Just got an iPad today. Shout out to macofalltrades.com for providing excellent used apple products! 4:3 aspect Android devices are difficult to come across and I want to offer Core Influence for iPad, as well as any future mobile games I create. So, naturally, I want to test the game out on it. I've bought my apple developers license and pushed the game to my iPhone. Works great. After making a few minor adjustments, I'll build it to my iPad and continue play testing.
I am gearing up to release Core Influence and I need to update this website. I am hoping to release the game next week, if all goes well.
While I work on press kit materials, I'll be building Core Influence to iOS and play testing it to death on both iOS (iPhone & iPad) and Android devices (various Phones & Tablets). I could just make the builds and release it, but I want to make sure that everything is in working order. I've never released a game before, so I'm scouring the internet for helpful tips and all the do's and don't(s). I'll be play testing it for about a week, setting a release date and finally releasing Core Influence. I am really quite nervous in doing all this, as the only thing I had/have to rely on is information in books, magazines, and the internet. This weekend will be spent getting the game running on iPhone & iPad, play testing, and working a bit on my website. Hopefully, I can do all this without too many problems. Good Night.
March 22 was my last update, apparently. Since then, my free time was spent working side jobs for quite some time and development slowed down. Pay this bill, that bill, yatta yatta yatta. About a few weeks ago, I decided I needed to step away from the side work in order to finish this mobile game. Still, finding free time to work on this game has been tough. Fall, Winter and early Spring are easy parts of the year to really grind some dev time. Summer, not so much. Lots going on. Anyhow, so what have I got done since then and what is left to finish the game?
- Dumped Memory Game Mode for Breakthru Game Mode
- Game Modes Finalized
- Achievement/Unlockables System
- Unity Ads & Rewards
- Adjust Unlockables Progression
- Changes to UI to fit 4:3 aspect
- Google Play Services
- Code Review and Optimization
I honestly don't understand the use of 4:3 aspect in a world of devices that are predominantly 16:9 & 16:10. Heck, even 17:10 and 3:2 are just fine. I'm not going to point at a particular device for reference, but 4:3 makes UI design for mobile devices annoying. It also cripples your creative freedom.
So, I will probably be done very soon.
I have been progressing well with my mobile game development. I have all the backend for unlockables done and begun work on the other game modes. There will be a total of 4 game modes and two are currently playable. The other two will take some time to get to a playable state. I should have the third ready by the weekend and hopefully have the fourth complete before the start of next week.
I've decided to cut down on the unlockables quite a bit. I need to scale things back, so I can get this game on the market. I can always add new things later with game updates.
The game has an awesome music track thanks to Ryan Looney of Electric Alley Music. Can't wait for all of you to hear it and how well it fits the game. If you are looking for original tracks to capture the right mood/feel for your players, click the above link or here and contact Ryan. Nothing beats having a track tailored for your game to make it feel just right during gameplay.
Well, that does it for this post. I need to finish a few things and get some sleep.
Wow, I have not updated this site in quite some time! So much has happened since my last post on April 20th. For starters, I participated in Ludum Dare 33 and produced a game called Eat Humans:
I was fairly happy with the entry, but the gameplay was kinda...meh. I barely did any focused play testing...maybe 15 minutes. As with all my previous entries, I nearly ran out of time. Mostly because I was learning so much on the fly. It was one of my best Ludum Dare experiences to date and I am expecting my next entry to be even better.
Right after Ludum Dare 33 I had to start packing for our move to our new home. I was away from doing any game development for several weeks. In November, I slowly started getting back into the groove and planned on doing Ludum Dare 34. However, after a half day into the jam, I had to call it quits for several reasons. One, my wife needed my help. Two, I didn't have Monday off work. I did end up with a decent idea that I will be developing later into a mobile game, but I am currently working on one and need to get that finished first. Speaking of which, I will be meeting up with Ryan Looney of Electric Ally Music on Sunday to discuss the audio for my upcoming mobile game: Core Influence.
The current version for Core Influence is much different in gameplay than my Game Jam Entry version. I am not sure how well this game will be received or if it will provide me with some supplemental income, but I am really looking forward to finally releasing a game that I am proud of.
I bought an android tablet from Best Buy on Thursday, so I can hand it over to collaborators and play testers. It is a Digiland 7" Tablet and it only cost $50 and some tax. The only thing that was a bit of a pain was loading the drivers so that I can build directly to it from Unity. These little tablets are a decent way to get your game into the hands of some play testers without having to worry too much over the cost of a device.
