Fun with Unity3D, discoveries with Construct 2, FlappyJam and More

Last week was another.. “just busy” kinda week so I didn’t bother posting anything.  Been working on a project that’s nearly done, but the pressure is still on to get it done.  I hope to have it done this week for sure once I get the necessary feedback.  Regardless of that busy stuff that has kept my nose to the grindstone for a bit, a lot has been going on and getting ready to happen as well.

 

Flappy Bird

What is there to say about it.. other than it just shows how unpredictable, what will be popular and catch on in the world of mobile.  I never got to try the origanal, but I liked the Flappy Bird MMO for the idea of taking an otherwise unremarkable experience (to me) and giving it some multiplayer depth.  Nate Cope is one of our affiliate developers and he participated in the FlappyJam this month and produced a fun reskin of the idea you can play on Kongregate now.

 

GameSalad

While I as really happy to report that the GS optimizations for HTML5 were a welcome sight and fixed some big problems most of my games had, I discovered that most of them still had issues with audio and I simply do not have the time to go in and fix those issues so I opted to pull the games down from the Windows 8 store.  I removed Klouds+, WFD: The Game and Cyball.  I should have done it a long time ago, but kept holding out thinking any day the fixes would come and I could update..  I tried to update Fishtronaut, but it failed certification for some reason.  The update really didn’t make any noticeable improvements so I left it alone as we as Not Alone In The Dark, which operated well enough.  So yea while I’m sad to see some good games come down, it’s nice to have closure for them and know now what shortcomings there are for GameSalad and HTML5 based exports like Tizen and Windows 8.

 

Construct 2

With Construct 2, Roger and I have had some good discoveries with it although we did have to spend a fair amount of time experimenting till we found something that worked when it came to getting a game successfully on an iOS device.  Audio had been problematic as well as memory.  There are two projects I’m doing for a client.  I will share more about those projects once they are complete and I’ve been given permission to share more about them.

The first one had a lot of art and it wasn’t optimized for mobile.   I was overly optimistic about things, but ultimately I’ll have to go back and optmize all images.  I’m still nervous about it though till I see it working because ultimately the issue is that with C2, exported projects effectively have no memory management.  Everything loads in to graphic memory it seems and this was bad for the first project.  The 2nd project was both smaller in scope / media, but also optimized and it has worked great.

We did though have trouble with the two solutions that C2 provides, CocoonJS and XDK, however Roger had come across Ejecta.  This took Roger’s experience with JavaScript and iOS development to figure out.  I’m still in the dark in terms of how it works, but once we get through this crunch phase, I’d like to find out more about the pipeline for it and see if it’s something I could manage myself.  Additionally I do think that this latest project that’s clearly running well might need to have another pass with CocoonJS.  I didn’t enjoy using XDA because I just couldn’t seem to get it to load the project most importantly and it just required (compared to CocoonJS) more hoops to jump through.  So yea I’d like to make another pass with CocoonJS and see how it goes.

Also in other news, I’m encouraged about the news that while official Ouya support isn’t there, I did find some insight through a thread I started, in finding out how I could possible make a game for Ouya and sell it.   The solution sounds encouraging because someone has in fact released a game through some trickery on the Ouya.  The game Sticky Sticky was made with C2 and through the use of  “an obscure Cordova plugin” which I haven’t looked into yet, makes this possible.  Likely to need to enlist the help of Roger again on this one, but that said, I’m very excited about the prospect of being able to release something on the Ouya.  So yea at some point I will definitely be looking into this in the future.

 

Road Defender

I had a good meeting with the artists helping conceptualize and create assets for Road Defender.  We were originally aiming for mobile, but as the ideas have evolved and I’ve found the game to be able to much cooler than what I was attempting to do on my own, we’re going to be making the game for PC.  I feel like this will give us better headroom to do cool stuff and also give us access to things like Steam (even if we have to go through greenlight) and doing a kickstarter, we can better distribute early access versions compared to the pain it would be doing that for iOS.  So I plan on working on update the game design doc while the art assets get reworked to look great on a modern PC.

 

Quicksilver

This project is very close to being done.  We’ve definitely been guilty of feature creep and adding new cool ideas instead of launching and I’m happy to report that we’ve run out of any major creep ideas at this point and are focused on adding quest content to give our players plenty of adventures.  I definitely see Quicksilver’s technology allowing us to develop some really cool new ideas we have in store once we’ve had a chance to see the Quicksilver technology mature and be put under real stress tests with live players helping us find any bugs.

 

New Projects

We have a potentially big project starting soon that might consume most of our 2014, but we’re thrilled at the opportunity to do it.  However it’s a bit of a waiting game for us as we see what’s going on in March.  Everything seems to be good though and we’re keeping productive in the meantime.  If things don’t work out with that client, we’ll be able to route more time to our other projects.

 

Other projects

Unfortunately this kind of large scope game development tends to put our other independent efforts on hold, but none of them will die, they will just move slower.  We also have projects like Beatrice and Super Sluggo being developed by our awesome affiliates Nate Cope and Michael Schenck who are not as directly impacted by what Roger and I are doing so those games have their own timelines that are impacted more by those developers schedules, but those would be outside of our hands even if we were not so busy.   So games like FredEx and Finger King are works I wish to see finished asap, but right now it’s difficult to say when things will resume on any significant level.  Hopefully soon.

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About Caleb

Game Producer at Part12 Studios here in greater Boston area. Caleb loves game design and the execution of game development. He is also a semi-serious old school skater and a married father of two wonderful boys.