The World After: the mobile port

Burning Sunset - Interactive storytelling and video games

The World After: the mobile port

2022-06-16 Blog Devlog 0

We have great ambitions for The World After. After the release of the game on Steam in May 2021, we wanted to make mobile (and console) ports. As it isn’t released yet, you can imagine that we ran into problems.

Video codecs, Linux and Windows 7

In order to make The World After, we had to chose a video codec for exports. If you didn’t know, there are TONS of them. We chose a solid standard that is the H.264 codec (used in streaming, blu-rays…) because it can handle multiple sound tracks. The video files featured 5 sound tracks: French voices, English voices, sound design, ambient sound and music. We did this to make sure there isn’t any lag between sound and picture.

Lesly and I separated these five tracks so the player can change the volume manually like in any video game. It worked wonderfully on our test computers, including a very old one, so we weren’t concerned about compatibility.

The five tracks system worked fine on Mac OSX and Windows 10.

We weren’t aware that this specific codec isn’t supported by both Linux systems and Windows 7. We very quickly had reports from Win 7 users that the game didn’t work at all. After we tested this OS in a virtual machine, we realized that all the videos didn’t have any sound in them. A very similar issue surfaced when we tried to build the game for Linux. In order to make it work, we had to use a different codec but the ones that are playable on all types of OS didn’t feature multiple sound tracks. We had to make drastic changes.

Google Play, Adventure Creator and custom engine

The other issue we discovered while working on the mobile port of The World After is that Google Play changed its build requirements for new releases a few weeks before we started working on it. To explain it simply, a game released on Google Play has to be made with a small launcher and a separate file with all the assets inside. Our game had no assets file and a huge launcher. If it wasn’t for that, the game would be available on mobiles since last summer. These changes made our game totally incompatible with Google Play.

It worked! But we couldn’t sell it.

So for a few months, Lesly has been rebuilding the whole game from scratch without Adventure Creator. He is currently making our own FMV solution inside Unity with addressable assets that will be used for our future games. It is using the open and royalty-free VP8 codec, using the only available audio track for ambient sound, music and sound design while playing the voices in a separate file. Doing so will make it compatible with any major platform including mobile, consoles, even Linux or old Microsoft OS. It will be working very soon, so stay tuned!

What do you think about FMV mobile games? Should we make one mobile oriented with vertical videos?

Meanwhile, you can show us your support by buying our game or checking our cool merch!