Reminder:

Make sure your build is at or higher than the latest build posted below. If it's lower, verify the game contents to force an update. It's also important to remember that the sandbox depot is not updated regularly. This depot is only used for confined testing. If you were working with me on one of these confined tests, please remember to opt out of the sandbox depot so you're always receiving the most up-to-date build of the game.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Build: 940941

A small update has just been released that allows you to jump directly into the editor when launching Diamond.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Build: 937207

New Game UI


A new build puts the groundwork in for the new UI for the in-game player. There is still polish that needs to be done and the pause menu has not yet been reworked, but the foundation is laid and will be built upon in future updates.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Build: 935870

Steam Workshop:


The new editor now has full workshop support.
Levels must include at least one diamond and a player start to be valid for publishing to the workshop. When you're ready to publish, just go to the Save dialog and click "Publish" under the save button and you'll be taken to the "Publish to Workshop" dialog. From here, you'll check to make sure your level name and description are okay, as well as whether or not you want to update an existing level (more on that below) and whether you want to make it immediately public.

After successfully publishing your level, you'll be given the chance to view it on the workshop.


After a level has been published to the workshop, a special file ID will be attached to the level file. This will allow you to submit the level again in the future and have the option to "Update" the level. When you choose to update a level, the game will use that ID to find the entry of the level and replace it with whatever changes you've made.

If you click the ID in the Publish window, it will take you straight to the level that matches that ID on the workshop so you can see which entry you'll be replacing when you click "Publish".

Note however that if you delete your level from the workshop, you will need to manually uncheck "Update" within the workshop dialog. The game is unable to determine before trying to update your level, whether or not the level still exists on the workshop. If it doesn't, you'll receive an error.


While it may seem inconvenient that the editor doesn't manually check and adjust itself for this sort of thing, the reason for this is transparency. If something goes wrong, I don't want to create the illusion that everything is fine. While this is a very unlikely scenario to have happen often, explaining what happened and how to fix it manually is a much better solution in my opinion.

Known issues:
  • Publishing does not publish the description the way it should. This will be fixed in the next update.

Build: 935679

A few small fixes:
  • Fixed an issue where levels weren't showing up in the load dialog if you weren't subscribed to any levels from the Steam Workshop.
  • Fixed issue where level files weren't being updated when you first open the load dialog.
  • Fixed the "Exit without saving?" dialog from not opening properly.
New Branch
A separate "sandbox" branch used for one to one debugging has been added to the game depot. This branch is only available for people who will be participating in very targeted bug fixes that need multiple smaller builds to be released for addressing specific issues.

Important: If you're apart of the "sandbox" branch, please make sure you switch back to the "default" branch after target testing is complete and the issue is resolved. This branch is not a standard branch and will only be updated when I'm actively working to address an issue.

This branch will often break other features and functionality of the game and/or add various debugging tools to the game which can be used to help provoke the target issue into being easily reproduced so it can be tracked down and resolved. It's not a standard branch and will not be regularly updated.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Build: 935562

A couple small fixes:
  • Fixes issue where size overlay doesn't update with object hotkeys.
  • Fixes issue where letting control to change layers no longer allows you to place objects.

Build: 935049


If you made changes to the level, the editor now lets gives you a chance to save before fully exciting and losing any unsaved progress.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Build: 934901

Changes:
  • Addressed an issue where the level editor wouldn't restore your level after returning to it from play mode, if the level hasn't been assigned a file name yet.
  • Fixed save screen to no longer display "<null>" when saving a new level without a level name yet.
  • Fixed formatting on save screen not adding the " |" at the end of your Steam name.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Build: 933042

Level Editor UI Overhaul:


As time went on and the style of Diamond developed, it became clear that the level editor design was not holding up. Furthermore, after years of expanding upon it and creating levels to test components in it, it was becoming clear that it had a number of weak points which could be improved upon.

This new update is far more than just a simple re-skin of the same old editor. The new editor UI was completely re-designed from the ground up to not only look sleeker and cleaner but to perform better and improved workflow.

The first thing you may notice after playing around with the new editor is a strong emphasis on consistency. Everything in the editor was built at roughly the same time and with the same coherent vision for what the final editor will look like. Everything from animations, visuals, and dialog boxes are designed to feel in place with the rest of the editor.

New File and Load Warning Dialog Boxes:

Speaking of which, dialog boxes are now available to help standardize the editor with more traditional applications.

