SMS: The Next Mission – August Update

It’s been a few months since my last status update for SMS: The Next Mission. Over the past two months, I have decided to remove, then re-add, the shmup version of the game.  I am also again on the fence on whether I should include multiplayer support like I had originally planned (and then decided against).

Originally, I wanted to recreate the mobile version of Space Mission: Survival on the PC and Mac.  A desktop version has been running in development for several months now. The PC opens up a lot more options, so I wanted to add a lot of bells and whistles including multiplayer, and expand on the “Classic 90s” retro look.  A bit later, I decided to drop multiplayer and focus on single player.  I added a “Retro 70s” look as well.

A couple of months later I had a playable game that had two styles, Classic 90s and Retro 70s.  Same game, two styles that the player can play from beginning to end. At this point I decided that maybe it would be cooler if the player was some sort of time traveler and can warp to different video game eras. I like it!

So, right now, I have a Retro 70s, Home Computer 80s, and Classic 90s version of the game. The 2000s version will be the shmup level and I will start development on that soon. I am actually thinking of adding a “Text Based 60s” mode to see if I can pull that off.

I am trying to keep each level accurate to the decade. This includes graphics and text styles, sound, and game play.

I am not sure if changing my mind so many times is a good or bad omen, but I believe the current idea of traveling through decades and playing the game with features available at that time will be fun and challenging. The only other decision I have to make (other than a name change, perhaps) is whether I want to add (local) multiplayer support, which would be ideal for consoles.

Space Mission: Survival – Mobile Update

A rather large update to the mobile version of Space Mission: Survival has finally been released on the Apple App StoreAmazon Store, and Google Play. After about a month of work on the update, Version 2.0 is live! Changes include:

  • Larger UI for smaller devices (phones)
  • Additional Achievements
  • For iOS, partial Achievements
  • Support for multiple languages… English, German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and Klingon.  That’s right… KLINGON.  Other languages coming soon.

For those interested in the development side, SM:S is written in CoronaSDK, and has the following features:

  • The language translation features were developed using the plugin I wrote called GBC Language Cabinet.  You can use it too… it’s available on the Corona Market for FREE.
  • Persistent data is being managed by another plugin I wrote called GBC Data Cabinet. Again, another FREE plugin for Corona Developers to use.
  • I implemented IAP using a plugin called IAP Badger. A great plugin to make in-app purchase development easy. Support is great too.

May 2016 Update

I’ve been a bit quiet lately, and since this is the end of the month, I figured this is a good time for an update to go over what i have been working on.

I took a break for a couple weeks after Ludum Dare 35, and started up again in mid April.  I was all set to continue working on the update to Space Mission: Survival, currently named “SMS: The Next Mission“, but I am still in a bit of a funk deciding what I want to add to the Shmup version of the game.  The 70s and 90s version is pretty much complete, except for some tweaks. Until I figure out exactly what I want to see in the Shmup version, I decided to work on some updates to the original mobile version of SMS.

The mobile version was written back in 2014 and one of the features I coded, but did not utilize, was language support. I decided it was a good time to add language support now. Late last year, I wrote a Corona plug-in called GBC Language Cabinet that made it easy to add support for additional languages. Works like a charm… it’s also free for Corona developers. I spent a few hours adding language support to the game via the plug-in, and several days adding language support to the iOS and Android app stores in preparation for the update.

There’s a few other things I wanted to add to SMS, so I decided to keep going and make this upcoming version a massive update. Some improvements you will see, others are internal. Other obvious visible improvements are better support for smaller (ie. phone) devices, and some bug fixes.

Using GBC Language Cabinet is so easy, but while using it for this update, I noticed there are some other things I want to add that will make this plug-in incredible. I am seriously thinking of continuing development on this plug-in and releasing a “Enhanced” version as a paid version (keeping the free to use option also available).

SMS: The Next Mission is still on my radar, and I hope to get back to it very soon. The mobile update should be completed soon, and then I will decide whether to continue development on GBC Language Cabinet Enhanced. If yes, then SMS comes a bit later.  If no, sooner.

Ludum Dare 35 Results

schizoid2k-ld35Well, the results of Ludum Dare 35 are in.  This is my second LD, and I improved in some areas, did a little worse in other areas, but overall, I am not surprised by the score. As I wrote in my previous Post Mortem, I had a bit of difficulty coming up with a game for this theme, and settled on a simple matching game.

