Xeno Crisis Announcement!

As mentioned in their latest KickStarter update, we are pleased to announce that we’ll be handling the console porting for Bitmap Bureau’s retro arena shooter “Xeno Crisis”.

We’ve known Mike and Matt for many years, working together previously at the UK’s number one independent mobile games studio IOMO just a few short years ago :-).

While the Bitmap Bureau guys focus on the tweaking the final gameplay and creating the amazing selection of retro versions (Megadrive, Neo Geo AND Dreamcast!) we’ll be putting the contemporary console builds through certification - Nintendo Switch, Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft XboxOne.

The modern console versions are in safe hands with DO Games, and we have every confidence that Matt Tighe and his team will do a superb job.
— Matt Cope - Bitmap Bureau, Technical Director

Xeno Crisis is best described as Smash TV meets Aliens with amazing pixel artwork, perfectly tuned gameplay and a pumping YM2612 inspired sound track.’

It’s great to be working with Bitmap Bureau team again. We love their attention to detail and the sheer platform reach and retro appeal of this project!
— Matthew Tighe - DO Games, Founder & CTO

We’d highly recommend you checkout the KickStarter and pre-order for your platform of choice!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1676714319/xeno-crisis-a-new-game-for-the-sega-genesis-mega-d







Matthew Tighe
Compiling Unreal Engine 4.20

In our next tech post, Steve Longhurst will show you how to compile your own version of Unreal. Not only are we at DO-Games experienced with Unity, but also Epic Games’ Unreal Engine. This video will show you how to compile your own version of the Unreal Engine, an essential starting point for console development and porting.

If you are using the Epic Games Unreal Engine v4 to make a game, and you plan to port to a console such as Xbox One, Switch or PS4, you will need to compile your own custom version of the engine, from source. Epic Games only supply the console support plugins as source code once you have signed up with the console manufacturers development program and signed their Non Disclosure Agreements.

Building the engine yourself might sound daunting, but it's really not hard, and Epic Games provides several useful documentation pages on how to go about it. Good places to start are:

Compiling your own Engine is also a very good way to dig into the inner workings of Unreal, using the Visual Studio debugger. If you write C++ code (not just Blueprint logic), you can debug step through your code and right into the Engine source, allowing you to learn what’s really going on under the covers. Lastly, it also means you can fix bugs or add missing features in the Unreal Engine, which we think is one of the big selling points of Unreal for anyone with coding experience.

This video is my experience in compiling the Unreal Engine, on Windows 10, using Microsoft Visual Studio 2017. Reading the documentation will give you all the theory, but it often helps to see someone actually perform the steps. Just ten minutes of watching this video and you will have first hand experience for when you come to do it yourself.

- SL

Shikhondo Announcement, partnership with Digerati

Today we are happy to announce our next release, "Shikhondo - Soul Eater" for Nintendo Switch, developed by Deer Farm and published by Digerati Distribution!

This marks the first title in our new multi-game deal with Digerati.

Shikhondo is a Korean bullet-hell shoot 'em up set within the beautiful and bizarre world of Asian mythology.  DO handled the Nintendo Switch version including the setup of Nintendo Switch Online Leaderboards.  Getting the game running smoothly with thousands of bullets on screen required bespoke optimisaton work, seeing DO completely re-implement the bullet handling system. The result - solid 60fps whether handheld or docked.

This is exactly the kind of challenge we love; where we can use our experience to ensure a title not only gets released, but with the high quality that consumers demand and that does the title justice.  At DO we love games and bringing them to console is a labour of love, not just a process.

DO founder and CTO Matthew Tighe said of the deal:

"The quality of Digerati's catalogue is obvious and shows they know how to support developers and make a success of their titles.  Shikhondo has a great aesthetic and posed an interesting challenge for us, so was a perfect fit.  I'm looking forward to more of the same working with Nick and the team who have been great.”.

Shikhondo will be released later this summer for digital download and with a limited edition physical run, so it's our first boxed game.

 

Stay tuned for details of the second game, fruity pie!

Source control with Git Large File Storage

This is the first of hopefully many technical posts, we'll be talking about Unity, game dev and hopefully some retro game dev very soon.  So, to kick things off - let's start at the beginning with some source control...

Recently we have started a few projects which were complete PC games with a large footprint.  The first thing we do is put the project under source control and we've always used GitHub and GitLFS which have worked well.  However with large projects it is can be fairly common to see the dreaded:

"fatal: The remote end hung up unexpectedly"

I've seen various posts on the net about using SSH over HTTPS and setting the HTTP post buffer parameter to a large value:

git config http.postBuffer 524288000

However for me none of these work reliably in all cases.  As you know GitHub has a file size limit of 100MB, but you often encounter problems well before you get to files of that size.

So here are some basic things we do when first pushing a project to GitHub.

Start with a small initial commit

Just setup the README, .gitignore, and your lfs tracking (see below).The reason for this is simple, if you end up needing to rebase in future and everything is in the initial commit, you will soon discover you are stuck.  To rebase you need a parent and so you can't rebase the original commit.

At this point, don't forget to install GitLFS.

git lfs install

Split up large commits and push one at a time

Even if it does work a single giant commit is fairly unwieldy. There is nothing more frustrating that firing off a 'git push' only to have it fail 3% from the end after 20 minutes.  From my experience it's fairly intolerant of transferring large files, so if you missed off a 'git lfs track' or the connection hangs it's much easier if you don't have to start again from scratch and when there is a problem this helps you narrow it down.

