TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Everything about this tennis manager game

Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 05 Nov 2017, 21:34

Ok, this time I got a so so week.

I managed to do only the Customization Screen. It was likely more complex than other menus to convert, but eventually, it's relatively close of what we had in TE2013 as you can see on the screenshot below.
I didn't do enough partly because I got taken once more by Dungeon Guardians : it seems there's an nearly infinite source of bugs in its code... :sweat:
And also because now I have to spend about 4 hours per day taking care of my little baby, as my wife can't handle him for too much at once lately. He's getting quite smarter now, so he's not far to need way less supervision. Or at least I hope so, because once it happens, it should give me a lot more time for working ; not that I don't enjoy spending time with him, but it's rather frustrating to feel I have energy to put in TEM2 (and TE4) and not been able to fuel this energy as much as I could... :scratch:

Hopefully next week, everything will be a bit better so I'll be able to be done with the menus, at least till the 3D Matches are incorporated into the game. However, I'll have to add few things here & there when I add new features into the game, but this should flow more naturally... :)

Cu soon to see how all this will turn out ! :wave:

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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 13 Nov 2017, 17:49

Pfff, last week I kinda shocked... :sweat:

I had to do icons for the match screen coz the artist I have hired to do the GUI is kinda MIA, and it has been a long & delicate process to reach a state "acceptable-but-not-great".
By the same effort, I also got a new glass icon frame for all the little icons I may using in the Character Sheet, so it's not too bad..! :yes:

Yesterday & today I have been able to speed up and finish the Match screen.

So overall, it hasn't been a great week, plus I realized I still have the tournament victory & ranking achievement screens to do, so I likely won't finish this new week, even if I manage to do the Training screen quickly (one can always dream :blackeye: ).

If you have any suggestion or (constructive) critic or praise about the menu screenshots shown in the mini-blog, don't hesitate don't let me know here => topic11-27584.php

Cu soon for more progress ! :yes:
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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 20 Nov 2017, 16:09

Pfff, tough week again ! :?

So last week I worked on the Character Sheet screen and it has been a struggle : this time it was not only on the icons, but also on the global design.

Let's check with what we started from TEM1 :
Image
Lot of stuff & 4:3 ratio.

Then you may have noticed the new design shown in 1st post of this topic :
Image
I thought it was ok but not great, as it felt too much like an excel spreadsheet.

Here the 2nd design :
2017-06-01 - TEM2 - Training.jpg

Better, but still not great : way too blocky, plus the player is on the left while I prefer him in the center, especially now he's in 3D with a little animation so he catches the eyes more often... :)
Also, some info better conveyed by icons has been changed to text.

So I scratched my head all week long and I finally came out with that :
2017-11 - TEM2 - Character Sheet.jpg

It has more space to breath, it feels more organic and hopefully less like a tax form, while still having free space for extra skills I want to add some in the future. A clear winner for me, even if it's still not perfect : the bottom right space being empty might be harsh on the eyes of some players.

However, it is used in the match presentation screen :
2017-11 - TEM2 - Match Opponent.jpg


This concludes a series of though new menu screens ! :woohoo:

Now, for this new week, I'm planning to do the new victory & achievement screens (yup, I couldn't do them this past week :blackeye: ), and then hopefully move to the Women Tour base.

Once it'll be done, I'll have to finally work out the training for the Junior players, and then polish a few things and we'll have a playable alpha version ! :yes:
So if my work rhythm doesn't slow down even more, it should be there within a couple of weeks.

