Tag Archives: iphone
New Job, new year and new goals!
I’ve set myself a personal goal to get a game on the app store that I can comfortably sell. The game? Emerald Beach, everyone keeps telling me I should do it and I planned to do it anyway but got knocked of the rails when it wouldn’t run on the Iphone and I realised I had developed it all wrong!
So over the last few days I’ve started to build a new version from fresh for the iphone, learning from all my previous “mistakes/miss-understandings”.
Emerald Beach for the web was designed using real life physics which meant it was very intensive on memory, the game had to calculate every object with real-life physics and animations every second, which is why it crashed on the Iphone.
This time I’m avoiding physics all together (or as much as I can) and the results have been very encouraging, whereas before the game would crash if four or more lines of gems appeared this time I can have a near unlimited amount and the FPS sticks at 60!!
In the web version gems would rise because new gems would appear below the original line and push all the other gems upwards, and would continue to do so for each new line, the problem was, each new line would introduce a massive amount of real time calculations.
Now my gems “jump” upwards rather than slide upwards, at first I didn’t like it, it looked odd, then I realised that all or most gem games look like this but I had never noticed it before, just accepted it. So now I’m happy, it looks good, lots of gems can be on screen and there’s no slow down!
Next was the crane, which is very important as it’s the only object you control in the game so I wanted this to feel good! In my mind I had three modes for the crane; slide, tap and drag. I wanted the crane to move left and right if the player taps the screen or drags left and right and then drop when the player slides the finger downwards. My goal is to get one handed action in place, because I feel there’s a lack of one handed games for the Iphone, the amount of times I’ve had a tinny in one hand and wanted to play something quickly on my iphone with my other hand
So, that’s where I’m at and here’s a little video to prove it:
I’m finished now 100% all the little niggles I had with my game I’ve now sorted. Nothing major but firstly I removed the clock from the GUI, a) I found it slightly off putting and b) it busied up the interface and didn’t really add anything. The time is still taken and added to the score just not constantly displayed!
Secondly I’ve changed the name from ‘Bird Blaster‘ to ‘Blasted Birds’, it turns out that there is another game called Bird Blaster which is also on the app store. I don’t want any conflicts so I changed it.
Iphone conversion is pretty much done, I’ve sadly had to remove the exploding blocks because it was coded in something xcode can’t compile.
I now need to iron out a performance issue then need to talk to Stencyl about releasing… Happy Days!
I’m finally happy that I have a stable version of Emerald Beach! WOOOO HOOOO!!!
All major bugs have now been ironed out, which is a great feeling. I mentioned on a twitter post @zerosimms that fixing all the bugs was an odd sensation, like I’ve just stepped out the shower, all clean and shiney!
So Emerald Beach is ticking along nicely and the iphone conversion is, well… progressing.
Back with the web version apart from some new graphics the biggest change is that the purple gems now spawn from level one. I play tested it myself, which I know isn’t the ideal situation but I did find having the purple gems from the go balanced the play considerably, so now I will wait to hear back from players to see if they like it or not.
If you haven’t played Emerald Beach before why not give it a go? It’s really simple to pick up, slightly manic, nice and shiny and loads of fun! You can play it right here on my web site, or play it on Kongregate so that I get a few pence in my ever so small change jar
If anyone’s intereseted heres the list of fixes and changes since 1.1.5 (my last “major” release)
- DONE Crane set to sensor to stop it going through the floor
- DONE Scores float into score
- DONE Moved 3rd column to the right from 25 to 23 to stop gem jam occurring
- DONE Slowed down floating scores
- DONE Changed floating score code so they always updating
- DONE Moved first column to x33 from x34 to stop gems getting stuck, also moved the terrain further to the left,
- DONE Removed all unwanted attributes from green. blue and red gems
- DONE Simplified ‘Game Over’ Code
- DONE Loop menu music
- DONE Made ‘Try again’ button smaller, so that ‘level’ meter can be added.
- DONE Added level to ‘Final Scores’
- DONE Change x position of second gem to 77 from 80 to fix gap.
- DONE Post to twitter button integrated.
- DONE Emerald_Beach account set up in twitter.
- DONE Changed level 6 speed from 1 to 2
- DONE Sort out post to twitter
- DONE Bug – scores get stuck on first collision
- DONE Added new pre-loader
- DONE Shrink scores as the rise
- DONE Sorted save and load score
- DONE BUG – MINOR Gem rises sometimes happens twice in a row. Fixed by making the next round wait it’s turn before starting gem
- DONE Removed ‘Print’ command from crane functions.
- DONE Scores fixed, wasn’t adding final collision to score!
- DONE BUG – Major, fixed it so game doesn’t end randomly. Made it so if gem equals 60 then end.
- DONE Changed all sound FX‘s that were set to Music to their correct setting.
- DONE Added new sound effects for each gem smash.
- DONE Changed ramp and physic from 85 to 130 on ‘ben simms’ loading page. – Make gems roll without getting stuck.
- DONE Fixed scores in Bottom sensor it was only adding +20 not +20 + gem value.
- DONE Tech Bonus always displays onto of the score float.
- DONE Created a TechBonus float so it can have it’s own animations.
- DONE Put ‘Game Over’ code on rope not gems and changed endgame if last collided equals 60
- DONE Crane always on-top of the gem it’s picked up
- DONE Picked up gems now sit at Y level 40 not 50 to avoid accidental game overs.
- DONE Tech bonus now spins upwards and always launches upwards in the middle.
