usage over the edge. That being said, I have not actually seen that happen on a device but that kinda means nothing on Android with a gazillion devices on the market. Whats more important is that 16 bit textures can look really bad, especially if you have a lot of gradient work. So there is 2 ways around it. 1) Build a custom shader for your compressed images with alpha…

Game Jam to Shipped Game

After this year’s global game jam, I wanted to share some experiences about shipping games to encourage first timers to get their games out there. First thing you need to understand is that you are not near to done. Our industry usually thinks in terms of features but this is misleading. We think “Camera system, it works… Done!”, but what we really we need to ask is “is this feature shippable?”. And in there lies the rub, what is shippable to you?

Game jams are rapid prototyping sessions. They are hugely valuable to determine if you are heading down the right track. They help to find the fun fast, so you know the general direction you will be taking on your game creation voyage. If your prototype is not fun to you, its probably not a good idea to pursue it. I am speaking from the heart here, spending may hours of time I will never get back trying to make something that is not inherently fun, fun. If you have a choice, and as indies you do, don’t to it if your prototype is not fun right now.

Once you have the fun, its time to do time estimates. It does not matter if you schedule or you scrum, you still need to estimate time. If you are new to scheduling, once you are done, double your time! I mean it. As developers, we are hugely optimistic and love what we do and sometimes we forget the bad times. Shit happens……