Hey guys! It’s been a heck of a time here getting all those last minute bits sorted for the release of Tumble Tower, which now has an official release date!
22nd of May 2017! It’s almost here!
Now, it’s up to our amazing testers to provide us with any little bugs that we missed, and to help us provide a better, more rounded gameplay experience.
That means on our end, it’s quick fixes to UI based on feedback, a couple gameplay tweaks, and generally just ensuring the game is as optimised as possible. Unfortunately, this does mean the Dev Log’s can only get more boring until release as we continually work on the last minute things!
However, you can help us spice it up! We obviously have our 4 unlockable maps at Launch, but based on feedback and requests, we’ll be adding many more maps and features in after release, so get in touch! Tell us what you’d most like to see!
You can tweet me, @DalriadaConnor or you can tweet @DalriadaGames with your suggestions too!
It’s Saturday! … Yeah I forgot to do the Dev Log yesterday. I’m just the worst.
So what’s been happening this week:
Well sadly for me there isn’t a lot of new art to show off, because mostly it was UI touch up’s and fixes and some content we’re wanting to hold onto for release. But here, it’s a self-gratuitous shot from last week instead!
Next up, I’ve had the distinct pleasure (sense the sarcasm) of doing all the boring behind the scenes stuff that’s necessary for release. Making sure the store pages look good, preparing press releases, marketing, etc.
The good news however, is that we’ve begun the process of acquiring official testers! If you’d like your hands on a BETA version of the game, and some goodies as reward for when the game is released, along with your name mentioned as a tester in the credits, you can get in touch either with me, @DalriadaConnor on Twitter, or @RealDalriada and after we take a few details we’ll add you to the list!
@DalriadaNick has been very hard at work with the programming of the game, making sure it runs smoothly, and can be as bug-free as possible. He’s managed to reduce the overall file-size by about two thirds just by optimising the art files and the way in which they’re called and used. It looks seriously gorgeous now and ready for shipping, but of course we want that extra time to make sure the game is actually fun and exciting and goes off without a hitch come launch time!
We can’t wait for you all to get your hands on this game and let us know what you think!
There is so much to talk about in this Dev Log, and so little time! As we mentioned in last week’s post, we’re now back to the Weekly Format of releasing Dev Logs. Of course, we posted that one on Thursday because it was an Easter Weekend here in Scotland (meaning the offices are shut) so we’re already all out of whack releasing this one on Friday! Anyway… what’ve we been upto?
New Map Packs Added!
Remember last week when we showed the comparison between our art assets throughout the development? Well we added two more (what I think are even more amazing) map packs into the game, that can be unlocked via coins or winning them on rare occasion via the wheel of fortune!
I think these two new maps in particular really show off how varied the game will and can look based on your own style of play – the game looks like a reflection of yourself. At launch, there will be plenty of maps to choose from through play, but we’ll be continually adding more. Feel free to tweet me (the artist) if you have a great idea you’d love to see! – @DalriadaConnor
In keeping with our graphical enhancements, we also assessed how we were doing our UI – and quite frankly , while there was nothing terribly horrible with it, it just wasn’t great. We could do better.
It’s still not finished, in fact the big ugly number for a rank will be replaced with some swanky looking icons that we’ll show off at a later date, but already you can see the massive difference between our old and new UI system.
Take a look at our inventory screen for instance:
Old Inventory Screen
New Inventory Screen
While there are still improvements to be made (including getting rid of that hideous text at the top) you can see that the screen itself looks so much more concise and way less cluttered. It looks streamlined, and the icons are self explanatory – but even if they aren’t, their briefly mentioned in the tutorial phase anyway.
Next up, our Start Screen!
Old Start Screen
New Start Screen
I love this as not only is the UI massively different, but the new backgrounds were changed too! As you can see, the number and name is still there, but this is changing, just not this past week.
We feel like this is a pretty massive change tot he UI – the clutter reduction is just huge, with everything ordered as you would expect it to, and easy to “snap” to. Instead of that ugly squinted “Quests” button, it’s been replaced with the icon you see at the top, and if you have a new quest or quests available, it’ll flash! Quests are updated daily and weekly by the way, so there’s always a new way to try playing our game.
Old Map Pack Menu
New Map Pack Menu
And yet again, here’s another great example of how we took something that wasn’t exactly broken, it could just look better. I think we absolutely blew it away with this menu in particular. Love it.
