.:: Alex Erne :: PHP/MySQL & Unity3D/C# projects ::.
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  14 September 2016 - Re-coding TetraGems is more work than expected :: Posted in TetraGems (released)

Like I did with Burst-a-Bubble, I'm busy re-coding TetraGems to remove the old 2D Toolkit from it. For TetraGems it'll take quite a bit longer though because of some (noob) decisions I've made back in the days, as well as some 'forced' decisions. Let me walk through these noob and 'forced' decisions...

  • Camera issues. Yes, this was a real noob decision on my side. What was I thinking to give the 2D Toolkit camera a size of 600x720 pixels while my phone had a resolution of 720p? With that, the position of the sprites on the grid were so off that I was constantly correcting their location to match the grid. Needless to say I'm now using a 720p resolution with Unity's 2D engine AND have moved the camera along a bit so that the lower-left corner of the grid matches it's (0,0) location. This way I can multiply the grid's location by 40 to get the location on the camera.
  • Self-build collider. This was one of those 'forced' decisions. When I started using 2D Toolkit, there was no 2D in the Unity engine, and one of the short comings of 2D Toolkit is that when I rotate a sprite (i.e. the Tetris block), the collider box didn't rotate along with it. Today I tested the Unity 2D collider box and IT DOES rotate when I rotate the sprite!
  • Breaking down the Tetris block into 4 bits. An other noob decision and while it seemed handy at the time, I didn't take performance into account. With the coming update I will remove those weirdo bits to form the Tetris block (also because the collider now works as it should), which will increase the game's performance with 50% to 75%
  • Database saving. One of those other 'forced' decisions. Back in the day there was no Google Games Service that'd store stuff like highscores and achievements (which I still need to implement BTW), so I made a connection with my own database to get that job done. And while I'm not yet implementing Google Games Services, I will eventually implement it (most likely in 2 or 3 versions down the road).

  • As you can see, there's still enough to do to re-code TetraGems, and therefor I can't give a date yet on the WHEN for a new release. At this moment I'm just taking it easy on the whole re-coding thing by (trying to) spend about 2 hours a day on it. At least I know now where I need to make my modifications and I certainly hope that those will work out just fine.
    With that, the falling of the Tetris blocks and the alignment of the gems is already working perfectly in the ned Unity 2D environment. But beause I just figured out that the Unity 2D collider boxes DO rotate along with the sprite, there's a lot of work ahead now to make it all work perfectly (meaning - more code to re-write )

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      28 August 2016 - Tetragems version 0.96 released :: Posted in TetraGems (released)

    It's taken me a while, but the new version of TetraGems is readyt and released on the Google's Play store. Below is a list of the most important fixes and changes.

  • Removed the game's autorisations for Phone and Device ID & Call information (have no clue how they ended up in the previous version to start with)
  • Updated the AdMob advertisement system to the current 'standard'
  • Optimized the code by giving the menu system and the actual game their own scene
  • Using the new Unity3D UI system, offering more flexibility to make changes later
  • Implemented encryption for the data storage on your Android device
  • Convert stored data to the new encryption system

  • There is one issue that I am aware of where on certain devices the leaderboard (top-20 world high scores) will not fit into the bit 'O' block.

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      05 July 2016 - Re-coding TetraGems :: Posted in TetraGems (released)

    It's been a year since I last looked at the TetraGems code, but now I really need to work on it. The main reason for not having spend too much time on TetraGems is the d20 project, which is coming along just fine and twice the thought to abandone the Unity3D engine in favor of the Unreal engine (this is not gonna happen anymore BTW).

    Why the sudden attention for TetraGems while I'm currently at an other project I hear you wonder.
    To put it simple, I've received a message from Google Play that the AdMob (advertisement) plugin I'm using will expire in a couple of months. This means I need to implement a newer version of the AdMob plugin, which has changed to the core. Basically, I need to implement the full Google Play store now into TetraGems to display the ads from AdMobs
    Though the implementation of the full Google Play store will take some time for me to figure out how it works, it also comes with a couple of nice opportunities. One of them is that I can move the Leaderboard function from my own database into the Google Play environment (if possible). An other one is to implement achievements (which I've been thinking about from day #1 that I started on TetraGems, and yet again, if possible).

    Yes, I realize I can easily just implement the new Google Play store, but there's still a HUGE list of things that I wanted to change on TetraGems as well.
       First and formost, that weird glitch that's still there and I coded around (it now has a very small chance to happen), I will kill for sure.
       Secondly, I've been thinking to add some nice animations when you crush Gems, which I can now implement as well.
       Thirdly, I want to add some nice 'fluff' to the game to make it look even more appealing.
    And it's the 3rd change that requires a full recode of the game. The changes that I want to implement will not work with the 2Dtoolkit plutin I'm using and instead I have to use Unity's 2D implementation. Removing the whole 2Dtoolkit means that all gems (sprites) used have to be redone and the code around them has to be removed and changed into Unity native code. Not to mention, the last version of TetraGems was made with Unity version 5.1.1 and the current version is 5.3.5 with 5.4 already in beta

    The changes to TetraGems will come one at a time though over the coming months. I know I've promised that before and then abandoned the updates, but with the changes that I'll be making (and am forced to make because of Google Play and possible incompatabilities with the newer Unity engine version), I do need to keep going on TetraGems right now. And honestly, I think it's a good thing that I've learned a lot the last year working on both the d20 project and the Burst-a-Bubble Project...

