All Ways Down + General news

It’s been a busy past couple of weeks so I figured I would post a bit of an update on progress and upcoming plans.

Just before Christmas I uploaded All Ways Down to newGrounds and shortly after to Kongregate, with some reasonable success, managing to hit the front page of newGrounds just a few days after uploading :-).  I received some great feedback from the users of these sites, which has allowed me to improve the gameplay, iron out some bugs and give it some more polish overall(I’ll include the full list of changes at the end of this post).

Because I’ve been working on these further updates I decided to temporarily put the android build on hold, and focus on improving the version that was available. But, do not fear, I am still planning on releasing All Ways Down on Android. However, I want to make sure it is ready and tested before I do so, which may take a little longer. Though I do currently have a stable finished build running on both a mobile and tablet so it shouldn’t be too long, it just depend on whether or not I add a feature I’ve been thinking about…

Now All Ways Down is almost finished, (again), I’m starting to think about my next project. I have a couple ideas in mind which you might hear more about once I’ve fleshed them out a bit. I also have a couple ideas for this site but we’ll have to wait and see.

Anyhow, I’m off to go have some fun in Unity,

Joe.

All Ways Down Change-log:
  • Increased pickup size.
  • Increased goal detection area.
  • Increased level rotation speed.
  • Improved various UI elements.
  • Added current level number to pause and level complete screens.
  • Added trail effect.
  • Tweaked overall game difficulty.
  • Added mute button.
  • Added mouse input for level rotation.
  • Tweaks to early levels to adjust game’s difficulty curve.
  • Added restart button.

All Ways Down Anniversary Update

It’s been almost a year since the inception of All Ways Down during Ludum Dare 34, and to mark this occasion I would like to announce the release of the All Ways Down Anniversary update.

The update includes:

      • New Levels.
      • New Obstacles,
      • New Menu UI,
      • Level Selection,
      • End of game stats,
      • Improved performance,
      • Touch support,
      • And many more improvements and bug-fixes.

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The update is now live on its itch.io page and here on noddingTortoise. Further the game is also now available on GameJolt. So there really isn’t a reason not to check it out 😀

GameJolt page.

Last but not least, I’m currently working on the Android version of All Ways Down that I’ll hopefully have finished before Christmas.

Joe.

Update: Loading jam, Itch, and LudumDare

It’s been a few weeks since my last post, a busy few weeks, so I thought I would do a quick update on a couple things.

LoadingJam:

First there was loading jam. This was a bit of a last minute decision to enter, though I’m glad I did. I didn’t hear about the jam until three days before it finished and even then didn’t decided to enter until the next day, which gave me less than 48 hours to make a game based around loading and possibly patents if possible, though totally optional.

PatentPusher2

You can check out my finished results over on my new itch.io account(pc, mac and linux) which probably deserves a post in itself.

I think the game turned out well, though there are a couple things I’d like to improve based on feedback, such as adding some tutorial text, stopping the mini games from going straight to the main game if you fail, and maybe build a web version.

LudumDare:

TitleScreen

This brings me to my second game jam of the week/two weeks, Ludum Dare. This was my first Ludum Dare so I decided to take it easy by entering the jam rather than the competition. I was slightly more prepared for this jam, though only slightly. The theme was two button controls and or growing(there was a tie, so two themes were chosen), which seemed somewhat familiar. It was an amazing three days, stressful at times, but still fun! You can check out my entry page for the jam here, or check out the game over on itch.io.

I’ll probably do a recap post, which will included ludum dare posts and screens from various stages during development. And eventually I might do a reflection post on the experience and the finished product(or not so finished???)

Finally, TaOvarg update:

Yes, I have been working on an update to TaOvarg. Unfortunately, progress on the update was slowed by an input bug, however, as soon as I’ve ironed it all out it will be ready for release, and will give TaOvarg full controller support, along with a couple other new things.
Joe

Project Reflection: Mamore

It’s been just over a week  and a half since I finished my last project Mamore. Similar to my previous project, now I’ve had a week to clear my mind,  I’ve decided to write a post reflecting on the experience and summing up a couple of the things I have learnt or came across during development.

