I make games

Android Game: Magnetos

These past few days I organized and hosted a weekend long game jam, namely Gotland Game Jam HT 14. While not helping participants out with their games or generally making sure things went smoothly, I made a game by myself.

I took this opportunity to try out the new UI system in Unity 4.6, turns out it was pretty nice overall. There’s a lot of similarities with NGUI in how things are set up, but they differ greatly in implementation. The new UI feels infinitely more solid than NGUI, mostly because they’ve been able to do stuff not possible with only scripts. One of these things is the RectTransform – A new type of transform specifically for UI and 2d.

It’s not all good though, the Text component is currently horrendously bad, offering very few options. As I’ve heard though from meeting some Unity folks in Paris they’re working on replacing it with a new properly updated one soon enough.

Back to the game, here’s a bit of gameplay recorded on device:

It’s really quite simple, wherever you touch on the side panels, the green ball will move towards it. You need to avoid the red shapes and pickup the blue ones to get health.

I’m really happy on how it turned out, especially the art style. I was initially planning on having a lot more colors, effects, particles etc but I soon realized my programmer art really could benefit from keeping it simple and clean – so I did.

Even though it’s quite far from a finished game, it’s a really nice idea and foundation to build upon. Don’t  know when I’ll have the time to do it, but these are some of the things that I’ll add in the future:

  • Proper level/wave system. Perhaps with patterns of shapes.
  • More variance in unfriendly shapes (for example homing)
  • Pac-Man mode when filling the blue bar (eat shapes)
  • Some sort of score system
  • A few different power-ups

Game Connection & Paris

I just came back from Game Connection in Paris yesterday and it has been quite the experience. I was primarily there to pitch Braindusts new game BlastCat to publishers and I must say it went quite well. Had a lot of good meetings (both planned and spontaneous) and have a lot of promising contacts to follow up on, these are interesting times indeed.

If you’re unfamiliar with what Game Connection is: it’s basically a dating service for games industry folks. You send meeting requests to companies ahead of time and the system automatically works out an agenda with all your meetings and where you’re suppose to meet. More importantly is the mere proximity and opportunity to just talk to industry people to network and present your project and get feedback.

Surprisingly for a very early alpha, I got exclusively positive feedback on the game although some more enthusiastic than others of course. I’d hope this is because we have a very simple, solid and enjoyable core mechanic with lots of potential to be become even better by some tweaking and polish. A process which will continue this week with implementation of a tutorial and redoing some of the levels to better fit some sort of learning curve before we send the game off for evaluation. I’ll be posting more in-depth about that subject and the game as a whole in the future.

Game Connection also coincided with Paris Games Week which was held in the same expo area, didn’t really have the time though so I just ended up taking a 30 minute walk in one of the halls. For me one of the highlights with these sort of expos is always seeing what other universities are up to, and this was no exception. The only place I really stopped at was a french university where I was demoed a game on impressively broken English. Also, it was quite surprising that the vast majority of visitors of PGW seemingly were kids 8-12 years. Perhaps I was just expecting the same type of crowd as at Gamescom, where everything was age-restricted.

Going to Paris for the first time, of course we did some touristing as well, so here’s the obligatory Eiffel Tower picture:
2014-10-30 21.13.41

Gotland Game Conference

It’s been a week since we showed the game at GGC and it still feels quite good. We went through the feedback yesterday and even though there’s a lot to fix there wasn’t really any large issues that we hadn’t thought of/knew about already, which is always comforting.

Most of the feedback was about simply making the experience smoother. There’s quite a few things that’s not clear to the player, mostly because we couldn’t fit enough tutorial puzzles into our GGC build. And also, as you would expect with a project of this scope within this timeframe, there’s some bugs here and there – but only one rare gamebreaking bug that I can think of right now!

Needing to cut on the levels was the exact reason for us to include the sandbox level. We’ve got more mechanics implemented than we had space to show and the sandbox level does just that.

We certainly went for a big game during this project and succeeded in just that. We could have easily made something smaller and more polished but I’m glad that we aimed so high with this project. I (and I’m sure, the rest of the team) learned things we didn’t really think we ever would. What we’ve been doing the last months has been insane and there’s so much to be proud of.