Too Many Birds!™ https://toomanybirds.com The Official Home of Too Many Birds! Fri, 04 Mar 2022 14:04:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.1 https://toomanybirds.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/cropped-tooManyBirdsIcon1024-32x32.png Too Many Birds!™ https://toomanybirds.com 32 32 This Week in Development (4th March, 2022) https://toomanybirds.com/this-week-in-development-4th-march-2022/ Fri, 04 Mar 2022 14:04:18 +0000 https://toomanybirds.com/?p=563
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Hey again! Let’s get right into it

The first thing I did was take care of the most pressing issue I mentioned last week: the poor performance of the new User Interface.

What do I mean by “poor performance”? In this case, it meant the new UI made your phone do too much work for no good reason, causing lags and stutters. It was… Painful, to say the least.

I’m happy to say that it seems I have fixed these issues and now the interface runs at least as smoothly as the old one, while bringing all the new benefits!

I also squashed a few extra bugs to keep you from seeing them.

Next up, I updated some of the main icons. A lot of them were a bit rough or inconsistent, and needed some cleanup.

I decided to recreate and update the main icons as vectors, instead of bitmaps, and then convert them to something called a “multi-channel signed-distance field”, which is a fancy way of saying that the images are now a smaller filesize, but they can also look much nicer without slowing your phone down.

An image showing in order how icons were redesigned, from the left: original microhpone icon, a vectorised version, a smaller version converted to an MSDF, and the final version as seen in-game
Original Icon (128×128) -> Redesigned as a vector -> Converted to an MSDF (64×64) -> How it looks in-game!

So that’s that! Icons should be more readable and consistent in appearance across more screen sizes.

I’ve also begun integrating this new UI with the main game. Luckily, this isn’t too complicated thanks to how the new stuff is set up, but there is some tedious work in linking buttons to game actions once again. The final code is much cleaner and easier to expand on, once the migration is complete.

So far, the main menu is just about complete. All buttons and windows have been updated and replaced with the new UI, and seems to work pretty well!

I’ve also changed the default UI margins and scaling algorithms so buttons should be a more consistent in size, plus they shouldn’t be in the “OS event deadzone” by default, making them more responsive on mobile.

Google Play Login has also been adjusted a little again. Since “proper” offline logins were implemented last update, my “fake” offline login code has been pretty much removed. This basically cements the fact that you need an internet connection the first time you sign in (or after you sign out!), But you’ll still stay signed in without an internet connection, as long as you don’t sign out again. This is a teensy bit more restrictive, but also reduces the risk of nasty save bugs, so it’s kinda worth the change. Don’t worry though! You still don’t need to be signed in to play the game so if you don’t use Google Play features this will have no impact on your experience.

On another note, an important change to how you interact with the game is coming – double tap is being removed 😱

See? It’s not in the options anymore!

It was never really a great thing. Double tap is rarely used with mobile games/apps and the interface isn’t very intuitive because of it. It’s always been a bit of an accessibility issue too.

Instead, there will be “long presses”, which require you to just hold down on what you want to interact with in a special way. In reality, this will only be used for moving toys, as we’re getting a New accessory menu soon that removes the need to double tap an accessory to edit its color. It can also be set to Zero Seconds, giving the same effect as turning off Double-Tap Toy Mover in previous versions.

There’s been another few minor tweaks, like cleanup of unused data and adjusting how the camera works inside nests, but they don’t change anything visually – yet

…anyway, thank you again for tuning in this week! Progress seems to be going well and I’m getting more excited for this update. Once some of the harder stuff is done, I’ll start adding new birds and accessories again!

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This Week in Development (Feb 25, 2022) https://toomanybirds.com/this-week-in-development-feb-25-2022/ Fri, 25 Feb 2022 11:00:56 +0000 https://toomanybirds.com/?p=552
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Welcome to “This Week in Development”, a (hopefully) weekly summary of work done on the game this week!

