davidn: (rant)

Making good bosses is hard - the idea behind them has got to be varied and fun while still presenting a challenge, and there's a lot of programming for a small section of the game. Ideally, I think they should seem overwhelming at first but then become easy as you watch their movements, learn the openings and start to fight back effectively.

For people who allow their progress to be updated to the Crystal Towers 2 site, I keep track of how many times bosses have won agains the player and how many players have defeated them. "Score" is [times won]/[times lost] - I think that 2 is a pretty reasonable score to expect, as it implies that players lost to the boss twice before beating them on the third attempt, a decent balance between presenting a difficult enemy and keeping the game going.

It looks like Beam Stack is still the hardest boss, although not by as ludicrous a margin as before - in the first version of the game its score was up at 12 or so. All it took was a little change - making its laser turrets to flash before firing made it much fairer and I think it's one of my favourites. The next hardest one is Xenon Squad, which is fought in a different way from everybody else - its high score might be because players are spending lives working out what they're meant to be doing, though I tried to hint better at this in the new edition.

At the other end of the scale, The Cleaner is exactly where it's supposed to be - it's an introductory boss and even though I actually ramped up its difficulty this time around, it's sitting comfortably near 0.5 (you'll probably win against it first time, but if you don't, you'll get it next time). The absolute lowest is Lava Tank, which is easily my least favourite of the bunch - I think it was the first non-platform-style boss I made for the game and it just wasn't challenging enough despite my attempts to make it more acceptable for the new edition.

There are a couple of surprises as well - Megacarrot, despite being the last boss of the game, is sitting slightly below The Cleaner in terms of difficulty, although it could be because only the really dedicated and powered-up players get to him. I made an effort to drastically rework Sci-Fly compared to the first edition because it was too easy as well - it's only got to a measly 0.83, but I think this is actually much higher than before.

And Cubombscus is at a very respectable 1.81 now despite being one of the easiest before. In the first edition it had a bug that meant that it always remained on its easiest setting no matter how far you got its health bar down, a mistake corrected the second time around!
davidn: (rabbit)
I have finished Crystal Towers 2 (again!) and it is now available on Steam!


Thanks to everyone for supporting and spreading this project through the far too many years it's gone on for - and especially to [livejournal.com profile] lupineangel for the incredible piece of fanart that is basically the official box art now (if that's legally OK). I'm very pleased to have a game of mine on this service - and maybe, as I burn through the rest of the projects taking up my life, I'll be able to make a new one at some point.

Here's the new introduction, with added furniture and birds.


davidn: (prince)
Crystal Towers 2 has a Steam page and everything now! All the checks by Valve are out the way and I have the freedom to declare it ready whenever I like - it won't be long until it's set live and purchasable.

Here's the trailer on Youtube, at a better resolution than the Steam one.

In the process of making the new edition, I've come across and fixed several amazing bugs that apparently went unnoticed the first time around, including:

- In the introduction, I forgot to turn off the keys that let you look up and down - so you could cause earthquakes by holding either arrow key and getting the scrolling to start moving then rapidly twitch back to where it was supposed to be.
- In the non-Desura releases of the game, the Cubombscus boss had a very obvious red and yellow detector object left on-screen which should have been made invisible. People seemed to just assume it was meant to be a flag, which says something about my drawing skills.
- Magma Lizard was unfortunate as well, as the background on the surface of his level was a terrible-looking mountain-shaped placeholder that I forgot to replace before releasing the game.
- Midway through the game you get an upgrade to your navigation in the Music Castle, with little text labels showing the nearest levels to you. These didn't appear if you had just come out of a level towards the right of the hub, because the objects were located at (0,0) for a split-second before being moved, which was deemed too far away and they were automatically deleted.
- The "mosquito" type creatures throughout the game are drawn as dragonflies. This is I forgot the sodding difference between dragonflies and mosquitoes.
- The Lava Tank boss was terrible. This isn't really a bug. It just was.
davidn: (prince)
Someone just emailed me asking where they could download Treasure Tower, making me realize it had dropped off my site when I did the reorganization - so here's a new download for it!