Besides Art, the main crux of the game is done, now it’s a matter of playtesting the hell out of the game to find bugs, and tweaking a few of the mechanics before the launch in a few weeks!
As always, you can get in touch with us, either the company @RealDalriada or me personally @DalriadaConnor if you’d like to be a playtester for our game, seeing it before the release! It’ll come with perks including early access to content before it arrives, and special thank you bonuses and icons once the game is released.
On that note; What more would you like to see? Is there anything in particular you’d like to hear about with regards to the process?
WHERE’VE WE BEEN!? It seems like an age since we last posted… and that’s because it has been! A lot has changed since our last post, and while a lot of it was tough, it has certainly all worked itself out for the better. So let’s recap on where we’ve been and what’s been happening, and what we plan to do in the future:
1 – We hit a bit of a bump!
So we hit a bit of a bump in the road with an educational project we had been working on for a long time. It was an absolutely incredible and powerful project and we were very sad to see it go. It took up a lot of our time, and we were very devoted to its development, so to see it leave our grasp was very sad, and debilitating for us all.
This forced us to look at our development style, cycle, and priorities, and take time to restructure ourselves into something more sustainable in the long run.
2 – We took another hit!
As if this wasn’t bad enough for us, we then tried to kickstart a game we were very fond of developing, but unfortunately there was either a lack of demand for the title, or what we found to be most likely? – We marketted it terribly.
We got A LOT of feedback on the marketting for that game and the style (you know everyone on the internet loves to be kind *wink wink*) and ultimately it came down to a lack of planning and understanding our audience on our part.
We had to completely respect that we’d made a mistake, and use that to learn for our future titles.
3 – We taught ourselves art! WAIT UNTIL THE END!
As an indie developer, one of the hardest aspects is managing a team of different disciplines, and making sure they are paid and represented fairly, whilst style meeting deadlines. Quite often you become a jack of all trades just to save the team getting too large or unmanagable. It’s not really an option to do, one job.
With the two major hits that we took, it was impossible for us to take any more people on, specifically artists that we desperately needed to visualise the ideas that we had. We had so many new and cool ideas, but without appealing art for the player, folks just saw a brief outline of our game, and understandly moved on to something more impressive.
Leaving us effectively with two options, either we quit, or we designers and programmers do the art ourselves. The problem with that? – We could not do art. It was something I had zero skill in and never have had.
However, necessity is a beautiful thing. So over the past few weeks we’ve slowly been improving our art style and the results from what they were to what they are now is astonishing.
Really, it’s remarkable. Below is the first prototype of a mountain that we had, and while this was never intended to be used, it was about as good as we were. I then literally spent a few hours and came up with the second image, which we did use! And we used that for a long time! It was really the best I could do, so it’s what we had.
But like I said, enough is enough, finally it was time to improve, and so the third image was born. And that is not even the final product, or even the improved version we are using “in-engine”. (You might be laughing at the first two pictures, but wait for the third one for the payoff.)
I could not be more happy and proud of the advancements in our art, and programming over the past few months, and while at the time it hurt to see our projects go out the window, and things slow down a bit, it’s been amazing what it’s allowed us to reflect upon and ultimately come back stronger.
4 – We Restructured!
Dalriada Games always has been a company about bringing educational or medical games to education. About raising awareness of big issues and teaching those who are willing to listen. However, there is a fundamental problem with that very sentence.
Educational games are rarely profitable. It’s sad, but it’s true. Even for huge companies, it’s just a fact that the market and awareness isn’t there yet. And while we want to be one of those companies to change that – as an indie developer that needs to pay the bills, we cannot fork over all of our time to these projects that will not yield us notable profits.
Just as importantly, indie development requires intense passion to make it through the development cycle, with all the extra work. And while we certainly do not lack the passion for developing for education (the entire company is founded upon it!) we equally have other interests and aspirations that lie outside of education, or perhaps even titles that are unsuitable for the audience we currently cater to.
As such, we have decided to release titles under different banners. Those for education, medicine, or even just child friendly games will continue to be released under the flag of Dalriada Games. However, for other games, even if they are just not entirely child friendly, they will instead be released under a different unmentioned banner. Same people, different content.
We don’t want these two worlds to interfere with one another, hence why they will remain seperate.
What it does allow us to do though, is use the money generated from our other content to fund the developers who can work on the educational games, and increase the talent and demand in the industry to the point where it can sustain itself! We think it’s a brilliant solution, and ultimately it’s already allowing us to make more content than ever for both divisions, you’ll just have to wait and see what comes out of all this in the coming days, weeks and months!