The editor now has tips that help describe features or functionality in the editor that might not be immediately obvious or simply don't make themselves known.

Tips:

Naturally these tips are generally only intended to be read once or twice and pop up every time you do something that the tip is relevant too, so the ability to dismiss them permanently is included.

Settings:

These tips can be reset via the new settings menu too. Which will continue to expand as the game goes on. The first major new feature though in the settings menu addresses the issue of preference and screen resolution. The editor now supports scaling from 100% to 200%, defaulting at 125% which is a comfortable size to use at 1920x1080.

UI Scaling:

All editor assets have been designed to look sharp up to this 200% mark.


Part of the new UI design also addresses a number of small problems that were limited by the old GUI system's ability to mimic expected functionality in areas such as text editing. The new UI system now supports a much friendlier text editor which makes editing level names much easier without having to retype the whole name each time.

Refined load/save screens:



The save and load screens didn't get as major an overhaul since their most recent design was largely in line with the vision of the editor, albeit slightly less refined as it is now.

Now while there are a lot of little tweaks that still need done and there's a lot more fine details I could cover, for the time being this is the broadest look at some of the more significant changes made to the editor. As always, feel free to give me feedback and let me know of any issues that might come up.

For reference, this is the old editor:


Known issues:

  • Workshop support has not been added yet.
  • The editor doesn't properly reconstruct levels when you return to the editor, unless you save your level. Even then, it loads the file, not the temporary state of the level before playing. This isn't intentional behavior and will be fixed.
  • Your Steam name isn't formatted with the " |" at the end in the save dialog.
  • Level name is "Null" in the save dialog until you change the name either in the editor or in the save dialog.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Build: 921967

Titlescreen UI Overhaul

So most of this update is under the hood changes but they're pretty massive, especially for anyone hoping to play the game on anything but a 16:9 aspect ratio. The entire titlescreen has been rebuilt from the ground up using the new UI system which was introduced in Unity 4.6. Up until now it's been using the old GUI system that was carried over from when the game was still being developed in Unity 3.5.

So what were some of the major changes?
First and foremost, it should be noted that all of the changes being listed here are only on the titlescreen. The new UI system has not yet been implemented throughout the rest of the game, including the level editor. This will take some time and is not a top priority at the moment but it will happen.

The biggest change will be that the titlescreen will respect any aspect ratio. Elements will no longer be distorted or out of place when you play on anything other than a 16:9 aspect ratio. This didn't seem like an issue because up until now the game was restricted to only 16:9 and 16:10 aspect ratios when selecting them from the start-up dialog. (More on that later.)

With the new menu comes a slightly revamped "Erase Data" menu which is a little cleaner.

The new UI system has also allowed for a much cleaner method of scaling the user name bar to best fit the length of different user names. The new method will now match user names perfectly whereas the old method was more of an approximation based on a linear curve that took into account the number of characters in the user name.

Another update worth noting is that the start-up dialog (ie, "Resolution Dialog") has been disabled by default. For the time being, it can still be accessed by holding Alt immediately after launching the game, however this will most likely not be the case on release as all the options available in the dialog will be available in-game.

Settings:
Speaking of including options in-game, progress is being made on "Settings" which was previously empty or had place holder menus. That's still largely the case, however two new menus have been fleshed out.


To replace the start-up resolution dialog, the option to change the resolution of the game is now available within the "Resolution" option under Settings > Graphics. Everything in here is supposedly fully functional however additional functionality will most likely be added as time goes on, so please test this as best you can and let me know if you have any major issues.

Unfortunately Unity 4.6, to the best of my knowledge, does not allow to change between Boarderless Fullscreen or Exclusive Fullscreen mode at runtime so this will not be an option, though the decision to release with one or the other is up for discussion. (Currently it's Exclusive)


In addition to the resolution menu is a concept for the audio menu. Nothing in here is functional, however everything in the dialog is fully intractable as though it was. So please play around with it and get back with me on any issues or suggestions.

The input menu has not been added yet because it's going to take a significant amount of extra work to re-map all the keys in the game to keys that I can provide access to changing from within the game itself. Because of this, I can't be sure how to best design the input menu to best reflect the options that I'll provide or how I'll provide them. I'm not taking suggestions for this just yet because again, it's not a priority and I have zero frame of reference to even begin thinking about it yet.

