Game Design Game Development Geek / Technical

Freshly Squeezed Progress Report: Planning Desktop Ports

My last progress report was in December when I announced that my first Freshly Squeezed Entertainment game, Toy Factory Fixer, was published and available for both Android and iOS devices.

I also mused about what I would do next. At the time, I said I was going to create a post-mortem presentation about the Toy Factory Fixer project, create desktop ports for it and Toytles: Leaf Raking, and make plans for my next Freshly Squeezed Entertainment project.

I meant to take a short break, play some games, and be a bit contemplative before getting back into regular development. Instead, it has been months, and I’m only now making such plans.

My Toy Factory Fixer Post-Mortem Presentation

Toy Factory Fixer’s post-mortem was finished in January, but then I worked on creating a presentation as well. Unfortunately my scheduled date in February for actually giving it was canceled and never rescheduled, so I have spent the last few months working on updating and improving my presentation on and off. I did a final pass last week and feel good about it, and I plan to record myself giving the presentation and uploading the video myself.

I realize that this presentation’s development was holding up a lot of planning, as I didn’t feel good about moving on until it was done. Unfortunately, I wasn’t good about working on it consistently, and without an external deadline, I allowed myself to let it prevent me from thinking about any other work.

Once Toy Factory Fixer was finished and published, I suddenly didn’t have the project plan guiding my efforts anymore. Instead of knowing what I was going to do each day during my designated game development time, I had a vague sense that I would finish the post-mortem presentation, then plan for future efforts. But I didn’t simply use my normal game development time for regular presentation development time, so my day to day was less focused and disciplined.

And eventually weeks turned into months. Whoops.

But the presentation is done. I’ve deleted a number of unnecessary slides, corrected typos and errors, and tightened up the pacing and delivery. I think.

I am sure I could continue to improve it, but after some concentrated efforts on it last week, I think I can say I am done. Now it is just a matter of making the priority and effort to record myself giving the presentation.

Desktop Ports

I’ve been thinking on and off about porting plans, but I did not put anything into an actual plan until late last week.

As the weekend was a bit busy, I’ll need to spend my upcoming week on finishing the plans.

Basically, I think the easiest thing for me to do is make a Linux-based desktop port, mainly because it is the system I do development on. I already have build scripts that ultimately create a game that players should find work across any number of Linux-based distros and even versions, and I believe it will be a matter of making it easier for me to do.

My old scripts depended on using virtual machines of old 64-bit and 32-bit Debian systems, which required setting up shared directories between the VMs and my main development machine, and then copying all resulting libraries and binaries into a single place to package up.

I could do probably bring those VMs up again (although I don’t know where on my hard drive they might be), but I would rather find a way to use containers if I could, as well as automating scripts to make it easier to do for future projects as well.

While most people have 64-bit systems, and many distros are trying to get rid of their 32-bit architectures, I think enough people might put Linux on their old computers to give them new life that maybe a 32-bit option for a new game would be welcome. It isn’t much more work, so it won’t hurt or slow things down for me, so why not?

The next desktop to port to might be Windows, something else I’ve done in the past. In fact, thanks to Ludum Dare 50, I discovered that my existing build scripts create a Windows port mostly fine, although I needed to tweak it and downloaded updated libraries from SDL2.

I think the main concern I have is that I know Microsoft scares people with warnings if your game isn’t signed. I think the last time I looked into it, it has to be signed a particular way with a particular certificate authority, which costs some money. Considering Freshly Squeezed Entertainment games are meant to given away for free, it means I’ll be spending some money for the privilege of doing so in a way that won’t have Windows telling people to be afraid of my game they just downloaded.

Finally, I will need to look into what it takes to port to Mac. I’m hoping it is fairly straightforward, but I also know that Apple likes to do things very differently. I already have the iOS port, so maybe I’m most of the way there? But I won’t know until I start working on it. As for signing, I am hoping the same mechanism to sign the iOS port is the same and that I don’t need to do anything special. And I hope that Apple doesn’t deprecate my Mac Mini and require me to buy all new hardware to support their new chips.

If I can, I want to look into creating a web version of my games. I believe using Emscripten and maybe some very minor platform-specific code means I am pretty close.

My Next Freshly Squeezed Entertainment Project

I’ve had a few game ideas rolling around in my notes and in my head, but my efforts during Ludum Dare 50 at the beginning of April resulted in a turn-based game about a city dealing with regular disasters.

Well, the game only had one disaster to speak of because I ran out of time, but my original plan featured multiple. And I think I want to try to turn Disaster City into a Freshly Squeezed Entertainment game now that I don’t have a time crunch to worry about.

The feedback I got during the review period showed me that I had the start of something compelling.

Once I’m done with the desktop port work, I expect to put together some plans for this next game.

Thanks for reading!

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