5 – We Are Back!
We took a hiatus, but we ARE back! And it’s amazing to be back. As I said, we’ll be releasing very different kinds of content, so if there is a wait on a particular game under this division, please be patient.
For all things Dalriada Games, child friendly, educational, follow us at @RealDalriada, like us on Facebook, or continue to check out our website. We’d love to see you all stick around with us.
We’ve released multiple dev log’s over the weeks hoping to get you guys interested in our game, we have the most awesome and well planned out game we’ve ever had, with interwoven story-lines, but intense gameplay so it can be played on a normal story mode and an endless mode. We have the potential for countless hours of play… but as far as a Kickstarter can go… ours went terribly. I mean we’ve had a couple pledges so far so it’s something! … but not enough. Not by a 99% margin.
We’re not really sure how to take it so far. On one hand: It’s not the fault of our fans/followers/people who click on our links, because if they are not interested, they aren’t interested and since their time is valuable they are perfectly within their rights to not pledge or spend their time on our product to promote it or even care about. So we totally get that! But on the other hand, we’ve seen games where people have put little/no effort into them, and some even have a fraction of our own Twitter following also, and yet still some of those projects have had more pledges to them than our own. Some of the aforementioned projects don’t even have trailers.
We’re not really sure then what we did wrong – because we even included the added bonus that by pledging for the game by any amount, you’re helping us teach kids digital skills in schools, as we’ve always done. And all of your pledges were pretty stellar in my opinion!
I think everyone will always rate their own products better than their competitors, it’s part of human nature, and you have to put your ego aside and validate the facts. But regardless of that, we still think we did an awesome job. We have a great game, we really spent time making a great Kickstarter and being as transparent as possible. We talked in length about the game itself and about how we can divide our time to continue working with kids.
It should be noted we also have the unique disadvantage of knowing more about exactly what’s in store and exactly how it will be played before it’s even out, but we can’t always share that with you or perhaps it hasn’t been in development quite long enough yet. So perhaps that was our downfall, that we didn’t share quite enough?
But nevertheless still as always we soldier on, we’re not quite sure what’s going to happen with this project, so please if you’ve made it this far, go check out our Kickstarter, share it, let us know if we did anything objectively wrong, and help us grow in the future. At this point you have no idea how much of an impact you could have with a simple rally. Even explain it to your friends and family. Anything, and we could not be more grateful.
As always, thank you so much for your continued support and inspiration. We hope you all have the most amazing week ahead of you!
Not that every week isn’t, but if I literally had to describe the week in one word, it’d be hectic.
Reworking old code, making progress in some regions only to have to change it so that it can all work with new code, in order to come up with that grand old system where sections of the game always know what’s going on, if it has to. Apologies in advance, this one is a bit of a tech/discussion heavy one this week – so if you’re all for pictures and visible progress, sorry. If your for in-depth discussion on code, how it works, how it can be improved, and what we’re doing in general – you’re gonna love it.
Let’s start off with:
The rules/instructions system requires that the rules change on a semi-seldom basis, as in once a week at first and then maybe once every two/three weeks. Let me explain this if you haven’t read one of the Dev Log’s before: One day the Rules might say something to the effect of “Always cut the first red wire”, and so if you cut the first red wire on a bomb, you will have completed the first steps to diffusing it. However, one day, Fraction (the terrorist organisation you are fighting), may catch onto this and change the rules of their bombs. Now it may be “Never cut the first red wire.” The terrifying part however, is that your Intel/research team have to be “on the ball” in order to decipher their encryption and find out that they have changed their rules to diffusal. Meaning if you don’t have a reliable team, you or your team will be in grievous bodily harm.
Now the problem when it comes to code and game development, is that the bomb also needs to know by which rules it can be diffused by. It also needs to know when these rules change, regardless of whether you (the player) knows they’ve changed, so that it can be defused or detonated accordingly. These past two paragraphs have been a mouthful, I’m sure, but it is worded particularly.
So implementing that is crazy, and so I decided to limit the number of rules running at one time to twelve. Meaning there could potentially be twelve rules, all talking to one another at one given time that are responsible for how you should diffuse a bomb. So say you had a six wire bomb, and you have three rules. And let’s say the bomb looks like this (taken from the old mobile game)
Now the rules may be,
1 – Always cut the four wire from the left.
