Tidalis:0.909 Beta Release

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Notes From The Producer: July 11, 2010

Getting down to the very end now! We are pretty much feature-complete now, aside from the user manual and some last brainteasers we'll probably sneak in for tomorrow. Actually, we'll probably sneak in some last brainteasers through Wednesday, along with some final bugfixes.

This version includes some really notable enhancements, the last batch of such that we're likely to do before the official release. If you're into Twitter, you can now plug in your info in the game and have it tweet when you get achievements and high scores. If you've been waiting for the ability to set precision-tuned window sizes in non-fullscreen mode, that has arrived—as has the ability to set a preferred refresh rate in fullscreen mode. Both of those windowing-related features are unfortunately not available on the Mac yet because of that same old bug in Unity 3D again, but next version of Unity 3D (which should be out in the next month or two from the sounds of it) will let us deliver those same features to the Mac folks.

There are still about one dozen outstanding issues at the moment, most of them surrounding some minor-to-moderate glitches with certain parts of networking. The biggest remaining known issue is that it's technically possible at the moment to have one player win a brainteaser while the other one loses it during network play, but everything else is basically cosmetic or extremely minor in terms of our known bugs list.

Tomorrow we'll be going through the last of these bugs, plus a major testing binge. If you have the game or the demo and are inclined to help out with testing, we're even more grateful than usual for that at the moment (and we're always very grateful)! Assuming tomorrow goes well and we don't find too many latent issues, we'll hopefully be doing another installer build on Tuesday. And then Friday is the big day!

--Christopher M. Park

New & Updated Levels

  • 6 new brainteasers have been added.
  • 5 brainteasers and the third action sampler level have been tweaked.

New & Updated Art/Music/Sound

Gameplay Additions

Gameplay Updates

  • The Fast Forward buttons are now always shown if Solitaire mode is selected, regardless of what other modes were selected.

New Level Editor Features

Misc

  • When the sim speed changes (+/- keys), or the debug auth changes (F4/F5 keys) are disabled and the player tries to press them, a helpful explanation message pops up as a chat message briefly.
  • Players are now allowed to use the sim speed changes (+/- keys) during brainteaser levels.
  • The sim speed changes (+/- keys) can now be used during network play (assuming that the other requirements: dev mode, level editor test mode, or brainteaser, are met).
  • A new "External Help" button has been added to the Tutorials section of the main menu.
    • This new sub-menu has an "Online Wiki" link that goes to the Tidalis wiki, as well as a "Game Manual (PDF)" button that opens the game manual (or reports that the manual cannot be found, if the manual is missing).
  • Spacing has been added to all of the "Freestanding button" menus to make sure they all line up.
  • The client and server now exchange pings every 2 seconds, to make sure that they know as quickly as possible when the connection has been dropped.
    • When no ping has been received for 5 seconds, it starts showing a message to the player letting them know this. When 15 seconds have gone by, the connection drops.
  • Co-op items are no longer ever shown on the before-level screen.
  • The back button on the tutorials sub-menus now always go back to the main tutorials list even if the player is still in the guided tour.
  • On the settings screen, and the first-run resolution-setting screen, there are now separate settings for the fullscreen resolution and the windowed resolution.
    • The fullscreen resolution continues to work exactly as before, and the options available are still based upon the resolutions that your OS reports to Unity 3D as being supported by your graphics card and monitor.
    • The windowed resolution is now a pair of textboxes into which you can type any value greater than 800 wide and 600 tall. Thus in windowed mode you can set absolutely any resolution you want, as long as it's not below the minimum allowed size of the game.
    • There is also now a Preferred Fullscreen Refresh Rate slider now, which you can set anywhere between 0 and 200. If 0 or an unsupported refresh rate is selected, Unity 3D instead uses the highest available refresh rate that is supported.
      • Thanks to Hans-Martin Portmann for suggesting.
    • All of these settings are unfortunately still not yet available on Mac OSX computers, because of the bug in the current version of Unity 3D. Next time Unity 3D makes a release, the expectation is that this will also become a workable feature for OSX users.
  • Both the "Claim Victory" and "Claim Defeat" buttons are now fully network-synced.
  • There is now a "Submit Scores To Twitter!" button in the Settings screen. This screen allows players to enter their twitter username and password (both of which are stored in an encrypted fashion), along with preferences for tweeting every time they get a new local high score, a new achievement, etc. The full list of options:
    • Submit Any Score That Gets Onto My Local Overall High Scoreboard
    • Submit Any Score That Gets The Top Slot On My Local Overall High Scoreboard
    • Submit Any Score That Gets Into The Top Three Slots On My Local Overall High Scoreboard
    • Submit Any Score That Gets Into The Top Slot On My Local Daily High Scoreboard
    • Submit Any Achievements That Are Won
  • When one player starts to view a cutscene during network play, the other player is now sent that same cutscene and playback starts for both of them at once. There is no confirmation step with these, because there is a simple one-step "skip cutscene" button already.
    • The credits on the main menu, and the plushy pile display, are the two cutscenes that are both intentionally not synced in this way (like any other menu-style activity).
    • The entire xml file of the cutscene is synced, so the players see the same cutscene even if they have differing versions of the file. However, the images and themes used in the cutscene are not synced, so if for some reason there was some discrepancy in them, that could cause incorrect display of the cutscene (as with the adventure map if both players don't have the adventure map, noted above).

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a bug that had broken the adventure editor in the last prerelease.
  • Previously, the visual effect of the wind speed would change due to mouse movement. Fixed.
  • Fixed a bug with the "Co-op" label on co-op items showing up offset on screen resolutions that use letterboxing.
  • The scrollbar lane was causing the before-level text to look offcentered sometimes. Fixed.
  • Previously, special blocks that were in the level directly, but which were not part of the frequency definitions, were not shown in the before-level popup. This only affected a few levels, such as level 75. Fixed.
  • Fast Forwarding was previously pretty jerky during network play. Fixed.
  • Fixed a bug with the settings menu often not showing the correct resolution that had been selected, though the game was still sized correctly.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing a desync whenever players won an adventure level during co-op play. The collectibles won are not meant to be consistent between players, and now they are not.
  • Previously, the +1 to score was being applied before blocks actually counted as having dropped into the well. Fixed.

Internal Programming Notes

Tidalis