Some Things Are Broken

All software is subject to the strange force of entropy that causes stuff that previously used to work fine to suddenly not work any more. This is an embuggerance which programmers live with on a daily basis, as it appears to occupy about 80% of our miserable time just keeping on top of it.

And so it would seem that some of our stuff has been broken by the Great Rug of Entropy deftly yanked from beneath its wobbly feet. Allow me to describe the symptoms, causes, and possible cures.

Linux

The Debian Packages Won’t Install On Ubuntu 11

Indeed they won’t, because Canonical in their infinite wisdom added some more checking into their .deb unpackager which disagrees with the sadly out-of-date Debian package maker we use. You can actually force it to accept the .deb files we provide (there’s some fancy commandline thing that works – please enlighten me in the comments and I’ll update this post with the solution). If you don’t fancy doing that then the good old .tar.gz files still work as normal.

Java 7 Breaks All Our Games On Linux

Oracle have just released the shiny new Java 7. Hurrah! It’s considerably faster than Java 6. Unfortunately it breaks all our games, and also, it has some serious crashy bugs in it at the moment so generally I’d advise not upgrading to Java 7 for a few months just yet. Unfortunately some Linux distros – notably it would seem Arch Linux – have automatically upgraded Java, and now the games don’t work. The solution is to roll back to Java 6. I advise you to use OpenJDK rather than the Oracle one, as it seems to work better.

Mac OS X

Problems with Lion

There may be some problems with Lion not working, but so far nobody’s come up with a concrete set of problems and/or solutions. We do know that Java is not installed by default in Lion, and so what should happen, on a brand new machine, is that the first time you run one of our games, it’s supposed to go and download Java. This is of course a crappy solution and it’s entirely Apple’s fault. They will be releasing a deployable solution soon which we’ll take advantage of just as soon as we can. If you have any troubles, comment below and tell me and I’ll update this post.

Windows

Surprisingly there appear to be no problems with Windows except possibly with that Razr mouse thing which appears to misbehave. And some of you still can’t figure out how to install new graphics drivers. It really is criminal that Windows still ships on OEM machines with drivers that simply won’t play 50% of the available games out there.

Other News

We’re just putting the final touches to the new version of Droid Assault which has many incremental improvements. We could easily massively expand it into a really quite big and deep sort of game but we’re unsure of the potential market for games like Droid Assault any more so we’re holding off further development on it. But right now the plan is to release it as we have it, which is basically the same but much more polished and improved in various subtle ways, and then think about what to do next. Well, what to do other than give the same treatment to Titan Attacks and Ultratron, which also near completion. All three titles will be making an appearance on Steam soonish, but as with Revenge of the Titans, you will be able to get free Steam keys for all of them if you buy them direct from Puppygames.

46 thoughts on 'Some Things Are Broken'

    1. I dunno. Maybe. Not sure how Desura really works yet :) I’ll probably get to the bottom of it eventually. The main problem we have with Desura is they don’t actually manage to sell anything.

      1. You should ask Steel Storm devs about this. They’ve got their game on Steam, Desura and Ubuntu Software Centre. I hope that they’re answer will persuade you to release for Desura and USC :D

      2. I think that Desura has an identity problem. A lot of PC users probably consider it a mod management utility first and foremost. That’s how I feel, anyway; I almost never consider buying anything through their shop. When I become aware of a new product that I want, Desura doesn’t enter into my mind as a place to look for it. This is admittedly a shame since it’s pretty cool for a platform to have arisen from ModDB.

        There are some new indie digital distribution marketplaces coming around; I’m keeping an eye on Indie City and Indievania.

        1. I checked out both of them, and first – Indie City is PC only, nothing modern in it.

          Indievania seems to cover all platforms (although again, mainly PC), but they sell free opensource games, so that makes me doubt them.

  1. I am so pleased that the other three games are coming to Steam! That will allow me to circumvent the problem I have connecting to your servers to register.

      1. Sorry; I hadn’t seen your reply before now. I actually made a support ticket for the problem, but if these games are coming to Steam (and those of us who purchased from you prior will receive keys) then I don’t mind waiting for that as a workaround.