2 -Never cut a red wire. Count as though they are not there.
3 – If wire to cut is green, cut previous wire.
So which wire should you cut?
Now as I said, the above image was taken from the mobile game, the PC game’s bombs will look vastly different. This above image would literally be a tiny compartment of the new bombs. Now the answer was the BLUE WIRE. But imagine a single rule was changed, the entire bomb should be diffused differently. But does that mean that I should have to remove this potential bomb if a singe rule changes? No. That would be a waste of time and resources. Instead, I should just allow the bomb to understand how it should be diffused.
And as you can tell… this is quite the task. But it has begun. Even if it is in the form of a little notebook with rules on them.
Threat & Intel
Now the second symbol from the left (T) is the Threat Indicator. This is the likelihood that a cataclysmic event will occur. Seems simple enough, but if you’ve read these Dev Log’s you’ll know I don’t like doing it that way, it has to be realistic or fun over easy. So the threat level should actually go up based on your Intel team’s estimation and current Intel. Meaning if you do not have a good team, the threat level could be inaccurate, resulting in you looking for bombs that simply are not there, or you could think your city is safe and suddenly a catastrophic event happens.
I managed to begin implementing this, and not only that but I managed to have it work on a per district basis. So let me explain this too. This is the district “Glastonbury”, one of many many districts in the much larger map.
Now as you can see, there are many roads, buildings, municipal buildings, parks, and transport locations in this one district. Each district will differ on how many of these they have and to which class of citizens live there/what kind of district it is. This will determine how likely it is to undergo an attack from Fraction. They can also undergo events random or otherwise catered to their district, such as “a festival will take place today”. This means that this districts threat level will fluctuate, independent of the other districts – however, each of the districts contribute to the overall threat level.
So what I then began to work on, was the Intel team acquiring Intel on a per district basis, so that you would receive an Intel list that looked something like this:
Suspicious Components Discovered in the Glastonbury District
Suspicious Exchange Witness in the Glastonbury District
Harmful Components Purchased in the Park District
Suspicious Person Sighted in the Glastonbury District
Meaning that you have to track each districts potential to come under harm and deal with it accordingly. How you deal with that, is something to deal with in another week – although the process has been designed. It will revolve around putting security teams in locations where they can actively prevent terror or arrest individuals within the Fraction group.
The system for implementing emails into the game has been implemented… and then massively changed anyway. Originally the emails that shot into your inbox did so at random intervals of time, but at least followed a structure. E.g. You would always get an email from The Director, then Malcolm, then The Director again.
However this was lazy as it actually failed to care about the decisions you make, and as you can see by the example below, there are some pretty different dialogue choices to make.
So what I had to do was change the system so that each person has their own say/interactions with you on a personal level. So if you were rude to them prior, they will remember and respond accordingly. This meant making each potential email/story candidate a separate entity which held its own values, potential, and relationships with you. And while this would be a nightmare to implement, again, I did manage to do it and watch it at work, and it’s pretty fantastic. I can’t wait to show you how our stories develop in the game, and hopefully how you can contribute to it also.
One last thing I would like to talk about (but can’t quite show yet) is how the bombs and wires within the bombs will vary massively your the mobile version. You remember that image of the bombs from earlier on? Well that contained an image of a wire, and when you tapped the wire it would break. Nice and simple. However, for PC, that just simply isn’t acceptable. Now, since tools are required to diffuse various different components of the bomb, it also means you can have no tool in your hand… meaning your mouse is just your hand. With the hand however (and with most tools for that matter), you can actively move the wires around, finding other wires underneath or simply just pushing past wires to get a better place to cut or to turn on switches etc etc. Already I managed to get this to work, but oh boy was it an absolute nightmare.
I can’t wait to show you how radically different the bombs and the wiring systems will look in this new version though. It’s so exciting and on top of that… you’ll be able to see it real soon.
Thank You + Contact
As always, thank you very much for your unimaginable support and opinions, feedback, and general interest in this game that I care very much about. We’ll continue to work hard, as in implementing systems like these spoke about this week, and you can always help us by simply telling us – what do you think?
Please get in touch in any of these places,
email@example.com – Any information or discussion regarding the game, Don’t Go Bang!
firstname.lastname@example.org – Press opportunities for the game (Interviews, Magazines, YouTube, Twitch etc)
email@example.com – General Inquiries About Anything At All
Or as always, please just get in touch @DalriadaConnor
Thank you guys, have a fantastic week of brilliance. Until I see you next time…
This has been quite the week. Every week it seems is breaking new barriers of levels of production, and while you could argue I should get used to it, so far I simply can’t – it amazes me how much we can do in one week.
