Sunday, June 16, 2013

Groups of germs! And a demo just for you.

A pretty normal week - I accomplished what I set out to accomplish. I got germs spawning in groups working earlier today (goal met!), but it still needs a little work before I'm satisfied with it. Right now, germs spawn in groups of 3 every time, but changing that to other numbers should theoretically just be adding a new variable to the growing list of tweakable constants. Spawning in groups is quite cool, and I feel like it gives me as the designer a lot more control over how the game plays. Now I can theoretically do things like spawn a ton of enemies on one side of the room and a have a group of appropriate pills come from the top. Groups also make the game a little easier/slower. They're basically just as easy to dodge and collect, but are easier to process and give you higher rewards for eating them.

Above, the group coming in is circled.

I think I'm close to being feature-complete; whatever comes next should be in response to playtesting. And I should do a lot of playtesting! Biggest features still to go in: difficulty modes (easy, medium, hard), and maybe a joystick for movement? Simply moving wherever your finger is has not been working out particularly well; even with all the changes it doesn't mesh well with the fine play that is still required. Group germs are awesome though, and more fine tuning of the play experience may be able to fix the problem without changing the control scheme.

Uploading a playable version of the game this week! It's an apk file, so you can play it directly on your Android. You'll have to copy the apk from your computer to your Android, then install it on your phone using a File Manager. Download it here:

For next week: improving and making more use of the group system. Easy, medium, hard modes also need to come in soon, but none of the numbers (enemy spawn rates, enemy speeds) are really set in stone yet. Since difficulty modes will mainly just be tweaking those numbers (and something to do with groups of germs), it will be difficult to have the modes be meaningful yet. Getting the code base ready for it would certainly be a good thing though.

Finally, I have to hurry on this project and release something soon, because I'm starting work on a group project soon. Sadly this will suck away my time, but it also means I will be putting something on the App store soon (or at least something better on Steam workshop). Thanks for reading and have a good week!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Long time posting.

It's been a while since I posted up here, so I have a lot of updates to talk about. The biggest one: it works on Android phones with very few problems. Before, I had gotten it to work on the phone, but there were screen size issues, and, moreover, the game played pretty badly. On the computer, the game has been about using the arrow keys to barely dodge enemies. On the phone, I switched input so the germ moves towards your fat finger. This is much less accurate, and often times you can’t see what’s going on. I’ve been trying to correct for this through significant changes to gameplay, designed to favor more fluid play less about fine dodging and more about choosing where to go. I’ve also made a few changes which help the “fat finger” be a little more precise.

The first update was getting rid of boundaries around the screen. Instead of confining the player to a small square, the camera will now follow the player as he moves. This gave the player a lot more breathing room, as he can no longer get caught by the edge. It also opened up interesting chase gameplay, where the player can pursue a red germ or a specific pill long after it would previously have left the screen. To facilitate chasing, I also added a dash which lets players move faster, but only in a straight line. It’s a pretty interesting risk.

It’s more difficult to move up/down than left/right, because your finger gets in the way. So I set the page orientation to always be landscape (horizontal), and made all enemies come from the left or right. I also made the screen size smaller, so enemies are larger and easier to dodge.

Finally, I’ve added particles! These add no gameplay value whatsoever, but they certainly look pretty!

Next up is to add a little more structure to enemy spawning. Rather than pure random spawning like currently, I’m going to make enemies spawn in certain patterns, like a line or a circle, and then all move in the same direction. Also, potentially making enemies follow paths across the screen. That should be good for the new follow a specific direction gameplay.