If you use Chrome, you might get a "Not commonly downloaded" warning, because it's stupid - it's OK to click the arrow and "Keep" to verify you want to keep it.

Released in 2005 before independent games started to become a big thing, this was probably my most popular game in the fledgling community even though it's looking pretty simple nowadays. Climb the towers against the clock, collecting treasure and food to stay alive. You can also attempt to submit to an online leaderboard, which no longer works.

The screenshot is from a Flash version that I put together a few years later.

There's a post about its inception here, though the images are long gone.
davidn: (prince)
Here's a quick note about the only IDE I can actually get excited about - it's hard to believe it's been seven years since release day.

I know everyone's probably sick of Humble Bundles by now, but I have a bit of a special interest in this one! Multimedia Fusion 2 was used to make Crystal Towers 2 and some good games as well, and for the next couple of days you can get it for as low as $1 (if you’re a real cheapskate). And six to nine games that were made with it, and a heap of soundtracks as well. If anyone’s interested in game-making, it's a fantastic introduction and I can't recommend it enough. (And it also gives you a voucher to upgrade up to the new Fusion 2.5 for less, if you decide to later).

MMF2 Humble Bundle sale
davidn: (rabbit)
I was lucky enough to catch some of the stream from the Clickteam convention today, after forgetting about it during my holiday - and there's some exciting stuff planned that I had no idea about!

As anticipated a while ago, MMF is going to drop the "Multimedia" from its name because everyone has stopped using it now, and it will become Fusion 3. But unexpectedly, before that, it's going to become Fusion 2.5, which will be an overhaul that includes things like Box2D physics on every object (replacing the default movements, which have been - to be fair to them - awful for a long time) and a host of other exciting changes.

The good news for MMF3 is that the developers will have a much more streamlined process - currently they have eleven different runtimes and have to test each one. This is going to be rearranged so that most of the runtimes are branched off the C++ runtime library, and there's only one separate one for Javascript/HTML5.

Another problem that's been at the back of people's minds for MMF thus far is that the runtime system is much slower than you would think because the system to check and react to events involves Russian dolls of virtual machines in virtual machines, especially when you're running in Java. To solve this, they're on their way to translating events directly into code through a module called Fusion Event Compiler, FEC. This means the application will now be able to be exported to the target language's source (if you see what I mean) - making it much, much faster than before, and also with the advantage of being able to modify things manually if necessary. Events will be compiled to use CTLib, a game programming library for C++, in which you can reportedly also quite plausibly make applications from the ground up. These are interesting times indeed!

So I think it's high time I actually posted some activity in terms of what I promised I would do last year - namely, get some stuff working with the XBox runtime. Here's Running Free.

The main issue with converting the game between platforms is the presentation and control, especially as the game originated with very unconventional controls being almost entirely done through the rotation of the iPhone. I'm fortunate to have already done a Flash version that was sort of in-between, but even then, you're going from a game in which you could use the mouse to one in which you have pure controller support. This new title screen shows one of the simplest to correct problems.

The level select screen needed more of an overhaul because its aspect ratio was completely different from what you'd find on a television screen. Here, I've shifted the level titles over to the left, and used the extra space to provide a minimap and give myself a bit more room to display the player's overall progress.

The gameplay screen needs a lot of work done to it - I've added an arrow effect for the gravity that I don't really like, and I still need to replace a lot of the help Post-Its with controls relevant to the Xbox. I also still have to think about how I'd like to handle pausing the game - I think it should be a standard continue/retry/restart choice, but the iPhone version allowed you to rotate the screen while paused as well, giving you some breathing room... however, that was born out of necessity for the odd controls, and I think that XBox players will be able to more adeptly switch gravity non-stop. (This screenshot also proudly shows off a level-loading error.)