Tonight, I set up a way to allow for loading/streaming assets from a google drive folder into the game. Sending out links for collaborators to upload files to a google drive folder is a cinch and updating the files by right clicking the file and selecting "Manage Versions..." is pretty awesome. Older versions are kept for 30 days, but unfortunately right now you can't switch between the versions to make one the current version. However, with a bit of coding and switching up the workflow slightly, switching between versions can happen.
Click on the image above to go to my submission page on the Ludum Dare Site.
I'm tired and need some rest. Have to work in the morning. I'll do a full write up of the experience tomorrow. Good Night!
basic animations done.character moving on the screen done.now I just have to furiously draw the rest of the art work and try not to be so picky about it.animations took up most of my time mostly because I didn't know how they do it. I think I did okay. when I'm done I'll post something here. probably not the game though because unity player does not work in chrome anymore. I will however post video of me playing the game if I cannot get the game hosted here on my site. I better go get some sleep, very long day tomorrow.
So, if you are considering using Blender as a 2D animation tool, I would promptly direct you to using something like Spriter (good, very affordable $59) or Spine (best, if you have $298)...for now. I spent all day trying to work the kinks out of my 2D Animation workflow from Photoshop > Blender > Unity. Now, why don't I just take the advice I have just given to you? Because two things: I'm poor and blender is free. I have Spriter, but it does not include mesh deformations. The essential version of Spine allows somethings, but does not include mesh deformations, IK, free form deformations, skinned meshes, ghosting. So, until I have that money to blow on it, I'll be using blender.
Spine is so much cleaner and easier to use. However, if you want to go 3D for a game, you'll have to learn another piece of software. 3D is pretty straight forward with blender and there are tons of tutorials for reference. But how about for 2D? Good luck. There are a few really good examples on the internet, but the people who do use blender for those 2D projects have not provided any tutorials that tell how to get the work done. I'm hoping to provide some tutorials and my scripts in the future for anyone who would like to use blender for 2D, after I've spent enough time with the workflow to make sure it is efficient and flexible.
Well, I'm 7 minutes past my turn in time. I'm doubtful I'll have a finished game for 9 pm Monday night. I'm gonna give it my best, though. Tomorrow, I'll be attaching a character controller to the character above just to get some code going in Unity. Once I got that working, I'll work out a short story, storyboard it, and get at least a quick hack'n'slash game working. If I can do that much before the end of this LDJAM, I'll be very happy with my endeavor. I've learned so much already, not sure how much more my brain can take. LOL.
a game where the world is being invaded by sentient melons from another dimension after a catastrophic event involving a large hadron collider tearing a rift into another dimension and you are the only person in the world with a weaponized melon baller that can defeat these otherworldly creatures and save your fellow townsfolk.
Got the inspiration from an inside joke.
The triple monitor mount came around 10 a.m. It didn't take that long to set up and I am happy about how it looks. Only two things I am not happy about: how the right screen obstructs my view to the window and how far out from the wall it sits. I did gain quite a bit of desk space back, so that is good. As you can tell, I'm a big fan of The Behemoth. One of my biggest influences. It is not apparent in playing Core Influence, but I plan to re-skin that game to fit the image that I am developing for Boy With Stick.
1:05 hours left and I have no idea what I am going to do for a game. I rather go in blind, because that is the challenge. I am getting other things together, like a code base and scene progression from the splash screen to the title screen and into the game. Nervous that I won't be able to come up with something within the first two hours. However, if I can get something nailed down and started before my 2 a.m. end time, I'll be really happy.
Just finished picking up my workspace to where it will be comfortable for the next three days. I have a triple monitor mount coming tomorrow morning (hopefully), so I can gain more desk space and so my vertical monitor is more secure. Right now it's just standing on edge against the wall and the other desk that is slightly higher than my main one.
That is not my work space in the picture. I can't wait to set this up. I have two 24" horizontal monitors and a 20" vertical.
I know I've read in several comments that trying to predict the outcome of the final voting round for the theme can prove to be a fruitless effort, but I'm feeling that it will be Companion or An Unconventional Weapon. Here's how I voted anyway for the final round.
I did a spreadsheet and sorted the past four results and Companion was at the top of the list, followed by An Unconventional Weapon. I'm just going to try and do a couple of 1 liners for each of the themes tomorrow. Plus, I want to establish a standard set of assets in Unity to help alleviate some time. If I have any time left, I will be doing some test animations with the workflow I established between Photoshop and Blender. I am not sure if I'll be doing anything with animation in the game, but that depends on what I settle on developing.
Whatever I come up with tomorrow, I need to keep it small and short. I just want to finish something playable for my first Ludum Dare. 48-52 development hours is not a whole lot of time, but I was able to manage that during the mini-LD 58. Plus, I spent a lot of that time researching and reviewing different ways of coding parts of the game. So, I won't have to do much of that this time around. Every night since the end of the mini-LD, I've managed to do at least 2 hours a night.