I like what I developed, but I totally get it… it’s nothing great. My main goal for both Ludum Dares was to submit a game, and I did. I got to learn some new tools (I even muddled my way through Blender), and that is a plus as well.

All in all, it’s a great weekend of gamedev. Congrats to all those that participated and submitted a game… you know how hard it really is. Thanks also goes to those that played and rated my game… I appreciate your comments.

Looking forward to the next LD, and I am hopeful that I can improve my scores.

Ludum Dare 35 – Post Mortem

Another Ludum Dare in the books! Another great experience, another game released.  My game is called Shape Shifter Match Maker:

Shape Shifter Match Maker
Click picture to play and rate my game!

The Experience

This was my second LD and to be honest, I was not thrilled with the final list of themes, so my enthusiasm dropped a bit the day before. Once the theme (Shapeshift) was announced, I drew a complete blank on what game I should make. I spent more than a couple of hours hashing ideas and came up with nothing. At this point I figured I had to do something, so I decided to create some code to take a shape and change it. This was out of desperation, since I didn’t want to waste valuable time just sitting around and hoping an idea would come to me. Once the basic shape shift code was created, I was determined to take that code and wrap a game around it. The result was this game. I don’t normally recommend working like this, but since time is valuable I needed something.

I utilized Unity’s cube and sphere assets, but I needed a third model and decided to use a triangle. My Blender skills absolutely suck, but I managed to take a basic cube and make a pyramid out of it.

So now I have code to change shapes and colors, and a basic game around it.  Time to get going.

I recently bought a Tweening library called DOTween and decided to use that in my game. I didn’t have a chance to use the library before LD35, so this was an added unknown in the development of my game. Tweening libraries are fantastic… you can easily move, rotate, and animate objects with some cool effects. I used DOTween to:

  • Rotate, shape shift, and color shift all the 3D objects in the game.
  • Warp in the additional level objects.
  • Animate the colored backgrounds.

Also new to me was the use of audio tools bfxr and Otomata. Both (free) tools are incredible for creating sound effect and music. Otomata was a gem of a find. I was very pleased with the outcome of the music.

Thoughts On My Game

I am not sure how I feel about my game. It’s not what I expected to develop, but then again, I didn’t expect to develop anything at one point. As I play it, I do tend to enjoy it.

About a day after I submitted the game I had an idea to use the left and right mouse buttons to change the shape and colors. Hmm… I wish I thought of that while I was in development mode. I think that would be better than clicking on buttons.

An hour after my idea for improved controls, I had a brainstorm for a much better game. I am not going to explain it here, since I am seriously considering developing this new idea.

What Went Right
  • I finished and uploaded a working game within 48 hours.
  • Great opportunity to learn and use new tools DOTween, bfxr, and Otomata.
  • I decided to use C# Events instead of linking to scripts via Unity’s “Find” and “GetComponent” (where appropriate) like I did in my previous LD entry. I prefer a loose coupling, but this can get out of hand very quickly if you are not careful. I also prefer C# Events over Unity Events, but that may change after I revisit Unity’s manual for another read-through.
What Could Be Better
  • I had a tough time thinking of an idea… I guess I was very short sighted in using this theme.
  • Better game play is needed. The game does not get harder after the 3rd set of controls warp in.
  • Using multiple new tools during a 48 hour game jam is a little stressful. Glad I did it though, since it greatly improved the game.
Where to Go From Here

Of course, I am looking forward to LD36. In the meantime, I need to decide if I should continue to work on my current project, or shelve that for a bit while I look into developing the new version of Shape Shifter Match Maker. I guess the comments in the review section of my LD entry will help me decide that.

Ludum Dare #35 – Update #3

It’s about 27 hours into Ludum Dare 35 and what I have is the shape matching game shown in the video below. As I mentioned before, the theme of LD35 was difficult for me to work with for some reason, but what I have is playable. What’s nice is that I do enjoy playing it, and I can see some possibilities for improvements post-LD.

I’m getting a bit tired, so tomorrow (or if I get a second wind tonight), I plan on a bit of polish, some graphical enhancements, and a few UI tweaks.