CraftWorld v2.9 Update Submitted for Review!
Version 2.9 of CraftWorld has been submitted for review. This update is for all three versions, so if you are rocking FREE, BETA or PAID you will receive this in about a week. Hopefully sooner, since Microsoft revamped their phone app infrastructure a few weeks back.
So what’s in this patch I hear you ask? Well it was initially meant to be a fix update, but due to the work on BlockWorld, it ended up a lot deeper than that. We didn’t go putting in new toolsets, game modes or weapons, but focused more on improving what you guys already have. I’ll break down some of the larger fixes:
The current lighting system in v2.8 of CraftWorld has a “Tiled” appearance that is neither HD nor truly retro. The new method lacks the defined edges and creates a sense of trepidation at the mouths of caves and dungeons. What you may not notice, is the fixes contributing to this new lighting method. Previously, blocks of spontaneous light could form in dark areas, accumulating throughout a play session. This broke down the lighting into a patchy mess and removed the need for torches after several hours of play. Restarting CraftWorld cleared this up, but with the v2.9 update using darkness to control creature spawns, this bug was about to become nasty. While we were in the lighting system, we cranked up the propagation system from a meagre 8 to 12, meaning the lighting goes 50% further. Yet another issue was the way the light was displayed to the player. It was dark biased, tending to become overly dark much too soon, forcing players to plant torches at intervals of 4 or less.
All this together makes for a much brighter game that promotes exploration of the darker corners of CraftWorld!
New Save System:
Here lies what can make or break any game, the preservation of a player’s progress. Especially in a game where people such as my own father spend their lunch breaks building megalithic towers, to show off to their friends and enjoy what would be a rather dull moment without their smartphone. CraftWorld has undergone a tremendous amount of changes, and the save system has had to cope with the ever changing data being stored. The system introduced in v2.0 has been re-written to eliminate two huge issues.
1) Missing files. Entire regions, a single chunk of coal or even a starting location could go missing. This was very rare, but thanks to feedback from players we have been able to fix this issue.
2) Large save files. The current v2.0 system had very small files, somewhere at the 2mb range for a large file (without screenshots) but was quite wasteful with the space. Thousands of objects could leave behind files only a few kb in size each, which over the course of months could easily grow to multi-megabyte chunks of crap. This have been cleaned out of old saves, and in newer saves many 1-3kb objects have been reduced down to a several bytes in size.
Why would we go to such lengths as using nybbles to store data for CraftWorld? Because files are stored in the cloud, and will be shared between PC and Windows Phone. Fast transfers, quick loading times and reliable storage are paramount to CraftWorld’s success. But this is another area where BlockWorld had a say in the matter. Why the heck would be transmit 8mb across Xbox live when we could send 500kb or less to communicate more to the client machines?!
Thank BlockWorld for this one. We needed a 3D representation of player tools and items for use in Multiplayer. A programmatic solution that took from the texture pack worked rather well, and had a smallish impact on WP7. This of course can be turned off should you favour a little more battery life or smoother frame rate on a 1st gen handset. It adds a little more depth and brings up the quality closer to its PC and Xbox counterparts.
This one is a bitter sweet change. The old 3D torch model that has been with us since the engine test was deemed too expensive to render. Especially on the Xbox due to BlockWorld actually! We checked out some cloud saves and found that people were building spires containing thousands of torches, and using them liberally to light up vast cities and castles. So we’ve dropped the torches down to a simpler form, that cost that same as a block to render, which is not much. They still make particles, and their light is actually brighter than in v2.8. But we beg your pardon if you feel disgruntled by the change. It was sorely needed.
MKII Middle Earth Generator
So we worked hard on backward compatibility, but we are also looking forward at people building new worlds. On Xbox, Multiplayer will soon arrive and thousands of people will begin new worlds in addition to people on WP7 starting new adventures every day. Add to that the impending release of the Lumia 920 and HTC 8x with their Dual core goodness among other hardware improvements, and the need for a better world was obvious.
Enormous snaking caves, wild and surprising mountains valleys and lakes, more plants and denser forests. It’s Middle Earth terrain like you already know, just dialled up to 11. If you want it, just start a new world. Prefer the old terrain? Hang onto an older save, it uses the old one. We still get a solid 30 fps on our HTC Mozart (1st gen device) with everything set to low, so do not fear if you are an early WP7 adopter.
