Robo Instructus - Alex
This update beefs up the ability to save & load solutions to a particular level. This UI appears when you start Use Your Powers Wisely along with a new overlay tutorial to explain it. Read more in the devblog.

New features
  • Save different solution approaches to a level with custom names.
  • Reload the initial code for levels that start with some code.
  • Load previous level code, for building on your last solution instead of starting from scratch or copy-pasting.
  • New level menu Settings for game options with new option Autocomplete allowing players to disable the autocompletion popups while typing.
Other changes
  • Remove Reset Level Code menu option, replaced by new initial code loading.
  • New overlay tutorials for the new code save/loading menu.
  • Disable autocomplete while typing comments.
  • Fix some render blending issues.
Full release notes

Issues & Feedback
No new issues to investigate.
All issues: big-ab-games/robo-instructus/issues
Robo Instructus - Alex
This update brings a new feature for players that like optimizing, plus some smaller improvements.

New features
  • Load and code from your best solutions in terms of time, solution size or run size.

    After completing Use Your Powers Wisely players will be able to access a new menu.
    This allows players to load the code that achieved the best score for each of the 3 score categories. So if you tried different approaches to a level, say trying to optimise the time score then later trying to shrink your code into as small as possible solution size, you'll now be able to switch between them and continue improving them.
Other changes
  • Remove loading splash, as loading is generally too fast to see it now.
  • Improve/reword overlay messaging about re-running code at each stage.
  • Clarify in function docs that location ids are always positive and non-zero.
  • Improve 'not' primer explanation.
  • Improve Try using else & comparison message placement.
Issues & Feedback
New issues to investigate:
  • Improve/clarify "safe" tile meaning #182
All issues: big-ab-games/robo-instructus/issues
Robo Instructus - Alex
This update switches all textures to GPU compressed versions significantly reducing the load time & VRAM usage. Read the devblog for, probably too much, more info.

New features
  • All game textures have been converted to GPU compressed formats. This drastically reduces VRAM usage & load times while retaining high quality visuals.

    The Textures video menu option has been removed as now everyone will use high quality GPU compressed textures.

  • Click/drag scrolling of scroll bars with the mouse. This is particularly useful for the code reference & message archive.

Other changes
  • Fix typos in company message B.
  • Improve game error logging to include more info.
  • Fix opengl crashes due to texture dimensions.
  • Optimise render performance when in the menu.

Issues & Feedback
New issues to investigate:
  • Game recording with on Windows
  • Introduce code re-running more clearly at "Keep Going!"

All issues: big-ab-games/robo-instructus/issues
Robo Instructus - Alex
This update improves the VRAM usage of the game, fixes panic error logging to help solve future issues and more. I also worked on eliminating scenarios that could cause save data loss. Read the blog for more.

New features
  • Reduced texture VRAM usage and new Video menu option Textures for selecting the texture size/quality. The new default (High) has been optimised for 1440p screens and should almost totally indistinguishable from the Max setting (previous default) at this, or lower, resolution. As such Max is only offered on higher than 1080p resolutions. A Low setting is also provided to try and minimise VRAM usage at the cost of image quality.
  • Improve incorrect code indent error messages. Importantly the offending line is no longer covered up by the error message, the message itself is also more helpful.
  • Add new tile effect for robo_location(), robo_forward_location()
  • Add a sneak peak of the next chapter of levels in the level selection screen after finishing the currently last level.
Other changes
  • Allow `while` to meet the `else` usage requirement in Testing Grounds.
  • Use tailed arrow icons to represent keyboard arrows.
  • Provide Native Effects option only when running the game at over 1080p resolution, as under this native is identical to High.
  • Clear autocomplete options when running code.
  • Set Textures option to Low after a VRAM allocation panic to avoid similar panics on next startup.
  • Await image processing at startup avoiding early texture pop-in & potential music stuttering.
  • Fix some unexpected behaviour changing volumes after using the mute functionality.
  • Fix unexpected code speed selection behaviour when going to/from pause speed.
  • Rework progress saving with the aim to prevent data loss if killing the game (i.e. from a power cut / OS crash).
  • Ensure only a single game process is running to prevent save write co-ownership, which could potentially cause save progress loss.
Full release notes

Issues & Feedback
New issues to investigate:
  • Support custom key bindings for hotkeys #172
  • Explain code-execution speed #173
  • Tile breakpoints #174
  • Allow disabling autocomplete when typing #175
  • Show parse errors more eagerly #176
  • Catch some typo ids with the parser #177

All issues: big-ab-games/robo-instructus
Robo Instructus - Alex
This update brings new story, graphics effects & autocomplete improvements. Read more in the blog.

