Noble Master Games
Noble Master Games
Navigation
Categories:

Search:

Meta:

Archives:
Dev. Blog
Forums
 

Noble Master Developer's Blog

May 4, 2014

Supporting Windows 8+ Touch Screens (Java/libGDX)

Filed under: Development — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — noblemaster @ 18:50

I have received an Ultrabook™ 2 in 1 Convertible from Intel® to implement support for both Laptop-mode and touch/tablet/slate-mode for our game Desert Stormfront. It’s quite a nice device. Thanks to Intel for providing the Ultrabook for development.

Desert Stormfront is running using libGDX over OpenGL. If your game or application isn’t using mouse-specific features such as scrolling when the mouse is at the edges of the screen and uses libGDX’s input processor to listen for events no changes are generally necessary to support tablet-mode. The game will work out of the box. If you are polling the mouse things don’t work as smoothly. If you poll mouse buttons for clicks you will not receive any mouse down information at all. The mouse buttons will not report anything and will always appear as non-pressed. Again, this is for polling only. On Windows 8, due to gestures being enabled by default, touch down events will not be reported until just right before the touch up event. If you poll the mouse/touch-screen, due to the down & up event being sent right after each other, no mouse presses are detectable. I haven’t found a way to disable gestures on Windows 8 so make sure you listen for events via libGDX’s input processor rather than polling for changes. And yes, I tried some solutions to disable gestures, but unfortunately none of them worked.

In any case, if you want to optimize your game or application for tablet mode on Windows 8, Intel has provided documentation for Detecting Slate/Clamshell Mode & Screen Orientation in a 2 in 1 Device. The code samples are available in C++. If you are like me, you need to get things to work for Java/libGDX. If you’d like to use my source code below (SystemHook.java), you will also need to download the jna.jar file (from JNA on GitHub) and run in together with SystemHook.java. You don’t need the jna-platform.jar. What can you do:

  1. If you have created a game, you might want to set the preferred screen orientation (e.g. landscape):
    SystemHook.setDisplayOrientation(SystemHook.ORIENTATION_LANDSCAPE
                                   | SystemHook.ORIENTATION_LANDSCAPE_FLIPPED);

    I believe the call should be made before the actual window is being created, i.e. before you create the LwjglApplication and the window thereafter if you are using LWJGL.

     

  2. Detect if a device is in touch/tablet/slate mode:
  3. boolean touchMode = SystemHook.hasDisplayTouch();
    ...
    

    This has to be called periodically to detect what mode the screen is in. Please note when the screen has been converted to touch-based input, the keyboard will stop reporting key events and an on-screen keyboard will have to be displayed if you are planning on using text input.

 

Feel free to post questions. If you’d like to see the game in action, please download the demo version of Tropical/Desert Stormfront from the official web site. Here is a demo video (sorry for the low quality):

 

Downloads:

References:

All the code I have provided is released under the WTFPL – Do What the Fuck You Want to Public License.

February 1, 2014

Demise of Nations: Rome — ALPHA-Release

Filed under: Announcement,Business,Development — noblemaster @ 15:17

Demise of Nations has been released for alpha-testing today (version 0.8.302a, February 1, 2014). Demise of Nations is a turn-based strategy wargame during the rise and fall of the Roman Empire.

Demise of Nations is based on a HEX-map of Europe in the dimensions 127×88 tiles. Each tile is approximately 30 kilometers in diameter. The map currently hosts a total of 22 nations including the Roman Empire, Carthage, Greeks, Sparta, Germania, Celts amongst others.

The game is played in turn-based We-Go (WEGO) mode. As opposed to traditional I-Go-You-Go (IGOYGO) mode, all players can enter their turns at the same time. This means the actions you enter will be not directly be executed but will be deferred and executed for the next turn. The units will try to move to the best of their abilities as you ordered them to do, but can fail to do so if for example a unit is destroyed beforehand.

WEGO makes a game less predictable than standard IGOYGO games, thus making it appear less preferable over IGOYGO. However, there are several advantages that outweight the negatives. (a) A player doesn’t have to wait for others to finish their turn before being able to enter their orders especially for multiplayer games. (b) Although the outcome of an action is less predictable, it doesn’t provide an unfair advantage to players that move first because everyone enters their orders at the same time. (c) A WEGO game can scale to an unlimited number of players. Traditional IGOYGO games don’t support more than 2-6 players before the game balance is destroyed. (d) Less predictable doesn’t necessarily mean bad. Although a WEGO-system is less predictable, it is more realistic. Like in Real-Life, commands take time to be executed. Orders are executed depending on the situation.

Please contact us if you are interested to participate in alpha-testing the game.