I’m hoping this’ll keep things interesting in the run-up to the release of The Big One, and hopefully give more insight into what’s coming and the development process.

So what’s happened this Week in Development?

I’ve been putting a significant amount of effort into a very major task: Redesigning the User Interface

While it’s true that the current UI isn’t technically the worst, it is certainly far from the best. I’ve been really working hard to clean it up, make it prettier and fill it with juicy action!

To begin with, I’ve been working on the Main Menu and the Options Page.

These bits are probably the bits you’ll see the least, bit are probably the most important bits in the game.

We’ll start with the title screen.

Here’s what it is currently like:

And here’s what I’ve been working on:

It’s pretty similar, right? Well, that’s to keep it familiar for current players, plus I think it looked pretty nice before anyway.

There are a couple of differences of course – I’ve updated the main font to keep things more readable (though the title font will stay the same, since I really love it), colors have been tweaked and I animated all of the buttons when you press them. A still image doesn’t really show that though. It’s not quite finished (for one, it’s still in the test environment) so I still have a couple of other minor adjustments to do.

I want to update the icons, replacing them with vectors that can be converted to “Signed Distance Fields” to keep them sharp and pretty at any screen size, plus I need to move some buttons around, since I have found some phones (including mine!) have an input delay in some corners of the screen, which is a little weird to say the least.

 

Next up is the options menu. First, let’s look at the old one:

It sorta works, but it’s a bit annoying to navigate and the colors aren’t great.

Introducing The New One:

Yes, it’s completely different. All options have been organized into separate categories, the overall appearance is completely different and new options are being added.

Buttons, sliders and switches are much clearer and visually appealing. And that border does look somehow familiar…

This has been a great place to start since the options menu contains the most different types of thing, and is the most likely place to find bugs

Oh, the little popups are also getting updated!

So that’s where we are this week! I know it’s kinda small, but it’s the start of some important stuff! It may be a bit slow next week as there are some performance issues with the new UI that I really need to take care of before moving on to more stuff – next up will be the Match-3 game UI.

Nests and the birdipedia are getting something a little… different so they’ll take take a little bit longer to get ready.

Thanks for reading!

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Too Many Birds!™ has Been Updated! (1.5) https://toomanybirds.com/too-many-birds-has-been-updated-1-5/ Fri, 11 Feb 2022 14:40:00 +0000 https://toomanybirds.com/?p=444
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UPDATE 15/2/22: A new patch 1.5.12 is now rolling out fixing a critical issue – details at the bottom of the post

Yes, it’s been a long time, around 2 years I think, and I am sorry about that.
This update isn’t huge, with very little new content, but it hopefully addresses a long-standing and incredibly frustrating bug.

The Dreaded Save corruption.
It didn’t happen often, and I was never able to reproduce it at home, but it was real, and Bad.

It took many months of adjusting code, tweaking and testing, but I am happy to finally release this update

Hopefully, your data won’t corrupt again – but just in case it does – I have learned from this mistake and added automatic daily backups to the game. Now, at most, you will only lose a day of progress rather than everything you have ever done

On top of that, Cloud backups have been adjusted – you are now rewarded with 500 coins a day if you backup to the cloud, plus you can have up to 10 of these backups using the new menu (just remember – you need to be logged in through Google Play to use this feature!)

Cloud saves are linked to your Google Play account and are privately stored in your Google Drive folder, so you don’t need to worry about me seeing them!

There’s also a helpful little exclamation point to remind you to make a backup when you can get a reward

One small change is that words you have taught your birds are no longer saved to the cloud and cannot be synced across devices (because of sync time and potential corruptions). I may add an option for this again at a later time

So, this update is small in terms of additions, even if it was a large task. The good news is that this has paved the way for a new update.

The Big One   

This will add a ton of new content and completely re-design the UI for the better (it’s a… little dated right now). A lot has changed since I first made this game in 2017, and I aim to use what I have learned for the better!
New birds, new accessories, new nests, a new look – and maybe even a new mini-game or three?

