Sunday, April 27, 2014

Super Screenshot Sunday #2

Good evening!  It's been a very busy week for me... not for the game unfortunately.  My day job took much of my time last week with two double shifts and a late shift three days in a row, my company is changing vendors and upgrading tech for scanning medical supplies and I had to stick around to help them... didn't realize it would involve very late hours, but it is what it is.  

While the overtime will be very nice (on top of a nice raise), it left me dead tired.  Didn't help that Saturday I came down with a nasty stomach bug that kept me down for the day.  It wasn't until Sunday that I was able to do ANYTHING to Baxter's Venture: Director's Cut, but here is what I have for now:

 Here, the tiles for Reginald's Manor were changed for a fortressey stone feel, they looked like generic tiles in the original, I've also added wall paneling for added depth, and just improved the look of the levels in general.  It's a bit of a spoiler showing this, since is a level for the final act, but I have plenty of surprises for this game upon release.

Funky Factory wasn't quite funky enough, so now some levels sport colored flashing lights on top of the discoballs!  Act 4 seemes to be my most heavily decorated act and not much improvements were needed... oh, the Sparkers had a slight sprite change, new animation, and spin across the wires. 

The new HUB world.  I'm trying to go for an interactive treasure map for the main overworld.  All my other ideas seemed very close to Super Mario overworlds, and rather to tread on eggshells I think this will be original enough.  The map is free-roam, however the shaded part on the right doesn't allow you to pass further until you complete Act 1.  And each act completed will reveal more of the map.  I haven't tested it out to make sure it stays gone, but I will this week.

On the same note for game improvements there will be a new character introduction very soon, I had to do something to make the idea of purchasing power ups make sense, and I think you'll like it.  All the levels are redone as I type this, only change I'll be doing is the final boss, but that won't be for a while.  This week my goal is to redo all the sub overworlds first, barring that, redoing the "Special Act" HUB world into something different.


So sometime last week the landfill in New Mexico was unearthed and buried copies of E.T. for the Atari 2600 were found.  This is one of gamings many urban legends, and while it might be meh for many, it's was a rather special event nonetheless.  What's ironic is that when I was little, my parents got us a used Atari 2600 with TWO copies of E.T.  For a while I think the prices on Ebay were rediculous, and since I was an 80s kid, no such thing as the internet existed (for me) until the turn of the century, even still at its infancy I would of never guessed how valuable such a crappy game would be.  Not so much now, but I must admit my life would of been different if I held onto it... and other game + consoles when I was a kid instead of trading up all the time. 

It's a shame now that thanks to the digital age, the collector's age is dying out.  A lesson to the youngins, cherish your physical copies now... perhaps Playstation 2 might be the new NES someday.... maybe.

Stay tuned!   

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Super Screenshot Sunday!!

Originally I was going to save these for next Saturday, but I forgot I did promise some more screenshots last night for tonight.  So without further wait:

 First up, these are the infamous "deathwalls" from the original, but the original they just looked like barely jagged crystals.  Now, I've added spikes so you... get the point!  Get it?  Nyeh? Nyeh?  Oh, and the cavern levels look more like actual caverns, even redid the texture for the boardwalks and added some chains to make it look like they're not just suspended in mid-air.

I took the background image from my first debug room and made a texture that acts like a curtain, while the image cant show it, they flap in the breeze.  My first attempt on creating a sort of wind effect... it's slight, but noticeable.  I was trying to emulate tent flaps to go with the carnival theme for Act 1.

 Another Act 1 retexture, the magenta tiles have a lot more diversity, and the balloons you bounce on have a jiggle animation as well.  Messed with the background some so it doesn't appear too distracting like in the original.  Also moved some switches around that could cause conflict with new players.

Act 2 level redone, this is my favorite stage.  Not much has changed but tweaked the background objects.  This stage may go under further rearranging as I feel this level is actually too short.

Funky Factory's "boiler room" level.  Made some interesting lighting effects to give you an idea how hot it is, fire spouts have new texture on them and decreased the spread so you have a little more room for error.  Unfortunately I can't animate the conveyor belts as they are tile objects which cannot be animated.

One more Act 3 level, a stronger wind effect is in place here as there are leaves randomly falling down at an angle!  There are also tree segments that rustle leaves as you walk through them... of course it's better if I made a video to demonstrate... which I will in the near future.


Hope you enjoy these!  I will work on the rest of act 3 and move on to 4 and 5 this week.  These actually don't take as long since it's mostly retexturing objects.  Though I am also tweaking the levels a bit so placement and puzzles won't be the same in this release.  

Once the levels are done I'll work on making brand new overworlds for the Hub rooms.  The originals look very generic compared to how improved these screens are, I want to try something with them also.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Comparison screenshots


Finished adjusting the layout size of every map, and began with texture adjustments.  I have three comparison screenshots to show you the difference between the original and the Director's Cut:

 First screen, the original looked pretty basic, though some may find it hard to tell that you're underwater.  The new screen I've added the water effect on the foreground, also redid the texture for the platforming bits, and some background rocks for some depth.

 Second screen, once again, pretty basic.  Also I was trying for a stylish rock color but it looks like grape sherbert more than rocks, heh.  The next screen is where the improvements are.  Rocks look more "rocky", with some background rocks to add depth, and if you take a closer look the level contains rain (and some clouds).  Some other levels will have some weather effects for a little immersion.

This one needed some more background images, some old 3D models I made are new city backgrounds, and the construction site has wood panels and tarps that flow in the breeze... I may have to add a slight wind animation to go with this, and possibly some birds that fly away when you get close.

You may be wondering why I didn't do all this in the first place?  I focused on releasing the game in the same year I worked on it, at first glance it looked completed but over time I started wishing I did more to it.  Personally I don't think the game budged on Desura at all so I'm hoping Greenlight will yield more positive results.

I'll also be remaking all overworld maps, which will be very soon.  Also, I might of mentioned game mechanics will change.  I have an idea on adding a couple new baddies and adjusting others.

I'm hoping as soon as tomorrow I'll have more to show!

Stay tuned.

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!