Time Constraints

The idea and design of Mamore was solely the result of the IGM competition. In fact as I mentioned in my last post,  it was brainstorming with the idea of growth from which the game was developed. As a result, during the ideas development stage I was very much aware that development of game features was going to be constrained by the limited amount of development time. And that, whilst the competition stated that games did not need to be perfect or necessarily finished for the competition, they had to be finished and/or complete in a playable sense. At times I felt this limiting in terms of creativity, stopping me from going down and trying different avenues. However, I did find that it kept me focused on the core game and gameplay, preventing me from going down rabbit holes that would take time away from areas that needed it. For example, during development I focused on making a minimum viable product (ExtraCredits did a great Youtube video on the subject). This way, if time became constrained I would at least have a playable game. For Mamore, this was staying focused on the enemy block’s AI and the life block logic, the two elements that I felt around which the game was based; in hindsight player movement should have been in this list, but I’ll get to that in a moment. Elements I left until last were the purchasable items, turrets and traps,  particle effects, animations and sounds; things I wanted to add to the game but felt weren’t necessary to the core experience.

Physics of Movement

This is something that caught me near the end of the project, in fact on the day I submitted it. Much like in Click ‘n’ PoP where input was key, in Mamore a key element was making sure that movement felt right. Too often I have played a game, this applies to platformers especially, where the players movement just feels off, and for Mamore this is the core gameplay element. Now, I should say that unlike Click ‘n’ PoP which was actually broken, Mamore was not broken, it just didn’t feel exactly how I wanted it to; the player’s movement was just a bit slow and sluggish in nature. It played fine, and performed as it should, it just needed some refinement. And so this is exactly what I did; on the morning I was planning to submit my project I decided to put my head down and spent the whole of the morning playing with various values, tweaking them until the player’s movement felt just right.

In hindsight I should have done this a lot earlier in the development cycle, which would have allowed for further refinement. However, unfortunately that was not the case, though in the future this will definitely be at the forefront of my mind when I start a project.

Final thoughts

I feel that this projected helped to highlight that sometimes you need to focus on the core game and try and keep feature creep at bay, as this can consume time you may not have, especially if you have a tight deadline. It also made me realise that you should make sure you have all the base mechanics tuned, at least close to ideal, early in development, so as to allow for more time to fine tune. Overall I probably learnt many more things from this project than just the two listed, some I don’t even realise, but I feel that the above two concepts are things that, after a week and a half, stand out clearly in my mind. Much as I said in my previous post, whilst I realise the game is far from perfect, I am happy with how the game turned out and most of all I enjoyed the process.

Finally you can check my IGMC2015 submission, Mamore, here

Joe

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.

CnPTitleScreen

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.

CnPGameOverScreen

 

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

Unity’s 10th anniversary: My First Unity Project

Last month Unity celebrated its 10 year anniversary, that very same month I started work on my first project in Unity. Whilst I think I’m a little late to the party, in my view a little bit late is better than never.

So far I’m still working on my first project, excluding a couple tutorial projects from Unity’s site, which I started a couple weeks ago. It’s a very simple 2D game, the main goal of which was to help me learn Unity, but it was also an idea I had for a game a while back which seemed quite simple and thus perfect for my first project using Unity.

Game Idea:

Pop screen1
Early game test

The game, currently called PoP(working title), is a game where the goal is to pop a given number of coloured balloons as quickly as you can in order to score points. The game ends if you click the wrong colour balloon or if the time runs out. That is it, as I said quite simple.

Overall I feel it’s about 70% done, with just sound and menu screens to finish. Hopefully I will have this all done by the end of this week so I can move on to my next project.

PopScreen3
PoP

So far thoughts:

Compared with other toolkits and engines I have used Unity is a joy to work with. Everything, currently at least, seems straight forward and very easy to use. I’m definitely looking forward to the next few weeks of spending more time with it so that I can learn more about it, and have some fun making games.