Demise of Nations: Rome (ALPHA Screenshot 1)

Demise of Nations: Rome (ALPHA Screenshot 1)

Demise of Nations: Rome (ALPHA Screenshot 2)

Demise of Nations: Rome (ALPHA Screenshot 2)

Additional References:

December 5, 2013

Noble Avatar Generator – Open Sourced (15+ Trillion Combinations)

Filed under: Announcement,Development — noblemaster @ 17:40

I am getting a lot of requests for using the Noble Avatar generator. I decided to finally open source it. Download information is below.

The open source package contains both (a) the imagery and (b) the source code used on the Noble Avatar website. The source code is in Java but it shouldn’t be a problem to port it to any other language/platform as needed.

Noble Avatar Generator – 15+ Trillion Combinations

Download & Information:

 

 

November 21, 2013

Buying Ratings & Comments for Google Play, iTunes and Amazon

Filed under: Miscellaneous — noblemaster @ 08:56
Fake Reviews

Fake Reviews

Recently, Samsung has been fined for faking online comments. However the rabbit hole goes a lot deeper. It’s not only big companies that are able to buy ratings/comments. As a mobile developer I receive offers every two weeks in average. The offers are usually good for Android and iOS (sometimes Amazon).

Buying ratings/comments appears to be very affordable costing about $200 total for 50 ratings. I never bought comments/ratings for my games but given the amount of those emails I receive there must be plenty of buyers out there? If you see a lot of 5-star ratings/comments for games on Android or iOS and the game doesn’t look that hot, you know there is probably more at play?

Below are three emails that I received in my inbox (website/email hidden). The messages look rather spammy and some might as well be a scam (haven’t tried). I can provide emails and websites upon request. Contact me if you are interested in researching this further.

Sample 1

Hi,

I’m Francis from AppRatings{HIDDEN}. I saw your app today in the google play store and I wanted to get in touch with you. I think your app is great, but your overall rating could use some help.

Having a higher user rating will increase your app’s ranking as well as convince more users to install your app. Our team can give any app up to 150 (5 star) ratings.

To get more information on us and what we do visit our site: http://{HIDDEN}

Or if you want you can message me directly.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Regards,
Francis {HIDDEN}
AppRatings{HIDDEN}

Sample 2

Hello,

Many developers have worked with me before and along the way I’ve been able to learn a lot about the Google Play Store / ITUNES & AMAZON.Without a doubt a wider audience can be reached and marketed to. I will work ravenously to make sure your app reaches its maximum potential. You can contact us on ratings@{HIDDEN}.com and admin@{HIDDEN}.com

On offer are many services concerning your app, if you are interested feel free to contact me.. We will help you increase your ratings for Google mobile apps and review with good comments from various mobile devices

Following are the rates for the ratings for this month:

_Our website is as follows -_http://{HIDDEN}.com/

For android apps__

25 ratings – 25 USD

25 ratings and 25 reviews- 50 USD***

This is applicable for free android apps. For paid android apps we charge 20% extra along with app fees.

For free IOS apps

10 reviews- 40 USD**

This is applicable for free IOS apps.

For amazon apps

10 reviews – 40 USD**

Mail us on ratings@{HIDDEN}.com and admin@{HIDDEN}.com before ordering.

Best Regards,

{HIDDEN}.com

Sample 3

Dear Developers,

Do you have do you have a android app in Google play store?
Are you getting negative reviews?
Is it effecting your sales? Are you searching for ways to increase your app rating?

You don’t need to worry. We are here to help you increasing your app rating. We are professionals in providing android app reviews in Google play store. We can post upto 10,000 reviews on any app in Google play store
1. We can post reviews on any country restricted app in Google play store
2. All reviews will come from different locations
3. We can spread reviews for several days
4. We can even post reviews provided by you

If you want to make an order then please click on below banner
{HIDDEN}

Testimonials about our service
{HIDDEN}

Any questions please feel free to mail us at sales@{HIDDEN}.com

Best Regards
admin
Skype : {HIDDEN}

References:

November 16, 2013

Strategieboxxx CD-ROM: 3 Strategie Games (PC, Mac)

Filed under: Announcement,Business — noblemaster @ 14:04

Not too long ago we were contacted by Immanitas, a German game distributor. They are now the official distributor of the boxed version for our games, a.k.a. the Strategieboxxx CD-ROM containing:

The CD-ROM can be purchased in physical stores in Germany, Switzerland as well as Austria. In addition, the CD-ROM is available online via Amazon as well as others (see below for links). International shipping is provided by some sellers.

