Pocket God 1.33 - A Pygmy a Day Keeps the Ape Away

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by davecazz, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. davecazz macrumors member

    Mar 6, 2009
    San Francisco, Ca
    Hey Guys, Long time no see!

    Looks like the new update will be out on August 3rd along with the new Pocket God digital comic. Sorry about the long wait, the launch of the comic book really means a lot to us and we had no idea that we would have to wait so long after the comic was done to make sure we had the right marketing and promotion in place for a solid launch. It's mainly just been a bunch of waiting on different people in order to figure out dates for certain things, making sure we had all the right things in place for a new contest that we want to run next week (for a $1000 apple gift card) and coordinating between the three companies. Us, iVerse, and Ape Entertainment. We honestly thought everything would be completed and released a month ago. Moving forward, we have other things we will want to promote but we will try our hardest to not get into a situation like this again.

    BTW, Allan and I just got back from Comic Con this weekend and it was really awesome. We were promoting the comic and had a lot of cool stuff to give away. We had a ton of different posters and an exclusive version of the printed comic with a cover that Allan created. A lot of people stopped by and it was really nice to be able to meet people that are really into our game. At one point this little 6 year old girl told her mom that this was the game where you can murder all the cute little characters. It was so precious that it brought a tear to my eye.

    For those of you that missed us in San Diego, we will be at Wizard World Chicago on August 19-22. We will be giving away more figures to those who tell us the magic word (Summer Squash), we'll have our first shipment of plushies which we will be selling for $20, and we'll also be signing posters and the comic. We are also running a contest at our booth where you can challenge me to "The Runs" and if you beat me, you'll get a free plushie (I'm pretty good at it though, I can get in the 25-30k range most of the time). The highest scoring player at the convention will get a huge Pocket God care package. A Pocket God Urn, Figure, and custom made Plushie by the girl who designed our plushies for us. That means you'll have a one of a kind plushie that you will help design. You can pick any Pygmy Pose or sacrifice as long as the cost is reasonable. Some examples include, the Pygmy zombie, eaten by ants, on fire, or electrocuted. If we like your design, we might make them available to other people on-line and give you credit on the label.

    About the functionality in this update. We have a giant friggin Ape now. The company that is making the Comic for us is called Ape Entertainment so we decided to do an Ape Mountain trilogy. Ape mountain is the first location that doesn’t have an Ocean, it's basically a mountain top that sticks out of a bunch of surrounding trees. On top of the mountain is a sacrificial altar, a set of bongos, a winch and two torches. In order to call the giant gorilla you need to go through a series of actions. We wanted to make it kind of like the bon fire where you do some things then the Pygmies do some things to unlock the sacrifice. You have to stick Pygmies in each device, light the Torches with Lightning, wind up the winch by circling your finger around the Pygmy in the winch, and then play the Bongos. This will call the Ape which will eat the Pygmy once he appears. You can also tease the ape by adding more Pygmies into the altar and winching him up in front of the Ape. If you winch too hard though, the Pygmy actually gets ripped apart, the Ape gets pissed and crushes the Pygmies sitting in the Bongos and Winch. The Ape also dances when you tap a drum beat.

    For the skin pack this update, we created the Classic Game Pack. We skinned a bunch of elements as items from some old school games. In order to not get dinged with trademark hassles, we made the items slightly different than their originals but I think everything will be recognizable. You can turn the meteor into a Donkey Kong Barrel or a spinning Sonic, the statue gets turned into the Dig Dug character, the fish is a centipede, the igloo turns into a Pac Man ghost, the volcano turns into either a Galaga ship or a Pipe from Mario, the Moon is a Space Invader and much more.

    So, because this update took a really long time, we were able to make a ton of optimizations to the app. Because we have so many updates, the app has been getting really huge, the startup time takes a really long time, and the game has lots of stuttering during the mini games. This update fixes all that. I use my old iphone 3g to test because it's very slow (slower than my 1g ipod) but with the last update, startup time improved from 1 minute in some cases, to 13 seconds (2-3 seconds on iphone 4). Frame rate went from not being able to play the runs at all, to having it go at a smooth 30 fps without any hickups at all. Of course, on an ipod 2g or 3gs and above, the framerate is a solid 60 fps with no drops. I know this kind of stuff is not really as exciting as getting a new update or adding features, but this kind of stuff has been needed for a long time. Until now, I just didn't have the time to get into some of heavy code changes needed to fix it. We want to bring back the good old days where you can just whip Pocket God out and show someone without waiting forever.

    We were also able to reduce our runtime RAM from 45Megs to 9 Megs and made the game compatible with multitasking in iOS4. Our smaller memory footprint will mean that the OS won’t kick us out of memory for a while and it also means that we can add more textures to the game. We also support the retina display. We didn't add higher res art because it will make our app much bigger but everything does get rendered at the higher resolution so the anti-aliasing will make everything look much better.

    For those developers that are curious about what we did. It's all about memory and being really careful about any Objective C objects. I learned Objective C on Pocket God and while I knew C++ pretty well a while ago, I spent my last 10 years doing Action Script programming where I didn't really concern myself about string usage. In our code we had a lot of NSStrings and NSArrays that we were using that were being auto-released and we were using enumerators to go through the arrays instead of for-in loops. At startup, we also had a lot of XML that we were using that created a ton of auto-released NSStrings. It's probably obvious to most hard core game developers, but this was massively fragmenting our memory heap to the point where the OS would stall periodically looking for the memory that we needed each frame. That was the source of the stuttering on startup and during the mini games.

    btw, I'm trying to figure out a safe name for the next update. I really want to call it "Spanking the Monkey" but maybe that's pushing things a little too far. Let me know if you have any ideas. I have a couple alternatives but I would be interested in what you think.

  2. DirtySocks85 macrumors 65816


    Mar 12, 2009
    Wichita, KS
    I did everything else, but for the life of me I can't figure out the bongos. Do I just tap anywhere to play them?
  3. davecazz thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 6, 2009
    San Francisco, Ca
    turn dancing on

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