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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 27 Nov 2017, 12:57

Another so so week, but as often working a bit is always infinitely better than not working at all... :blackeye:

So I worked on the Boxshot :
2017-11 - TEM2 - Boxshox #2.jpg

I didn't do the initial design, I just fixed it & improved it a bit. Result is pretty neat I think..! :yes:

After that, I did the achievement screens ; here the main one (others have slightly different colors and player pics) :
2017-11 - TEM2 - Performance.jpg

Again, I'm pretty happy with the result ; in term of design, it really looks like a version 2.0 of the ones in TEM1. It probably could be better, but for a low budget game, I'll settle for this... :blackeye:

So now I still have the victory screen to do (I already started it a bit), and then should move to the new Woman Player Base. It's not going very fast, but it's going. Cu soon for a new dev update ! :jap:

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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 04 Dec 2017, 15:02

A very poor week... :sweat:

Although, I didn't do nothing : I worked out the new registration system. In TEM1/TE2013, there's a Key.txt to copy in your game folder and a KeyRegister.exe that can install the Key for you. As the Key Register is built online with your Key info, I can't sign it like a normal program should be. Thus, Windows and a bunch of antivirus are stopping it to run, which leads to headaches for the less tech savvy users.
With the new system for TEM2/TE4 (and originally designed for Dungeon Guardians :whistle: ), you'll be entering a registration code inside the game, which will make the game download the Key and save it for you in the correct folder. It's similar to how work a lot of shareware programs.
I had done something a bit like this when I started to sell my games on Internet, but the copy/paste was also troubling some of the non-tech savvy users. I hope it'll be better this time, as it requires only 1 copy/paste instead of 3, and I did a little trick to fix mistyping (ie: remove spaces & stuff like that).

I also started to work on the player bases, by updating the Men base with 2017 year-end rankings. I also decided to ignore old dissolved countries (and thus change old player countries to current existing ones), so the geography throughout the years will always be the one from 2017 ; it'll be much simpler to handle, especially for the Davis Cup. It should be done soon and then I'll move to the Women base which needs some serious work to get the doubles rankings in good order... :sweat:

Lately, working has been a real challenge, as my baby is on a rampage, thus my wife barely can't handle him anymore, so in average I'm interrupted in my work every 10 or 15 minutes, which means it's nearly impossible to get some decent focus most of the time... :fear:
But it seems he's starting to get more smart & independent : now he can get up & down the stairs by himself and stuff like that. So when he'll finally sleep at night after his teeth will be all out, maybe my work schedule will come back to something more productive... :blackeye:
I also planned to build a door between my office & the living room, so it'll be much quieter in my space once it'll be done, hopefully sometime this month...

Last week, I also lost some time trying to get Internet by Optical Fiber. It's an on going issue that I regularly have faced for 1 year now, and every step is an headache and things never advance... Once it'll be all over, I should tell the whole story, hopefully before 1 more year.

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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 13 Dec 2017, 12:03

Got a bit delayed to write last week update... :fear:

Actually, I practically did nothing last week. I did the Victory screen. Once I will have updated to Unity engine, I might put a 3D cup instead there. But for initial release, it'll have to do... :)
Else, men player base is done. In 2017, n°1 player is Roger, but with an offtime during the clay season... ;)

Cu next time for hopefully more work done..! :unsure:
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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 18 Dec 2017, 10:33

Last week, I have been able to work more seriously, however, it turned out I had more things to do to finish the woman player base.

It is now almost done, with 1 hiccup : I don't have recent player weights, as the WTA doesn't publish that stat anymore since a couple of years ! Indeed, the players often reported their weight when turning pro, while still teenager, and didn't update it anymore when they reported their new heights, ending with a bunch of players having a body shape of anorexic super models..! :shock:
Once I will have released the early version, I'll ask all the WTA fans to update the weights of the players in the base ; hopefully, one (or several) will be willing to do that... :)

So now, I miss only 1 other thing : I'm going to add a new feature that will allow to tell when a player starts to play only doubles. It'll be useful for players like Hingis or Navratilova which had full doubles career once they had retired from singles. It should benefit some men as well, so I'll rebuild the man player base once it's done.

Cu soon for more updates ! :)

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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 26 Dec 2017, 12:13

I'm finally done with the player bases !

Once again, it turned out to be harder than expected, but nothing too bad. For the doubles, I even extended the system so now Modders will be able to specify the balance between Singles & Doubles for each year instead of the whole career.
I also had to retune a bit the starting age of the players, so there's not too much Junior players in the 1st year.

