Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Game Development Blog #63

Game Development Blog #63



Oh, I am here, alright. Very busy. I was fairly well into the late stages of writing a decent #63 update several weeks ago, when my girlfriend stormed into the apartment and we had a nice little argument about something which made me feel like not really typing in the blog anymore. I think it had something to do with the piles of smelly dishes in the sink, which had been sitting there long enough that I no longer remembered we even had a kitchen..

Well, without digging too terribly far back into the past, let's concentrate on the present, why don't we..

180 - Just kidding! You wanted to hear news, right?

GunHead - ohh, so much is going on with this game, I don't know where to begin! I usually am fairly cryptic (to degrees) about it when I mention in here, so why not start with a couple of screens - which you may or may not have seen elsewhere..

Yeah, so now the cat is out of the bag, and you know all that is to be said about this one! Not even close! Here's some juicy tidbits for you.

- developing for iPhone, Android, and Xbox Live Indie Games
- retro style (duh!)
- release early 2012
- unique new control mechanic unlike any seen before for a mobile platformer

Don't let that last point pass you by, because it really is the clincher. I hate platformers on the touchscreen because surprise surprise, they are horrible. No fun to play at all. If you've played my previous game to any appreciable degree, you might know I have some concern with "how does one design a touchscreen game play to the strengths of such an interface?" There's tons of platformers on mobile, some very nice-looking, and they all have atrocious control schemes that make you wish "oh why doesn't it just have buttons." No more. GunHead will finally "feel" right and not in some lazy-slapped-on way. Even the current prototype feels awesome.

There's certainly a lot more to say about this game, a good amount of which you might be able to deduce yourself between looking at those pictures and having any knowledge about me (a quick scan through my past blogs should say it all really). Stay tuned.

Trapdoor - I was going to post some pics of this as well, but to be honest, I haven't any to show other than some mockups right now! There's an early image floating around on one of our pages though, although I don't think it will really tell you too much. Anyway, here goes:

Trapdoor, as previously mentioned, is actually the very first game I sat down and spec'd out a few years ago, when originally turning my eye to the mobile scene (not counting iFist, although that design wasn't originally my idea anyway). I drew up Trapdoor and 180 came out of my head almost immediately afterward, and I decided to go with the more involved project. As time passed, I've never forgotten "my first" and not for want of "no idea shall be wasted" - it was just a good idea, for several reasons. And especially in hindsight, and consideration of the reception 180 has received. Lots of people like 180, but especially on a mobile platform, it doesn't seem too many have the patience to learn it. With Trapdoor, this is much less of an issue; it really is one of these games where you can fully grok the entirety of the rules within a heartbeat. There's not really a depth of strategy to it, just a tense and building test of reflexes and stamina, and that is fine with me!

As I've plumbed the development of the design, I decided to take many cues from games such as Halfbrick's Fruit Ninja; that title is exactly what a mobile game should be, they really hit all the tenets across the boards. I would love to writeup a breakdown of why that game is so sound on so many levels, but I think I'd prefer to execute such lessons in my own game instead. No, Trapdoor will not play anything like Fruit Ninja at all, but there is certainly some very low-level understanding in the game's foundation going on.

180 - okay, all kidding aside, I do want to mention a bit of what's up with the latest over here. As usual, there is still some reason to talk about this long-in-the-tooth game. We are still using it to chart the path through the various Android marketplaces, and it is enjoying some decent visibility in that regard. We've recently been promoted at the Toshiba App Place (built into their Thrive tablet) and another promotion on another store is not far away either. I am in talks with several other stores to do things there as well, so I am just trying to keep it going as it makes sense to. Mobile markets, and Android in particular, are a very different beast than any traditional way of selling things - once something gets any kind of momentum, it can absolutely keep it's relevance (and grow). Especially with the type of product which isn't necessarily a one-off (and I don't mean for an abundance of updates, necessarily).

We've recently enjoyed promotions on Nook and Amazon, and (to a degree) the new Kindle Fire, although none of this has ended up going much toward my pocket. I am hoping to keep the doors open long enough to introduce my newer products however, and really to keep some more of a steady stream of them flowing through. That's the point of being a small indie!

Otherwise for 180, we still have a very cool Strategy Mode which is partially developed, sitting on the shelf, waiting for a little downtime to be polished up. As I've said, it's different enough (mechanically) to be considered as a whole other game, and I am thinking to sell it as IAP (especially considering the amount of free copies I've already distributed of the base version of the game!)

There's so much else to say in regards to the micro and macro of the industry, but that will have to wait for next time. Thanks for reading!