The hold up

suphexandroid

Finally, a Super Hexagon on Android update!

So, first of all, this post is 90% good news! Super Hexagon on Android is basically done. It’s been basically done for a while, in fact – we sent out beta test copies before Christmas. (We being myself and the coder who’s handling the android port, Laurence Muller of EpicWindmill.)

That testing session revealed a couple of bugs – most weren’t too serious and were quickly fixed, but one was more complicated. Since it became clear we weren’t going to sort it out in time for Christmas, we took a break and only resumed work on it again a few days ago.

The bug is an input lag issue. It appears to be limited to the Nexus 7 tablet, but we’re not sure, it may be more widespread. I’ll let Laurence explain:

To test for the input latency we used the app “Multi-touch Benchmark Test” on 3 test devices:
– Nexus One
– HTC Desire S
– Nexus 7

The idea would be that we would touch 2 devices at the same time and compare the relative latency. I’ve recorded a video of this test here (fullspeed).

To make it even more evident, I converted the video that I recorded at 60 fps and slowed it down by 50%:

If you look closely at the video, you see that the Nexus 7 seems to delay touch events in general. Touch down/up are noticeably showing delays compared to the HTC Desire S.

Figuring out that this was happening has been driving us crazy. It may not look like much in the above video (which is running at 50% speed), but even a slight control responsiveness issue like this basically kills Super Hexagon – every single touch overshoots, making the higher levels unplayable. Earlier levels are playable, but it constantly feels “off”. As far as I’m concerned, it’s unreleasable this way.

HOWEVER, as I happen to own a Nexus 7, I was originally under the impression that this bug affected all Android devices – and that appears to not be the case. The hold up was that I was getting Laurence to investigate and try to fix this “bug”, when evidently it’s actually a hardware fault with one specific android model.

So! Our next step is do so some more testing, and figure out if other devices are affected. (We’re pretty sure it’s not actually a problem for 99% of android devices out there.) After that, we’ll be looking to release the game very soon for any android device that can handle it (which excludes the Nexus 7, sorry)! Thank you for your patience :)

* 66 Comments

66 Comments so far

  1. InsanityBringer on January 8th, 2013

    crap i just got a nexus 7 for christmas.

    guess I’ll just have to live with the steam version. Nothing wrong with that.

  2. tobias on January 8th, 2013

    I’ve been checking the Play store every day since you announced the Android version, and lately took to both following you on Twitter AND checking the blog for news. Needless to say (but I’m gonna say it anyway) I’m very much looking forward to this…

    …but the only Android machine I have is the Nexus 7. Damn.

  3. Terry on January 8th, 2013

    I’m sorry guys D:

  4. spike grobstein on January 8th, 2013

    of course the only android device I have is the n7, too… I’ve been seriously waiting for this to come out as I’d really like to play this on a screen larger than my iPhone… the steam version just isn’t the same.

  5. bdr9 on January 8th, 2013

    Same here… the Nexus 7 is my only Android device :(. It’s really strange that there is an input lag issue because I haven’t noticed it in any other apps or anything

  6. bluescrn on January 8th, 2013

    It’s certainly not a massive input lag – I’d never noticed it during the development of my last game, which needed reasonably precise controls.

    Running that multitouch benchmark app, the delay doesn’t seem noticable at normal speed just tapping the screen – but if you drag your finger around, the reported position does clearly lag behind – I’d guesstimate that it’s about 2-4 60Hz frames behind? (Haven’t compared it to any other devices yet, though)

    So yeah, probably not noticable for most games, but Super Hexagon certainly requires rather more precise controls than your average mobile game!

  7. Cide on January 8th, 2013

    There is also serious input lag with the steam version with vsync enabled, as there is for most games running vsync with the fps locked down to 60. My solution has been to limit the framerate to 59fps instead of 60 using a program such as dxtory (msi afterburner works as well. This lets me keep vsync enabled (no tearing!) while having no discernible input lag.

    Terry, on android is it possible to limit the framerate to 1 frame lower than the vsync’ed framerate?

  8. bluescrn on January 8th, 2013

    PC games with vsync can be terrible for input lag. It’s caused by graphics drivers buffering up more than a frame of commands (drawing them up to several frames behind the CPU).

    If you’re writing a game using D3D, there’s a function which should theoretically help:

    IDirect3DDevice9Ex::SetMaximumFrameLatency

  9. Cide on January 8th, 2013

    I also ran the ‘Multi-touch Benchmark Test’ app on both my Nexus 7 & Nexus 4. My response times for both are pretty much identical and much better than the video Terry posted of his Nexus 7. I wonder if he just has a bad Nexus 7.