There are a lot of things to think about... but I really am impressed with how the whole thing really can be exported to Visual Studio and run seamlessly at this point.
davidn: (prince)
For a few weeks now, I've been saying that I'll put something playable of Todo up, but I just never got it into a position where it felt remotely presentable, even with the caveat that this was not complete work. However, tonight I think I've got it to a pretty good place to call a first prototype - most of the interface works and you can complete a task, so you can see the rough mechanics of the game. Have a go at this!


Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to acquire a "PipeBit" (which you can't use yet) and collect all 71 available Quest Points. Use the arrow keys with X to jump, and Up to interact with things - Q brings up the menu. You'll find that the game has some holes of varying degrees of hilarity and you have a couple of abilities which you won't really have from the start of the game, but feel free to poke around and do the unexpected - you may be surprised at what I've thought of (or more likely what I haven't).

It may seem slightly disappointing that I've been working on this for a few weeks to achieve roughly three minutes of gameplay, but so much of that time has gone into the backend - taking the base Crystal Towers 2 engine (which you'll see evidence of) and doing it... right. I've grown to love the Hatogate scripting engine as it grows more and more into what the game needs it to do - the game is pretty easy to expand now, and the game so far serves as a decent showcase of what it can do in terms of interacting with objects and characters. The scripts and rooms are all plain text in the "rooms" folder, so you can open them up and fiddle around with them if you like. Best of luck with that.

I haven't been as pleased with my game creation in a long time!
davidn: (rabbit)

Here's another GIF showing the new abilities that I put in this evening! None of which were the things that I intended to work on this evening, but still... (You might want to give it a minute, as it's 8MB - the image above is just a preview.)

I'm already beginning to see this as "Crystal Towers 2 done right" - I'm still proud of that game (after all, this one is directly based on it), but it had a lot of awkwardness in the system which came from not having any experience writing a game of that size. This time, I'm getting the opportunity to correct a lot of the mistakes - for example, the "boost"-style ability is now activated with a quick double-tap while in the air, rather than having to be selected and assigned to a spell key, and the general platforming experience is a lot more fluid as a result.
davidn: (rabbit)
  • Drew quite a lot of this stuff:

  • Wrote procedures to save a compressed level format - instead of saving every value, it does what CDs do and saves them as strings of identical tiles - this can cause massive savings on blank spaces, which are recorded not as 208,992 zeroes but as "[repeat tile 0 208,992 times]"

  • Realized that this method of loading was much slower - about four of five seconds a room, which wasn't crippling but was annoying

  • Worked on improving the loading procedure as well, so that it completely skipped over stretches of blank tiles, calculating where it should land in the level array rather than stepping through (240000*SaveZ( "SaveVars" )+600*SaveY( "SaveVars" )+SaveX( "SaveVars" ) + Gap, then translated back into coordinates)

  • Thanks to that, got even quite large rooms to load instantly!

  • Realized that one day's work of patching up all of the above later, I'm now exactly where I started the day, except with level files that take up 2-4KB instead of 2MB. This could have been quite important in 1997

Still, I like the cave texture.
davidn: (rant)
This isn't bad for an evening's work!

Rooms are currently based on five layers:

Backdrop - Large tiles on the far wall of the scene like the wood walls here
Background - Actual platforms and walls that make up a level
Decoration - Items like the desk, bed, tables that the player can't interact with but give flavour to the surroundings
Objects - Interactive objects - things you can pick up, look at, use and so on. There are none in this scene just now, because I still have to work out how I'm going to do them! Placing them is easy enough, but loading and saving their attributes (whether they've been picked up already, what state they're in...) is going to be a more difficult challenge.
Foreground - The same as the decoration layer, but these will appear in front of the player and objects.

I also love how the outdoor tiles in the second half of that screenshot turned out when put together... somehow, I've managed to produce something that doesn't look dreadful.
davidn: (savior)
In the interest of keeping this going, here's a screenshot of a test room I've been building - click to expand it!

