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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsTidepool, a codable storytelling world for kids
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teefal
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« Reply #80 on: August 14, 2015, 09:48:13 AM »

(18 days till alpha 3 -- 110 days till beta -- 220 days till gold)

I've been working on Tidepool steadily, though haven't made a devlog post in four weeks.  No real reason why.  I did keep the podcast going. Alpha 3 is coming along, with the coding IDE almost done and agents looping and bouncing to their own rules.  



Yesterday I committed to a final release schedule.  Come what come may, we'll ship a version on the 1st of the next four months (Sep/Oct/Nov/Dec), then the 20th of the next three (Jan/Feb/Mar).  The feature-complete beta will ship on December 1st (in 110 days) and the gold version will ship on March 20th (in 220 days).  

EDIT: The dates are now the 20th of each month through March.  Beta on Dec 20th, gold on March 20th.

I'll be timeboxing these dates, so we'll slip features, not time.  No exceptions.

« Last Edit: September 06, 2015, 07:04:11 AM by teefal » Logged

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« Reply #81 on: August 15, 2015, 03:02:14 AM »

(17 days till alpha 3 -- 109 days till beta -- 219 days till gold)

I've been finishing the "director" box, which is the primary UI for coding your agents in Tidepool.  As you can see, it has four panes ... agents, properties, rules, and timeline.  In Tidepool, you hire and fire agents in a story, which lets you choose which of your sketches becomes codable.  You can then use the director to add & change properties (variables) and rules (methods) in each agent.  The timeline shows recent messages involving that agent (or future ones).



You can also do all of your coding in the message bar (command line).  The director is meant to be an easy place to see the big picture.  In other news, today's podcast was about publicity ... audience, outlets, message.
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teefal
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« Reply #82 on: August 16, 2015, 07:07:35 AM »

(16 days till alpha 3 — 108 days till beta — 218 days till gold)

Yesterday I finished the rule box, which pops up when you edit or add rules from the director.  Rules have a name, a list of conditions, and a list of messages.  Conditions are boolean expressions that can be and'ed and or'ed.  When the conditions are met, the messages get sent.   Messages can be sent back to the agent itself, or to any other agent or item in the story.



Yesterday, I also did my first cutting ... bumping seven optional issues to the next milestone to keep to the timebox.  It felt awful to give up some of these, such as trimming the installer size and adding a splash screen on launch, but they're not strictly necessary for an alpha and I've committed to maintaining these dates.  Perhaps if a later issue takes less time I can add them back.

Today's podcast talks about a few upcoming issues, such as polling for conditions and the revamped roster (list of players & agents).
« Last Edit: August 17, 2015, 05:43:36 AM by teefal » Logged

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« Reply #83 on: August 17, 2015, 10:35:29 AM »

(15 days till alpha 3 — 107 days till beta — 217 days till gold)

After being heckled on a mailing list last night, I started my podcast today feeling daunted at the prospect of publicizing Tidepool myself.  Though I was raised by the original Don Draper, I don't quite have the stomach for bragging through a megaphone, all appearances to the contrary.  My mood didn't even improve as I started some fun UI work, so I decided to accompany my wife on a drive to nearby Easton, Pennsylvania.

Easton is home to one of the world's most recognized childhood joys: Crayola.  About a year ago, I decided to use their 120 colors as the palette for Tidepool, simply because it was fun looking through a big box of crayons to find a color to use in game.  I also have fond memories, like every other kid on the planet, using them to draw.  For a while now, I've been cruising the Tidepool world with these colors all around.

Today I walked into the Crayola Factory and was surrounded once again by these friendly, familiar colors.  My mood improved immediately.



No, I don't have formal permission to use these colors, and no, I haven't asked my intellectual property lawyer (or Crayola) just yet.  I suspect anyone's allowed to use the colors, though perhaps not some of the color names.  If prompted, I could easily rename "razzmatazz" and the rest, though it'd be nice for kids to still be able to type in their crayon color names.

Either way, that store, those colors, and Tidepool simply make me happy.  Thank you Binney & Smith for bringing your dream into being.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2015, 10:50:28 AM by teefal » Logged

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« Reply #84 on: August 17, 2015, 10:53:52 AM »

Heckling is easy, and nothing but cowardice.

Putting something out there in the world requires bravery.
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teefal
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« Reply #85 on: August 18, 2015, 07:24:16 AM »

Thanks JobLeonard.  As always, your support lifts my mood.
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teefal
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« Reply #86 on: August 18, 2015, 07:37:41 AM »

(14 days till alpha 3 — 106 days till beta — 216 days till gold)

Just finished the improved roster, which lets you start, stop, and step one agent or many, depending on the checkboxes.  I've also split players from agents in tabs.