  10. Terry on January 8th, 2013

    Cide: The video is slowed down to demonstrate the problem – although it’s not visually very apparent at full speed, it is very noticeable when you play.

  11. Spram on January 8th, 2013

    So when are you making VVVVVV Kart Racing?

  12. Brownd on January 9th, 2013

    Wow, everyone has Nexus 7 nowadays…
    Anyway, hope to hear if the issues are present on Galaxy S II or not. Wanna get my brother into this game :D

  13. mandogfish on January 9th, 2013

    Any idea if the problem is hardware- or software-related? My thinking is that a lot of N7 owners use custom roms (Cyanogenmod, AOKP, etc) that are often more optimized.

    Happy to help test different devices if it helps. I have quite a few (Nexus 4 is my main device).

  14. fserb on January 9th, 2013

    Sorry for hijacking, but any plans on fixing the bad frame rate of super hexagon on the retina iPad?

  15. Jonny Rizzo on January 9th, 2013

    Have you tried reaching out to ASUS and Google to see what they can do (if anything) to solve this?

  16. cymcyms on January 9th, 2013

    I have been waiting for this game on Android, ever since Terry announced it. I run AOKP 4.2.1 on my Galaxy Nexus, and have tweaked everything about my device to be optimized for gaming. Throw in my MOGA bluetooth controller mount, and I am ready for this!

  17. mack on January 9th, 2013

    I almost bought an iphone today just to play this game but with this newsupdate i feel that i can wait… :) im glad that i dont have a nexus. Hopefully it will work on a galaxy note 10.1 and SE arc S.

  18. CatMan on January 9th, 2013

    Hi, I made a video response to yours:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4RiR0so8BM

    I have noticed timing problems with sound on the N7, but other devices run fine

  19. evan on January 9th, 2013

    Can you just release the game for on the play store and put a disclaimer to users of the nexus 7? I have been waiting for this game on android for weeks. Checking the store every day for this game is not fun, especially knowing it would work perfectly fine on my phone!!!

  20. Anonymous on January 9th, 2013

    Can we please get an estimation on “very soon”? I am using a nexus 4 phone and have been checking the google play apps store every day for a month (since my friend with an iphone told me about this game). I have only gotten to play it using his phone and the few times i played it i got hooked.

    Can “very soon” please be like tomorrow? Or like by the end of this week?

  21. Anonymous on January 9th, 2013

    Are you running jellybean the Nexus7 and on the other phones? “Project butter” was added in Jellybean and effects how input events are given to the application… Possibly that could be having an effect?

  22. Anonymous on January 10th, 2013

    you raised my hopes then dashed them quite brilliantly….well played sir :P

    although its not your fault, although is it something you guys are going to look at and try and work around, is it even possible to create a work around for this?

    just after playing the steam ver. i kinda felt this game woulda been brilliant bathroom material on my tablet :P

    and unfortunately my phone is a windows phone :/

  23. Maxwell on January 10th, 2013

    I have a Nexus 4. If the problem is with stock 4.2, then theoretically that device should be affected also. I’d like to know if that’s the case before I buy it when it releases. Thanks!

  24. Bobby on January 10th, 2013

    Every day I’ve looked at Google Play to see if this was out on Android yet. I, for one, cannot wait to play this game.

  25. Lucifer on January 10th, 2013

    Hi Terry, just a question: the galaxy mini will be supported or SH is too “heavy” for it?

  26. sangkom on January 10th, 2013

    Finally! I’ve been waiting for your news about Hexagon for android. I’m really enjoying the PC version right now, and I can’t wait to play it on my Galaxy note. I hope that kind of bugs does not appear on my phone. Keep up the good work!

  27. drk421 on January 10th, 2013

    Does the lag still show up using the developer options touch tests?
    Go to Developer options -> Pointer Location and Show Touches and check those.
    If you still get lag, then the Nexus 7 is fundamentally flawed. Otherwise it’s something in your code.

  28. Blake on January 10th, 2013

    Cide: Thanks for the tips! Something always felt slightly off in the game to me, and now I know what it was! I disabled vsync and immediately noticed the much faster response time (at the cost of much tearing) and got new records on both levels 3 and 5. I then installed Dxtory, limited the refresh rate to 59 Hz, and re-enabled vsync. End result: pretty graphics and good response times (even though I don’t fully understand why this works)! Thanks a lot! I’ll recommend this to my friend, too.