So let’s get onto my main focus this week, implementing the UI, and even beginning to program it’s functions also.
MICRO VS MACRO
When I studied at University, I was told by a lecturer that, “The User Interface, is Game Design. It is the game.” and that has always stuck very heavily with me. The choice to make your UI elements, diegetic or not, to make them meta or not, all of these things slowly begin to construct the game you will have. On top of that, the means by which you prioritise your game’s UI, and assign positions for Micro and Macro elements can turn a program into a game, and a good game into a great one.
I always loved and unintentionally refer to the UI from the Civilization games. The Civ series has SOOO much content to make you aware of at all times that it’s staggering. And yet it somehow manages to do just that so effectively.
It does this because of it’s many Micro and Macro elements. “What’s that?”
“A method for presenting large quantities of Data at high densities in a way that a broad overview of the data is given and yet an immense amount of detail is provides” – Ruddle, 2012
This is where Micro consists of Low Level detail, and Macro High Level Detail. And by the way, it’s notoriously hard to do, hence why the CIV series is released so few and far between. However, it seems it just might be the ticket for our game, so let’s see our current stab at it – and as always, remember that a lot of the art may just be placeholder, then again it may not be if people like it.
As I began to develop every screen that you would play through when you were on your terminal (the primary way you interact with your staff, Intel, research etc) I realised that I was adding certain elements in twice or more. Sometimes, I would switch from the first screen to the second because I needed information from the second to complete my task on the first. Which is absurd. I did this intentionally though as a means of prototyping and self testing. To identify which areas of my game would annoy me the most if I could not access it or struggled to do so.
That’s why I came up with this particular menu, which I’ve just named “The Shortcut Menu” as it saved me going to other screens. So interestingly enough, here it is again, try to guess what the icons mean, and I’ll explain them immediately underneath. If it didn’t match what you thought, send me a message or leave a comment about what you did think it was or how I could improve.
From Left to Right:
The P Symbol Stands for Panic, it’s the current level of Panic the citizens of the city are at. If it reaches tier 5 panic/100% panic, then your citizens will be petitioning to have you removed as your clearly incapable of handling the threat. At other tiers it also has negative effects such as lowering your funding from the government.
The T Symbol Stands for the Threat Level your current at. This is the general likelihood of an attack happening. Unlike Panic, Threat Level can be inaccurate based on your Intel. So if your Intel is poor, your Threat Level May be at 0, and then suddenly an attack will occur.
The RF is your requisition funds, the funds given to you by the government to spend on Staff, Research, Intel, etc.
Pause, Play, Fast, SuperFast, these change the speed at which time progresses. There is nothing worse than a game that needlessly makes you wait, so if you know your Intel is good, and all situations are handled, you can avoid the wait and skip forward a little to the next situation you do need to handle. Maybe you know a bomb will be planted in ten hours, but you have not much to do until then, skip to it! (Although it’s unlikely this will happen to this extent.)
Exit, this quits you from the computer terminal where you can leave the office (game).
Rules, this button takes you to the current list of rules regarding bombs. The rules change on a regular basis, e.g. one day you might always cut the first red wire, then the next day you definitely don’t. It’s updated regularly based on how good your Intel is. If your Intel is terrible, the rules too can be incorrect.
Map, this takes you to the full view of the map where you can see the entire city and all of its districts. On this map will be all of the potential dangers, as well as current bombs, places to investigate, people to arrest etc.
Day, Time, Year, Week. Exactly as it says on the tin. This is the current day and time, as well as the weeks and years you’ve been in office.
Intel – This takes you to a screen that displays the full list of Intel you currently have on bombs/terror activities. The notifications shows unread pieces of Intel.
Staff – This takes you to a screen that displays all the current staff you have, what they’re doing, and what issues they race. The notifications display unread staff issues.
Email – (I’ll give you two guesses but you’re only going to need one.) This displays all of your emails and the notifications tell you how many are unread.
UOD Temp Logo – This little icon takes you to the Overview Screen at any time, which shows tiny snippets of every screen in the game, so that you can easily select where you need to go.
