Friday, September 2, 2011

Alpha v0.0.4

Hey team,

Well it's been a while and there has been a lot of things happening on my end in terms of app programming and the like.

I've started up a new app idea, and have also made some changes to my game.

The camera function should now be working fully - which is exciting. I've also got a back and forth switch which allows the user to change gravity back and forth. I am now working on developing the game flow so that when the user reaches the end of the level, you can actually move to the second level. I will then work on balancing and then developing out the levels in full.

It's all rather exciting. The biggest thing that I've wanted to get out and done with is the Google analytics and the AdMob - for those of you that don't know the market for apps very well, or haven't really thought about it before. Ever really wonder why there are two versions of most games? A free one and then one to purchase - with the free one you have to suffer through ad screens whilst the paid apps will sometimes give you extra features / content to allow you to have a richer game experience.

It's my general understanding that the main reason behind this for most app companies is that the revenue that can be raised from having ads in a game is equal to or greater than the revenue raised from a paid app - and the most important factor of this is that everyone will immediately go to buy the free app first - it's free... And each time that the user clicks on an ad inside that app - it might make the developer five cents. Now, lets expand on that a little, Angry Birds, for the sake of the argument has had around six million installs for it's free version of the game. the possibility of someone clicking on an ad is not high, I know that I rarely click ads, and if I do, it's usually by mistake, but if there was six million of me all playing at the one time, well, you get the idea - monkeys and Shakespeare etc. etc.

And then once you go and finish the free version of the app and want a second taste, you can go ahead and get the paid version, which again means another payment in the pocket of the developer. This all sounds pretty grim, but to the consumer and to the companies that are using the advertising services there isn't too much to be sad about, typically speaking, this will mean that we are going to see more and more apps come in for free onto the market, this will give the market a much richer breadth of games as well as all around apps, and for the advertisers, this will mean better product exposure and a better return on investment.

To anyone who reads this blog and has any input on how you think the industry, in particular the app industry is going, let me know your thoughts! It'd be great to hear from some people as to what you think of the "freemium" way that the market is shaping into.

Finally, I'll give you all a bit of a bullet point list on what I'm hoping to accomplish in the next week or so with the game:

 - A level select menu - with around 5 levels to play.
- AdMob integration & Google Analytics
 - A clean method for destroying and selecting levels.
 - Better feedback about gravity and which way up you are - the reason that I raise this one is that it can be a little confusing as to which way is up, as at the moment, constant mashing of the gravity switch button can put you into limbo and up is east, or something. So I'm wanting to introduce a funky new method which will allow me to "flip" the world so that the gravity is always the right way up, but the level rotates to accommodate for "flipping"
 - A limit on the amount of times you can "flip." This will be dynamic from level to level. This really introduces a puzzle element as it requires you to think about the your next move before you make it as you have a limited amount of times you can flip.
 - Scores and points - this is a point of contention for me, I'm not really sure which way I should go on it. A lot of me thinks that perhaps the best way for the scores to work is for it to be timed, but then I don't really want the game to be rushed, I want players to have to take their time in playing. But then I'm only really left with the option of having a limit on the amount of times you can "flip" and if you have remainders, you are scored on that. Something similar to Angry Birds etc. etc, where by being awesome and taking short-cuts, you're rewarded with better points. What do you all think? For the time being, I think I'll probably go with just a simple timed interface.

This is just the start, however.

I wish I could show you all a little of how the game is playing at the moment, but I'm still working on getting a video capture feed onto my phone, once I do, I'll start to post up "progress" videos so that you can see where I'm at with it all.

Here are some screen shots to show you what I'm up to, I'll go into a little detail about the camera too:
This is the first image - the black circle is a placeholder image for the switch which will invert gravity back and forth. The text reads "Gravity Normal."

This is the game after gravity has becoming inverted  - this is where the beauty of the camera class that I developed has come into it's own. I've made it so that when a level is drawn, it's drawn on a canvas that has a canvas on-top of it, for anyone that has worked with flash - I have made a display object container that contains a object container, the physical game world is drawn on the bottom most layer, and then the UI is drawn on the upper most layer. 

This means that things that affect the viewable section of the bottom most layer don't affect the uppermost as they act independently of one another, the bottom most inherits the top most features, but changes to the bottom most won't affect the upper. That's a lot of bottom and upper, but when I draw a level I hand the camera class a x and a y value, which are the dimensions of the level - the camera interprets these as bounds and will never go beyond them - the ball will try and remain in the screen unless the view port bumps up against the edge of the level and then you get a nice fading affect which allows for a much smoother look.

Anyway, I have lots of work on,

David Out.


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