  29. FIQ on January 10th, 2013

    That’s too bad for me, Nexus 7 is my only android device.

  30. asdffanon on January 11th, 2013

    I can’t wait. As rghhh

  31. masashikubota on January 11th, 2013

    Will come a day that can be played on kindle?

  32. Elias on January 11th, 2013

    Dude please don’t put the N7 on the blacklist.
    I’ve been waiting so long and was especially excited since you’ve shown it running on a N7 already. The lagg isn’t going to ruin any highscores, so just put up a disclaimer as someone else already mentioned.

  33. MECHA on January 12th, 2013

    Oh that’s a big good news! will android version will out? and… i’m using samsung galaxy note 1 (not 2)

  34. Michael on January 13th, 2013

    Hey Terry! I have been anticipating this for a long time. I too have a nexus 7 only though….

    I don’t know much about these things, and I don’t want to sound like a git, but is it possible that it’s YOUR specific Nexus 7? Or have you tried it on others. I’ve had to send a couple back for various slowdown.

    Just curious, thanks for making this!

  35. sangkom on January 13th, 2013

    Thank god I don’t have N7… I hope my Galaxy Note 1 can run this game without any bugs or glitchs. I hope I can play this awsome game on my cellphone before the end of this Jan. That’s all I want:)

  36. Dovahkriid on January 14th, 2013

    If you need testers, i have a galaxy s2 and a galaxy tab 2. I finished super hexagon on my friend’s iphone. I can’t wait the android release!

  37. Martyn on January 14th, 2013

    Hi, Is the Nexus 7 input lag issue anything to do with Google Currents. I’ve read that disabling background syncing with Google Currents improves performance in Jelly Bean 4.2 so this is not (hopefully) a hardware issue. In the meantime, I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Super Hexagon for the Galaxy S3 and have been religiously checking Google Play since well before Christmas. I used to play it on my iPod Touch 4th Gen (since October) which seemed to be faster than my iPad 4 64GB. Martyn

  38. Nik on January 15th, 2013

    Huh, that’s odd. I often play BIT.TRIP BEAT – another difficult, high speed game that requires precision in order to pass. I haven’t noticed any input lag on that one, or certainly not enough to cause me to fail. It’s not a fault with the specific unit, is it?

    Eh, I’m not the one coding games, what do I know? xD I really, really hope you can discover a fix for this device. I would love to be able to play this on the go (and in doing so ruin any chance I have of passing my degree oh god what am i doing with my life)

  39. user890104 on January 15th, 2013

    Are bluetooth/USB-OTG keyboard/mice going to be supported for controlling the game? Or HID-compatible USB controllers (Xbox ones for example)? It would be GREAT if they are! :)

  40. MowDownJoe on January 15th, 2013

    Can’t help but notice the on-screen menu button on the N7 there. You do know there’s a difference between in Android between the targeted SDK (what you compile against) and the minimum SDK (how far back an app is backwards compatible), right? General good practice in Android development is to always set the target to the newest SDK and let min SDK handle all the rest of the work.

  41. JonBjSig on January 15th, 2013

    I just checked my Nexus 7 out, I’m not noticing any touch lag, I’d say it’s probably a problem with your specific tablet, either that or the problem only affects some Nexus 7’s.

  42. Terry on January 15th, 2013

    Guys, this is not just a problem with my specific tablet. Both Laurence and I have Nexus 7 tablets, and they both exhibit this problem.

    I really, really wish this was just a software issue that we could fix, but Laurence assures me that it isn’t, and he’s the expert so I’m taking his word on it.

  43. Anonymous on January 15th, 2013

    Please release super hexagon on the play store soon! I have been checking your blog at least four times a day for updates on when it’s going to be out. I can’t wait to play on my phone!

    Is it possible to release it and just put a disclaimer up for nexus 7 users?

  44. Anonymous on January 15th, 2013

    Any plans on making it compatible with the Xperia Play’s directional buttons?

  45. pandamator on January 16th, 2013

    Terry, if anything I’m having more trouble playing SH on my Desire S than on my Nexus 7…

  46. Terry on January 16th, 2013

    I don’t have a Desire S to test on, but if that’s true, then I won’t be releasing the game on the Desire S either. I refuse to release a substandard version of the game, end of story.