        I am not behind a firewall, actually; I live in a kind of apartment building but was given an independent external IP address to allow me to circumvent the building’s firewall. Despite this, I often find that programs and games fail to connect to companies’ servers even though I have no problems with my internet connection. This can occur even for programs that are not supposed to require any port forwarding. Recent examples off the top of my head of programs that I simply cannot use because of this are the MusicBrainz MP3 tagging database, Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed 2 launcher, Monday Night Combat, Frozen Synapse, and your games. It’s a frustrating and debilitating problem, but I have learned that I cannot blame the disparate companies whose services I cannot use since it is obviously a local problem.

        If your Steam releases will drop the system where the game registers the user by contacting your servers (which would be redundant since Steam accounts fulfill this DRM role), I will no longer have a problem with your software.

  2. Ubuntu version numbers represent dates, therefore there is no such thing as Ubuntu 11. There is either Ubuntu 11.04, which is the current release, or Ubuntu 11.10, which is the next release.

    1. Yes, that’s what the rest of us would call Ubuntu 11. Were we being even more pedantic than you, I’d have said Ubuntu 11+ or Ubuntu 11.x.

  3. I already bought the Ultrabundle and all the Humble Indie Bundles, so when the new versions of the existing games appear, will I get them free or have to pay extra?

  4. God damn it, I’m looking so much forward to this. I’m assuming you’ll post a changelog detailing exactly what “various subtle ways” in which each game has gotten improved?

    Also; what do you mean you’re not sure there’s a market for these types of games, any more? Arcade shooters has suddenly gone out of style over night, then?

    1. No, arcade shooters went out of style nearly 20 years ago. It’s 100x as hard to sell a shooter now as it was back in 1990. This is a colossal shame because they’re my favourite genre of game, but the simple fact is that nobody seems prepared to buy them any more.

      There will be a DA changelog although most of the changes will be completely obvious to look at.

      1. That surprises me. I was of the impression that these indie-schmups sold a lot on XBLA and all that. If not, then what exactly ARE the types of indie games people go for?

      2. hey, i’m you’re conscience. so just follow your heart a make the best freaking multi-player shooter you can possibly imagine and people will love it. seriously, listen to your conscience – unbiased and enlightened.

  5. I found a couple issues on Lion with Steam. First, the Java problem: after it downloaded and installed Java, the game would not start when clicking “Play”. I had to restart Steam and then it worked. The second one was that after switching the game from “Large Screen” to “Fullscreen” the mouse pointer stayed with the normal icon instead of the in-game one, and mouse coordinates where not getting through to the game (though clicks were.) Quitting and restarting the game fixed it. So, no big problems, but I thought you guys might want to know.
    Thanks for the fun game!

    1. So, glitchy then, but not “cannot play game” bad. Phew. Good that restarting Steam fixes things in general. I wonder how the direct download version fares.

    1. I am available to write any game you can think of :) Provided you can keep me & family living in the luxurious lifestyle to which I have become accustomed. You can start by paying for my wedding and a new BMW R1200GS Adventure and I’ll make you a title screen :P

  6. Cas, do you have any blog or website where you publish more technical articles or share insights into how you run things at Puppy Games?

  7. USC still allows you to install it, you can press the ‘ignore and install anyway’ button. But yeah would be nice to have that fixed up.

  8. deb files will automatically open in the software center when double clicking on one.
    While installing it will just notify you of the “bad quality” of the file which can be easily ignored by choosing “Install anyway” – no terminal necessary. :)
    Package is listed, menu entry is correct, game runs smooth – works. :)
    [only escaping via Alt+Tab is god damn difficult]

  9. I noticed the package thing on Ubuntu too.

    Though that makes me wonder if you’re even using the official packaging tools? Or some third party tool? In any case, the problem your facing is that some files are being packed into the package while not being owned by root (AFAIK).

    If you’re manually building the .bed file with ar and tar, you can just use fakeroot to prevent this from happening.

