Sunday, April 13, 2014

Baxter's Venture Director's Cut


Already started working on remastering Baxter's Venture, into a Directors Cut edition.  As of right now I've finished Act 2.  What I'm doing first is zooming out the layout so the player has more reaction time.

Next many levels will be adjusted, so level completion will be different.  See screenshot above, this is the first level of Act 1.  It's not too different, but it serves as a better tutorial level.

Second, I'll be tweaking some gameplay.  The original had some odd glitches that affected gameplay.  There were issues where the water in some levels would stay solidified and you couldn't progress, and the double jump can mess you up when gliding for tricky situations.

I also want to do something to make the game stand out a bit more graphically... the hub sections will get an overhaul.  Some levels will have new graphics in the background, as some of the colors may be too distracting.  

I'm also looking at adding a few new levels and a secret hidden one.  Also, this is a WIP but I did consider amping up the difficulty, Super Meat Boy rules where if you die the whole level resets.  Though I liked the more forgiving gameplay and some levels are kinda long... so maybe I can find a way to get a hardmode in there somewhere.  I'm estimating a good month to work on this before I can post on Greenlight.

One thing I did notice when I recovered is that some sounds are messed up.  Some are louder than others, and some... don't play so I'm a little worried.

Anyway, that's all I have for today!

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Second time's a charm!

Hello, mid week update.

Both games are back up, links are new.

To explain, it's a bit lengthy.  When I uploaded them for the first time over the weekend, I used the new version of Java.  Didn't understand why it would cause the APK to say "It hasn't been signed correctly" when you try to install, though my understanding that it does it for older versions of Android.  This was Java 7/8 I used, the game uploaded on Google Play otherwise Google would give me errors for unsigned or corrupted APKs.

Well, I figured I'll just use Java 6 and try again, however my stupid self deleted the keystores from the recycle bin.  Didn't realize the importance of keeping these, I didn't even write down passcodes either... so I had to make two new APKs listings in Google Play and deactivate the first ones.  Google Play won't allow you to delete your games (unless I missed something) you can only unpublish/deactivate.

Due to time constraints I was able to upload one APK per night, because I spent hours trying to recover deleted Recycle bin with third party programs which didn't work out for me, so last night I just bit the bullet and started over.  I have keystores and made sure I have backups of them just incase.

Over the past four days, this process has gave me much frustration.  Half of it was because of my stupidity, the other half feeling I've felt betrayed by how creating a workable APK takes from Construct 2 to finish.  I mean, once you make the game you have to:

-Export it using Cocoonjs
-Create a project in Cocoon's compiling website and MAKE SURE YOUR PACKAGE NAME IS CORRECT
-Compile your C2 export and get it via email in a few moments
-unzip and get the "unsigned_release" version and rename it to rid the long name (you'll thank me when you have to do the next steps!)
-Place it in a new folder in your C:\ directory otherwise be prepared to type alot.
-Download BOTH Java 6.  Not the new version, GET V.6.  Requires you to create an Oracle account
-Download the Android SDK (for zipalign, don't get it third party or you will have a bad time)

This is the part where PROGRAMMING is REQUIRED!

-I had to open a tab in ludei's site on how to sign and zipalign my apk otherwise Google Play will not take it.
-I had to learn to type command prompts to create a keystore, sign, and zipalign the project.
-write down your keystore and keypass codes, DO NOT LOSE THESE (wish I knew that)
-If you're a newb at command prompt keycode entering, it's always going to stay blank, so you have to remember what you type.
-Upload and prep your APK for publishing.

It might seem short, but if you're a beginner with a Constrct 2/Cocoonjs app this can take you hours.  Days if you have time constraints and muckups.  The process is easier now that I've done it several times, but it's time consuming as hell.  

As a personal note to Scirra, I like you guys.  I really think you've done a good job but your software is misleading.  Maybe in a business sense you can politely mislead consumers into making games with no programming knowledge, but when it comes to publishing, users will have to bite the bullet and learn it.  Thing is, they'll be spending hours on the internet getting answers after hours of being confused on how to create workable APKs.  You have to learn how to properly name your apks (lucky ludei explains that) There are some tutorials out there that explains certain points... but other things you literally have to find by doing some digging. 

Like the Java 6 thing... I mean, how the hell are we supposed to know using the free new version of Java won't allow Cocoonjs apks to install on many devices?   I'm almost compelled to do a youtube video about but here's the thing, why do we have to go through all these hoops?  Perhaps I would of liked a little more warning than "requires use of 3rd party" for publishing.  It's one of the reasons I'm thankful there are smarter people on the internet that figured this out months ago, otherwise you'd have many frustrated customers on your plate.

Cocoonjs, despite my gripes about it has actually came through, albeit you have to really vanilla your app for it to function at more than 20fps.  Intel's XDK is actually quite sluggish.  It's easier to work with, but when it comes to game dev, the end justifies the means. 

Okay, I had to get that off my chest.  For the rest of you Android users, I hope you enjoy!

Monday, April 7, 2014

With apologies...

Figured I jumped the gun somewhere.

Turns out there is a high possibility both paid and free versions may not work on your device, reason being that I used the latest version of java which conflicts with Cocoonjs's compiler.  So I had to revert to Java JDK 6 (current is 7-8).