Can't wait for 9 p.m. to roll around tomorrow. I will be challenging no matter what the theme.
After playing the game for 1.5 weeks and re-evaluating how the gameplay works with the theme of "Life Influences" in an abstract way, I decided to ditch the whole "How Long Can You Last?" scoring. I came to this conclusion by testing three different scenarios. Below are my ramblings from OpenOffice Writer:
Player has a limited amount of Life Points. You can only have a max of 3 Life Points. Everything collected over that 3 Life Points goes to your score. In order to keep scoring you have to keep your health at max. The goal is to collect as many positive influences as you possibly can before you die.
This scenario follows the theme of influences.
Negative influences can hinder your growth as a influential person and your positive contributions in life are stymied.
Sometimes, learning from your mistakes and rebounding makes you stronger. Do you put yourself in negative situations to develop a deeper understanding of others you care about? Will that gamble ultimately defeat you in the end? Are those other people worth the risk of yourself?
Why 3 and not another number? Nintendo sure likes the number 3, why?
Player does not have any Life Points. One hit and it's game over. The goal is to collect as many positive influences as you can before you die.
This is a Flappy Bird scoring adaptation.
This scenario does follow the theme of influences to an extreme.
This could be more of a hardcore mode of scenario 1, so probably not a scenario that should be used as the main set of rules.
Player can collect an unlimited amount of Life Points. Run out of Life Points and it's game over. Player can collect an unlimited amount of Ability Points to be used for slowing down time and blowing the smithereens out of the incoming influences. Goal is to survive as long as possible in seconds.
This scenario does follow the theme of influences, but does not have any representation of the positive impressions created from your influence in your lifetime.
This does not have strict/tight enough limiting factors.
Slowing down time is a cool idea, but where does that fit in with the influence theme?
Now, Scenario number 3 was the original set of rules in the first iteration of the game and that worked with keyboard and mouse. However, after porting it over to mobile, those rules and player controls/abilities didn't translate well for gameplay on a phone/tablet. After letting a few people play the game on my phone and observing them, I could tell that much of their concentration was on the core gameplay and the abilities given to them were not used at all, nor did they consider them a fun addition to the game.
As for now, I'll be testing out Scenario 1 and having others try it out to get some feedback. I'll work on the cosmetic end of things and delve into the steps for release and monetization.
Added the ability to use either the mouse pointer or keyboard via keys tied to the quadrants of the screen. Also, added mobile controls. I'm undecided on whether I'll be making use of the gyroscope to point the paddle in the direction of tilt or just touch controls per screen quadrant. I've already implemented the quadrant controls and it feels quite good. I'll add the tilt control and give it a shot, but I feel the touch contol would work better on phones. Each control type lends it's own feel and difficulty to the game. I might just add the both and let the player divide via an option screen.
I'm glad I took part in the MiniLD before heading into Ludum Dare #32. I learned so much about actually taking a game idea from the conceptualization stages to getting the game into a working, playable state. I've created small games before, but nothing that I've actually put out into the world and into the hands of the people who kindly gave it a playing chance. I did not think I would actually get a game done within the 48 hours, but I guess staying up late and doing all those tutorials over the weeks leading up to this jam to prepare myself was worth the time. Much of that was just review and learning better ways to manage code, mostly. I'm happy with how the game turned out and it is always fun to see projects come to fruition.
Since I wanted to know if I could actually complete something within the 72 hours for the jam (minus sleeping 6 hours/night <my daily average/week>, eating, bathroom breaks, whatnot), I left myself with 48 hours. I finished just under that mark; timing myself with my iPhone stopwatch, whenever I did anything related to the game over the week.
I started out with a short one liner: “A game where the player must defend their core element from negative influences and allow positive influences to add to their core”, then worked the PONG theme into that. The one liner came out of the thought of the influences that we encounter throughout our life cycle and how we reject or accept those influences; developing ourselves as a result of those encounters.
From there I began jotting down ideas and sketching out scenarios into a notebook. Once I got enough down, I opened up illustrator and photoshop to make my initial game art to get things started in Unity. Throughout the whole development process, I learned so much and found focal points of study to improve my skills.
I did not get to incorporate the other feature I had planned for the current play style, which involved "Contamination Influences", as below:
I am planning on continuing to develop this game further and release it on the Google Play store. It does not cost much to register and I need the experience submitting it to a digital store. I am hoping to have the game running on my tablet by next weekend. It shouldn't be too difficult, as I've already done several other small test games.
Next game jam is #1 Game A Month. During that time is Ludum Dare #32. Then, More Is Better. I really like the Indie Game Jams timeline. Fun times ahead!