Fixes and BlockWorld:
We have dozens of these. From digging through the tiny gap between stairs to the subtle title we have added to plants and crops, there are a lot of quality improvements to the experience. A full change log is listed below. Most of these changes have been spawned by BlockWorld, and it’s v1.1 multiplayer update. We need to transmit less data, use less resources and provide a higher quality experience before we can release the v1.1 patch. For CraftWorld players? You get all the benefits brought to the Hazzah Engine. BlockWorld is after all, a fundraiser/Xbox dry run for CraftWorld. It’s still $1 by the way, we’ll put up the price with the multiplayer update. So if you have not already, go get it!
V 2.9 Changelog [CraftWorld]
- Updated: Creature pack spawning logic improved
- Updated: Torches no longer use models for rendering, due to performance cost.
- Updated: Save file format to more reliable “split” version
- Updated: Save files are now smaller
- Updated: Increased plant and mineral seam count
- Updated: Saving of regions more aggressive. More items attempt to save in a wider area more frequently
- Updated: Plants are now destroyed in one hit
- Updated: Torches are now destoyed in one hit
- Updated: Music slider is now linear
- Updated: Cloud storage now supports new save file system
- Updated: 2.0 Banner to game icon to match those of our other games
- Updated: Save system compression and storage techniques to reduce code quantity and increase compression ratio.
- Fixed: False light sources removed
- Fixed: Re-darkening process clears all lighting succesfully
- Fixed: Save files are no longer randomly lost
- Fixed: Missing regions and items on world load
- Fixed: Screen layouts for better readability
- Fixed: Paintings and signs take lighting correctly
- Fixed: T-Junction artefacts in dark areas now greatly reduced (Speckle sparkles)
- Fixed: Sugar can texture was missing
- Fixed: Tree death speed increased
- Fixed: Tree death no longer leaves leftovers
- Fixed: Smelter is louder
- Fixed: Smelter no longer degrades performance
- Fixed: Smelter particle emission increased,+ puffs on smelt
- Fixed: Double photo taking
- Fixed: Save speed increased.
- Fixed: Camera no longer degrades and breaks in creative mode
- Fixed: Picking is now sorted improving interaction with world
- Fixed: Restored ability to select items in belt in game
- Fixed: Consumption of items on pick from belt
- Fixed: Player no longer “sticks” to sea floor
- Fixed: Creatures no longer gush blood when entering water
- Fixed: Creatures now float in water
- Fixed: Item duplication caused by grabbing crafting result
- Fixed: Crooked AO generation on block vertices
- Fixed: Sign post no longer re-opens edit screen
- Fixed: Advertising network request issue. This does not effect users, but impacted revenue. We chose to accept the loss, and focus on creating a quality 2.9 update.
- Fixed: Improved picking range
- Fixed: Camera no longer makes sound when painting generation fails
- Fixed: Doors kill grass beneath
- Fixed: Dice, Beach balls and gem render in hand again
- Fixed: Startup time reduced
- Fixed: Severe memory leak caused by playing multiple worlds in a single gameplay session. Effected more dedicated players enjoying the game for lengthy periods.
- Added: Smoothed lighting
- Added: Monsters now spawn in darkness
- Added: Drop block magnetism to assist players in collecting all blocks
- Added: Arrow magnetism to assist player in collecting dropped arrows
- Added: 3D Tools and 3D items generated from textures
- Added: Option to turn off 3D tools in graphics options screen
- Added: New plant and growth system for future farming update
- Added: MKII Middle earth generator. More interesting terrain on new worlds
- Added: MKI Middle earth generator is used on older world.
- Added: Instant block placements, removing latency while building
- Added: New picking system. More accurate block selection
- Added: Support for selecting “Through” non cube blocks. Eg. Door, Stairs
- Added: Deep level converted to gather and convert all save files prior to v2.9 and convert them into the new format.
- Added: Rotations and tilt randomness to all plants
- Added: Improved water physics and boyancy
- Added: Creatures burn in daylight
- Added: Air bar when the player is under water
- Added: Player may drop items from a stack by tapping a second finger on screen while holding first finger to grasp stack
- Added: Player controller animation system. Note: This is not yet visible in v2.9
- Added: Torches may be place on top of blocks
- Added: Torches my be placed under blocks
- Added: Save file cleaning code. Broken items leaving “unplacable” block areas are now restored to a placeable state. This includes “Dead” Smelters, chests etc…
- Added: Networking game hosting and joing support. NOTE: This is incomplete, and not availble in v2.9. Please view CraftWorldGame.com for more information regarding our multiplayer efforts
- Added: New rendering system to eliminate subtle “Jitter” from player view
- Added: New region storage system to increase explorable range to over 9,000,000 blocks from starting location in NSE or W. NOTE: This can be exceeded, but is not recommended due to hardware limitations
Note: This changelog summarizes the fixes and additions. Ultra small things like the allignment of the fuel button for the smelter etc… are not included for brevity.