Computers, Entertainment, Games, Technology, Video Games

Overcooked – Fun Coop Multiplayer Action

I recently a recorded a bunch of videos of the game Overcooked on Xbox One.

Your goal is to assemble meals out of various ingredients, cook them, and serve them. Over time the meals get a bit more complicated and the levels get a lot more complicated. It is strongly designed to be played cooperatively with up to four people, and even supports two players on a single controller.

My only complaint would be the difficulty is based too much on complicated level design (and jumps up a bit too quickly). Some times the controls are not exactly tight and you can end up selecting the wrong thing – having levels with moving targets or slippery floors for instance just accentuates an otherwise minor problem. I would have preferred more meal variations (that are also more complicated) on simpler levels.

But despite all that it’s a fun party game that almost anyone can play. And of course it is made in Unity.

One final note. The first video in the playlist above was generated by Google Photos. It turned out well, except for its automatic cropping.

Android, Android, Entertainment, Games, Programming, Technology, Unity, Video Games

Multi-platform – The real advantage of Unity

There have been quite a few mechanical additions since my last update, but the most significant thing in my latest video is it is the first on a non-Windows platform.

Unity has a large list of platforms it supports and a lot will work on all of them with no effort. For example, Gravitas currently builds and runs on Windows (Win32 and Windows 8.1 Store), Mac, Android and WebGL. With the exception of adding some settings (the Android package name for instance) I didn’t have to do anything platform specific for any of it.

Although there are very few hard limitations on what can be done on the different platforms, the wildly different performance characteristics mean you do have to think about different problems.

A more straightforward problem I recently solved (after the Day 20 – Android video was made) was to decide how to deal with different mobile device orientations.

My general philosophy is to try and support everything, so although landscape feels most natural for Gravitas, there isn’t really a reason not to support portrait. In fact, since the camera will adjust its zoom level to keep all the world on screen, it already supported portrait, albeit rather awkwardly. The dynamically generated levels are designed to have approximately a 16:9 aspect ratio. This means in portrait you get massive empty space above and below the planets, while making everything smaller than necessary. The solution? If the aspect ratio is less than 1, rotate the camera 90 degrees. This not only means portrait is supported, but in fact a far more general case of portrait-like aspect ratios is supported (and even better, has no mobile specific code at all).

Computers, Programming

[SOLVED] System.ExecutionEngineException: Attempting to JIT compile method

TLDR: Check multiple references to the same nuget package are all on the same version if you use the Mono linker.

Since my ability to post regularly on things I’m interested in is not great, I figured I could at least post stuff that might be useful.

I recently upgraded a Xamarin iOS app from the “classic” (32bit only) API to the Unified API. After doing so I got the error message:

System.ExecutionEngineException: Attempting to JIT compile method


This is caused by the Xamarin (Mono) linker removing code that is only referenced dynamically. The usual solution is to let the compiler know somehow that you are using the code (using a Preserve attribute if it’s your own code or something like MvvmCross’s LinkerPleaseInclude.cs otherwisr).

In my case, this did not fix the problem. It turns out the Unified API upgrade was a red herring. I had also updated a few nuget packages at the same time. One of them was used in several projects, but I’d missed updating one of them (so I had Project A using v1 of a package and Project B using v2 of a package). This meant my efforts to stop the linker from removing some stuff only worked on one version of the package.

Computers, Entertainment, Games, Programming, Technology, Video Games

Gravitas has been released!

Gravitas is now available on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 80 MS points.

An artillery game, somewhat akin to scorched earth, but in 2D, set in space and featuring different planets with gravity you have to slingshot your shots around. Primarily a multiplayer game supporting four local players it’s excellent for parties and an absolute bargain for $1. Although I may have a slightly biased opinion.

Computers, Entertainment, Games, MPOGs, Star Trek Online, Technology, Video Games

Cardassian Galor class cruiser

Star Trek Online recently gained a new loot drop that has been generating strong opinions, a Cardassian Lock Box. Inside each lock box is a random item. Possible items include a special tribble, some special team commodities, some cross faction consoles, a DS9 uniform set, or a few others. On the whole people aren’t interested in those, the only item they actually want is the Cardassian Galor class cruiser.

The actual odds of getting a cruiser are unpublished but assumed to be very low, possibly in the 0.5% range. This wouldn’t be very interesting in itself without one final piece to the puzzle: you require a “Master Key” to open the box and the keys have to be bought on the C-Store for real money. They cost 100 c-points each, or 10 for 900, making them £0.72 each (I think).

Many people have complained about this, and with some justification. My post isn’t really going to touch on that. Instead I’m going to reveal that I got one, and without spending any money on keys. You see, the ship is tradable via the exchange for normal in game energy credits. When it first launched prices were around 500 million. In three days they were down to 100 million. I snagged one for 82 million.

This amount of in game cash is not a small amount by any means. In fact when I bought it, 82 million wass the most I’ve ever had at once, but at level cap there is very little else to spend energy credits on. There are also a couple of ways to earn a lot quickly. The first is Ker’rat. It’s a space warzone in Eta Eridani that features the Federation fighting the Klingons while simultaneously trying to complete some Borg related objectives. If you can win the warzone you get a very rare drop. If you’re second or third you get a rare drop. If you’re at max level the drop will be at least mk X, sometimes even mk XII. Also, all the ships you destroy drop loot in the mk X to XII range. The second way is STFs. Most STF runs on normal succeed with the optional these days. They also drop quite a bit of loot now (especially Cure). Between those two methods you should be able to amass your millions with relative ease (I had 40 million when the Galor was first released and reached 82 million in a week). Also, as an extra bonus, Ker’rat has a wrapper mission that gives you 1440 dilithium for every three completions (and is not a daily so you can just keep running it).

So with all that information asside, here’s a couple of pictures of the Galor in an STF:

Computers, Entertainment, Games, Programming, Technology, Video Games

Gravitas in final review

It’s been a while since I reported that Gravitas was in final play testing. To be honest the process didn’t actually take that long, I just became busy in the meantime. But I have now finally submitted Gravitas for peer review and it’s currently marked as “60% complete”. Based on what I’ve seen of other games as a reviewer that means it should be a few days before it’s eligible for release.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been some work not related to the release. Firstly, the game now runs successfully on a Mac thanks to MonoGame which I hope will lead to a Mac App Store release. Secondly, I’ve been cleaning up the code (mainly separating out anything that isn’t Gravitas specific in preparation for beginning my second game, which for the moment I’m going to keep quite about.

To keep up to date on that and any other Gravitas news, visit Gravitas on Google+.