Strategieboxxx CD-ROM

Strategieboxxx CD-ROM

Available via:

Please note that although the box is in German, the games include English, French and Japanese amongst others.

October 26, 2013

OpenGL Shader to Correct and Simulate Color Blindness (Experimental)

Filed under: Development — noblemaster @ 18:11

I was playing around with real-time color correction for colorblind players. I tried to focus on the following three types of color vision deficiencies (simplified explanation):

  • Protanopia/Protanomaly: complete/partly absence of red retinal receptors; in about 2% of men (rare for women).
  • Deuteranopia/Deuteranomaly: complete/partly absence of green retinal receptors; in about 7% of men (rare for women).
  • Tritanopia/Tritanomaly: complete/partly absence of blue retinal receptors; in less than 1% of men/women.

For a more detailed explanation, please refer to Wikipedia. The code I used is based on Tyler Howard’s thesis on a real-time color correction for colorblind users. I adapted the algorithm for a OpenGL ES 2.0 shading algorithm. I have also contacted Tyler Howard for test results but haven’t received a reply back. Also it appears that the color correction used the same method for Protanoopia and Deuteranopia which seems odd. In any case the source code for the OpenGL shader is available below.

I integrated the shading code into Demise of Nations (game still under development). Original uncorrected image:

Color Correction (Original Uncorrected Image)

Color Correction (Original Uncorrected Image)

Simulation and Correction for Protanopia:

Color Correction - Protanopia

Color Correction – Protanopia

Simulation and Correction for Deuteranopia:

Color Correction - Deuteranopia

Color Correction – Deuteranopia

Simulation and Correction for Tritanopia:

Color Correction - Tritanopia

Color Correction – Tritanopia

I generally feel the results with the color correcting code are minimal at best. It appears some of the lightness is corrected when applying the color correction filter but otherwise the benefits are marginal at best. A better option is designing for colorblind users beforehand using different shapes in addition to colors. I would love to hear back from colorblind users, so please comment, thanks.

Another great site regarding color correcting code is daltonize.org. I haven’t tried to integrate the sample code provided but it looks very promising.

Download: OpenGL Code for Color Blindness Correction/Simulation (Java)

May 1, 2013

Noble Master Games: Sales & Income for 2012

Filed under: Business,Development — noblemaster @ 17:21

I have been asked I few times regarding my income (i.e. game sales) and what I am doing all the time. Basically, as some of you know, “Noble Master Games is a single member company, it’s more or less me doing most of the work. I spend about 10-12h/day including weekends (sometimes I take a day off) developing games, programming, fixing bugs, marketing, talking to customers, keeping up-to-date with latest tech, contributing to open source projects, coordinating with contractors, paying bills, accounting, maintaining servers, posting in forums and so forth. I generally contract out all the artwork, music, translations and modding out if I can. I have a few great artists, musician and modders I work with. I couldn’t do it without them!

So now, how much did I make in 2012 (in US Dollars) based on my taxes filed?

  Gross Income:                    $162'324
  Expenses:                       -$130'755
  Taxes:                           -$15,324
  -----------------------------------------
  Total Income:                     $36,246

Please note the Gross Income refers to all income (about 99.5% game sales) over all games and platforms (see below). I don’t have any other income. The Expenses include to a large part contract payments for art & graphics, music, translations and modding. A large portion of it is used too for hosting fees/internet, marketing, accounting/financial transaction fees, hardware (e.g. devices for testing), software (e.g. Photoshop), developer fees (e.g. Apple), business fees, phone/fax and smaller office expenses (e.g. paper, stamps & the like), personal retirement payments and health insurance. A small portion has been used to fund open source projects or sponsor tournaments (e.g. Age of Conquest).

So basically this leaves me with a total of about $36,246 for personal expenses such as food, rent, utilities, transportation, personal entertainment and such, i.e. my personal income. To be fair, the Expenses includes about 40% of my rent and my utility bill as I am able to deduct it from taxes but the rest has to come off from the $36,246.

Based off my actual income, I can make more money working for a company, for example Google, than working for myself, so why am I doing it? First of all it is to a big part “fun” to have your own company and develop games. Also, there is no boss to report to. Although I spend a lot of time working, I can choose freely when I want to take a break. So no, I am not complaining. I am not poor but I am also not bathing in Champagne. I wish I could afford to hire 1 or 2 people full-time to work together with as things can get lonely at times. Generally, it’s difficult to say if I am able to continue doing this in the future as it the actual income is little bit low to sustain over a longer period of time. Also, it doesn’t look like sales will increase this year unless I am able to complete a new game soon. Demise of Nations is planned for release towards the end of this year.

If you like strategy games and you like to see more of it, please don’t pirate but support the following games.

