New Game: My Indie Game Maker Submission – Mamore


A few weeks back, around the time I was finishing off Balloon pop, I was visiting HumbleBundle, if you haven’t heard of this site you should seriously check it out, games + charity = Awesome,  to check out their new main bundle, what I found was a bundle dedicated to making games, specifically, a bundle supporting the Indie Games Maker Contest 2015 (IGMC2015).

I wanted to find out more about this contest, and as I didn’t know much about IGMC I decided to investigate further. I headed over to the site and had a quick look through the rules and guidelines. At the time I thought it would be interesting to enter, but felt that I wanted to concentrate on finishing my then current project.

After I finally wrapped up balloon Pop,  I started thinking about my next project and what I wanted to do both in scale and type. I wanted my next project to be another simple-ish project but to be slightly larger in scale, a tad more ambitious.

It was then that I remembered the competition and thought it might be an idea to make a game that follows the rules and guidelines, that way if I finish it before the cutoff date, and I think it is good enough, I could enter it into the competition. And so I decided to investigate the competition a bit more. I headed back over to the site and reread the rules and guidelines, making note of the twist growth. At this point the competition had already been running for almost a week, leaving me about three weeks to make a game, which aligned nicely with the amount of time I wanted to dedicate to my next project.


After rereading the rules and guidelines, I started brainstorming ideas for projects that were somewhat simple and incorporated growth. I played around with a couple ideas, including a platformer where you must grow a central beanstalk to reach higher levels, but I felt this would take longer than 3 weeks to make. I wanted something simple both graphically and mechanically but still had some depth, whilst also adhering to the theme of growth. Eventually  I settled on an idea where the aim of the game was to protect a central block from a growing number of incoming blocks, and where these incoming blocks could also grow in size. I created a few concepts, settling on a style I liked before starting work on the prototype.

Early Concept


For most of the development from prototype to finished game not much really changed in terms of core gameplay and graphical style. Not to say things didn’t change, in fact as a game starts to flesh out you find somethings just don’t work or could be done differently. For example, initially there was going to be a health bar at the top of the screen to represent the health of the block the player must defend. But early in development I decided I didn’t want the top of the screen obscured, so I came up with the idea to use the block itself to take on the role of the health bar, changing colour as it loses, or gains, energy; along with the introduction of a two stage size increase as the energy drops/rises; I also felt this was a nice nod to growth. But for the most part the core remained the same.

Centre block changed from single size and colour to increasing in size and changing colour.

The majority of development time was probably spent on the enemy blocks, as not only do they add variety to the game, but also because I wanted each block to be slightly different. With different characteristics such as speed or its behavior once it got close to the target.

The last thing to really get added, other than last minute particle effects, was the inclusion of turrets and block traps. These were in fact in the initial design outline, but I felt I should leave them until last in case I didn’t have enough time to implement them properly, as the game was still fully playable without them. Thankfully this wasn’t the case however, and I feel they add a nice element of strategy and resource management to the overall feel of the game.

Final game, Particle effects were added to the lifeblock(centre block) and when the player destroys an enemy. Turrets and block traps were also added.

Final Thoughts

I realise the game is far from perfect, with plenty of areas for improvements, such as difficulty balance and different game types etc, but I feel that it’s a good improvement, even an increment on my last project, and was completed in roughly the same amount of time.
Overall I’m pleased with how the game turned out and glad that I stuck to the time window so that I could enter the competition, and most of all I had a lot of fun making it.

You can check out my IGMC2015 submission over at

Wish me luck


Project Reflection: Click ‘n’ PoP

Monday last week I uploaded the finished efforts of my first project using Unity. Since then I’ve had some time to reflect on the experience and to think about some of the challenges I faced and the solutions that I applied to the various problems encountered. As such I have decided to write a, hopefully, short-ish post about the experience.

Click ‘n’ Pop was the first game based project I’ve worked on for probably close to twelve months, which was due in part to being busy with University studies and just life in general. As a result of this I found that my design flow had become a bit rusty, added to this was the fact that I was trying to learn about Unity and how to use it. However, thanks to the many excellent Unity resources and tutorials out there, before long I found myself getting back into the swing of things and moving to full steam ahead.
I started by setting out a basic game design and overall concept; usually I would follow this by creating a prototype of the core game features. However, due to the simple nature of the game I decided to integrate the prototyping into the actual game development, as in my mind this was as much about learning Unity as it was making a game. And so I found myself progressing quickly, but it wasn’t before long I encountered my first problem.


