Coming into the home stretch of THE OCTOBER GAME, I took some time to do a little cleanup.
What came before
After finishing the level editor, I created the last few stages and played the game through many times, editing and adjusting to get a good difficulty progression. Right now there’s a good ramp-up with the end levels hard enough that even I can’t always win. If you beat this game, you’ll definitely earn it. link:evil-laugh.wav
I had a friend play, which led me to make a few tiny tweaks to the user interface. I would like to get a few more testers on different devices but I’m not sure how to go about it. More on that later, maybe.
Performance issues have dogged this project from the very beginning. Keeping the frame rate near 60 fps has lead me to rewrite this game three LONG STREAM OF EXPLETIVES DELETED times. If I’d chosen to drop support for older devices earlier, I could’ve cut development time by a full third. When I started this project I was willing to support the iPhone 1st gen but I’ve had to retreat from that a bit. Once I get an iPod Touch 3rd gen to test on, I’ll make a decision where the cutoff point is. That said, I am so done with iOS 3.x, it’s not even funny.
To my surprise, I’m still finding bugs. A quick search of my development log reveals an astounding 200 bugs found and fixed over 17 months of development. I haven’t done a detailed analysis of the data but it looks like I’m generating fewer bugs per unit of time. The thing is, I’m writing less code overall. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to find my bug rate to be constant by lines of code. Certainly it’s in my best interest to write as little new code as possible.
My policy is to do cleanup sprints after major feature pushes. I try not to mess around with the oldest code even though it’s rather ugly, stylistically. For one thing, most of the bugs have been squeezed out. Art assets are a different story. Images have several processing steps to make them program-ready. Audio also has pretty strict restrictions such as file format, volume, frequency and bit-rate limits. Any change and all the steps have to be repeated. It’s a real pain so I tend to save up corrections and do them in big batches.
I still have to do one last art sweep before shipping, as well as generate branding images for the web site. I’m also putting together a plan for the promotional push, something I’ve never done before and a source of extreme anxiety awesome-fun-cookies.