Weekly Update: May 24, 2024

The big news for the past week was Kepler being promoted to the default build, as announced here.

So far, players have reported few significant bugs. I think at this point the biggest question mark is how many “stuck points” will first time players encounter. I.e., points where, due to unanticipated player behavior, the game provides insufficient guidance as to how to proceed. There were a lot of these in Ganymede, and some in Icarus. While Kepler addressed most of the outstanding ones, it also adds new content so there are probably still at least some.

Besides monitoring player feedback, I’ve started work on improving the game’s Steam Deck support, particularly adding the option to scale text up. This seemed like a relatively minor task, but has turned out to be larger than anticipated for a few reasons:

First, there are a lot of individual textual objects in the game, and the “correct” way to scale them depends on multiple factors. For example, with the ship status HUD in the lower right, the correct behavior it seems is to scale the entire transform up, including the bars and icons, so that it takes up a greater percentage of the total screen space. While with something like an anomaly dialogue, which already takes up most of the screen, that wouldn’t work. So there the font is scaled up but the dialogue container remains the same size.

Second, it makes sense for this to happen by default on the Deck, since the scale that looks good on a PC monitor is too small. But the third party API wrapper I use for Steam is out of date and doesn’t have the IsSteamRunningOnSteamDeck() method.

Finally, there’s the added friction that development on the PC is quite fast because in Unity I can test most changes within seconds in the Editor, where to test a change on the deck I need to build the game, deploy it to Steam, then update the game on the deck and run it.

Incidentally, if you are playing on the deck, there’s a “secret” opt-in beta with the super secret password of “111111111111” (that’s twelve ones). This build enables a text scaling option. It’s “secret” because I’m deploying untested changes to it unannounced, and do not plan on maintaining it long term.

Until next week!
– Kevin