So the woman base starts in 1983, which is pretty neat for the older nostalgic people around here... ;)

And now both man & woman bases are final (more or less), so I'm back to the design of the Junior Training, like in last June. I just got a door in my office, which helps to get a more quiet environment and thus better focus. My baby seems to be ok with it being close a couple of hours per day. So hopefully, it'll be enough to find some inner peace and get more work done everyday... :P

That's all for now. Happy end-of-year holidays to everybody ! :santa:
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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 02 Jan 2018, 14:01

Last week my son got sick, and then I got sick... :sad4: (my wife didn't, though :blackeye: )

Nothing too bad, and anyway I needed a little break, so I (almost) didn't work. I wished I could brainstorm, but even that I didn't have much mood for it. However, I still got 1 decent idea : junior years should determine potentials, with different training options partly opposing raise of potentials and raise of skills. Like this, the user will have the choice between having his player very strong at 18, but his maximum somewhat limited throughout his career, or less strong at 18, but with higher potentials. It should help to bring more variety through different players.

I'm trying to get my mood back and start to work on that this week, but I don't promise anything..! :whistle:

EDIT:
And happy new year to everybody who will read this ! :cheers:
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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 06 Feb 2018, 14:00

Ouch, 5 weeks like that, without a mini-blog post ! :shock:

So actually, I almost didn't work on TEM2 for 4 weeks. I got incredibly busy with smaller & bigger stuff in my life & everyday business. Then 2 weeks ago, the 1st day I sit to work on TEM2, I noticed I got a bit sick so I rested the day instead, and the next time I sit, a couple of days later, I noticed my good focus for TEM2 had disappeared... :sweat:

So last week I regrouped myself and took small steps to come back on track. I have finally been able to put a few hours into the game and got the junior training design almost done so I did the menu parts needed for it :
2018-02 - TEM2 - Junior Training.jpg

So on bottom right of the training screen, when your player is junior, you'll see his weekly schedule and when you click on an activity, you'll be able to change it (except if he has school :) ).

I changed a bit the philosophy for the skills vs potentials, so now for each activity, you'll choose to favor potentials, skills, or balance between the 2.

I also solved another issue : the topspin. In Pro training, you choose to specifically work on it to make it raise or lower. Here, in Junior training, you'll just have to set a target for the topspin, and when your train your rally skills, the topspin skill will slowly move to that target (according to its potential allows it).

So now, I have to implement the couple dozens of rules into the game engine ; it's a matter of a few hours, it could be done fast, but right now, I don't have too much pleasure to work on the game engine, so it gets hard to stay on it more than 1 or 2 hours in a row. The hardest thing is still same than before : I want to do changes but I'm not sure what is the best & correct way to do them as I have forgotten how exactly work together the dozen of thousands of lines of code. :fear:

But working a bit by a bit, I'll chop into that, hopefully faster in February than in January, especially as side activities have lowered again to a more manageable level... :)

So cu soon for more news !
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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 19 Feb 2018, 18:45

A quick update, just to let you know that I'm actually working..! :P

Ok, not a lot, but I'm nearing the 10-hour mark per week and the magical 15-hour mark per week seems now reachable..! :blackeye:
Indeed, my baby sleeps better, and he also got better autonomy, so now my wife can handle him much more easily and I don't have to constantly step in.

So I finished most of what is needed for the Junior Training, but I still didn't implement the training rules. Hopefully, it shouldn't be too long to do it.

Now, I'm actually wondering if I shouldn't have done the Weekly Schedule day by day, instead of 1 day for the whole week. User feedback will let me know about that soon enough, I guess... ;)

I also tested & fixed a few bugs, and added a few things so the Junior management works correctly.

Lastly, I'll have to implement some kind of financial support from the tennis federation, as Junior tournaments don't bring any money. I'm thinking to simply give ~5000$ per year, or some other simple things like that.

