June 2019

Internal Tech: A Retrospective

4th June 2019 / admin
Internal Tech: A Retrospective
Here at Demiurge, we can move around a lot from project to project. That’s not always the case, but if you like variety, there’s plenty of it here to go around. For a while I had been on some of our newer projects, but recently I moved back onto Marvel Puzzle Quest for a short stint. Seeing our 3 year old codebase for the first time in over a year made me realize how far our tech has come since then.

A Worthy Opponent

4th June 2019 / admin
A Worthy Opponent

"’The computer cheats.' - That's what they say in the forums."

"Well, does it?" I asked myself. It was my second month at Demiurge Studios, and I was curious how the Marvel Puzzle Quest game engine worked. It was lunchtime, and I was hounding my fellow engineers with questions: “Does it look at the upcoming tiles? Does it try to set up combos? Does it target player tiles? Oh, oh, oh! Does it intentionally drop new tile colors to mess up your turn?”

iOS 64-bit

4th June 2019 / admin
iOS 64-bit
As of February 1, 2015, new iOS apps uploaded to the Apple App Store must include 64-bit support. Our engine was already “64-bit ready”, but there are always surprises and new challenges when adding support for a new architecture or platform, and iOS 64-bit was no different. While updating Marvel Puzzle Quest for iOS 64-bit, we also managed to make a pass at making the engine more robust and consistent and now our engine is in a better place now to handle memory paradigm shifts in the future....

Just-in-Time Content Delivery

4th June 2019 / admin
Just-in-Time Content Delivery
To deliver a rich mobile game experience in a reasonable time, much of the texture data that a player sees in a game of Marvel Puzzle Quest is downloaded on-demand and just-in-time. This includes character portraits, effect images, and comic covers. We use a few tricks to make this as seamless and as smooth as possible.

Falcon Game UI

4th June 2019 / admin
Falcon Game UI
Winston Churchill’s oft-quoted line on democracy mirrors the Demiurge Studios view of Adobe Flash: the worst form of game UI, except for all the others. We’ve struggled with Flash, and we’ve triumphed with Flash. For our current and past projects, we’ve used commercial Flash runtimes to drive our Flash based UI (Autodesk Scaleform or RAD Game Tools Iggy). For future projects, we’ve begun exploring a different approach, our own library called Falcon.

Flash Bugs

4th June 2019 / admin
Flash Bugs
Here at Demiurge, like many other studios, we use Flash for authoring our UI. Marvel Puzzle Quest, being a 2D game and functionally acting like a series of UI screens, has almost 100% of its content created in Flash. While Flash has a lot of nice features that allow our developers to easily author, layout, and animate our UI screens, it also has its fair share of issues. Recently we ran into a fairly sneaky one with some very noticeable consequences.

From Robots to Superheroes: Content

4th June 2019 / admin
From Robots to Superheroes: Content
At Demiurge Studios, we first created a game engine to power a PC/PSN/XBLA 3D run'n gun (Shoot Many Robots). Since then, our engine has evolved into a broad internal core technology with support for seven platforms. Recently it has expanded with "Games as a Service" features such as content patching and just-in-time content delivery to drive our flagship 2D match 3 (Marvel Puzzle Quest). What follows are some observations and lessons learned on the journey of one part of this technology, our...

From Robots to Superheroes: Graphics

4th June 2019 / admin
From Robots to Superheroes: Graphics
At Demiurge Studios, we first created a game engine to power a PC/PSN/XBLA 3D run'n gun (Shoot Many Robots). Since then, our engine has evolved into a broad internal core technology with support for seven platforms. Recently it has expanded with "Games as a Service" features such as content patching and just-in-time content delivery to drive our flagship 2D match 3 (Marvel Puzzle Quest). What follows are some observations and lessons learned on the journey of one part of this technology, our...

Develop Forward

4th June 2019 / admin
Develop Forward
Marvel Puzzle Quest launched a year ago and people started playing it. They also started talking about it. As we received more and more feedback from players, we wanted to react more and more. At the time we made a new release every two weeks. To implement a change it would take 1-2 weeks to finish the release we were working on, 2 weeks to implement the new feature in the next release, a few days to test and fix bugs, and 1-2 weeks for Apple to approve it. That’s 4-6 weeks to respond to...

Tech Stack Overview

4th June 2019 / admin
Tech Stack Overview
Hello and welcome to the Demiurge Engineering Blog! Two years ago we started working on a game called Marvel Puzzle Quest. It’s a free-to-play slugfest plus match-3 puzzle game set in the Marvel Comics universe. There’s a lot of design brilliance that drives the gameplay progression, the character ability systems, and the overall economy. The super cool Marvel characters provide a phenomenal launch pad. But there are also super cool engineering efforts which bring all of that to life....
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