Sunday, November 24, 2013

Some developments

Good afternoon!

Some good developments over the past couple weeks, I had nothing to update last week but this is good news.

I've found a workaround to test Baxter's Pocket Venture on my phone.  All I have to do is export the game with Construct 2 using Cocoonjs exporter.  From there, the file is already zipped so I dragged the file into my dropbox folder on my desktop, then went to the dropbox "app" on my phone, placed the zip file on my phone's SD card and with the Cocoonjs app I was able to test my game.

FPS varied.  Earlier I had 30 with the plain prototype, then 10-15 fps on the main game, which plummeted further to 5-8.  Jump touch control was responsive albeit laggy, but the glide didn't work.  Right now I'm trying to figure a fix and as I'm typing I'm working on the next test phase.

Looks like mobile games in HTML5 may require a very minimalist design, no WebGL, do not have too many objects on screen at once, and go very easy on sounds.  Perhaps I may need to retool this game to something a bit smaller and simpler to work with.

--Like removing the glide and make the air-hop propel you a bit further.
--Reduce animation frames on the tokens by half.
--Shorten the level (OR)
--Make several mini levels that intersect, similar to what I had before.
--Instead of autorun, you can control when your character moves, but one direction only.

Now the reason why this workaround works for testing is that either its me but the Cocoonjs compiler into .apk (android app) is unreadable on my phone, that's why testing always left me with a black screen with the error that my game lacked the js and .index file, which is bizarre because they were there to begin with.  So either my phone is pretty outdated (HTC Evo 4G) or Cocoonjs compiler in their website is broken at the moment.

The Cocoonjs app works fine, I can test it there on my phone.  Heck tried Phonegap compiler prior to this, but unfortunately the product is very slow, even though it compiles it to a very workable apk file.

I did hit a point where I was about to stop Construct and start over with other software, but many of these programs like GameMaker Studio and Unity charges a large amount of cash just to export your file for android, and both require coding experience, which I'm afraid I lack the free time to do at the moment, which is why I chose Construct 2.  It's great for desktop games, runs very smooth despite the browser lag, but games lag.  The lesson I've learned that it's good for small scale games.  It can glitch out events if you hit lag spikes, like when I did a play through of Baxter's Venture and some levels didn't unlock.

I'm just glad I finally had some good news, so I'm going to try a downgrade to this game and see where this takes me, stay tuned!


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Baxter's Venture price drop

Good evening!

I've announced on Desura that Baxter's Venture will receive a price drop after Thanks giving.  From 7.99 to 4.99.  My next plan of action once personal finance issues are out of the way is try my luck on Greenlight.  I still want to find some workaround getting Construct 2 games on SOME kind of mobile device.

Been tinkering around with Unity, from the looks of it I could make Baxter's pocket venture work on it.  Only problem is porting it to Android.

This update is rather small, and I apologize as personal stuff has come up lately.

EDIT:  Actually, I take that back.
I do have some retooled art assets from Baxter's Pocket Venture into some sprite sheets.  I've found some very intensive Unity tutorials on 2D sprite projects that so far, do not require expensive tool plugins.  Looking at the engine, I ponder making a 2.5D version of the beach level, but at the same time I have to keep it small.  I wish I had something to show you but unfortunately I have to port everything to Unity first and get something done into a small prototype.

I'm thinking of taking the first part of the level and making it loop, the tokens "refresh" while off screen and players can memorize certain paths to maximize their token intake.

Only thing I would have to worry about is the interface and touch controls, but Unity seems powerful enough to make it work. 


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Console war gen...8 on the horizon.

This month is going to be big for gaming, two brand new consoles are entering the market.  PS4, and the Xbox One.  Sad to say seems the PS4 is going to have the weakest lineup compared to the Xbox One as Microsoft snagged Titanfall as another exclusive to go along with it's open world Dead Rising 3.

Nintendo has already released it's new Zelda game for the 3Ds and the WiiU has two new bundles and Super Mario 3D World coming out later this month.

I'm sitting here reading some info about the Unity game engine (more on that soon) and realized that Nintendo is in a good position to turn itself around if they haven't done so.  Right now you can get either bundle for 300 dollars plus tax.  Wind Waker HD or two NSMBU games, whichever tickles your fancy.  Note the WWHD bundle doesn't give you a physical copy of the game, but a download code.  The lineup is still lackluster for third party support but you can still find titles like Arkham Origins and Assassins Creed 4 only I believe they will lack DLC content.

It's the cheapest console on the market with the most exclusives, but lacking in 3rd party support and a low install base.  I have a few ideas in mind that would help Big N get out of it's slump, though it will take some risk on their part these ideas can help increase it's install base  -- plus It was a fun little activity for a Saturday morning:

1.  RPGs:  I don't know if RPGs as a whole are dying or people are losing interest.  PS3 seemed to be taking the Tales series by storm, including the once Nintendo exclusive Symphonia series.  Then you have the Persona franchise, and some off hits like 3D Dot heroes. 

Bring a Fire Emblem game to the Wii U, bring back the Tales series, convince Capcom to make MH4 for the WiiU, or if you really want to blow some minds... pay Square Enix for a FF7 HD remake with additional content (alternate endings, new dungeons, etc).  People will eat that up!    That can soar your install base.  I'm aware they have X coming out next year, so it's a start.

2.  You want to get the casual's attention again?  Advertise that the Wii U is a stronger, upgraded version of the Wii.  Show people playing the Wii, then have the Wii U crash into the living room replacing the old Wii and showcase your updated Wii Fit/Sports/Party titles.  Or better, bring back the two guys who stopped door to door saying "Wii would like to play." but instead of the wiimote, its the tablet controller.  Instead of the old catch phrase, it can be "Would U like to play?"  Really emphasize the U.  Here, I've made a meme for you:

3.  Get Retro on the next Metroid Prime asap after DK Tropical Freeze (sounds delicious) only this time make it open world.  Samus crashes on a new planet to investigate a new breed of metroids, think Metroid meets Fallout 3.  Sweeten the pot and include a small multiplayer mode with certain dungeon or overworld maps as the battle fields.

4.  -Pokemon Online-  A single player MMO where you can battle monsters/NPC trainers offline, and battle trainers online.  Trainers can create leagues(guilds) to battle other leagues... seriously I'm surprised this hasn't happened yet.

5.  Next 2D Mario game needs a level editor.  Even if it's New Super Mario Bros U 2, players can use the level editor to create their own levels and share them online for others to play... this is endless replay value.  Trials HD for the Xbox 360 has it, and Minecraft is popular because of it.  I know you're not a big fan of the homebrew scene on the Wii, but there is potential in user created content.

That being said... let's move on.

I'm looking over at the Unity game engine for my next game.  The free version you can publish games if my research is correct.  At first I was very intimidated by it as it seems that it's another programming tool disguised as a game engine. However even if you're not programming inclined at first, learing now scripts work for every action it isn't as bad as I thought it would be.  Plus there are built options to port to Android and IOS, though I do not know how it fares for testing.

Something I'm considering since the whole Cocoonjs not-working-properly thing.  I like Construct 2, it was a great stepping stone to start my game making career.  It's awesome for HTML5 games, though I think I want to take a break from it and try something else for a while.

Stay tuned!