Time vs Efficiency
It's been a few weeks since starting back up with development of Asterius. The first thing I wanted to tackle was the game's lag. And even though I have more work to do, the work I put in really shines through!
The biggest offender was the lighting system. It was implemented with admittedly low efficiency. I knew even when writing it that there was a more efficient way of writing it, but it'd take a long time to get working. Game development is about a trade-off of time and efficiency. I had to get the Beta out and done, so I chose to not spend the week-plus on a better system. Little did I know it at the time of making that decision that that'd make the game hard to play. I knew from the launch of Beta that the lighting system was the first thing I'd fix when coming back, and I'm glad I did.
The next big offender was the camera, or rather the lack of a draw area. I was painfully paying for my early development decision to not bother with a draw area. This was because I didn't think it was worth the time to calculate a dynamic draw area for different screens and window sizes (which has been a constant bane for mobile developers) and just allow the game to draw everything to ensure any screen size can be filled with the game. The result was the game draws everything, even off screen, which is obviously not efficient. Furthermore, the camera movement was translating the container with all the game tiles, which effectively means changing the x/y values of everything whenever the camera moved. Obvious in hind-sight, but was considered a low priority while calculating time vs efficiency. It took a long time, but I managed to retro-fit a dynamic draw area. (Fun result, if you play the swf locally, you can make the game window any size you like!)
And now, with those issues finally taken care of (mostly), I move onto fixing more minor offenders of lag, hunting down errant bugs, and improving the art and gameplay. Thanks to all who have stuck with the game throughout the hiatus and for those who are new fans of the game.
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