Gaming Festival & Architecture Blog for v0.9.4

Hello everyone,

Time is passing far too quickly again. It’s only just been Christmas and now I hope that everyone had a good Easter.I would like to bring you up to date with the latest news. What is currently being worked on, what else is happening, etc.

First of all, the most urgent NEWS:

Summer Islands is part of CAGGTUS 2024. #GamesGround #Caggtus

From April 5 to 7, 2024, we will be at Caggtus in Leipzig with our own booth in the Indie area to show everyone who wants to play Summer Islands. Come by and play a round or just chat and get to know each other.I’m looking forward to seeing you!!!!

The next update:

As you might have guessed, I’ve been working on the next update for a few weeks now.In terms of the timeline, the engine upgrade is coming in the next update (and of course a few other little things)The aim is to round off Summer Islands even further in all areas so that there are no major surprises on release.This means that with the latest update I’m trying to keep the FPS at 60 (maximum drops to 30 fps), the side missions need to be calibrated and the map editor needs to be adapted for Steam Workshop.

As you can see, there are a lot of things going on under the hood. There are also no more major features planned before the release (I hope this is not a surprise. The timeline has been mentioned here before).

To summarize: We are working on the next update. Your wishes and feedback are welcome at any time.

However, I would like to go into a little more detail about the current technical situation in this news post. In other words, for anyone who also deals with software architecture or wants to understand the IT behind the game in more detail.

The longer you develop games, the more you look at the structures in games. “How was this effect added?”, “ah, this little movement already gives you the feeling for XY”, “look, the waterfall also only contains 3 textures that move back and forth”. Here you still have to be careful that you can still enjoy games. But you also understand that computer games only ever want to and can convey the atmosphere to the player with the smallest of means. Because every calculation in a game must be considered efficiently so as not to diminish the gameplay experience. “Is this fluid calculation for the water worth it or is a simplified calculation enough?”, “How much atmosphere does this effect add to the FPS?”.This constant back and forth has accompanied me a lot in recent years.

When programming, there are always two ways to solve complex problems: Solve the problem with computing power or memory capacity. So you can recalculate the position, angle etc. of an object in the game again and again or you can save the information about the object and call it up when required.If you solve a problem using the computing power, you have full flexibility. With the memory capacity you have more power for other calculations.

Since we have implemented Summer Islands in Javascript, many things are rewritten with the engine upgrade to the memory capacity. The different layers from the browser, JS, Executable to the actual calculation are not designed for high computing power. Nevertheless, a high degree of flexibility is always required at the start of development in order to implement changes quickly. This has always been an advantage for Summer Islands. Even if the latest version of the FrontEnd Engine brings a change from WebGL to WebGPU, this unfortunately does not result in a “Plug&Play” stable 140fps.The change is accompanied by many changes and this is noticeable in the creation of many textures. The focus is now more on reusing the textures that are already stored in the GPU cache. Therefore, all calculations and textures had to be temporarily stored in memory to a much greater extent.

It is well known that you should generally store everything in a cache. But that’s always easier said than done. The textures in Summer Islands are all stored in the cache. But switching between textures and creating additional sprites (textures with additional properties) creates a lot of work, e.g. when 3000 bicycles are simply riding around in the landscape. Also the creation of the fields (water, beach, grass,..) are no longer recalculated with every change. We have added another controller that is responsible for texture management. The rendering can always take all the information it needs for display from this pot without being disturbed.

At the moment I have gotten good results in some long-term tests on my programming laptop (i7-8750H, 16GB Ram, GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q). So after 45 years of game time with 15 bots and a 300 map size with 10,000,000,000 starting money (for the bots), it ran at 45-55 fps. The hardest calculations are for the moving objects (bike, car, ship, airplane).

As you can see, improvements are being made in all areas for this update. So it will probably take a while yet. Vacation is not planned until June. So I’ll try to keep you up to date over the next few weeks.But if you still find bugs, have ideas or wishes, feel free to contact me at any time.Even with the release, this does not mean that features will not be added.

P.S. If you ❤️ Summer Islands, we would be very 🤩 about a 👍 Review.

Have fun