To make matters worse, I wasn't able to reupload the game since I learned you had to recompile the game from the getgo, but due to frustrations with programming I took down the free app and currently uploading a different version it with new code and hopefully it should fix the problem.

I'll take down the paid app as well and reupload it tomorrow, as its late in the day for me right now and I have to go to my day job.

Once again, I'm truly sorry for this turn of events.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Baxter's Pocket Venture is official!

If you're just tuning in, take a look to the right of this page. I have uploaded both paid and free versions of Baxter's Pocket Venture on the Google Play store!

Now the free version has no ads, however gameplay has been limited.  So for those who are on the fence, you can try before you buy!  

It's been a journey figuring out how to get a Construct 2 game from start to finish on an app store, but I'm finally glad to have this finished.  What's better is that I also have a functional engine for future titles!  I'm hoping I make just enough revenue to purchase an Ipad so I can release the free and paid version on the istore as well.

So it looks like I'll be spending all week trying to promote this game anyway I can.  Then I'll tackle my next project:

Releasing "Baxter's Venture" in Greenlight.

In my past post, I paid the fee and have Steam installed on my machine.  I could easily just upload my game right now, but I want to go back and add some things, like an intro and fix a power up, add some levels, and some secrets I wanted to add before but just couldn't due to time constraints.  Also, Construct 2 has updated much since I released it, so I want to play through it to make sure stuff didn't get broken.

Edit: Well did a brief playthrough, and some graphics could use some cleaning up, but there were few bugs present like the music (might be a browser issue) not playing and some sounds are far too loud.  Also any level with water you are unable to dive into it.  Plus some areas tend to be a little unfair like with the lava spouts.

Well, this has been a busy weekend, I'm going to take the rest of the day to relax.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Oh hey, it's out!

It's 99 cents, it's risky on my part considering the Android market is a sea of free apps, but this you wont get ads and it's the full game.

For those on the fence, there will be a free demo in the next couple of days.  Tonight I'm going to turn in a little early, been working at this all day.  Hope you enjoy the game!

Baxter's Pocket Venture releases soon!!

That's right! 

No more dilly-dally, shilly-shallying around.  The game is a mere hours away from Google Play!  Once it's published I'll post the URL here and a link to the side bar.

Originally, I was very close to releasing this game last weekend but didn't realize the steps I needed to take to get ads to work... which I couldn't do.  However, I'm willing to try something different instead.  The paid version is a mere 99 cents, but I will work on a free limited version of the game with a purchase prompt.  I'm looking at a limit of 3500 tokens or a timer, once either limit is reached the game will end.  Look at it as more of a demo, at least it won't have ads.

I know, I know, it's a huge risk that my or may not pay off.  The mobile market has gravitated towards the freemium games with in-app purchases, well I want to take a risk here.  Partially because I've become frustrated with the end game of this title's development and just wanted to get the completed version out already.  Or perhaps I'm still living in the past when it comes to gaming, I'd prefer the old "try before you buy" business model.   

Expect a free demo of the game within the next 24-48 hours, and of course I'll announce it as well.


My next target is to pay for Greenlight and get started on releasing Baxter's Venture onto it.  I figured before I move on to anything else, I want to go back and see if I can improve some of the game mechanics on there and give it a Director's Cut approach.  After all, the game doesn't even have a decent intro, and I want to fix how annoying the double jump can be for certain levels.  

Even considering doing a lets play for the first act for my YouTube channel.

EDIT:  As of now, I am officially on Greenlight!!   

Well, one thing at a time right?  Thanks for your support and stay tuned!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Almost done

Okay, here's the update:

I spent most of the day figuring out how to publish this app.  Didn't realize the red tape that needed to be cut to get to this point.  I have my Google Play account made, downloaded the Android SDK on this machine, and now I'll have to create a key to sign the APK.

It's late in the day for me, so I'll continue this Monday after work.  Once that is done, I need to figure out how I can get Google adsense on the app so I can make it free.  Being my first commercial app I'm a bit exhausted dealing with every little roadblock, while I understand that it's work It should be easier after the first try.


On a different note, I'm seriously considering moving into another platform.  Right now the two big giants in indie game engines are Game Maker Studio and Unity.  Right now I'm doing this solo, as much as the appeal of Unity sounds, its more for 3D projects despite the 2D tools they just added.  I've been reading that Game Maker has exports for purchase that supposedly does the work for you rather then relying on 3rd party exporters and fine tunings... but I have yet to see that for myself.  Unity offers more flexibility in which comes with a far steeper learning curve and more expensive for versions that export.  Though I see them as more of a console game maker than a mobile one.

Needless to say, while I admire my time spent using Construct 2, it's just not cut out for commercial games if all there exports revolve around barely-known 3rd party exporters and distributors.  I mean people I asked hardly ever heard of Tizen or Kongregate but totally know about Steam.  Some of us did buy C2 with the intent on some kind of profit, but there's just too much hurdles to jump over.  It's a good learning tool but if you plan on earning some extra income but don't want to deal with the headaches of 3rd party support and last minute coding for app submission your time is better spent elsewhere.

I'm hoping Baxter's Pocket Venture will earn me just enough capital to purchase the other game engine of choice and start over with another franchise.  I can still use C2 for the last 3 Baxter games I have planned but the thought of dealing with the time consuming 3rd party exporting and submitting makes me nauseous.

Stay tuned!