Duality Dev Update

It’s about time to put another Duality development writeup out there, and with this one I want to try a slightly different form. Getting away from the giant forum thread, we’re back to the blog.

With the recently started Duality v3.0 dev branch and continuous updates to the stable v2.x versions, there’s a lot of progress both visible and invisible to people following the binary release chain. The purpose of this split in two different versions is to reconcile the two conflicting goals of backwards compatibility and forward progress: Updating the Duality version behind a game or plugin project shouldn’t break it, so while fixing and adding features is fine, removing or changing them is not. However, as the project evolves, the requirement to maintain the same facade and feature set adds up to a constant maintenance cost that makes some things harder and pushes others beyond the threshold of viability. Old code just needs to be cleaned up once in a while, polished and streamlined – and that is exactly what v3.0 is for.

Don’t expect tons of big new features, but an improved API and the groundwork for future improvements on a more fundamental scale. That said, I’m (on a nerdy programmer-think basis) pretty excited about the things to come. You can find the full list of v3.0 issues here, and an overview on what has already been done below.

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Asset Management Improvements

I must preface this progress report with an apology: Doing PR work isn’t exactly my greatest strength and sometimes that means skipping it for a while and keeping the public out of the development loop. Sorry everyone! Here it is: A quick update.

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Duality v2.0 Changelog

Duality v2.0 is now feature-complete and, until more testing has been done, awaiting its binary release. This posting contains the full changelog since the previous v1.x release.

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Project Summary: “Shopfloor”

Shopfloor2Shopfloor was a small project from the “Serious Games” category that was developed for Infineon Technologies. Designed as a casual interlude in scheduled in-house trainings for employees, the goal was to create a game that would be engaging and fun to play, while at the same time providing a platform for reflecting the lessons from their everyday work.

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Package Management in Duality

NuGetLogoIf you’re a C# developer, there’s a good chance that you already know what NuGet is, or at least have overheard someone talking about it. The main idea is to stop delivering precompiled dependencies along with source code, and instead provide a central repository where all these binary packages are stored. Whenever someone needs one of them, it can be downloaded automatically, and whenever a new version is available, upgrading is only a mouse click away. Package Management is just incredibly convenient – and now, Duality makes use of it. Let’s take a quick look at how it works.

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Website Style +1

Opinion has been raised that, although Duality sure is a great framework, it’s website representation on my blog lacked a professional look and feel. Unfortunately, this was absolutely true: The Duality info page was an ugly wall of text with loads of unnecessary information, bad design and far too many links. Although I was kind of aware of this fact, it somehow slipped my attention repeatedly until now. I finally found the time to rework the info page, and along with that switch to a different theme for this blog.

So.. in case you’ve always wanted to tell someone about Duality – now would likely be the most visually appealing opportunity since 2011.

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Framework Decisions

Since Unity2D was released a little time ago, some people have been asking what makes Duality better for 2D games than Unity. While it is obvious that, in this comparison, Duality gets to be the little guy next to a giant, this may still be a question worth exploring. So, why does Duality exist? Here are some of my own thoughts on this matter.

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Hats and Terrain Rendering

I’m still figuring out how many hats a single guy can wear at once. So far, my personal hat count is something around “four”, counting two jobs, studying and personal life. As it turns out, I appear to have reached a limit for now. When this semesters courses began in October, the free amount of time at my disposal once again vanished, and so did the unsteady stream of content for this blog. This is just a faint sign of life, but hey – at least I’ve got some pictures.

MateTerrainThe first one is a screenshot from job #2, where I’m developing a game that will be used in a medical context. It’s called MATE and aims at motivating young patients in doing their physical exercise using a training device – which is basically used as a custom game controller. It has one degree of freedom and the target audience is not what you’d call a “gamer”, so I’m keeping the game itself small and simple: You’re maneuvering a paper plane through a dynamically generated landscape, collect gold coins and try not to hit anything. There also is a highscore at the end of each level and a set of ghost players from previous records.

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Respawn Conference and Honourbound Gameplay

Duality at the "Respawn - Gathering of Game Developers"So there recently was this game development conference called “Respawn” and some of the guys from BatCat Games were there, giving Duality a nice guest appearance while talking about their experience developing the game “Honourbound”. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend myself, but according to what they’re telling me, it seems that it was received pretty well.

Needless to say, I’m pretty grateful for their kind support. Dragging Duality into the spotlight of a professional stage is something I couldn’t have done myself and it feels like a great reward for all the effort I’ve been pouring into the project in the last months. Thanks! 🙂

As for their project, there’s some more information available by now, in case you’re wondering what’s behind that fancy name:

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Text Rendering

Text Rendering Demo

Along with some internal Duality updates, there is a new TechDemo available that shows different text rendering approaches. You can get it here.

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