  47. pandamator on January 16th, 2013

    I suppose it’s because of all the syncing and stuff that the phone is doing in the background. You’ll run into this issue on a large number of devices though… The nexus just has the necessary power to keep SH running smoothly

  48. snalty on January 16th, 2013

    Please for the love of god get rid of that awful legacy menu button

  49. Anonymous on January 17th, 2013

    I’ve been playing the steam version waiting for android release. Since its came out I’ve had to buy it for about 6 friends who refused to buy it themselves (cheap b*******). Really looking forward to the android release. Then I can rage at the game 24/7!

    I’ve got a Galaxy S3 rooted and would love to test (and cry) at the beta.

  50. Javier on January 17th, 2013

    I’ve got a Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 10.1, in case you need some testing or something.

    Also, I’ve checked the Play Store every two hours or so from the last three days, please please release it asap! :)

  51. Adam on January 17th, 2013

    I’m also looking forward to the Android release, I don’t have any programming knowledge but I have an SGH-T999V if you need another Galaxy S3 to test!

  52. Nargajuna on January 17th, 2013

    take a look how other open source rhytm games handle it. like Beats or Beats 2 (http://code.google.com/p/beats2/)

  53. GIBson3 on January 19th, 2013

    I wonder if this could actually be related to android 4.2? I know my nexus 7 has seemed laggy since the 4.2 update…

    Sad panda is me… I bought and will keep super hexagon… Maybe my G1 will run it ;-)

  54. Patch on January 19th, 2013

    You’ve probably already checked this … but some people were complaining about input delay on their Nexus 7s after the 4.2 update, and discovered that the screen magnification accessibility settings has gotten turned on by default. Turning magnification gestures off reportedly helped (settings -> accessibility -> magnification gestures). Any chance that could be the problem?

  55. Terry on January 19th, 2013

    Patch: I just gave that a try – magnification gestures are already off on my device :(

  56. GIBson3 on January 19th, 2013

    Of note…http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=39910

    Many reports of 4.2 causing lag with the Nexus 7

  57. Bhairav Pardiwala on January 19th, 2013

    Hmm this tablet is supposed to be IDEAL for this game as Tegra 3 has http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gbb3tzsuveQ Direct touch
    however the question is why asus decided to forego the inbuilt controller and decided to go with ELAN microelectronics ektf36248ws sensor for the nexus 7 is BEYOND me ,they must have a reason for doing so!

    As a sidenote you should probably remove any smartphone or tablet using this sensor
    PS:- the game might cause seizure attacks to people implement a note to that as well !

  58. otomo on January 19th, 2013

    I can report the opposite. I own a Nexus 7 and a Galaxy note.I tried to play a pinball game on both. Pinball is unforgiving when it comes to input lag. The input lag on the note renders the game unplayable on the phone, while it is perfectly playable on the tablet.I wonder if you could supply an apk to those willing to test it? I already bought the game today for my note.

  59. otomo on January 19th, 2013

    Having played the game on the note now I can say that the game feels awkward. Unbelievably hard from the start. But maybe that is wanted. Or I suck at this game. I can test it on several other phones and tablets at work and report back if needed.

  60. Jeff on January 23rd, 2013

    Was playing on my Nexus 7 last night and well I am going to assume that this is the reason I sucked so bad.

  61. Miguel on January 29th, 2013

    Hi, I’ve seen the presentation of Android 4.1 and Nexus 7 and they were saying there is a new triple (or something like that) buffer to smooth movments, maybe it can be disabled via some api request…

  62. Jamie on January 29th, 2013

    I was butting my head against this particular brick-wall too. I have 3 Android devices. My Samsung Galaxy S2 is actually more leggy than my Nexus 7! Kindle Fire HD seems about as responsive an an iOS device (near perfect). In a way, it’s good to know other developers are coming up against this, and that it isn’t a flaw in the way we’ve coded the touch input stuff.

  63. Andreas R on January 30th, 2013

    AIR apps exhibits this problem on every Android device I’ve tested (Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, Galaxy S3, Nexus 7).

    Native apps do not have this issue (write some java/OGL tests) I’ve given Air the boot for Android altogether.

  64. Terry on January 30th, 2013

    This is not an AIR app.

  65. Dale on February 1st, 2013

    Been playing this on a Huawei Ascend G300 (aka U8815) with Android 4.0 and also suffering some wicked input lag compared to the PC version. “Hexagon” level is just about playable, but the others are impossible.

    I know this is a low-spec phone, so I’m not too hopeful for a fix, but just thought I should mention it.

  66. Anonymous on March 1st, 2013

    No wonder Cytus feels so off when I play it on my nexus 7. I thought it was the game’s fault, but it’s the N7. Boo.

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