- DONE Stopped double ‘tech bonus’ graphics being generated by making the graphic in tech float
- DONE Added new help background and text
- DONE Added new about background and text
- DONE Highscore on main menu now loads. Add load save file to ‘Your highest score’
- DONE Score’s turn to ghost‘s when high enough
- DONE Changed the rules so that purple gems are generated from level 1!
So after a long bloody day, a shed load of beers and some good news I finally got Emerald Beach “running” on my iphone. When I say “running” I mean just that, it doesn’t interact properly but it does load and it does run!
What worries me most at this stage is how slow the gems rise and they seem to be ignoring the physics. Anyway, here’s video proof of the game running on my Iphone!
It’s been a busy week with social life, work, the game and that I’ve not had a chance to reflect on the release of Emerald Beach but here’s my thoughts so far:
I released it last Sunday knowing full well it wasn’t complete but playable and enjoyable with the basic mechanics.I was proved right, all off the feedback has been constructive and all saying “I like it but can you add this…” etc, etc, luckily all the additions requested I have already planned for so now it just a case of time.
More importantly then new features I wanted to fix a couple of know (to me) bugs, whether or not other people had seen them but didn’t mention them I don’t know, either way, one of the two have been fixed and I fixed the other but just not released yet. I also added a few more obvious features requested such as the gem highlighter tool which actually makes a massive difference, the other feature added was to be able to drop gems on-top of each other right to the last second, making claw backs possible!
In the back of my mind I have also had the I-phone conversion banging around, I’m not sure how to do this yet, I’ve been playing with the controls but keep breaking other parts, ontop of this I’m fixing and making additions to the web version which makes my iphone version out date.
What I think I will do is finish up the web version as is, without the new features developed and not developed. I’ll then start on the iphone conversion properly and make it my main focus, my original goal when I sat out to make this game was to get it on the Apple App store, that was always my goal and I need to keep telling myself that.
I was fortunate last week to pick up a cheap Macbook, It’ll run Stenclywork, but more importantly I’ll be able to test my game on my phone without having to send my files back and forth to the guys at Stenclyworks, this will help greatly speed up the development of the Iphone conversion.
I’ll be blogging my way through the App store release!
I was able finally, to get my blocks to move upwards using physics. What does this mean? Unlike other brick/tile games my “Gems” actually work using physics not animations, this gives the game (I’m hoping) a slightly different feel. Down the line I’ll be able to exploit the physic further to add extra dimensions into the game play.
So the big issue was creating these blocks, I finally figured it out and kept my code down to a minimum! You’ll see in the video that the first two columns generate gems at the bottom of the playing field, a random colour is picked, this colour then defines the blocks name. After a short period another block is generated in the same position, because of the use of physics the first block is pushed up and out of the way thus creating the illusion of tiles rising.
I also went ahead and updated the graphics.
I had to remind myself that the ultimate goal of the game is to get it on the iphone (and other touch screen devices) so use of space is paramount. I took the decision to remove Cog from the playing field, expand the grid and increase the size of the gems (to make them touch friendly) I’m much happier with the design now.
I also re-designed the background, taking away the “textured” look and sticking with clean, simple lines, curves and colour, because of this I revised the gems as well.
Next on my to do is sort out the “Pick and Drop”
The Dragons Eye
I’ve always been interested in digital art hence I did a degree in it. The problem I’ve always had is the pen/paper vs digital. I’ve always found it easier to sketch/draw or paint on paper but I never get a result I’m totally happy with because hiding mistakes is hard. The interaction with the digital canvas has always been a challenge, I’ve got and have used a Wacom tablet for years, but I don’t really like it. I’ve had many touchscreen phones with piss poor art programs and piss poor interaction. I’ve never felt like I’ve met the best of both worlds until now!
The Iphones touchscreen is PERFECT, the applications are powerful and the options are endless! I love drawing with my finger and having the results instantly and perfectly displayed (not like I found with Wacom) I love the applications and the potential of the applications yet to be developed and today I finished my first drawing that I’m actually proud off.
Here’s how I did it.
I installed an application called APPZILLA (59P Bargain!!) APPZILLA contains loads of applications within the one app, one of these applications is called “glow paint” which creates an amazing effect and drawing is a breeze. So I started drawing out my dragons eye, carefully selecting colours to give an impression of depth. I spent some time on the eye and the skin around the eye.
I was now pretty happy but the image wasn’t finished. Opening “Photo Oven” I then opened the existing image and applied the “Crack” filter. I needed to break the image up so it wasn’t clean.
I then opened up Photoshop and did some basic tweaks to the levels and give a colour boost!
The final step was to apply a tilt shift focus using the application apply named “TileShiftFocus”. I wanted to draw the attention of the viewer into the dragons retina.
Drawing on the IPhone isn’t easy, it takes a lot of applications, thought and planning to get a good final result, but it’s worth it!
Get TiltShiftFocus here:
Bank holiday Monday and we needed to get out the house, so we decided to visit Rochester castle, I could play with the camera and afterwards we could take a walk around the castle. Turns out we couldn’t, five quid to get in and you can’t walk around the outside of the castle because it’s been fenced off!
Anyway, the weather was perfect, nice and bright. Camera set to an ISO of 200 and a nice fast shutter speed.
As we approached the castle the sun kindly moved into position right behind one of the “struts”???
It was a no brainer photograph, a nice silhouette shot. I took a few for good measure, making sure to get a few slightly under and over exposed shots and also shooting in raw for security down the line.
Rather pleased with the outcome, I didn’t do much post edit. Converted to black and white and that was about it. I would have preferred to get the flag and pole in, so next time I’ll have to watch out for that.