New features
  • New messages to unlock revealing more of the story of the Bright colonists. For players that have already completed the levels with changed unlocks an exclamation mark is shown over the level, open the level to re-view unlocks.
  • New graphic effects
    - robo_scan()
    - robo_use()
    - robo_detect_adjacent()
  • Autocomplete comparisons '>', '<' etc. Suggest 'is'/comparisons when typing '=' or '==' which are not equality operators.
Other changes
  • Move primer unlock about functions earlier after completing Sense Of Direction.
  • Optimise CPU compute/allocation, lowers general CPU usage / speeds up full-speed compute.
  • Improve code error hints for 'is is' misuse.
Full release notes

Issues & Feedback
New issues to investigate:
  • Add level selection names on hover #168
  • Add company message archive #169
  • Show mute/unmute icon/notification when toggling #170

Current issues: big-ab-games/robo-instructus
Robo Instructus - Alex
New features
  • Autocomplete. Code completion suggestions will now appear as you type, press tab to use. Completions are generated from a lexical sweep of your code plus language keywords and external (ie robo_*) functions.

    The following shorthands for external functions have preference so will always come top in the suggestions and can be used like macros/snippets. Type the shorthand and press tab. Shorthands are generally the significant letters of a function:
    • rf -> robo_forward()
    • rl -> robo_left()
    • rs -> robo_scan()

    See new autocomplete keys in the game directory README.txt.

Other changes
  • Fix company message acknowledge not always working causing the message to reappear.
  • Clarify robo_use() additional runtime documentation.

Issues & Feedback
No new unresolved issues this week.

Current issues: big-ab-games/robo-instructus.
Robo Instructus - Alex
This week's update brings many quality of life improvements to the game based on the feedback I've received. More info on these changes will be published a little later today in the devblog.

New features
  • Levels now have names. These will appear above the levels and in the score screens.
  • Profiles can now be deleted in the title screen. Click the bin and confirm by clicking the red tick. Take care as this cannot be undone.
  • New editor keyboard shortcuts see the README.txt file in the game directory for a list of all hotkeys.
    • `ctrl insert`, `shift insert`, `shift delete`: copy, paste, cut.
    • `ctrl /` comment/uncomment the current line or selection.
    • `ctrl d` can now duplicate all selected lines.
    • `ctrl t` toggles code pause, instead of just starting the code paused.
  • Mute sound hotkey `ctrl m`.
  • Add level stage navigation hotkeys `alt ↑`, `alt ↓`.
  • Include a power switch in Melting Pot.
  • New company message (B) after completing all aboveground levels.
  • Move the first direction data-store level underground.
  • Move robo_location() discovery to after Gatehouse.
  • Add video menu option `Snowfall` with options On, Background Only, Off.
  • Windows: Add NvOptimusEnablement & AmdPowerXpressRequestHighPerformance link exports to prefer dedicated GPU usage on laptops. This should address performance issues on bad+good GPU laptops.

Other changes
  • Improve button click responsiveness when cursor is moving.
  • Improve initial robo_use() message.
  • Improve power switch explanation message clarity.
  • Add extra clarification around code re-running at each stage in Keep Going!.
  • Reduce Hello Robo tutorial to add only 3 lines.
  • Tweak company message A.
  • Avoid "read about comparison" overlay covering text if possible.
  • Rework level statistic totals placement.
  • Rename "nodes" to "phrases" to make more immediate sense.
  • Show speed tutorial in Keep Going! even if the 1st run solves the whole level.
  • Improve video menu presentation, align options consistently and use dim colour when disabling options.
  • Add GPU vendor/renderer info to F10 debug.
  • Reword unsatisfied level requirement message.
  • Save panic traces to an error.log file.
  • Tweak sequence overwriting code example for clarity.

Issues & Feedback
New issues to investigate:
  • Improve new game first level button visibility #139
  • Highlight current cursor indent marker line #140
  • Show editor hotkeys in game somehow #141
  • Add vsync setting #143
  • Allow zooming UI-scale bigger #144
  • Add next/previous level button for quick navigation? #147
  • Fix code-speed unpause speed selection when selecting speed #150
  • Compare scores with steam friends #151
  • Manage multiple solutions, auto save best scoring solutions #153
  • Level selection: show level preview on hover #154
  • Avoid texture pop-in #156
  • Code input/code reference drag/click scrollbar scrolling #157
  • Add optional performance targets/rewards #160
  • Steam achievements #161
  • Improve data store message explanation #162
  • Offer to import previous solutions in some early levels #164
  • Improve 'Function not available' messaging #165
  • Improve title screen #166
Robo Instructus - Alex
A week ago I was working with a group of 32 semi-active alpha testers, now over 2000 beta testers have signed up to try Robo Instructus. I've already received a lot of great feedback that will help improve the game. Thanks very much to everyone that sent in their thoughts!