So add files to commits in groups, either those that occur naturally or try alphabetically.  You don't need to go too mad on the granularity but a few reasonable sized chunks is all that is needed.

Find all the large files in your project and lfs track them first!

It's quite important to track all the large files in your project to begin with.  If you don't and you commit any large files by accident they'll get added to your git object database and bloat it.  Secondly if you miss large files your pushes will fail either when they get rejected or often when the transfer times out.

While You can rebase and track the files at a later date, that is painful and you end up having to clean out the blobs manually usually anyway.  Much better to get things under control from the start.

Using find and ls in bash, you can list all assets above a certain size: 

find .-type f -size +50M -exec ls {} \;

I'm sure with some sed and grep wizardry you can just list the extensions to track, but this is a good enough start.

You'll often notice examples or demos from Asset Store items in here if using Unity.  Might be time to prune the project unless you really need them eating up your storage space.

GitHub allows files up to 100MB but gives a warning over 50MB.  I usually look at anything over 10 or 20MB.  As well as any obvious binary only assets.

If you do make mistakes and attempt to clean up afterwards I have heard good things about the BFG Repo Cleaner. But have never used it myself.

Until next time...

Hopefully this will help you out when commiting an existing project to any Git based system with file size limits requiring you to use LFS.  As mentioned there will be more technical posts coming up soon including a post-mortem of sorts for The Adventure Pals, and some retro IBM EGA appreciation... so stay tuned.

- MT

 

The First Tree Announcement

As mentioned on Twitter a few months back we are happy to announce our partnership with David Wehle to release The First Tree on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch!

The First Tree is a beautiful, 3rd-person exploration game centered around two parallel stories: a fox trying to find her missing family, and a young couple dealing with a tragedy in their own. Through out the game you uncover artifacts from the young couple’s life as they too become intertwined in the fox’s journey towards The First Tree.

At DO, we are really excited to be working on such a stunning game with a storyline that is close to our heart.  This further cements our culture of working with talented and creative Indie developers to deliver their titles to console with the best experience on each platform.

Matthew Tighe
Invisigun Heroes Announcement!

We are excited to announce that DO Games has partnered with Shadi Muklashy and Sombr Studio to work on the title Invisigun Heroes!

Invisigun Heroes is a single-screen stealth battle arena with a twist... everyone is invisible!  Play local or network multiplayer across a variety of worlds with your chosen character.

At DO we pride ourselves on working with indie developers producing high quality, original titles with heart and soul; Invisigun Heroes exemplifies this.

From the variety of the arenas, the unique set of characters each with their own abilities, to the beautiful pixel art and pumping sound track - you can see why the title has seen a successful Kickstarter and Steam launch.

Stay tuned for more updates on this and some more future titles very shortly!

gamesMatthew Tighe
Pinstripe Release for Xbox One and PS4

We are proud to announce that Pinstripe from Atmos Games will be our first successful port to be released, in only a few weeks time!

DO took the original source code, creating the console ports and delivering them on time and within budget.  We worked closely with the publisher, Armor Games Studios to deliver this as their first console title.

Pinstripe will be available on both the Xbox One and PS4 as follows, check out the links below for more information and pre-orders.

Xbox One, February 7th

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/pinstripe/bp8wvvcmf11b

PS4, February 13th

https://www.playstation.com/en-us/games/pinstripe-ps4/

 

More successful ports on the way soon, to even more platforms... if you have a game and you'd like help moving to console, mobile or any other platform we'd love to hear more.

Playstation Experience 2017

We've been at PSX 2017 this weekend in Anaheim, California to support the first 2 titles to be ported by DO to all major consoles; The Adventure Pals and Pinstripe.  Both published by Armor Games Studios.

 Anaheim convention centre for Playstation PSX
 PlayStation PSX expo

The Adventure Pals by Massive Monster, to be released spring 2018 is a quirky side-scrolling platformer with local co-op play, giraffes and a hot-dog obsessed villian.

This title uses our Haxe/OpenFL to Unity re-targeting technology - which provides a great way to super-charge a game you already have in development.  Massive Monster were able to take the existing code, run it in Unity with no changes and continue to update it in Haxe, while DO focused on the porting to Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch via Unity.

Our system keeps all graphic elements as true GameObjects in the scene graph.  Because of this, Jay and the team at Massive Monster were able to add in selection of great Unity based shaders and effects to create a really polished visual style.

There will be a tech post on this blog soon going in depth on how this all works, what the challenges were and how they were addressed.

Pinstripe by Atmosgames, to be released Q1 2018 is a critically acclaimed, atmospheric adventure game with a breathtaking audio/visual style.  This was already a Unity title released on Steam when we got involved.  We took the existing game code and handled the porting to Playstation 4 and Xbox One.

 The Adventure Pals ported to PlayStation 4 by DO Games
 Pinstripe ported to PS4 by DO Games

Both games are published by Armor Games Studios which is the new, multi-platform arm of the well established Flash games site we all know and love.

Huge thanks to Jay from Massive Monster who was crazy enough to believe Matt when we said an existing OpenFL game could be ported to console via Unity with no code changes.  Without this and Jay's subsequent introduction to Thomas and Armor, none of this would have been possible.

Secondly, to Thomas Brush for trusting us to handle a game he's poured 5 years into and for being a generally great person to work with.

Finally to the Ryan, Justin, Sean, Dan and the whole Armor Games team for inviting Matt out to PSX and for all their support though the process.

It's been a blast and we are looking forward to seeing both these titles in store and more to come.  If you are and indie dev with a title you'd like our help on please get in touch!

events, gamesMatthew Tighe