A brief post-mortem, and a comment response.

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April 28th, 2010 3:03 pm

So, with the weekend over and some of my voting out of the way, I figured I should write a bit about how thing went. I had really been rooting for Flood, as I had this neat idea for a puzzle-platformer in which you must raise and lower the water level in order to reach new places and manipulate objects of varying buoyancy. Such an idea probably wouldn’t have panned out in 48 hours, but it didn’t end up mattering, since the theme was islands.

I didn’t actually have any idea for the theme, and was considering skipping this LD until my girlfriend suggested I parody the recent comments of Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA) concerning the island of Guam, specifically the danger that it would “tip over and capsize”. I thought this was a brilliant idea and set to work.

Things that went well:

  • I got to use my buoyancy ideas that I had been thinking about for the Flood theme.
  • I was able to write a primitive importer to transform an SVG shape into a Chipmunk shape.
  • I produced much better programmer art than I ever had for previous games.
  • I had sound for the first time.
  • I learned a lot.
  • I figured out how to successfully package some very awkward dependencies into a distributable ruby application (specifically, getting FFI packaged up correctly was gratifying).

Things that didn’t go so well:

  • I had very few ideas for actual gameplay until it was way too late.
  • I wasn’t as familiar with my libraries as I thought I was, and introduced lots of subtle bugs that were hard for me to track down.
  • I didn’t manage as much programmer art as I would have liked.
  • I wasted a lot of time trying to wrangle garageband, which I had never used before, and ultimately had to give up on it.
  • There are some very basic bugs that, had I spent time testing at the end, I could easily have fixed.
  • Packaging was difficult.

Some more on that last one; I had some problems getting everything packed up, for both windows and mac, but my biggest problem came from a weird issue with bitbucket. They use Amazon S3 as their storage for downloads, and apparently there was some issue there, because when I uploaded new versions with fixes, they didn’t end up distributed correctly (or so I surmise), because some people clicking the download link got the new version, and other people the old one. That’s all fixed now, so if anyone tried earlier and was unable to get the game to run, you might have more success now.

Now to respond to Hempuli’s comment:

F-Secure blocked it as a “suspicious program”. Probably a false positive, but could you ensure this?

This is almost certainly because the windows version is run using allinoneruby.exe, which is a complete ruby distribution packaged into a self-extracting archive. When you run allinoneruby.exe <scriptfile.rb> (which is what Capsize!.bat does), allinoneruby.exe extracts an entire ruby distribution into a temporary folder, uses that to execute the script, and then cleans itself up. It’s almost certainly this behavior that’s triggering warnings. Harmless though this particular program is, a lot of malware makes use of similar mechanisms. It’s not the most elegant distribution method, but it’s simple to set up, reliable, and fast.

You don’t have to take my word for the binary’s safety, though. If you’re concerned, you can download your own copy of the program and replace mine with it. Or, if you have ruby installed on your system (and know how to use it), you can just use that. The code itself (the stuff that I wrote, for the game) is all there is plain text, if you want it.

Anyway, I hope people who try Capsize are at least amused by it, even if it didn’t turn out a terribly good game. I’m looking forward to LD18 already.

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