So as you can see, there is an obnoxious amount of information to be conveyed in this tiny menu in its current iteration, but in my personal opinion, it’s actually a brilliant quick overview. Each of the items featured are needed regularly and none are waste/there for no reason. They are also not only featured here, but we’ll get to that. What do you think could be put here? Do you like the menu as it is?
Following on from last week, here’s how the new micro/macro elements have changes the screenshots. The emails have been changed, while actually still remaining true to the original concepts.
Here you see everything that you need to for an email, you have From, Subject, The
Substance of The Text, and a Positive and Negative response to each of the messages. Currently, this is it, and an X will take you back to the list of emails. However, that space in the middle and a couple of spaces around is expected to change quite dramatically, with things such as Displaying the Current Relationship Status between yourself and the person your contacting in the form of a number. E.g. Malcolm + 2
Another improvement this week comes in the form of the staff management screen, which now has a nice little piece of info about the latest Intel, so that you can better assign your staff. So if it looks like (based on Intel) there’s a suspicious activity happening, you can assign your agents to monitor the intercom.
As you can see, it’s a minor improvement from last week, but essential none the less. It’s all really beginning to come together. There’s the very obvious Intel being displayed on the right, but then just a subtle little cross next to the second staff member, so that at a glance you can see he’s injured. By inspecting further (without having to go to the separate more detailed screen) you can see he’s also unhappy, and loosing the tech skill.
Perhaps (or arguably) more exciting though, is that the slow task of building the functionality you see is being put in. Already, Intel comes in at a steady rate (not the way I want it to work yet, but it does work.), there are certain “random encounter” emails that are sent to you, time progresses at the right speeds (pause, play, fast, superfast), panic & threat increase independently and all of the buttons work, just the majority send debugs at the minute rather than perform the action.
It’s the slow slow build towards having this brilliant creation that we’re going to pour our hearts and efforts into.
The time has come to consider.
“Don’t Go Bang!” went from a mobile game (hence the particularly mobile friendly name) to a PC game. The funds needed to complete this task have grown exponentially, and while it’s no excuse – we are an Indie Team.
Which generally means two things,
We have little or no money.
We pour our hearts and countless hours into the projects we do have.
And you know which platform is great for allowing those kind of projects to continue?
You guessed it.
It’s obviously not set in stone, we haven’t launched the campaign or anything, but we’re definitely considering it, and even doing the preliminary planning on it. But as always, we want to know – what do you think?
Please get in touch in any of these places,
firstname.lastname@example.org – Any information or discussion regarding the game, Don’t Go Bang!
email@example.com – Press opportunities for the game (Interviews, Magazines, YouTube, Twitch etc)
firstname.lastname@example.org – General Inquiries About Anything At All
Or as always, please just get in touch @DalriadaConnor
Don’t think it’s just a standard repeat, I genuinely mean this everytime I say:
Thank you so much for all of your support, interest, kindness, and feedback, we appreciate it more and more everyday and your continued inspiration feeds ours throughout the weeks. Thank you, and until next time..
There is so much to talk about this week, it’s overwhelming. And while I’m not sure how well I’ll manage to cover it all, I’ll do my best. Equally I’ve marked sections with beginning and end tags so you can skip areas you don’t care about.
Long story short – Don’t Go Bang! is now a PC Game.
“Rewind, how can you go from a mobile game to a PC game?”
*——————–WORDY EXPLANATION BEGINS——————–*
It’s simple really, and we’re going to be as open and transparent with you all about it. We originally made PC games for clients, and then slowly transitioned to mobile game development where we could make our own content. We released a game, STARWARD, for Google Play, and like all naive indie developers, we thought it was going to take off and be the top game on the Play Store. But with 500,000 other games on the app store, it simply got lost. And the worst part is it was lost because for the longest time, we were secret about it, hiding our game for fear of it being stolen. But obscurity is worse than piracy. Our marketing for the game, began the day we released it. Big. Mistake.
So this time around we’ve been so much more open with you all, about “Don’t Go Bang!” and our other game, “Tumble Tower”. We’ve tried to keep you much more informed, even creating a brand new website to make our content easier to understand (even if it does need updated with the new content, will be done over the weekend.)