This took an hour and a half less than expected, which let me put some issues back into this release, which is always cool.  I won't hold my breath though, since later issues will likely take longer too.  The give and take of a timebox, as discussed on today's podcast.

In other news, I spoke to the first of ten courseware authors last night about Tidepool and the units we plan to create in the next six weeks.  I'm speaking with each individually over the next week, then we'll start building with the alpha 3 release candidate.  Bless these fearless teachers for agreeing to create lessons with a shaky alpha.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2015, 07:59:22 AM by teefal » Logged

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« Reply #87 on: August 28, 2015, 05:54:29 AM »

Hi all,

The next version of Tidepool, our multiplayer programmable game world for kids, is releasing next week.

We're finalizing our alpha invite list.  If you want to try Tidepool for free, signup before September 1st to reserve your spot and become a "trailblazer". 

You'll earn a badge that's visible in game, and you'll get special perks when the game releases.  You can also reserve your username.

http://playtidepool.com/signup

Starting Tuesday, you'll need to contribute to October's Kickstarter to get early access, so signup now.
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« Reply #88 on: August 28, 2015, 07:21:09 AM »

I'm deeply sorry, but I simply do not have the time for playing, let alone playtesting games any more. I follow the tigsource forums for design discussions, but that's about it. Good luck though!
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« Reply #89 on: August 28, 2015, 03:02:03 PM »

JobLeonard, I completely understand, and yet am more motivated to convince you.

There will come a GIF or screencast some distant day that wins you over Smiley
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« Reply #90 on: August 31, 2015, 06:59:28 AM »

Just made Tidepool 0.2.2 and posted

explaining what's new.  One step closer to the public alpha!

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« Reply #91 on: August 31, 2015, 09:24:08 AM »

Wow, we really had good run for alpha tester signups this morning ... 31 and counting, adding to the few dozen we had in recent days.

I'm closing the list at midnight New York time, so if you're still interested in trying Tidepool next week:

http://playtidepool.com/signup

Help us make it to 150.  We're almost there.
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« Reply #92 on: August 31, 2015, 12:28:02 PM »

Sorry, I'll just stick to being moral support over here Cheesy. But it looks like you won't be needing me anyhow Coffee
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« Reply #93 on: August 31, 2015, 12:57:04 PM »

This looks like a very cute and joyful little experience. I submitted an alpha registration as Lazymoth, would love to look around and see what can be done in this world. I hope I will have the spare capital to help out once the Kickstarter goes live.
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« Reply #94 on: August 31, 2015, 02:44:21 PM »

Thanks Moth.  I hope to see you in game next week!
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« Reply #95 on: September 01, 2015, 07:56:15 AM »

Two more slots left with 5 minutes to go Smiley

Who will it be?   http://playtidepool.com/signup

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« Reply #96 on: September 01, 2015, 08:28:10 AM »

And that's a wrap ... exactly 150 playtesters signed up and ready.  Here's hoping they don't all login at the same time (at least not yet).

It's looking like the release date will be Labor Day or so (a week from now).
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« Reply #97 on: September 06, 2015, 06:53:44 AM »

Yesterday I finished the features for the upcoming release, which felt great for a few hours. Some of the trickiest bits are in this release, which implements a full-blown programming system in the game world.  I'm able to do some nifty things now, which I'll show off in coming days.

The good feelings ended after the multiplayer integration test.   I found another 20 bugs, which brings the count to 40.   Pretty close to what I expected, but there's always that hope that things will go better.  After pushing for weeks, it really knocked me out. 

Fixing them will take roughly twenty hours, which if the past is any guide will lead to another 20 bugs and ten hours, which means I've got a good 30 hours before the release candidate.  This is time I don't have if I want to keep the schedule.

This morning I waivered between doubling my hours or pushing the schedule.  Given that I'm feeling the unmistakable twinges of burnout breakdown, I wisely opted for the later.  I'll use up my December buffer and push the next four releases forward.  Who needs a holiday break anyway?




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« Reply #98 on: September 06, 2015, 08:37:21 AM »

You're also less likely to make new bugs when not burnt out. Make sure you rest enough man.
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teefal
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« Reply #99 on: September 07, 2015, 06:02:15 AM »

Thanks JobLeonard.  I took nearly the whole day off yesterday!

Of course, my wife was playing Elder Scrolls Online and my daughter was playing Pokemon X and Scribblenauts, so they didn't want to play with me. I guess if you ignore people long enough, they start ignoring you back Smiley
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