Category Archives: News

2020 in review

This year I made good progress on the game. Releasing in 2021 is feasible.

Posting updates about new features is rewarding and helps me focus. Taking the time to do important work well is crucial.

Home office saved me a lot of commute time. Home schooling took extra effort. Overall I feel like these two cancelled each other out.

The new M1 Macs look very nice. I’m trying to be patient and see if a new iMac comes out in Spring. A Macbook Air would be great on the train though.

Also planning to do some major Tiny Player updates in 2021.

Raspberry Pi

Recently I purchased a Raspberry Pi. I wanted to try building & running Devastro 2 on it. Would it be fast enough?

I got the the Raspberry Pi 4 model B with 4GB of RAM. It’s a cute little device. Packaging and branding are top notch. Installed the official Raspberry Pi OS. It works.

Raspberry Pi Imager

There were a few things I had to adjust in my code to make it build with the default clang 7 compiler.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get the game to run. There was some mysterious problem with the OpenGL drivers and I couldn’t figure it out. Running out of time I had scheduled for this experiment, I decided not to pursue this any further. The Pi is sold and I’m focusing on the other platforms.

It would be great to have a simple game focused OS for the Raspberry Pi.

All it would do is run games directly on the device, with no setup required and without any interference. I could distribute a bootable image containing a copy of the OS and my game. It would be guaranteed to work on every Pi, every time.

  • Console only (no X server or other GUI)
  • OpenGL driver (or Vulkan)
  • Audio driver
  • Game controller support
  • SDL support
  • Not necessarily Linux based

When I see the new 400 model I think it is clear that an official Raspberry Pi notebook is also in the cards and I’m looking forward to that. However for my game I need the software part to improve as well.

App Store Review

I just got charged 0.30£ by Niantic, the publisher of Pokemon Go, to verify my age during the user registration process. The payment was initiated from the iOS app and done through a web form. No IAP.

Now I can only hope Niantic doesn’t charge me for something my kids do in the game.

This is exactly the kind of thing I fully expect Apple to protect me from.

Yes, AppStore Reviews Should be Stricter.

Homebrew

Keeping track of installed applications on multiple computers is a hassle.



Homebrew had been great for installing command line tools and libraries on macOS. Using Chocolatey on my Windows machine inspired me to take things a step further and try the “cask” subcommand for installing desktop Mac apps as well.

brew cask install firefox blender handbrake vlc

Works great. It’s now really easy to keep all the apps updated. Setup on a new computer is very quick. I also found that Tiny Player for Mac already had an entry in Homebrew:

brew cask install tiny-player

Thanks to whoever added it.

Building a PC

After many years of using Macs exclusively, I decided to build a PC.

I wanted to get a Windows machine for development purposes, play a few games and have some fun with the build.

The goal was to get a computer that would last a few years while keeping the budget reasonable. I started with a (hopefuly) future-proof motherboard and a solid CPU. Got a used GPU and reused a few older parts. Here’s what I ended up with:

CPU Ryzen 5 3600
MOTHERBOARD ASUS PRIME B550M-A
RAM 32GB DDR4 3200
GPU Sapphire RX 570 Nitro+ OC 8GB
STORAGE Kingston M.2 SSD 1TB
COOLING ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports DUO + 3× ARCTIC P12 PWM 120mm
PSU SilentiumPC Vero M2 Bronze 600W
CHASSIS SilentiumPC Signum SG1 TG
OS Windows 10 Professional

SilentiumPC Signum SG1 TG

There were no problems with the hardware, everything worked the first time. Phew!

The machine wasn’t very loud but I could hear the CPU fan constantly spinning up and down, reacting to small temperature changes. Very annoying. I adjusted the fan curves directly in BIOS. The fans now stay at the lowest possible speed until the temperature gets a bit higher. Turns out it never does! Even under sustained load the CPU only reaches about 45℃.

After installing Windows I used Chocolatey to install most 3rd party software and Steam to get some games.

Next step is adding another drive and installing Ubuntu on it. I’m not very much into Linux but Devastro 2 is already using SDL so I figured I might as well give it a try.

A Hackintosh is also an option but it’s low priority because I’m going to keep using my iMac for work anyway. It is a bit slower but also dead silent, and the 5K screen is hard to beat.

MagicaVoxel

I started playing around with MagicaVoxel a while ago. I’m not going to use it for Devastro 2 but I can imagine some city simulation game using graphics made this way: tiny & cute with great lighting. It constrains things in a way I would be happy to work with.