Nice work, Bob. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights on all of this :)
Sorry for the long pause since the last update, but I didn't get a lot of time to work on the game until recently. I did manage to get the player death sequence into the game though, and those 25 collectable objects, as I'd written that I hoped to in the last update. The objects all now have proper graphics, and I also managed to get the chest feature into the game. This is where some rooms have a chest which has to be opened to determine and collect what is in it. Often there is nothing in a chest, but sometimes, just sometimes, it contains an important collectable object.
The addition of these new objects (26 in total, as I'm treating the chest as a 'pseudo' object which changes state) went pretty smoothly, until I discovered that the player would sometimes be blocked from travelling in a certain direction, or at worst the game would simply crash. If i took the objects out all played well again. I assumed this was because the objects were actually in the room, but not being drawn, so did lots of checking in that direction, but to no avail. I then checked the other side of my assumption - that there was an object being collided against which shouldn't be there. This turned out to be correct - the collision system as it was couldn't cope with all the new objects and that data was spilling out over some code, so I increased it's buffer, and the issue was fixed. I wasn't happy with that though, as it also highlighted that the collision system was somewhat inefficient so I spent some time looking at, redesigning, and rewriting that part of the game, and came up with something that was not only much more efficient in term of memory usage, but also in processing, and so in turn managed to make the game slightly faster. So a big win! There's probably a lot of that in the game, as it's been a very organic development, so I'm hopeful that there's more room for improvements to be made.
I'm now on-leave from work for the rest of the year, so am hoping to get a couple of days at least were I can spend a decent amount of time on the game. The map has recently been changed slightly, along with the location of some of the collectable objects, so I need to update the game for that, but mostly I want to try and 'flesh-out' some of the rooms some more, as most are simply the floor and a basic wall graphic. This should also place all the chests where they should be in the map. I'm very much hoping that the map will be the same as that of the PC version - which is huge - but it currently all fits in memory so I'm hopeful it can stay.