Thank you for your continued support, and happy birding!

Full Changes:

  • Engine Upgrade
  • Daily Save Backups added, so if your data breaks you can restore an older version
    • Restoring a backup creates a “restore point” for so you can revert if the backup is not what you were expecting
  • Cloud Saves Updated
    • You can now have up to 10 of them
    • An internet connection is no longer required, but saves will only upload once a connection is restored
    • There’s a full menu!
    • You get 500 coins a day for backing up to the cloud! A red exclamation mark is used to highlight this on the main menu
    • You still need to login with Google Play, as this feature backs up to your Google Drive folder (saves are private for you!)
  • Saves have been rebuilt from the ground up
    • Saves now add missing data more accurately on load, hopefully preventing launch crashes
    • Voice recordings are now stored as separate files to game data – this does affect backups and cloud saves, as voice recordings are not backed up
    • Black-Box engine stuff has generally been removed to avoid risk of corruption
    • Saves use a new internal data type, thanks to the engine upgrade, reducing risk of errors
    • Be aware of bugs! This touched every part of the game, and I may have missed something
    • All old savefiles should upgrade safely. Broken ones should attempt to repair themselves, at least partially
    • New save format allows for much easier expansion of the game
  • Gamedata extraction validation hash write delayed breifly to help ensure data can actually be read at important times first
  • Google Play login has been adjusted
    • An internet connection is no longer required to login to Google Play and use Cloud Saves, as long as you don’t sign out.
      • Note that you can no longer “fake login” without an internet connection if you sign out. Instead, a network error will occur.
  • Being trapped in one of those loading circles should be even less likely
  • Secret Addon System security improved
  • The coupon service has been discontinued
  • Updated all Google Services
  • Misc bug fixes
    • Selling birds (how could you) now returns their accessories to your inventory
    • Moving a bird to a nest doesn’t make all nest capacity numbers wrong
    • others, but they’re small
  • Language changes and typo fixes
    • Leadbeaters Cockatoo renamed to Pink Cockatoo, as it’s generally more accepted

Update 1.5.12

  • Fixed a critical crash when trying to purchase an egg with a full nest (this was one of those things I may have missed when updating the file format)
  • Fixed an issue with cancelling a cloud save/load disabling the cloud buttons until restart
  • Fixed a crash related to an invalid microphone state
  • Fixed a crash when a certain secure file is tampered with

Known Issues:

  • Some icons are placed incorrectly in some places, but close enough. This will be resolved in The Big One
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Too Many Birds V1.1 – Details and Update Log! https://toomanybirds.com/many-birds-v1-1-details-update-log/ Sun, 17 Dec 2017 15:29:49 +0000 http://toomanybirds.com/?p=274 This is a Post about the game Too Many Birds!™ – get it here!

Update 1.1 is here!

This update features many general improvements, many new features and completely updates the match 3 section!

General Overview

The Update Includes:

