Posts in Stuff
Small Towns, Small Screens: Night in the Woods is coming to mobile

Night in the Woods is coming to iOS in 2018!

We're thrilled to announce that we've partnered with Infinite Fall and Finji in porting Night in the Woods to iOS. We've been working on it for a while now, and we're incredibly excited to say that it's coming in 2018.

Porting a game like NITW to mobile devices is interesting for two reasons. First, a mobile phone often has much less memory than PCs or consoles, and a less powerful graphics chip, so we need to do all kinds of things to make the game fit. Second, bringing any game that was designed for controllers or keyboards to a touchscreen means you've got to completely re-design the game to account for stuff like the player's hands covering up the screen, and the fact that you can't physically feel your controls.

You might have seen Jon posting about his work over the last several months on a tool for compressing sprites. This tool is part of the set of technologies we've been developing to support the port, and we'll be sharing more about it in the near future.

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NITW also uses Yarn Spinner, our open source tool for creating and managing interactive dialogue in games. We're thrilled with the community response to Yarn Spinner, and improvements that result from our porting work will be merged into the main project.

If you're going to GCAP 2017, come and see Jon talk about the port in more detail at 3PM on Tuesday, October 24th (TODAY!), where he'll also be sharing tips and tricks on how to make your game the best possible experience on iOS devices.

For more info, be sure to follow us on Twitter, at @thesecretlab, @parisba and @desplesda. We share lots of interesting behind the scenes stuff!

Talk more soon. This is going to be fun. For questions or inquiries, please email lab@secretlab.com.au


New training material

We’ve been working with some awesome folks to build a great library of training material for game development with Unity.

These videos, soon to be joined by a series on game promotion, are designed to accompany and support our upcoming book, Mobile Game Development with Unity (also on Amazon and Safari).

Here’s what we’ve been working on:

We’ve also got some new “Learning Path” videos, exclusively out on O’Reilly’s Safari platform:

Our newest books are also available now:

One of the best ways to look at all the training we write is on O’Reilly’s Safari platform (which has a free trial). It’s like Netflix for technical training and books.


What's New in Swift 3

We're incredibly excited to share a new report (think: very short book) that we've written for O'Reilly Media. Our report covers all the latest things in Swift 3, the latest version of Apple's programming language:

  • a high-level view of Swift 3’s changes and new features, and learn how this version differs from Swift 2
  • the Swift Evolution Process and the full list of accepted proposals—including those not yet implemented
  • Swift 3’s changes to the language’s syntax, standard library features, and other areas
  • Swift 3’s use on the server, and use a simple program to learn about Swift’s use on Linux
  • further resources for learning about, working with, and converting projects to Swift 3

You can download the report, for free, from the O'Reilly Media website.


Yarn Spinner Localisation

Earlier this year, we were approached by the rad folks at Infinite Fall with a very interesting challenge: could we please add support for localisation in Yarn Spinner, the dialogue system we wrote, for Night in the Woods?

Yarn Spinner was written to be a more advanced interpreter for the Yarn language, a Twine-inspired tool for writing interactive dialogue. Yarn Spinner lets you write your game's dialogue in a very natural way, with minimal technical syntax and a strong focus on getting your words into the game.

Because Yarn Spinner has such a strong focus on minimising the amount of stuff you have to write on top of your dialogue, we have to be careful whenever adding new features to the language. Our goal is always to reduce the amount of stuff you have to think about when writing. However, any kind of localisation system requires you to add additional information, in the form of a key that links a line's original text that of a translated version.

We created what we think is a pretty neat solution to this: hashtags. To localise a line of text, you add a hashtag that contains a short tag, like this:

However, Night in the Woods has a lot of dialogue. Like, buckets of it. Tagging each and every line would be hugely laborious. Fortunately, we already have a tool that's very good at quickly and thoroughly processing large amounts of Yarn dialogue: Yarn Spinner itself!

We therefore put together a little tool that can extremely quickly (like, 2 seconds quickly) tag every single line of dialogue that needs it. The tool only counts text that needs localisation - that is, anything that a player will see. It ignores all other stuff, like if statements and other behind the scenes stuff, as well as any line that already has a tag, which allows you to run the tool on files that have been partially tagged. In other words, it's a tool you can feed your dialogue through without worrying about anything it's doing.

Once you have some tagged dialogue, you can then generate a file that contains every line's text, as well as its localisation tag. The tool generates a CSV spreadsheet, which is the easiest format for most people to read.

Once you have the spreadsheet, you can send it off to your translators. In our case, we sent it off to a translation team in Italy, who converted the entire text of the Night in the Woods demo into Italian. They then sent back a spreadsheet that contained the Italian versions of all of the lines. We then dropped this into the Night in the Woods demo, and presto: localised!

The code for the localisation tool has already been merged into the development branch of Yarn Spinner, and we'll be putting out more info on how to use it soon. We can't wait to see more games in more languages using Yarn Spinner. Stay tuned for more!


GovHack 2016

For the fourth year in a row we went to GovHack, the world's biggest open-data hackathon, and made a game. We (Paris and Jon) teamed up with Rex, Seb, Matthew, Tim, Arabella, and Josh, and build Beat the Press, a game about news (sort of?) Check out the video, and the website for the project! It was a great way to spend 48 hours.

We're looking forward to coming back to GovHack next year! Thanks to all the organisers and volunteers in Hobart, as well as the other participants. Everyone made it such a great experience as usual!

In London, in October, we'll be giving a talk about our experiences turning open data into video games at OSCON; it's one of our favourite conferences, and we'd love to see you there!