I had a fever dream about this a couple of days ago and had to write everything down before I forgot it all - the monk-mouse's name is now Todo the Tea-Mouse, and the adventure is based around completing his list of things he has to get done today. He comes from a village of mice who are experts on the growing and preparation of exotic tea, but he dreams bigger and has moved out of the village to take advantage of the lower property prices - though his family is doubtful of his chances, he has the aim of one day opening a 100% organic vegetarian cafe.

I've noted down a fair amount of subsystem stuff like how I'm going to handle storing room layouts and saving the game state - the platforming is a modified Crystal Towers 2 engine ("modified" in the sense of cutting out the utterly rancid parts) and the interaction and scripting is actually the engine from Hatogate. I've got a couple of objects and events set up now, but I keep on getting inspired to go off and do utterly pointless things like drawing the other character at the top left (who some people may recognize) instead of actually writing the vital stuff to support the continued expansion of the game.

I'll be writing a proper editor some time this week, though. It's odd making a to-do list for a game about a to-do list.
davidn: (prince)
With the Super Metroid series finally and regrettably over, here are some videos by other people of one of my games! [livejournal.com profile] rakarr found one of them this morning and sent it on to me, and having not vanity-searched it in a long time, I was really surprised to see any presence of it on Youtube.

The first is by someone who vaguely knows of my existence through the GameFAQs classic games board, but he was recommended it by someone with no connection to me - this is Revelengance's twenty-minute playthrough. My favourite moment is his voice acting of the introduction!

The second is the one that was found by [livejournal.com profile] rakarr, and is notable for being one hour long, on a moderately popular channel, and for the player's amazing Northern accent.


I released Crystal Towers 2 about four years too late to be impressive... but just at the right time for people to spread it around!
davidn: (Jam)
I nearly called this entry "Technical coonsiderations" before realizing that that would put my life just too far over the edge.

The last three evenings spent on Hatogate were a great opportunity to start up MMF again and do a quick project, after not touching it for the last while (hopefully it'll lead into me completing the Xbox versions of Special Agent and Running Free). And it was an interesting exercise in doing something I haven't done with it before - I've experimented in writing adventure games, but this one felt like it really needed a scripting language running behind the game to make it easy to program reactions to commands. So naturally, I modelled it after the only language remotely mad enough to contain anything Hatoful-related.

I wrote it in ZZT-OOP.

That is, I based the syntax heavily on the scripting language that ZZT uses, as it gave me something to aim towards (writing a language from scratch at the same time as writing something in that language is like trying to handwrite two different sentences with each hand simultaneously) - and being familiar with it made it readable to me at the same time as being easily parseable, based on commands denoted by # and then another couple of tokens per line. The language is heavily based on a GOTO philosophy with programs jumping about between labels all over the place, but for small scripts it does its job very well - and this game is greatly simplified by the way that there's only one location you can be doing anything in, and one object that you can interact with on the screen ever, so it would never get too tangled.

So I borrowed most of the vocabulary - when the player builds a command with a verb and object (or two objects for USE), the game looks in the script for a label matching that command, then starts there and runs through the program. If it doesn't find one, it tries again with the object name replaced with ANYTHING, as a fall-through backup for places where you just need the same response for a variety of things (like using anything on the paintbrush).

Labels are labelled with :, comments with ', commands with # (and # followed by an unrecognized command is assumed to be a jump to the label of the same name) and everything else is assumed to be text to display onscreen. Like most good ZZT scripts, things tend to start with #END, which in this case stops running a script and hands control back to the player. #GIVE and #TAKE form a pair of commands to add or remove an item from your inventory - #TAKE has an unfortunately counter-intuitive name because it sounds like you're taking and therefore gaining an item, but I chose to live with this rather than think up a synonym. Similarly, #SET and #CLEAR are used to turn flags on and off - these are named on/off switches that just act like inventory items that you can't see or interact with. Unlike in ZZT, of course, there is no hidden flag limit, flag name length limit, or risk of detonating the flag pile by innocently setting a flag twice.

