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Blog It's all in the workflow

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Lennian, Mar 27, 2015.

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  1. Lennian

    Lennian Dark Lord of Team Amorous Team Amorous

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    We've been quiet last few months, way too quiet, even for my taste. As a programmer it's my job to constantly communicate about what I'm doing and where I'm heading. While I kept the people involved with Team Amorous up-to-date, the only thing you guys ever heard was "the patch got delayed again". This bothered me, hence I'm now writing this blog-post, hopefully to clear up a few things.

    A little history
    Before I start, let's go back to the release of v0.1 in November 2014, and the release of v0.2 in January 2015. When @Lupin and I applied for the job, we decided it was best to start the whole game from scratch. Working as a team, in a mere three weeks time we managed to get a v0.1 out in the open, with more content and gameplay than the previous builds that were released before.

    We were very happy people liked it! However, those three weeks had been very stressful with all kinds of bumps in the road, a few of which I covered in a previous blog-post. Especially the last few days before a deadline were extreme: finding bugs caused by fixing other bugs, getting internal builds out for the rest of the team to test frequently, adding new content last minute. Things can get so hectic we even have to cut planned content last minute in order to still have a new build ready!

    Let me make this clear: making games under this kind of pressure simply isn't fun, at all. As programmers, we usually need a week after a release to shrug off the stress before we can pickup work on Amorous again. With v0.2 not being any different in that regards, as a team, we figured it was time for some drastic changes in our workflow.

    Mapping it out
    Obviously we were already somewhat organized: Our own server for web-stuff, bug tracker, Git repositories to manage our source-code, good communication with each other through Skype-groups about what's going on. For v0.2 when even did a "content"-stop, meaning that after a certain date new content will automatically be pushed to next release. All to no avail, the few days before v0.2 were just as stressful and killing.

    So where is the bottleneck, we wondered? A few discussions and brainwaves later we narrowed it down to the following list:
    • Internal test-builds take a lot of time to prepare, build and eventually test, if at all.
    • Each planned release simply has too much content for the time available to the programmers, resulting in work of others not making it into the release at all, which in return resulted in demotivated people.
    • Lack of interaction with players, all communication to the outside world goes through @Jasonafex.
    In programmers-terms, you could say we were certainly trying to be organized, but simply weren't lean enough in how we handled it.

    Getting to a solution
    In today's world, customers would like their product delivered to them yesterday. As stupid as that may sound, that was actually our solution! We had to automate what could be automated and instead of trying to make a lot of changes every release, we had to go to a point where we can build a single feature or fix a single bug, test it as quickly as possible, and throw it out as a patch to the players.

    With that said, we are happy to announce that the next version of Amorous will be delivered to you from our own servers in the form of a launcher! From then on, the launcher will check for updates every time it's started, making sure you are always running the latest Amorous.

    For this to work, we build a cross-platform launcher with a custom patching system built-in. Not only does this make releasing a lot easier, as we only have to upload a patch, post an announcement and presto, it also results in much smaller incremental updates! Just to give an example: while we managed to cram v0.2 in a 150MB file with a lot of effort, a patch from v0.1 to v0.2 would have only been a download of about 30MB.

    With the patching system in place, we also made a separation between "internal" and "live" versions. Whenever the programmers fix an issue or make something new, they only have to click a single button to build game and upload the patch to the "internal patch depot". Another team member would only have to start his launcher, wait for the patch to finish and test it! Whenever its approved, all we have to do is repackage the patch and upload it to the "live patch depot" for you guys to enjoy it.

    A better workflow
    Such efficiency, we solved two of our mayor problems. Internal-builds are now an automated process for programmers, and easily accessible for testers. We also no longer have to make compromises, whenever we feel something is ready and tested, we upload it to the live version of the game! No more saving up on content just to have an impressive change log and a huge download, instead we'll release small patches regularly. Win-win situation for everyone!

    Last but not least, we also setup a forum and a website. All our players can now communicate with each other and us, and other way around obviously. As a team, we'll also be moving a lot of our information from Skype-groups to development forum-sections, so it's always in reach for all team members.

    So where are we going? The patching system I mentioned works, but needs some additional work before its ready for you guys. We'll release a launcher somewhere in the coming weeks, which will serve as a test of that system, but more information on that will follow soon.

    For now, let's start interacting with each other and work towards an amazing game, together!
     