At this point the game had progressed to a screen full of falling balloons (the original design had them falling rather than floating upwards), but something just didn’t feel right. As I playtested I would feverishly try and click on as many balloons as I could, but sometimes it felt as though the clicks just didn’t register. Initially I put this down to my poor gaming skills and that it was just me missing the balloons, and yet no matter how hard I tried to click accurately the problem persisted, which soon lead to frustration.
Now I admit that I’m not the greatest gamer in the world, far from it, and that games can, and sometimes should, have some difficulty to challenge the player, or at least enough of a learning curve so that there is a sense of accomplishment. In fact some of my most stand out memories as a gamer are the ones where I overcame something difficult or mastered a complex combo perfectly. But for me there is a considerable difference between a game being difficult because it challenges the player to do better, and a game being difficult because it is broken or has bad, non responsive input, and in this case it was the latter.

Something was broken

After doing some digging and a few web searches I discovered the cause of my frustration. The 2D box collider that I was using check if balloons had gone off screen, and if so destroy them, had the same Z value as the balloons. This meant that sometimes the mouse click would register with this box collider rather than with the balloons box collider, thus not triggering the code to pop the balloon. And so with one value change I found myself suddenly becoming a master of balloon popping, a god among mortals, a legend in the making…I’m sure you get the picture, it worked, the game was responsive, it was fixed.

Now that the game felt responsive I moved to implementing the colour target and multiplier, which I then followed with more play tests. It was at this point however, that I started to feel that the game just wasn’t challenging enough, even to the point of it not being much fun. I could just sit and watch balloons go past the screen for as long as I wanted, taking my time to decide which balloon would come to its early demise, without any penalty to the player. It was then that I realised that, even though this was supposed to be just a simple game, it was still missing something vital at its core.

Importance of Urgency

That something was urgency. That music speed increase as the timer runs out in platformers of old, or the quickly approaching obstacles that the player must masterfully align their character to avoid. These simple things create urgency which makes you want to get to the end of a level or tap the screen at just the right moment; this was what my game was lacking. At first I wasn’t sure how I could implement this and still make the game fair and skill based, rather than just random luck. The base mechanic was to spawn balloons of random colour, and the player must then click a balloon of randomly chosen colour. I played around with various ideas, such as having the game end if the player misses a balloon of the required colour. But a lot of the ideas felt too much based on chance rather than the skill of the player.

In the end I settled on the concept of a countdown timer. As the game progresses for every correct balloon popped some extra time is given to the player, whilst if the player clicks on either a wrong colour in haste or the timer reaches zero then it’s game over. Suddenly with this simple addition I found the game had a new lease of life, it was now a race that pitted the player’s accuracy against the clock.

After this I started putting the finishing touches on the game such as UI elements and menu screens, and thankfully this was all easy sailing.

Final thoughts

I learnt a lot from this project, and not just about how Unity works, it also reminded me there are some core concepts of games that can be easily overlooked or misjudged. The importance of difficulty in games is something I feel you learn about quite quickly in game development but urgency was something, at least for me in this instance, I had failed to appreciate the importance of. In the end the game, whilst not perfect (it could probably do with some time tweaking), did serve its purpose, to help me learn to use Unity and to make a simple, and hopefully fun game.


First Unity Project Click ‘n’ PoP Finished

Yesterday I finished Click ‘n’ PoP, my first Unity Project. Below is an overview of the game along with a link to play it in browser, with a standalone download version coming very soon.


About Click ‘n’ PoP

The goal of Click ‘n’ PoP is to simply click on a certain number of balloons of a given colour before time runs out. Each balloon popped gives the player a little bit more time along with increasing their score.

However, as the game progresses it gets harder by increasing the number of balloons on screen, increasing the number of balloons needed to be popped and reduces the time gained from popping a balloon.



You can play Click’n’PoP in supported browsers here.