One main theme that's coming through is the learning difficulty spike that happens at the 5th level. Improving this, then, is the main objective of beta-1.2. This version adds new levels & reworks some to spread out the cognitive load of learning the new concepts. It also better explains variable scoping which becomes quite important around this point.

So please try out these new levels and features and let me know what you think. Steam should update the game automatically.

New features
  • Add new usable tile "power switch" and new level designed to better introduce the robo_use() function in isolation from other new concepts.
  • Rework (previously 6th) level to incorporate power switches and location data stores.
  • Add "Scope" primer explaining variable scope rules.
  • Rework the first level with direction data stores, try to simplify the necessary concepts used here.
  • Reorder code reference primer sections to be less confusing.
Other changes
  • Rework first level tutorial. Remove initial code which can cause confusion.
  • Move game speed tutorial to during 2nd level.
  • Don't auto increase from speed 1 -> speed 2 after completing first level.
  • Fix error sound triggering twice in some cases when the robot falls.
  • Fix render bug in title screen after viewing the code reference.
  • Linux: Build with older glibc to support Ubuntu 16.04.
  • Replace message images with actual in-game renders.
  • Fix quoted message display issue.
  • Avoid mipmapping where possible to lower VRAM usage.
  • Improve company message wording.
  • Move loop-III tutorial one level earlier.

New issues to investigate
  • Support more languages #120
  • Tutorial about alternate debugging keys #121
  • Auto-correct capitalisation errors #122
  • Change flow so unlocks happen after scores #123
  • Improve hint explaining the program restarts at each level-variant? #125
  • Add copy/paste from code reference #126
  • buttons clicks sometimes not working #128
  • Improve pause code-phase highlight #129
  • Investigate jerky performance (texture vram usage?) #130
  • Allow custom color themes #131
  • Add profile deletion #133
  • `if robo_scan() is 1 or 2` error message missing suggestion #134
  • Name levels #136
  • Intel shadow image render bug #137
  • Index for code-reference primer sections #138
Robo Instructus - Alex
The Robo Instructus beta is now available

Welcome to all the beta subscribers and a big thank you for testing this game!

The beta period is all about polishing the game experience, adding improvements and suggestions & fixing bugs. Please send feedback to me via email or on the steam community with your thoughts on the game.

Beta goals
The game's narrative is in progress and will be appearing more and more during the beta. I'll also be adding more levels, functions & dangers as the game becomes more and more complete.

The many different countries involved in the beta it's also focused my mind to making the game more multilingual. It will take time to add more languages to the game, so please bear with me on this one.

My immediate update goals include adding new early levels to improve/smooth the learning difficulty spike that happens around the 5th level. So expect updates on this soon.

Thanks to everyone that have already sent me feedback! I look forward to hearing more experiences with Robo Instructus.

Big AB Games
Robo Instructus

If you fancy getting another language under your belt, upcoming puzzle game Robo Instructus will fill your brain with code as it teaches you a simple programming language designed to command a helpful little robot. Take a look at him in action in the above announcement trailer. 

Starting out, you just get a few lines taught to you. That's where I'm at right now, after a few missions. I can get my engineering bot to do very simple things, mostly moving around, by typing "robo_forward()" and other variations a great deal. I'm still very proud and feel a little bit smarter every time that wee robot reaches his objective. Look at me, Mum, I'm programming robots.

As the maps and objectives get more complicated, new bits of code are unlocked, letting you construct increasingly an elaborate—at least from a novice's eyes—program that takes into account different variables and makes the robot perform additional tasks, such as scanning tiles. Robots flipping love to scan things. 

It's the triangles I find harder to parse, rather than the coding side of things. Instead of a hex or a square, every tile is a triangle, so when you're giving the robot its marching orders, you've got to remember that moving it forward will actually move it diagonally to the right. Just keep making it move forward and eventually, if there's enough space, it will come full circle.

Levels have multiple floors you have to contend with, which turns out to be a neat wrinkle. When you escape the first floor, elated, you'll quickly realise that you need to create one long script to get your robot from the entrance of the first floor to the exit of the last. You might be able to use loops to save you a lot of work, however, and you can tweak the code and experiment whenever you want with no real consequences. None for you, anyway. The robot, on the other hand, might fall to its doom. 

I meant to post this a bit earlier, but I confess I got a bit stuck, and that's when Robo Instructus ensnared me, making me briefly forget about anything that wasn't my mechanical buddy and his programming. If that sounds like a good time, you can register for instant access to the free beta here.


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