Syntax for #IF was a little more involved, mostly due to my own choice - I could have lived with just one variant, but to make scripting slightly easier, I came up with four different varieties of it. #IF followed by two tokens will check the flag list for token 1 and go to the label matching token 2 if it's found. #IF with only one token after it will check the flag list as above, but will then run the next line if it's found, and skip over it if not. This is useful for situations where you just want to display one alternative line of text depending on whether the player's done something before (I could have implemented #ZAP... but consciously chose not to). For situations where you want to check a flag isn't on, I threw in an #IFNOT command rather than force myself to think backwards. Supporting just one command or line on an #IF is still rather limiting, but it works here - and led to things like #IFNOT PUDDINGTHROWN SKIPLIZARDPUDDING, which is among the most surreal lines of code I've ever written.

Of course, I also had to make up a couple of commands specific to this type of game - #SHOW changes the screen shown, and #SPRITE followed by a name and show/hide toggles the sprites overlaid on the location on and off. #ACHIEVE turns on an achievement and #ENDING stops the game. The classic #DIE is present, but only as a label that shows the death screen and calls #ENDGAME, which displays the death text and sets the game up to restart on the next click.

It turns out that it's quite easy to create a bad language by just making it up as you go along, and I found myself putting things in to work around my own parser quite often - :END was set up as a label as well as a command for convenience at first, because the original three-token #IF lines could only go to labels and not call commands directly - and even now, you can't jump directly to a label with multiple words and have to duplicate them (:PECKMILLET). There are also a couple of special cases handled by the game and not in the code - the counter for turns before Okosan appears and the death achievement are two of them - but overall it turned into quite a neat little experiment, and I'd be interested to try making another adventure up in the same language to see if it holds together.

In doing the interface, I also noticed something very interesting about Shadowgate - the screen is arranged so that all the buttons are on an 8x8 pixel grid. Presumably for ease of laying them out?


Jan. 12th, 2013 05:29 pm
davidn: (prince)
[livejournal.com profile] xaq's human-parser mini-adventure game captured all of our attentions this week to the tune of 144 comments, and in return for him giving us that experience, I voiced the notion of turning it into an actual Flash game. So after the Livejournal version was over, he sent me a wonderfully programmatic layout of the possible commands and conditions for each one - and it's only through reading the whole thing that I realize just how hilarious it is, really doing justice to the weird tone that Hatoful is written in while putting it in a Shadowgate-like setup. Well done!



This is something of a test release, as I'm the only one who's played with it so far - eventually I'd like to put a title screen and maybe some music on to it, then hopefully see what Moa thinks! It is possible that I've translated the entire thing without any bugs - stranger things have happened, but only about six ever, and they were all in Hatoful Boyfriend. So if you do encounter anything odd happening (that is, anything identifiably odder than normal) let me know. The most likely thing is text running off the bottom of the screen, as I haven't checked all the branches yet.

This was an interesting quick thing to work on, and I'll write up a technical post about it soon - thank you, [livejournal.com profile] xaq, for providing it!
davidn: (rant)
Running Free is my latest candidate to put through Clickteam's XNA runtime! I've settled on this as a first target to complete due to its small size - the entire game is basically made up of just a level selector and gameplay frame that handles everything, so changes only have to be made to a very small area.

I was once again impressed by how quickly I could just change the application's build type to XNA for Windows and hit the Export button, going through the level select menu and everything without any problems whatsoever... though the physics of the game were completely broken when I first started it up. After some investigation, I found that this was due to an isolated but fairly severe mathematical error in the expression-evaluating code where the Min() and Max() functions wouldn't return the right values under certain circumstances. (Max(-30, -1.0), for example, is 0 - where were the beta testers!) But having fixed that myself for the time being, and then having fixed a further error caused by me getting the implementation for Min() wrong in a different way when I patched over it, the game ran exactly as it did in the EXE version, and was ready for reworking for the Xbox.

One of the most dramatic changes that had to be made was in orientation - Running Free was originally laid out to be viewed on the iPhone vertically, while widescreen televisions are decidedly horizontal. Because programmers are lazy by nature and tend to choose the path that involves the least work now and in the future, I wanted to go with an approach that would let me keep the original level layout file, and just change how I was interpreting it so that the levels were drawn in a different way.