  • Age of Conquest: a medieval Risk-like turn-based strategy game (PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS). Includes ONLINE multiplayer.
  • Tropical/Desert Stormfront: a modern real-time strategy game (PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS). Includes multiplayer via LAN/internet
  • Demise of Nations: in the making. Follow my twitter feed @noblemaster for latest updates.

Please note, you are not only supporting me, but you also support all the people I work with (which I prefer to pay decent so they don’t have to starve) including Antony Hager (Artist), Nick Lee (Artist, previous), Sean Beeson (Music) amongst many others. Also, you indirectly support 3rd party companies which products and services I purchase (software, hardware, internet services). You also support Open Source projects, namely libGDX and LWJGL, two excellent projects amongst many others out there.

Feel free to comment or ask questions! Thanks, Christoph, a.k.a noblemaster.

April 26, 2013

May of Conquest – Starting May 1

Filed under: Announcement,Business — Tags: , , , , , — Travis @ 16:32

May of Conquest is here again to celebrate another year of Age of Conquest, a Risk-like turn-based strategy game. Age of Conquest allows players to compete on various maps, including but not limited to Europe, America, Asia and a World Map. May of Conquest is the celebration of Age of Conquest which hosts many tournaments allowing players to compete for fantastic prizes. Age of Conquest supports cross-platform multiplayer on Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Android.

Age of Conquest

Age of Conquest

For this year’s prizes we have a total of 9 Membership Upgrades, 2 Noble Master Apparels and 2 Drinkwares. The tournaments are absolutely free to join and a good opportunity to gain a membership upgrade. Don’t want to join all the tournaments? Unsure which tournaments give which prizes? Check out the full details at our festival’s page.

 
 

SPONSORS

 
This year we have three well known players from Age of Conquest sponsoring the various tournaments including Petraa76, KingHowardII, and Jacob719.

Petra76

KingHoward

Jacob719

In addition, four clans have banded together to offer sponsorships as well:  Rosek, KingSlayers and Excelsior.

Clan Rosek

Clan KingSlayers

Clan Excelsior

Thanks as well go to the tournament organizers: KingHowardII, ImLagging, and fodder :-)

 

March 1, 2013

Demise of Nations: Rome – in the Works!

Filed under: Announcement,Business,Development — Travis @ 14:48

After throwing around a few ideas internally last year, Noble Master Games have decided to develop a hexagon turn-based strategy game.  It will take place during the Roman Era on a large map of Europe featuring many factions from that time. The game will include several single player scenarios and campaigns. Demise of Nations: Rome will support a wide array of operating systems including PC, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. The game is planned to be released later this year in 2013.

Demise of Nations: Factions

Demise of Nations: Factions

Demise of Nations: Rome will contain over 30 factions, each having their own uniquely created banner to distinguish them from each other, much like the ones shown above. Confirmed factions include, Armenia, Britannia, Carthage, Dacia, Egypt, Gaul, Germania, Greek Cities, House of Brutii, House of Julii, House of Scipii, Macedon, Numidia, Parthia, Pontus, Rebels, Scythia, Seleucid Empire, Senate SPQR, Spain, and Thrace.

In later era scenarios and campaigns, other factions will appear, Alemanni, Berbers, Bergundii, Celts, Eastern Roman Empire, Franks, Goths, Huns, Lombardi, Roxolani, Sarmatians, Sassanids, Saxons, Slavs, Vandals, and Western Roman Empire. Below is an early alpha screenshot of the game.

Demise of Nations: Alpha Screenshot

Demise of Nations: Alpha Screenshot

Please contact us if you would like to be part of the beta-testing team.

November 21, 2012

Tropical + Desert Stormfront released on iPhone and iPad

Filed under: Announcement,Development — noblemaster @ 13:32

As of today, Tropical and Desert Stormfront have finally been released on iOS. The games use the excellent libgdx framework which made porting from Desktop/Android to iOS a breeze.

Tropical Stormfront and Desert Stormfront are the first ever libgdx games to be released on the iOS platform. The games can be played on all iOS touch-screen devices including the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and iPad mini. The games work both on retina and non-retina screens.

Store/Download Links:

Special Thanks:

Screenshot 1: Desert Stormfront for iOS

Screenshot 1: Desert Stormfront for iOS

Screenshot 2: Desert Stormfront for iOS

Screenshot 2: Desert Stormfront for iOS

Screenshot 3: Tropical Stormfront for iOS

Screenshot 3: Tropical Stormfront for iOS

Screenshot 4: Tropical Stormfront for iOS

Screenshot 4: Tropical Stormfront for iOS

 

Older Posts »