With Shadowrun on the horizon and a number of other isometric Moai SDK titles in the works, the best way to set up and render isometric scenes has been hot topic as of late.

Isometric is an interesting subject to tackle. There are a number of possible approaches, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The contents of this article are strictly my own, humble observations. While I like to think that for any set of requirements there should be one ‘correct’ solution, it’s not my place to guess those requirements let alone dictate their solutions.

My design goal around isometric is to have Moai SDK maintain an ‘agnostic’ view of things and give each developer the opportunity to implement isometric in his or her preferred way. At the same time I want to offer a powerful set of tools (such as a real iso-sort) that may be used to implement isometric out of the box.

Isometric thoughts after the fold...

After looking at the unit testing frameworks out there and not finding one that (appeared) to perfectly align with our needs for Moai SDK, we decided to write our own.

The initial implementation can run tests written in C++ or Lua and is designed to integrate with our continuous build server (Jenkins). Right now it is only being used on the Windows build of Moai SDK, but will eventually be supported on all platforms.

This article is an intro to our unit testing process for contributors who would like to help us improve our coverage of Moai SDK. Of course you can also adapt the test runner for your own projects.

Details after the fold...

Strikefleet Omega

Strikefleet Omega, the latest Moai powered title from Jordan Weisman and his game wizards at Harebrained Schemes and published by 6 Waves is storming the game charts on iOS and Android this week. As of this morning the epic battles of Strikefleet Omega are ranked as a top 50 game and top 10 in iOS Action and Strategy categories, with no signs of slowing down.

The action in Strikefleet Omega follows the EEF Retribution and the remnants of Earth’s defenders on an epic journey to end an alien hive’s unrelenting aggression by locating and eliminating their hidden hive queen.

The IGN video below gives a great overview of the game development and how the team at Harebrained developed the core gaming mechanic over many iterations. Check out Strikefleet Omega on iOS and Android to see the state of the art in Moai-powered gaming!

 

Just in time for the weekend, a fresh build of Moai. There are a few important bug fixes in this update. We locked the host on iOS to portrait mode by default, and added a way to grab a frame buffer into a MOAIImage in MOAIRenderMgr.

For Moai Cloud, we recently added new functionality to our sandbox and have exposed most of the gridfs file object and all of the gridfs chunk object. With these additions you can now read chunks of large gridfs files into your lua handler without worring about running out of memory.

Moai SDK 1.2 brings new features and bug fixes, most of them reported by Moai users - thank you! New features include the MOAIStream class which allows you to write to and read from file or data streams, as well as a new setWordBreak () function in MOAITextBox which will better support text in other languages where words may not be separated by a space. We have also added the tutorial samples into the release, so they are more readily available. Check out the full release notes below.

Git is immensely powerful, versatile, and (for an open source project like Moai) inevitable, but every now and then the wheels come off the wagon and using Git feels something like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EWUa0TTWH0

With a new Moai SDK release around the corner, we are moving internally to a continuous development model. Here's what to keep in mind:

  • The moai-beta repository on Github is going away. We're not going to push to it any more and will eventually put a bullet in it. If you've forked this repository, you should switch to moai-dev.
  • We will be merging our features into moai-dev/master as we work. Whenever we check in to moai-dev/master our build server kicks off. It builds everything, including the binary SDK. If the build succeeds, three things will happen automatically: the 'latest' version of the binary SDK on the download page will be updated, the 'latest' docs (getmoai.com/docs/latest) will be updated and the moai-dev/master branch will be tagged.
  • The 'latest' SDK and the build-tagged commit on modei-dev/master may not be stable. The only thing we will know is that they built (and have passed any unit tests we've set up).  We have an automated testing framework in place and will be relying on that to reduce regressions, etc.
  • From time to time we will promote the contents of moai-dev/master into an official release. Our process for deciding if a release is ready is basically to build our own games with the candidate and see how they perform. When we promote the candidate, the binary SDK is simply copied and renamed, the official docs are updated and moai-dev/master is tagged with the release.
  • If you want to send us a pull request, the place to do it is moai-dev/master. We will try to be more responsive to these than we have in the past.

As always, feedback is welcome. And thanks for all your patience and support! It's a long road to process maturity but we feel like this is a huge step in the right direction for Moai.

Major game studios and publishers are adopting Moai and evaluating the platform these days. We recently wrote this white paper because we're getting asked more often for a technical overview that can be sent to engineering leaders.

Take a look, and tell us what you think in the forums. How could we make this more clear? Is the reason you've chosen to build games with Moai left out of this doc?

Thanks!

Great news: 71squared’s Glyph Designer and Particle Designer tools now support the Moai Platform. These tools provide a first-class visual design experience on Mac for creating unique bitmap fonts and designing interesting particle effects.

This release is mostly about bug fixes and tweaks, of which there are many. The big news is support for Glyph Designer and Particle Designer - we'll be following up with another blog post about these tools in a moment. As usual, highlights after the fold. Check out our commit history on github for the whole story.

(Also: the process for setting landscape mode on iOS has changed.)

Great news for the Moai community! Double Fine Productions, who made history in March by raising more than $3.3 million on Kickstarter.com, have chosen to build Double Fine Adventure on Moai.

The team at Double Fine kindly filmed a video covering the reasons behind their choice of Moai and showing some of the very earliest Double Fine Adventure development prototypes.

It's been a great month for Moai and Kickstarter projects, with Shadowrun Returns, another Moai powered project wrapping up their drive on Sunday as the third-highest funded Kickstarter project of all time at over $1.8 million. Thanks to everyone who supported these great games!

- Todd

You may have noticed that it's been three weeks since our last Moai binary SDK release and wondered what we've been up to. Well, lots - we have plenty of bug fixes, documentation and new hotness that we're eager to release to Moai developers. But there’s one thing we had to tackle first - our build infrastructure.

We've spent the last several weeks assembling and configuring a monster build server to ensure that Moai has state-of-the-art build support going forward. We've added continuous integration builds, turned on warnings as errors in most projects, added automated nightly builds and fully automated the production of our binary SDK. Over time, we'll add automated unit and build verification tests and static analysis where it makes sense.

What does this mean for Moai developers? It means that we're going to be able to produce binary SDK updates more frequently, more easily and more consistently. It also helps to reduce the risk of adding new features and functionality to the SDK and thereby will improve and stabilize the quality of the binary SDK. In short, it's going to allow us to raise the bar for the quality of the software we produce.

So, thanks for your patience while we finish getting our house in order and be on the lookout for a new binary SDK built by our new monster build server soon!

-Sean

maelstrom1

Wolf Toss Banner

Wolf Toss is now available for Kindle Fire and on the Amazon App Store for Android.  Other Moai games Go Go Kiddo, Out of the Box, and Horns and Halos Photobooth are already live in Amazon App Store, but Wolf Toss is the first Moai game released using the new Amazon in-app purchases API (which just became public yesterday).

If you have a Kindle and haven't already side-loaded the game - check it out today.