For iOS devices: Sunset now recognizes touch events on its gamepad, and will use
those instead of click events if possible. This eliminates the 300 millisecond
input latency you otherwise get. This means it takes about 6 fewer seconds to go
from one side of a map to the other. Speedrunners rejoice!
For desktops and laptops: Sunset has long supported keyboards through arrow
keys, the space bar, and the escape key. Today I also added support for WASD for
movement and Q and E for turning. This is the first time you’ve ever been able
to strafe in Sunset. Such flexibility!
Back in 2007, Apple released the iPhone. Apple didn’t announce the App Store
then, saying instead that web apps would be the “sweet solution.” People weren’t
so I set out to make a game that pushed the boundaries as much as I could.
I decided to make a 3D turn-based RPG. Sunset was the result. I released it in
January of 2008, shortly before Apple announced the iPhone SDK. The first wave
of native games easily trumped my game’s visual fidelity, but for a very brief
window of time I honestly felt I had put something out that was at or near the
top of the heap of what developers could make the iPhone do.
Much has changed since then. WebGL is a thing, enabling browser games to far exceed
what I could do in a Canvas tag. Phones have gotten orders of magnitude
faster. I’m pretty sure my iPhone today is faster than the iMac I developed
Sunset on. In fact, because of how fast modern phones are, I made a minor change
to Sunset today before uploading: as a performance optimization in 2007 I only
did a 3D raycast against every fourth column of pixels, leading to a
stair-stepping pattern when
viewing walls at extreme angles. I have removed that resolution limit, so your
device will now raycast all 320 glorious columns of pixels. Marvel at the
I played the game again to make sure it still worked (age has a funny habit of
breaking old software, even though the software itself didn’t change). I grimace
at a lot of my bad art, but I think the gameplay—simplistic though it
be—holds up pretty well. I like the difficulty curve, level progression,
and item stats. You struggle for a bit, then get a nice weapon upgrade and feel
like an invincible God, then you move on to the next zone and things get hard
So if you want to play a small, free game that might keep you busy for a few
hours, give it a try!
There are two features in these releases, and several bug fixes. I added the
ability to pick a format for distances, allowing you to choose between Metric
and Imperial. This is presently only used for the accuracy label when tracking
your location, but it’ll also be used for other features I want to add later.
I also improved VoiceOver accessibility support throughout the app. You can
navigate menus and work the keypads via VoiceOver. I don’t know if I really have
any audience for VoiceOver, but it’s a good thing to do and I wanted to practice
implementing it anyway.
2.2.0 also fixed a few very minor display issues. A few views weren’t aligned
well on all devices, and text could clip on some others. Also, iOS 9 will change
the system font from Helvetica Neue to San Francisco. When displaying text in
iOS, you can ask the OS to give you the “system font” of a specific weight and
size, but there were a few places where I was explicitly asking for Helvetica
Neue, so I replaced those calls with asks for the system font.
Unfortunately, 2.2.0 also broke the in-app purchase for the ad disabler. Folks
who already bought the ad disabler still had ads disabled, but people who didn’t
already have it couldn’t buy it.
How did this happen? Didn’t I say in my last post that I have a Runbook that I
use to test every part of the app? Yes, and I ran it for 2.2.0, and every other
part of the app worked, but the store didn’t, and I shipped anyway. Why?
Because I couldn’t find any reason in the code for the purchases not to work, so
I decided to bet that I wasn’t able to do purchases in dev because the sandbox
iTunes Store was down, which is something that happens from time to time. Once
the app went live and purchases didn’t work with the real App Store, I knew that
bet was wrong.
After poking around for a long time, I discovered the bug appeared when I
transitioned to Swift 1.2. That version of Swift added a built-in Set type, and
calls that used to take the Objective-C NSSet type changed to take the new Set
type, so I changed one line of code in the store from:
So all is good, yes? No. For some reason, despite the fact that the syntax is
valid, and logging out the resulting set appeared fine, for whatever reason when
that bridged back to Objective-C for StoreKit, the set was invalid in some way,
and a “could not connect to the iTunes Store” error would be produced. The
solution ended up being to change the line to:
Which also compiles fine and looks fine when logged out, and by all respects
should be functionally identical to the previous line, but it was the
difference between a working store and a broken one. I’m guessing there’s a
Swift bug here, and when I update the app to Swift 2.0 I think I’m going to try
both constructions and see if only one still works, and if so file a bug.
So the lesson I need to take away from this is that I really do need to pass all
my QA checks before shipping an app, no matter what.