  • Nest Improvements
    • Birds Show their birthdays! Get ready for parties next year…
    • The Green Hill has had a graphical improvment
    • The shop now has tabs for better organisation!
    • Eggs now show a timer for how close they are to hatching – you can also insta-hatch them now – for a price!
    • Tickling birds makes them love you more! This is shown with the hearts they emit!
    • Moving toys is far easier (this was snuck into the hotfix last month, but it stopped you moving eggs around – you can do that now!)
    • Made poops less likely to appear under toys or food bowls – no more secret messes!
    • There is now a Daily Gift as a reward for playing for consecutive days
    • The new Bell currecny has been added – this is used to purchase special items and can be earned through the Daily gift, clearing levels with an exceptional number of moves left, or by watching an Ad
  • Many Match 3 Game Improvements
    • A new level select menu!
      • Replay old levels for half-reward
      • Skip levels that are a nuisance!
    • New Graphics!
      • Some of these snuck into the hotfix last month, but we’ve upgraded board appearance, tweaked other tiles and enhanced some colors (Colored tiles should have better contrast for color-blind users too)
    • New Boosters!
      • The Instant Seedball – Pop any fruits you like at no move cost!
      • The Mega Hammer – Annoying tile ruining your day? USE A HAMMER TO SMASH IT AWAY!
    • New Goals!
      • We’ve added eggs that hatch into birds when you match next to them
      • There’s a new colored tile to smash
      • The new “Fruit Collector” goal will have you feeding your birds certain fruits in order to win!
    • New Animations!
      • All powerups, obstacles and tiles have new animations and sounds when interacted with, to provide a much nicer looking experience
    • New Obstacles!
      • Card Tubes – Fruits and other tiles can fall down these to provide some interesting layouts!
      • Chained cages – now it’s even harder to get to what’s inside the cage!
      • Wooden boxes – Break them down with adjacent matches to find what’s inside!
      • Rock piles – much like rocks, but need breaking down!
      • Perspex Tiles – These prevent you from touching what’s behind!
        • There are new tutorials in-game for all new tiles
    • Over 80 new levels!
    • The option to get another 5 moves if you’re close to beating the level, but have no more moves
  • More Settings
    • Primarily for dealing with curved screens, there is now a UI padding option and a Button Scale option. These each increase the margin between the edge of the screen and button size, respectively
    • The option to disable cloud sync is now available. This reduces load time and internet usage when disabled, but stops multiple devices from being synchronised
    • Added a credits listing to the options page – now you can see the people that made this game possible!
  • Other Technical Improvements
    • These may not interest the majority of people, but I want to list them anyway for those curious
    • Fixed a couple of rare crashes
      • On some devices, Nest-Icon generation could crash the game on startup. This appears to be resolved
      • An incredibly rare freeze related to text boxes has been fixed. These only occured on certain aspect ratios, and only with new text. It may have never occured prior to this update, but now it never will
      • A couple of other “SIGSEGV SEGV_MAPERR” errors have been fixed. Again, very rare, but they happened and I think they’re gone now.
    • Did some text tweaks
      • The font renderer was updated to make text appear far less blurry
      • Shop descriptions are now left-justified and scale better
      • Shop prices scale better and now show their currency
      • Text Alert boxes should have better text sizes
  • A huge optimisation went into bird textures
    • This reduces texture cost drastically, and allows us to make more facial expressions. It’s also important groundwork for the “Birdy Fashion Update”
    • This should also speed up render time a lot, making the game run better on lower-spec devices
  • Fixed some memory leaks
    • Basically, nest render output and scrollbox contents weren’t properly deleted. This wasn’t a problem unless you played for a long time without minimising the game (minimising forces a clear of textures, so this solved the problem temporarily, but now it’s properly fixed)
  • Removed an unused audio file, reducing game size by a few MB
  • Stopped cloud data overriding the number of lives you had left. It was basically a pointless workaround to an exploit that didn’t exist. Don’t code when you’re tired!
  • Used some alternating icons for close buttons when opening menus to make it more obvious the action was changing
  • Changed some button sizes
  • Updated the internal save system.
    • No-one should see any difference within their nests right now, but this was hugely imortant groundwork for the development of more interesting toys, bird relationships and fashion
  • Upgraded Google Play Services from 9.X to 11.6.0
    • This should show better errors if Services is not installed, reduce risk of crashes and speed up the login process a little
    • If you’ve ever used GameMaker, you can probably guess how awkward this was to do
  • Added delays to certain action boxes (like tutorials) to prevent accidental skipping

What’s Next?

Well, first, you should try out the new update!

The next update is going to be interesting! We want to have something around February time, with 5 new birds. Where 1.1 focused mainly on small enhancements and the tile game, I want 1.2 to focus more on the nest aspects.

We also want to get a version on Android Fire and try to get an iOS version working, but I’m not sure how hard that will be yet. It could be ready by Feb, but worst-case, it could take up to a year.

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