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      21 June 2015 - Solve a (rare) glitch and more changes SOON™ :: Posted in TetraGems (released)

    Working on Burst-a-Bubble has given me a lot of understanding of how Unity works with Android. It also has given me more insight on how to work around certain problems. Being an old-school (BASIC and Pascal) programmer, I really had to get used to the 'new way' of programing. Now about 20 months after I started on TetraGems I think I can say I have mastered C# (the language I use in Unity) enough to pick up TetraGems again and fix some issues...

    The changes that I will make are:
      - Fix a rare glitch that cause the gems to get out of sync with the grid. A real annoying one but luckily it happes very rarely.
      - Add SWIPE controls to the game (yup I figured out how to do it )
      - Overhaul the user interfaec (UI). Much like the SWIPE thing, I figured out how to get the UI work better and make it exactly how I want it to be.
      - Change the gems that I'm using. The ones in the game right now come from Bejeweled and I promised in a commentary movie once that I'd replace them. Now is the time for that replacement...
      - More changes most likely as well, not sure yet which ones though...

    Do not expect me to have made the changes overnight though. These changes will include a lot of recoding of the game and that means also that I have to test it a lot before I'm 100% certain the new version is okay to be released.

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      10 March 2015 - Database updated :: Posted in TetraGems (released)

    I've been busy with a lof of PHP and MySQL updates the last two weeks. The main database I had to update was for my I am Blog project, which I finished last weekend. While updating the I am Blog project I already made a start on the (small) PHP script that connects TetraGems with the databases that holds the world (and your) high scores. Sadly, I worked on some old PHP scripts for TetraGems and I had to start from scratch today. Well, scratch..? I already knew what needed to be changed so it should be pretty easy.

    And I was right on that! This morning I updated the old (and right ) scripts for TetraGems and uploaded them for the test server. The tests all went well and an hour ago I decided to upload the new scripts to the live server as well. Though I announced in my tweet that your scores would suffer interruption (meaning it would not load or save), I was wrong on that part...

    As of right now, the old database has been completely removed and TetraGems will continue to run normally and keep tracks on your high scores as it did in the past. One good thing though, the new database is a lot faster than the old one, nihilating the chance for errors (though I have never seen that happen).

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      26 October 2014 - TetraGems 0.91 released :: Posted in TetraGems (released)
    I've been keeping an eye on the database that holds the high scores and player names, and all seems to work well there. So for now that's all working as intended, though I am working on some added security on the server side scripts...

    However, there was 1 cosmetic bug that I found. When adding the colouring of the leaderboard, I forgot to change the size of the font I'm using for the date the score was made. This resulted in a slight asynchronic list. Of course, this was easy to correct and I've done so.

    And while at it, I realized that the web player version of TetraGems was a couple of months old. It still played the 0.71 version With the addition of the player profile on the 0.90 version, I had to adjust the code so that there's no profile made by the web player.

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      16 October 2014 - TetraGems 0.90 released :: Posted in TetraGems (released)
    The last couple of days have been pretty busy for me. I've created a logo for TetraGems, both for the game and for use on the Google Play store, and I have also been working on finishing the 0.90 release for TetraGems.

    Though I was already done programming on version 0.90, I found a bug yesterday. Though not a severe one, it would kinda looks silly to you. The bug was related to the leaderboard, where only one score would be displayed if you didn't update TetraGems 0.81 (or older) to the new 0.90 version. To get around this I had to let TetraGems tell it's version to the server, and if it's the 0.90 version the new leaderboard format would be sent, while if no version was sent to the server, the old format would be sent.

    So what's new..? Patch notes are below
    - Dropped beta status
    - Fixed long name issue on the leaderboard
    - Your personal scores will show in a different color on the leaderboard
    - An online profile to keep track of scores will always be made
    - Players who have not changed their 'Profile Name' will show up as '** Anonymous **' on leaderboard
    - Game preference settings are saved now
    - Moved controls a tiny bit to fix issies on certain devices
    - Added version compatibility for current and future updates

    As you see, I've dropped the beta status of TetraGems because I think the game is now finished and fully functioning. I will keep working on it, but at a slower rate though. Not to mention, I have to work on some of the server side scripts to keep the database in good working order and add features that'll remove old and inactive players from the database.

    There are still a few options I would want to add to Tetragems, but as said, I'll be taking them on a slow pace for now. I'd rather start and focus on the new game I've posted last week about

    As always, you can download the latest version of TetraGems from the Google Play store, or just let your Android device update the game. Alternatively, you can download the .APK file from my dropbox.

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