About Izzimach (twitter: @Izzimach)
Archive for the ‘October Challenge 2012’ Category
After fiddling with a few bugs and GUI polish, Ethereal Isles is now live on Kongregate. Man, I hope there are no nasty bugs lurking in there.
Getting the game ready for “prime time” took a lot of work because you have to go back and fix all those things that you let slide: placeholder sounds, sloppy GUI layout, and “mostly-working” code. But now it’s done! (mostly).
I’m going to look into fixing/modifying code to work well on tablets for the Google and Apple stores, but I don’t think that will get done before the end of October. Right now the game works and is playable on a Nexus 7 but some parts are not-quite-working with the touch screen.
At this point I’m pretty much done. All the monsters and levels have been tested and (mostly) working. The Kongregate API integration seems to work so that your time from the “time attack” level is dumped into a Kongregate leaderboard. I’ll see if it really works once more than once person actually posts a score, I suppose.
Most of the recent things have been simple changes – tidying up some text or icon placement, adding particles for attacks that didn’t have them, and making sounds for the various “attack” and “dying” animations. I spent quite a while last night making wierd noises into a microphone to produce a sufficiently varied set of dying noises I Also added some niceties like checking off levels you have already beaten.
I will probably make a video tomorrow,(better than this one at least) and then release the thing for reals.
After that I need to modify the game for tablet use. This includes properly processing multitouch and maybe resizing some icons.
Mechanics and monsters are done, so I’m finalizing the level design. There are three tutorial levels, three “standard” levels, and two special levels. I may have time to add more levels but this is the amount that I think I can actually finish. The special islands include a randomly-generated island layout and a “time attack” level.
Of course, zombies are mandatory so I added a zombie summoner “boss”. The zombies need a bit of fiddling, but they basically function correctly.
The final “standard” level features two zombie summoners, so use of AOE is key to conquering that island. I usually clone the dragon for the extra AOE damage, but some other approaches should work as well.
So after stripping out some extra abilities and monsters, I have six monsters and six abilities. Now I need some levels! I have the randomly generated “sandbox” levels but I figure some tutorial levels would be good since the mechanics are non-trivial.
Each tutorial only has a few monsters and/or abilities to avoid user overload. I’m going with the “explain everything as if you were talking to a 5-year-old” method. Players can always just skip the tutorial levels and each level only takes about 30 seconds anyways so even if some players find it too easy they can quickly go on to harder levels.
One problem I had was with transparency of the icons; this wasn’t obvious when monster icons were placed on the bright buttons, but viewed over the dark help window they showed some obvious fringing…
After some work, I managed to get a test build of the game running and connected to the Kongregate API (for leaderboards and badges or whatever):
And here is Ethereal Isles running on a Nexus 7, for deployment via Google Play.
Now that those test developments work, I need to fill out the paperwork for an LLC. Why? I could just take all this income as myself (sole proprietorship essentially) but I might as well get started on setting a real business. Unfortunately, the filing for an LLC might take up to 20 days! Yikes! I should still get it by the end of month if I’m lucky.
I also put up a test build of Ethereal Isles for your playtesting pleasure using the Unity Web Player plugin. There is only a “sandbox level” available. If you try it, let me know which monsters and abilities did or didn’t seem worth the effort to use, and if it is too hard or too easy to defeat all the enemies on the island.
For the October Challenge, I’m going to try to get my Ludum Dare 23 Entry polished up for submission to one or more stores. I’ve been working on it on and off over the last few months but haven’t been motivated to really finish it. The game is Ethereal Isles, where you drop monsters onto a floating island to fight other monsters. Combat on a single island is meant to be fairly simple and short, under two minutes. Typically you’ll add some abilities to your monsters and drop them at specific points on the island, perhaps waiting a few seconds for enemies to clump up or for some poor soul to be left behind so you can drop a monster on top of them.
I have added several more monsters and abilities, and polished up the GUI with better buttons, tooltips, health bars, etc. I also feel that the game in its current state has just enough stuff to be interesting but not confusing. I’m afraid if I add any more stuff there will be a lot of moments where there is so much chaos and mayhem on the screen that it will be hard to understand what’s going on.
I’m going to try and put out a test version in the next week after I’ve put in an actual menu and proper victory conditions. It looks like getting this onto Kongregate will be the easiest place to post this game, since they support Unity. The game seems like a good fit for play on tablets, but at the moment I have neither Apple nor Android tablets, so I’ll have to try that another time. Alas!