Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Updates

Woah, a month and a half between updates. A lot has happened since then, development-wise. I'll try to reconstruct it from the svn timeline.

When I left off, I was testing performance. Game performance is *still* inconsistent; I think that O(n^2) collision detection algorithm is really biting us, and we'll have to replace it with something saner. However, widget performance itself is quite good (except under VMWare), which surprised me a bit. It's definitely possible to do rich JavaScript UIs with JQuery UI - their speedups in 1.2.6 have helped a lot too.

I also hooked up the AJAX-compiler infrastructure and image uploading to the backend, so they make real AJAX calls and actually change the behavior of the game. It was cool to see this working - I don't think anyone else has done anything like this. Unfortunately we don't have all that many behaviors available - mostly you can just change trajectories, collision behaviors, properties, etc, which is still cool but doesn't really showcase the full power of the technique.

I had to redo the validation infrastructure to work out the bugs on this. Lesson learned: error messages matter, and if you can't output pretty, precise error messages, you'll waste far more time in debugging.

I also made a quickie library that mimics the interface of Justin Azoff's Python MogileFS library but uses local filestorage instead of actually talking to MogileFS. Been meaning to do this for a while; I was sick of setting up MogileFS every time I did a new install, and it's totally overkill for our current requirements. So now I can write files to the local hard disk, but just swap out a library and have it work with the real MogileFS.

The UI is much more fleshed out - nearly all the customizer panels are now done. I completely redid how they're laid out - there's only a single flat list on the left now, containing all sprite names. This was done to reduce confusion and eliminate a clickthrough on the sprite category; the result seems to work much better. I also moved the scrollpane inside the right-hand accordion, to prevent headers from falling off the bottom of the page and requiring scrolling.

I think we may be within a month or a month and a half of launch.

Now, I got an e-mail from one of the YCombinator SFP08 groups. Apparently PG gave my name to them. Am off to give them a call and see what they want.

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