    I have some Debian packaging experience, so if you have any particular questions feel free to contact me.

    1. No, our tools are pure Java based and ancient bits of forgotten Open Source. I’d fix them if I understood the problem! They’re actually building the .debs on Windows so all the ownership and such is sort of fudged anyway. I’m not entirely sure what to do just yet.

  10. I love Droid assault, how many hours I’ve spent with it…. Keep up the good work, you are doing awesome!

    1. yeah, i want some answers! god, there’s no accountably around here! how many lazy corporate workers you got running this thing anyway?

      but seriously, what’s up with droid assault?

      1. It’s basically ready, just got to find a few hours to release it. Currently wrangling away making German version of Revenge of the Titans though which has an actual deadline (gasp!)

        1. im not talking about when its released i just want cas or someone else respond to my two emails
          i remember i sent an email about who you think would win in a fight, ultratron droid, team of droid assault droids or the tank from AOTT
          i used to think it was the tank,now the team
          also that should be a blog subject

          1. you mean the tank station from ROTT? i’ve actually never played ultratron (i really should), i’d put my money on droid assault! there’s just so many bad a** droids.

            man cas, those germans don’t play.

          2. no AOTT stands for attack of the titans, duh
            i got the ultrabunble when it was like 10$
            and got the ROTT demo

          3. your that guy,or girl, who has the second highest all time score.wow that must take skill
            you shouldnt be here bloging
            get out there and get to the top!

  11. Well, actually, you can install the game on Ubuntu by just double-clicking on it. The software center will just warn you this is a “bad quality package” but will install it nevertheless ;)

    About Arch : this is indeed a rolling release distro : everything is constantly updated, hence frequent breakages.

    Keep up the great work guys !!!

  12. there should be online multiplayer in the next droid assault
    it would be awesome, with different modes like team survival and others
    wouldn’t that be cool
    id get all my friends to buy it so we could play together
    without being together

  13. Really, really, really not loving the new invisibility-thing you’ve got going on. It complicates things greatly, yes, but not in a good way. It doesn’t really seem to add anything pleasant to gameplay, whatsoever. It makes it more frustrating without making it even remotely any more entertaining, in my personal opinion.

    That said; I can see the value of it as an alternative gamemode. Perhaps something for fairly skilled players to give things an extra bit of complexity, or perhaps people who has beaten the game once and want to go through it again, with more of a challenge. Something like that.

    So I suggest you make it optional. Something you can switch on and off in the Options -menu, or something like that. Perhaps when you start a new game, you’ll get a screen asking “Do you wish to play with Fog of War? (Y/N)”. Stuff like that.

  14. interesting changes! i love the shoot outs, the scaled back perspective, the reduced number of droids, and that captured droids last longer. battles seem more epic. the closest single core range is really annoying. i understand the intended disadvantage of playing with a single core bot, but it’s messing with the esthetics and gameplay. i would be a fan of getting rid of the scaled perspectives altogether and keeping the view that the toaster looking dual blasting multi-core bots have. i LOVE the gameplay then (to me it gets a little far away beyond that, but still really enjoyable). you could also have the visibility thing improve, so really advanced droids could “see” all the droids on the screen, while more simple droids “see” much less, while the perspectives of the two droids stay the same. also, the danger thing that happens at the end of certain levels is confusing, not challenging, and often is over before i can fire off many shots (i’ve only played to level 18 or so)

    yeah, i don’t love the invisibility thing. i am intrigued by the challenge, and like the concept. i think with my suggestion of having visibility improve with more advanced bots, it could be cooler.

    i look forward to playing it more! nice work!

  15. here should be online multiplayer in the next droid assault
    it would be awesome, with different modes like team survival and others
    wouldn’t that be cool
    id get all my friends to buy it so we could play together
    without being together

  16. Hi guys, just noticed a bunch of the humble bundle games for sale in the ubuntu software store. I also heard that they released a set of developer tools for it. Might be worth your while to get revenge in there among the twenty or so other for-sale games before the next ubuntu comes out this fall. Hope all the deving is going well and looking forward to your next release!

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