Loading:
Finally, the loading screen has also been updated as part of the titlescreen overhaul. The original loading screen would darken the screen with "Loading..." in the bottom left corner while the game essentially froze while it was loading in the next scene. This was especially bad when loading from the titlescreen to the level editor as a lot of content needed to be brought in.


This is no longer the case. Of course the level editor will still take time to load because the content hasn't changed, but the loading screen has. The new loading screen provides a 3D animation of the tornado diamond in the lower left corner as well as a progress bar. It appears to be working perfectly fine though of course let me know if you notice anything wrong. Otherwise, hopefully this will help for people on slower computers where the editor might take significantly longer than 2-5 seconds to load.

Final Note
All and all, that's more or less the meat of this update. While no other changes were made, this has been in my opinion, a very significant update that will hopefully pave the road for a much better overall experience as the game progresses and comes closer to release.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Trading cards officially approved for release!


Trading cards are officially approved and ready for release. This is a pretty big milestone for the game. Very exciting to say the least.

The collection will include:
12 Trading Cards
10 Profile Backgrounds, 4 uncommon and 2 rare.
10 Emiticons, 4 uncommon and 2 rare.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Build: 917488

Steam Avatars:
An update has just been pushed that should address the issue of Steam avatars not loading properly the first time you launch the game. The avatar may still show a generic icon for a split second while it's being loaded from Steam, but this will be addressed later. The main issue of updating the avatar information to be used in-game has been resolved.

No tests have been done on how Offline mode affects the avatar yet but I plan to do those soon.



Level Editor:
This update also addresses the issue of levels doubling up on themselves when playing a level directly from the load menu in the editor.
Directional objects such as lasers, homing bombs, and roaming spikes have also been fixed and will now load properly when playing levels.

As of right now, there are no known issues related to loading levels into the editor and playing them so any issues are likely unknown and should be reported asap.

Steam Workshop:
It's still not ready to be tested just yet. While the functionality is there, it still feels fickle and needs to be more thoroughly investigated. This isn't a high priority right now however, so please don't expect this to be ready any time soon. As of right now, I'd recommend avoiding it altogether until further notice.

Title screen:
In addition to addressing the issue of avatars not loading properly, progress is currently being made on implementing the settings menu. Input and audio controls are not a high priority at the moment, however I plan to have the option to change resolution into the game very soon, which will omit the need for the splash screen when entering the game.

Input controls will likely be introduced a little later on once I start building in full controller support and can design the input settings from the ground up to support both keyboard and controller input from square one.

Campaign:
The groundwork for campaign is currently being worked on, but the details of how it will work are still largely unknown. Any and all suggestions are more than welcome so please don't hesitate to bring them up.

What is known so far is that "Collectibles", the little purple cubes, will be used as a way to unlock new sections. Each section will have a set of levels. In order to progress, you'll need to have obtained enough of these collectibles to unlock the next section. You must complete the level to keep any collectibles obtained. The number of collectibles necessary to unlock the next section will be less than the total number of collectibles in the section you're currently in, so it will not be necessary to complete a section 100% before progressing. However the number of collectibles will be held as a statistic for completing the game and obtaining them all will most likely be used to unlock an achievement.

Please be sure your current BuildID is 917488, which can be found under the "Local files" tab in properties for the game. If it's not, you can verify the game contents to force the game to update to the latest build.

Introduction

As Diamond starts to approach what I would consider to be "beta" and quickly begins to shape into what I expect the final release to look like, I thought it might be a good idea to experiment with an official blog to help track development progress on the game.

This blog will largely target people who are currently testing the game on Steam and currently have access to the beta in their Steam library. It will not be advertising features or functionality, but rather keeping tabs on the changes being made to the game each time a new build is put out.

As part of this blog, I'll be mentioning things that are currently being worked on, what is planned, known issues, and functionality I would like feedback or testing done on.

What isn't this blog? This blog is not intended to be the only form of communication I expect to have with people currently taking part in the beta. I still want to maintain personal contact with as many people as possible and discuss things on a one to one basis. The purpose of this blog is just to document changes and communicate changes more efficiently to more people at once.

If you have any questions, the best way to contact me is still via my Steam account which if you have access to the game, you already know is: Silver Aura or http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561197992085439/

Again, this blog is not intended to be a way to subjugate communication but just to better communicate changes to the game with more people, more consistently. Please don't hesitate to contact me directly for any issues or questions about the game.