13 days left to intern deadline Posted by Fiola on January 6, 2015 01:03 AM

Yesterday we’ve told you about the reasons to our postponement, and today, after a very short discussion with the dev-team, I decided that an everyday entry about what’s going on with the game could be somewhat interesting. Especially for those of you who are looking forward to the game and experience frustration from the lack of ideas on what kinds of problems could we have with Blackhole.

Strange problem with tile sets

In our editor we use tile sets similarly as wallpapers are used in The Sims. The whole game is segmented by grid to 96x96 px blocks. We put something like ‘textures’ into these. It’s better than treating graphic parts like objects for several reasons; of course better optimization, but also it saves the programmers’ time, as they create the level from de-facto invisible blocks, into which they ‘paint’ parts of the scenes via tile sets.

Tile setting is downright a hard, repetitive work. You have to put every block into many layers. There goes a stone, here some kind of a flower… And well, let’s say that this task is Tomáš Otáhal’s (Gelu) thing! Just imagine he had about 50% of all currently available levels in Blackhole designes, when suddenly… well, we found out that Game Maker Studio has a small bug in it. Our textures were making these ugly stripes when viewed at smaller resolutions. It’s quite easily repairable, you just replace the tricky textures for different ones. But you can’t just replace the graphic asset and be done with it. You have to delete the old one, and upload the fixed one back again. Simply said: well, shit.

„Curious about the feeling you get when the programmer and the graphic artist calmly and with a smile on their faces tell you: ‘You see, we came across a mistake in the tile sets, but stay calm, it was like, in the middle:).’ And then, when you open any of your very detailed levels, you only see a flood or pink stripes announcing old material that needs to be replaced?” says Tomáš Otáhal (Gelu).  

We used these stripes to mark what needs to be replaced. It’s a chaos. Madness. Catastrophe. We’re in this together though. Each one of us will probably have something like this happen to them in their own field of job. Please, send your best wishes to Gelu. He’s in the first quarter of fixing things. He managed that in one day and that’s really something!

YoYoGames have prepared next version of Game Maker for us

Lately, I just love the collaboration with YoYoGames. The developers of the engine themselves started to react more… because of my fear that YoYo will screw us over with integrated graphics. I was soon very surprised that Peter connected with us on Monday. And what’s more, he actively works towards a solution with our team.

To me, it was interesting how he talked to be for over an hour about the possibilities of working with graphics in RAM and VRAM. We came to a conclusion that it’s complicated, very complicated. Big publishers don’t want to have anything to do with notebook graphics, maybe apart from Unreal Engine, that seems to rely on playing with Intel HD Graphics chips. A bit of info: whichever RAM you have, Intel limits using integrated graphic chips (whether it’s intel/amd/nvidia) to 960 MB of virtual shared and physical memory.

So the solution? YoYoGames actively works on tools which should help us analyze what’s wrong with the graphic memory - whether on PC or laptops. For now, YoYoGames added a new command to GMS, with which we can find out what’s the type of the card given, and according to this we can adjust the settings the right way from the very beginning – the player won’t notice anything, and the game won’t crash on Out Of Memory. Good news there.

Next update again tomorrow…

Should something interesting happen somewhere along the way, I’ll try to log in and inform you on everything. Share your opinion on this style of blogging with us. Are you interested in more info? :)