Tool Updates Suck
So in the past week I have lost a whole days worth of work (which as a proportion is very big since I am a solo dev and everything halts) thanks to a tools update. I have been putting off updating Android Studio 3.x because I have for a long time had bad luck with X.0 releases. Looking at you Xcode. I finally caved and did the update since it has been months and there was a bug update. Right away I lost a big chunk of time updating, then dealing with changes to how gradle works (and other build stuff; I use gradle because I apparently like things that look streamlined but are poorly documented and a pain in the ass) and then was hit by an issue with an NDK update that came along. It started saying I couldn't build for certain chipsets. After much frustration I just dropped them for now and logged a bug. The bug, thus far seems to be playing hot potato over at Google. Hopefully it is resolved before launch...
Then today since I was about to wrap up last weeks work and start a large new change, I decided to cut a new Alpha build for the small group of alpha testers I have. And apparently gradle (specifically the experimental one used by AS since I mostly work native side) has broken a tiny little feature (exporting versionCode) which has major impacts (Cannot upload to google play console). After going to great lengths (clean repo + clean install + purged config) and a half day of lost time I managed to finally work around the issue.
I would like to update to VS 2017 and Xcode 9.2 but I feel like I should wait until after launch....
So besides getting very angry, what else did I work on? A fair bit of balancing. Quite a bit of clean up. Mostly dead code, although I have also disabled a few mechanics that I am questioning the value of. Some very useful engine fixes and changes. Two critical ones that need to go out to my other games; no one's device is going to catch on fire but they are important enough to warrant updates. And a substantial bit of UI overhaul.
The last one is a bit ironic since I as I have progressed through it I have realised I have a much bigger UI problem: information overload. I tend to be a minimalist but can still start taking on things all willy-nilly. I ended up sitting down and going through the various screens, info and looking at how a few other games handle some what similar concepts. I then figured out what I need, what I don't, and what can be moved around and such.
The good news is the core game look will change very little. The biggest changes are stuff I was going to do anyway. The extra screens I was about to update are sort of going away, sort of becoming massively reduced (unlocking things, and game over sequences). And the restaurant, which I spent a good chunk reworking this week, is probably going to get the most substantial changes. I don't feel like it is a huge loss since a lot of it was more grey boxed to see the information and I doubt I would have reached this point w/o that change. But it still sucks to throw away any work. On the flip side, I have started to see performance issues in the restaurant screens, which I had ameliorated with a change. I had one idea to further reduce them, however the reworking of the restaurant may actually eliminate them.
So ya, the next week is going to be primarily UI changes. I am hoping it only takes a few days leaving me enough time to bring in some sort of a tutorial and fleshing out the last mechanic that is still sort of 'choose from random box'. Which I have a (I think) really neat idea for!
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