    Vandevier and Marin like this.
  2. Marin

    Marin New Member

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    You can do it! Yay! *cheers the team on*
     
  3. DaraSilverDragon

    DaraSilverDragon Active Member Team Amorous Supporter

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    I love the idea of the launcher; both my 2 other favorite games - minecraft and warframe - added a dedicated self-updating launcher post-beta and it ended up working amazingly. I think it will here, as well.

    Now, will this allow you guys to pull assets locally? If we make a character, will using a dedicated client launcher allow you to call the character's part numbers and RGB info into animations more easily?
     
  4. Scrydan

    Scrydan Active Member Team Amorous Supporter Dark Army Enthusiast

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    The launcher is a pretty good idea as it saves lots of space in the long run. I have lots of backups of projects and I know how easily it can fill up lots of space; and only storing changes will make it simple to host with the limits given. Yeah, hosting limits can really be a pain. As a developer of my own site (and created a RPG attached to it, tying the whole thing together), having this forum is going to help a lot.

    Some people don't like forums as much as they did in the past (pre-2008), but I absolutely love them. Coding them from scratch is more fun though. :3
    Best of luck to the team's development!
     
  5. Lennian

    Lennian Dark Lord of Team Amorous Team Amorous

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    @DaraSilverDragon I don't quite understand what you mean by "pulling assets locally"? Could you clarify?

    @Scrydan It wasn't really a matter of space, since we solved most of those problems some time back (see the other blog-post I mentioned), although smaller sizes is easier on the bandwidth usage, this should not limit the usability. We're getting funding Patreon for exactly this kind of stuff. The reason we really wanted to go to a launcher with patcher built-in is as mentioned: getting our workflow much more smoother so we can spend time on whats important. Not too mention we can now also easily expose things like test-builds for a select group of people to Q/A it before throwing it live.
     
  6. DaraSilverDragon

    DaraSilverDragon Active Member Team Amorous Supporter

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    For example, every possible permutation of limb shouldn't be needed for the cutscenes - would it not be possible with a launcher like this to have a separate file with all the possible character parts that the game itself can look up and request in real time?
     
  7. Lennian

    Lennian Dark Lord of Team Amorous Team Amorous

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    @DaraSilverDragon I kind of understand you now. However let me explain how customization works right now. Each time you can select is a separate layer already. Whenever you press save, we remember which layers you either turned on/off/customized. This data is later used in the sexual encounters to reconstruct your character as closely as possible. Upon loading such a scene we grab all the layers that are applicable to you, color them, combine them into a single image (one image per frame in the animation) and play those in sequence. We're basically rendering a video of your character realtime!

    Even without a launcher we can already do whatever we want, and it currently already in essence works as you suggest/ask about :)
     
  8. Scrydan

    Scrydan Active Member Team Amorous Supporter Dark Army Enthusiast

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    I haven't seen much about that, and I knew there was more reason for the laucher. Simply put, now users can simply check for an update without opening their browser. (Although for me I have my browser open 24/7 pretty much with lots of tabs. Such an unhealthy computer habit for my computer.)

    And test builds are great too! It is nice to be able to allow some select few (or those who opt in) to do test builds. I was quite a fan of Minecraft snapshots - a shame they sort of slowed down though, but I am sure that has to do with their overlord, Microsoft. :p

    But people need to be patient if they want a final product that is great - rather than something that breaks upon installation. :)
    Some fans of X (insert whatever) tend to whine about it either not being released often enough or that when it does, it isn't good enough or that it is full of bugs - some can't make up their mind. I am happy that the team here is making sure that the base ground floor will be good. That way, the rest of it won't fall through the ground because it wasn't solid enough foundation.

    Thanks for all your hard work! Can't wait to see how it comes out. I look forward to see the next update. :3
     
  9. Slow2Life

    Slow2Life New Member

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    Hey, I was wondering, could I get on the team with yall? I could write dialog, code, troubleshoot, just about anything but draw. I would greatly love to work on what could turn into a great game.
     
  10. Lennian

    Lennian Dark Lord of Team Amorous Team Amorous

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  11. Slow2Life

    Slow2Life New Member

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    Thanks!
     
  12. IchigoTheFurry

    IchigoTheFurry New Member

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    the fact that this game is so early in development yet still manages to be amazing, just shows the potential that this game has, cant wait for future updates :)
     
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