If this new week goes well, I should be reaching out for Beta testers next week ! :yes:

So see you soon for some possible good news. And meanwhile, you can play the game of spot the differences with this following Junior Training screen and the one from last time. :blackeye:
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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 27 Feb 2018, 14:21

Ouch ouch !

I still didn't start the Junior training rules implementation... :sweat:

I added the tennis federation funding, and after that I had to fix a bunch of little things when managing a junior player ; eg: I had to tune the contract goals when recruiting a junior player, and a couple of little things like that.

I also added a "Go Pro" button so our player can switch to be a Pro earlier than normal. This switches to the Pro training and thus stops the potential progression but in return you can get money prizes from Pro tournaments, although you lose your Junior funding.

So yesterday I kinda shocked on the implementation on the Junior training : I had forgotten that the time progression is rather special in TEM. Indeed, each player is somewhat on his own timeline. This allows training by week instead of being forced to train by day and thus it's more convenient for the user. However, it's less convenient for me and I had to scratch my head to see how to fit the Junior weekly schedule back into the hour per hour training. So I found a relatively simple solution : when the player gets 6 hours of training, it'll be converted to a Junior day of training. If he gets less (eg: when playing a tournament), it'll be converted to resting time. I think it should work decently like that, but once again, I'll have to wait for user feedback... ;)

So this time, I think I've done everything needed for the Junior training & management except to implement the rules. I'd say it's a couple of days of work, so it may still be done by end of this week like hoped last week, if nothing more comes into the way... :blackeye:

Little Side Things

On the technical side, I have 2 good news for myself : I finally got Internet Fiber, which multiplied my upload speed by 120, so it makes updating my games easier & faster (especially Dungeon Guardians as its installer is ~500MB big), and it'll allow me to do daily online backups, so in case of terrible events in my home, I won't lose any work ! Before I only back-upped small source files, but now I'll be able to back up absolutely everything.

The other little good news is that for a couple of weeks (since I started back to work seriously), I've been super annoyed by my HDDs spinning up a couple of time of hours for no reason. It's especially annoying as one of the 2 HDDs has super unnerving vibrations amplified by my stupid & supposely quiet PC box. I finally found a way to lower the spinning up frequency by turning many things off in the Privacy settings of Windows 10. So now I'm getting a more quiet time to work (that's it, when my baby isn't screaming of joy or anger from the living room :blackeye: )

The magical 15-hour mark per week

Ok, I still didn't reach that mark, but I wanted to explain a bit why it's so magical, as if you're interested to work by yourself, especially on intellectual & creative work like development, it's an important concept.

So when you work with your mind, there's a few things to know :
- the 1st hours are usually the most productive ones (if not, check you have an healthy schedule), and once you have passed a certain number of hours per day, the more you work, the less productive you are ; I think this mark is around 4-6 hours per day, depending of the difficulty of the current tasks, the focus required, and the explosivity of your mind (ie: if you "sprint", you'll achieve your goals faster but you'll have to rest sooner)
- often for tough tasks, I need to have 3 free hours in front of me ; if I have only 1 hour, I can't attack a tough 3-hour task, because being interrupted in the middle will break my focus and getting back to it later, the next day, or worst, several days later will be very painful (eg: it's a good way to get bugs)
- in a same way, for big tasks, cutting them per 3 hours is doable, but by 1 hour isn't
- it means if I do only 1 or 2 hours per day, or by small periods, my productivity per hour will also lower when I have big complexe tasks to do (that's why I could easily work on the menus, but had a hard time to switch back to the Junior management)
- lastly, most long tasks usually take between 10 & 20 hours ; if I work 5 hours per week on a 20-hour complex task, it means I'll spend nearly 1 month on it : when I reach the end, I might have already forgotten what I did at the start ! If I can work 15 hours per week, then I can do in a bit more than 1 week and every thing stays fresh in my mind day after day and when I reach the end, the start isn't too far

So that's why is so important to reach that 15-hour mark to get a good work rythm. Ideally, I'd get to 20-25 hours per week, and up to 30-hours when nearing the release (and often up to 80-90 hours right before & after the release :blackeye: ).