True to the laziness theme, I never actually wrote a level editor for this game - the level layout is done on a grid in an Excel spreadsheet, and there's a small Java program that reads it and produces a long string that looks something like:

Level=?                                                       322221          6  * 4          6    4          6    4          6    4    322222X    4    6    E!    4    6          4    6*        *4    6          4    6          4    6     @    4    988888888887                                                                                                 ?

...along with a couple of other fields that store the level name, par flips/time, and so on. The game then chews through each character in order and places the corresponding tile at the next horizontal position, starting a new row when it reaches the designated LEVEL_WIDTH.

To lay out the level horizontally, the game needed to jump about a bit in the string instead of reading it from start to finish - more specifically, it needs to act as if it's read down the first column (every X tiles, where X is the length of a row) and output it as if it were a row, then start on the next one, like this:

And a quick check in Excel gives us the formula MOD(X;5)*3+(FLOOR(X/5;1)) to do this on the 3x5 set of tiles that I mocked up there. Translating this in to MMF is easy enough - you set the "next tile" to point to that instead of just increasing it by 1 each time.

Hmm. Well, it would have worked if I had remembered to replace the numbers "5" and "3" in my test formula with the actual width and height of the levels...

Which produces this. And this frilly specimen isn't as far off the mark as it might first appear - those little border tiles are represented by numbers in the level string, the number indicating which side of the square to place the border (laid out like a backwards numeric keypad - 3 draws a square on the bottom right, 7 on the top left, 6 with two squares on the right hand side...) To complete the new layout, those sides also needed to be translated.

As you can see, this technique doesn't technically rotate the level - it actually mirrors it diagonally. Therefore, I also had to adjust what "initial gravity direction" meant, as well as reversing the flag for telling the game that the player should start running clockwise. (This is fortunate because the first time I wrote the engine, I somehow got the names for "clockwise" and "anticlockwise" consistently wrong all the way through, so you could say that they're now finally correct).

And now the re-orientated game runs fine. Work on the interface will come next - it's strange to make the game feel more awkward after the immediacy of touch control, but now everything has to be done without the benefit of a mouse!
davidn: (rant)
I went through the setup process for Xbox independent game development today, which went surprisingly smoothly for something completely unfamiliar to me. You have to set your account up with an App Hub membership, download an application that links your computer to your Xbox over the network, type in the key that it gives you on your PC, and... really, that's it - overall it's about a million times less complicated than the equivalent Kafkaesque profiling/provisioning iOS procedure, and there's something very backwards about this considering the two companies' respective reputations.

But most importantly - Special Agent runs on the Xbox! Once again I'm amazed at how quickly I was able to get something running with Clickteam's exporter. I went through the game I'd written six years ago - a horrifying experience, as any programmer will be able to tell you - ripped out the keyboard controls and replaced them with some Xbox controller actions, "compiled" it (what's the term for when a procedure takes source code and produces different source code?) and only had to change a couple of fonts the Xbox didn't support before I saw the "Building..." indicator change to "Deploying...". With no further complaints, it eventually indicated that it was running the project in debug mode.

I could definitely streamline my testing and deployment process a little, because the Xbox in the bedroom is up two flights of stairs from the PC, building in a period of anticipation as I made my way up for the first time. I really couldn't believe it when I saw the television was displaying the Special Agent title screen, and was amazed by how far I could play into the game's first level before I eventually encountered a crash due to some use of multiple movements on the same object.

As for problems, the frame rate doesn't seem quite as smooth as I'd expect from the Xbox, but the game definitely runs acceptably and it's possible that running at 50fps on NTSC has something to do with it - I'm not sure if the game's given frame rate makes a difference in the XNA runtime. Otherwise, I really was very surprised by how little I had to do before I had something workable, and by working with them to fix the remaining problems, I should be able to polish and release something really very rapidly!
davidn: (prince)
An old project might be coming back again (and doesn't it feel strange describing it like that) - I've submitted Crystal Towers 2 to Greenlight on Steam!

