I’ve not posted an update in a while, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy! Check out below for what I’ve been up to.
Splodey Vaders Updates
LEVELLING UP & UNLOCKS – This is something I wanted from the start and had pretty much decided to drop, but then, against my better judgement, I went and implemented it into the game. At its core, the game is a high score chaser. You have a game, get a score, and then try to beat it on your next go. But I wanted the game to be more than that. I wanted a reason for people to keep coming back to the game other than just to beat their high score. I’ve been playing a lot of Downwell recently and that game has a levelling up system which is tied to unlocks that I really liked and so I’ve decided to add a similar system. The unlocks are purely aesthetic (you can unlock new colour palettes for the game – which was a pain in the arse to implement, or you can unlock new ship designs – less of a pain in the arse). You level up as you earn XP which is tied to the score you achieve, the higher the score the more XP you gain. People who have played the game with the new system seem to really like it and although the unlocks are purely visual, players seem to enjoy choosing and changing these to their favourite ones.
I actually got in touch with the developer of Downwell to ask if I could include Downwell’s colour palette in the game! He said yes 😀 what a cool guy.
ACHIEVEMENTS & LEADERBOARDS– One requested feature was to include a leaderboard, so that you could see what kind of high scores people were getting. I added this along with achievements into the game. There are currently 5 achievements in the game (5 is the minimum amount of achievements required by Google), these are:
- Achieve a Score of 500
- Achieve a Score of 1000
- Achieve a Score of 1500
- Achieve a Score of 2000
- Kill a total of 10,000 Vaders
As you can see I was feeling particularly creative on the day I added achievements into the game. That last one exists because Google offer an option to have incremental achievements which increase by a percentage every time you perform an action in the game. The maximum number you can have for this though is 10,000 which is why I went for this number. Achievements and Leaderboards are functional on both Android and iOS
iOS BUILD – Oh yeah! I coughed up the £70 required by Apple in order to have the privilege of developing for the platform (Google charge around £12) and spent a nightmarish evening trying to get the game working on my iPhone 5. Here are some of the things I needed to do in order to make this happen:
- Register as a developer
- Add my iPhone as a test device
- Create and upload a certificate request to be a developer
- Create and upload a certificate request for distribution
- Download and verify developer certificate
- Download and verify distribution certificate
- Upgrade to the latest version of macOS
- Download Xcode
- Download Application Loader
- Own a Mac
- Have files shared between Mac and PC using Game Maker
There were probably a bunch of other things I needed to do, but yeah it was a tiresome process and a version of the game is working on iOS. Yipee!
Another often requested feature is the ability to pause the game. If you tap the top half of the screen the game will pause and you can press play to start the game back up again.
Play Expo Leeds
I showed Splodey Vaders at an actual gaming event like a proper developer and everything! The event was great. Tons of people played the game and I got some really great feedback. I remember reading a quote which said something like if you want people to treat you like a big shot developer, then act like a big shot developer, so that’s what I did. I took the game on a big screen TV (which I borrowed from the college I teach at), I had a huge poster printed out (also done at college), I had a bunch of freebies made up (some cool badges and stickers) and held a high score tournament where the highest score won a copy of Halo: The Graphic Novel, which I bought years ago and never read. The winning score was 2090, a great score. Loads of people said they liked the game and one little girl kept coming back to try and get onto the leaderboard (she managed it early in the day, but was soon knocked off, bless her) her Dad downloaded the game on Android there and then, so hopefully she’s still enjoying the game at home. Here are some choice snaps from the event:
The ‘I Suck At Games Podcast’
I think I’ve decided to knock this on the head. It was a good little distraction while it lasted and I love the idea of doing a podcast, but one of things I enjoy about the podcasts I listen to is the back and forth between presenters and although I’ve enjoyed some podcasts that have a single host, I think I would prefer to record one with someone else. I also think that people would rather hear me talking about game development and what I’ making rather than my thoughts on games that I’ve played. Thirdly, I don’t get a lot of free time to play games these days as I’m choosing to spend my time making them instead. So there’s a bunch of reasons why I’ve stopped this, but as I said it was fun while it lasted. I’ll leave the episodes up on soundcloud in case anyone wants to have a listen. Here’s Episode 2 about my experiences with VR:
The thing is, I could keep updating Splodey Vaders forever. There is still so much I want to do with the game. Power ups, mainly, but also multiple enemy types, different wave formations, animated sprites, etc. Plus the list of little tweaks and fixes here and there seems endless. I’ve decided to heed the advice from some fellow developers and just release the game. The people that have downloaded the Alpha and played it like it, the folks at Play Expo said some really nice things about it and I feel that it’s ready to just get out there. As soon as the iOS version gets approved by Apple I’ll be setting a final release date and then pushing for marketing/reviews/let’s plays. I will most likely continue to update the game after release with some of the things mentioned above, but the game is done and needs to be out. I’ve been working on it for too long and it’s time for a change. Hopefully the next blog post you see will be one with a final release date for the game. WATCH THIS SPACE!