I also take care of business & customer support & bug tracking in the existing games, so usually it adds from 5 to 15 hours per week. Nowadays, if I it gets above 5 hours per week, it starts to eat my development time, so I really try to keep it to a minimum (which is partly why I stopped to work on small feature improvements for TE2013).

That's all folks

And like usually, hopefully cya soon for some good news ! :yes:
ManuTOO
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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 05 Mar 2018, 23:20

Early Version => topic11-29241.php :fear:
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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 26 Mar 2018, 18:32

Pfff, 3 weeks since last *short* post and 4 weeks since last decent one, time flies by when you hunt bugs ! :blackeye:

So I have been able to work (almost) a lot since 1 month !

It has been a real daily struggle, though. First, after a few quiet & well scheduled weeks, my baby got a new wave of a toothache, a real tough & bad one. It completely destroyed his sleep pattern and my wife had to take care too much in the night, so she didn't have the energy to take care of him too much in the day, so I had to jump in a lot which complicated my working schedule.

Despite that, I managed to reach a releasable stable for TEM2, as you can see in the super short post before this one... :P

And then, the bug hunt begins.

Hunting bug can be quite hard, but it doesn't need the focus and long hours ahead to dive into, so I have been able to go & come on the duty, and put more hours into works lately. This is why I didn't do a blog post for a while, as usually I write them when I have 20-30 free minutes in the afternoon ; and in the past couple of weeks, this time could be spent fixed 1 or 2 small bugs... :yes:

So after a couple of weeks, I managed to fix all the reported bugs, port TEM2 to MacOS and start to clean a bit the website. TEM page is still about the n°1 instead of the n°2, but now it's just a matter of changing a few pictures. Everything else is done : download links, purchase links, license key emails, the index page with all games, etc. I even upgraded the design of the doc, as the old one was too much in the 80's style... ':D (it's almost done, it might come with the next update)

So now, I can get back to adding new features. Or almost, before that I have to enhance a couple of little things for the Junior Tour.

So it's kinda an exciting time, because I'm not sure how it'll go... :P
Hopefully, it'll go well and within the next couple of weeks, many small features will come into the game. Most of them will be long ago user-requested features.

Although one of the 1st feature I'd like to work on is adding old age specialist trainers, which will allow to preserve your physical abilities when getting older. They'll be available only from the end of the 2000's, to reflect the recent changes on the Tour with players still excelling in their early 30's (in a not so distant past, turning 30 meant getting retired :fear: ).

Cu soon for more dev updates ! :jap:
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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 10 Apr 2018, 17:11

Pfff, hard times again... :fear:

So switching back to creative mood has proven to be difficult once again, especially as my baby is on a rampage once more and spends hours awake at night... :sweat:

So I have finished updating the website, as well as the documentation & order forms bundled with the game (for the French, English & German versions, other languages will have to wait :whistle: ), so everything is in order.

I also created the Steam store page for the game, with a new little trailer (its script is almost identical to TEM1 one, though :blackeye: ), even though the Steam release isn't planned before a long time, as it might help to get a bit of exposure for TEM2. It's currently waiting for approval from Valve to be published.



I still did a few things on the game itself, as you already know if you follow the updates ; mostly I added the aging specialists and it seems to be working nicely as I still didn't get any bug report... :P

I also fixed a few small issues.

So now the goal is to add 2 features within next couple of weeks :
- Better injury handling (eg: can go on playing with the risk to get more injured)
- Training Macro (can save a training schedule & reapply it)

Plus I also have to revamp a few little things that will lead to lose your current saved games ; I have been stalling a bunch of little things for a while now to avoid this inconvenience.

If the baby mood is on my side, and my mood is alright, all should be doable, but nothing is sure at the moment... So cu soon to know the result... :unsure:
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