If you've got an account, I'd really appreciate a vote up and a few words, followed by optionally spamming it to all your friends everywhere. The more votes I get on this thing, the better a chance I have of it eventually seeing a release there. I would also welcome any copy-editing of the description I currently have there, because I am terrible at advertising my own games, possessing as I do the natural enthusiasm of a bag of pencil-shavings.

Even besides that, plans are also in place to have it featured as part of an independent bundle - so it may get a revitalization either way.

(Incidentally, [livejournal.com profile] lupineangel... yes, am I legally okay just considering your picture the official cover artwork for the game, by now?)
davidn: (rabbit)

Inspiration is such a strange beast. It's great to have it back in some form after being away from MMF for a while, but I feel I'm going to have to announce once again that all the projects that I've been promising to finish for ages are now on hold because I'm busy making a completely new game once more. The new prototype has been granted its own folder now - surely the mark of some confidence.

I really love the idea, and I'm really happy with how the look is coming out - apparently I have suddenly learned how to draw things to an acceptable standard - but this game is still a bit of a mystery in that I'm still not sure where to go with it or what strategy really exists. You can roll around, learn how to align yourself and eat the flowers - is that what the game's going to be? Are puzzles with multiple sheep necessary or desirable? What other elements do there need to be - platforms you can only use once, gates that only work in one direction? Which ones of these make the game interesting and not overly restrictive?

Potential names: Sheep Roll, Sheep Tumble, Tumblesheep, Tumblemunch, Rollysheep, Fat Sheep, Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Sheep. (I'm amazed enough that "Sheep Roll" doesn't produce a game on Google already...)

Sheep Roll

May. 31st, 2012 10:38 pm
davidn: (prince)
Here - roll a sheep around!

Sheep Roll - from an original modernist poetic composition by [livejournal.com profile] ravenworks. Tumble the fat sheep around and eat the flowers by planting him face down on them. As usual, I'm not really sure what the greater point of this game is yet, but perhaps one will come to me.

I can say that I thought that sketching this out would be easy - but once I'd got going, the finer points of sheep-rolling mathematics proved to be a major obstacle! I first had to work out how many different frames of animation I needed, and then spent the evening writing up all the permutations of angles, frames and directions that were needed to allow full movement (I was hoping that a pattern would emerge, but none did).

If anyone else wants to do a game involving a dice-like movement like this, perhaps my lookup list would be useful (if I hadn't chosen such a rubbish format for it):

Lookup list )
davidn: (rabbit)
I'm not sure why I have such a childish pocket-money-like fascination with my Mochimedia account. I've seen some of the statements of work for projects at my real job, and my time is charged at a rate that would make even some lawyers cringe - and yet, when I have days where a Flash game makes over $2, I'm absolutely flabbergasted. Perhaps because it's all bonus material - I'm getting it entirely because of what I enjoy to do in my spare time, and am free to earmark it for other things I also enjoy - games, music, dodgy furry artwork, and so on.

The Flash demo of Running Free is far and away my biggest hit on it ever, peaking at just over 36,000 views a day and only very rarely dipping below 10,000 even after a tailing-off period of a week. There are two drawbacks to this, however - the vast majority of these views are from China and Korea where advertising is very cheap, and so I don't see an extraordinary amount of cash per thousand players. The other is that this isn't translating into sales of the iOS application, even though there are links to Apple's store from within the Flash game - apparently, most people over there prefer to pirate games on the iPhone rather than buying them.

I retrofitted the iOS project with the levels from the Flash version and released that one as a free app (sensibly titled Running Free Free), to see if that made any difference - the provisioning system now making a frankly miraculous amount of sense to me after successfully navigating it once. In the four days since its release, this demo version has been downloaded three thousand times, mainly in the USA - its effect on full-version sales, however, has been non-existent and I'm still dragging in my 70% share of about 99 cents per day on the app store.

It stands to reason that these casual gamers would be quite casual buyers, as well.

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