Now “Don’t Go Bang!” which has been my own project, completely done by me so far, has been so much fun to develop, and we got instant reactions that the game was fun and tense as a mobile game. You had to complete the tasks at just the right time to not explode and the fact the instructions played tricks on you during the game was brilliant. But then came the limitations, “Do you have multiple tools you can use?” Well no, because that’s too confusing for a mobile game/mobile market. It’s not a bad thing, but mobile games have to be one button/one action games. That’s what they are, people play for ten minutes at a time (generally), not 3+ hours. So we need to make it instantly playable. Next up, I always wanted to have instructions required to dispose of the bombs, and the instructions changed over time. But again, for a mobile game, no one wants to read instructions, they want to tap!
These limitations were actually really fun, and under them I built a brilliant game I’m really proud of. However, they were limiting by nature.
But moreover, a mobile game makes it’s revenue through ads. People don’t like paying for games and apps. It’s silly, people will pay 70p ($0.93) for a chocolate bar, but would absolutely avoid doing it for a game/app. But again, why not? – When there are thousands of similar free games. Now “Don’t Go Bang!” would have to be free, and would have to have ads in it. But where?
Do I force you to buy lives? Well no, because the game was level heavy and it was often acceptable for you to fail in order to learn. Okay, then power-ups? Sure, this is fine, but it just felt shovelled in, it wasn’t right for my game. My game was short and tense, I didn’t want you to be able to slow down time, or have the answer revealed. So banner ads? Again, this is fine, but just annoying. And (poor old me I know) if no one clicks on the ads, I make no income from this game that I just love making, and I can’t continue making content that I love with people that I trust and enjoy working with.
Solution. Production is changing. Don’t Go Bang becomes a PC Game.
*——————WORDY EXPLANATION ENDS—————–*
*—————–MAKING PC VERSION BEGINS – New Concepts—————*
“What changes can you make to “Don’t Go Bang!” to provide enough content to make it a PC game?” – Great question other me. (Archer fans, heeyo!)
Let me show you. Bare in mind the majority of the art is placeholder art to show off the concept.
So now, you start off being given an office. You are in charge of the newly formed Bomb Disposal Unit known as UOD (Unstable Ordinance Disposal) who are part of a much larger division, tasked with protecting the public from and ultimately capturing the terrorists known as Fraction (subject to change.)
You’ll receive any newspaper articles or classified documents at this point in the game, as well as view your achievements/objectives on the back wall. This space will also be completely customisable via the shop menu in the computer (we’ll talk about that another day)
Once you click the computer you’ll be taken to the desktop interface, I’m not even going to show this off as it’s going to change massively, you can see it displayed here in it’s most basic prototyping form in the screenshot.
From there you can find all your subsequent screens. I say I’m not going to bother going into the main desktop as it’s probably going to be an overview/shortcut to every other screen I’m about to talk about.
Now one of the options in the interface is to view the Map, which displays current threats, current suspicions to be investigated, current population density (varies when festivals or events take place), and missions also.
From here you can launch expeditions to threats, aka you can begin diffusing a bomb from this menu if there is one present. Now the bombs will vary quite differently now that I have the tools of a PC, including that you now need specific tools to diffuse different portions of the bomb.
But sometimes, two bombs will be identified at one time, and so you have two choices.
Diffuse one bomb and let the other go off, killing civilians or damaging property (always creates panic.)
Or hire/assign another member of staff to diffuse the bomb.
Bomb disposal experts can now be hired to tackle other bombs. Their average rating is displayed along with their name, their wage, their personality traits, and a separate “more info” button to find out their exact stats, a bio etc. You must choose your staff carefully, based on priority and time constraints. For instance, a 1 star hire is much cheaper than a 5 star hire, however the 1 star will perform much more poorly and may fail/be killed.
However, a 1 star can be trained over time, and so if time is not a major factor e.g. there was no bomb threats present at the current time, then you could train the employee up and save a ton of money. They will get a raise anyway for every star they increase by, but the raise will not be as much as those who already have 5 star careers will cost. Speaking of cost, the currency in the game is RF (requisition funds), these are the funds assigned to you by the government to manage your team. Should you run out of funds, your team will disband and ultimately you will lose. This is actually the most likely way you will lose, as even if a bomb goes off on you, you have a protective shell to protect you from 1 bomb blast, once it has been damaged a new one must be purchased. So essentially unless you run out of funds, you should be okay.
Once you’ve acquired your staff, you can view them here. Here is where your assign their current tasks:
Downtime – This increases a persons happiness over time. While they’re on downtime, they’re not practising their tech or Intel skills, so while they stay still at first, over time they will decrease that skill.
Training – This allows you to train your operators in one of two skills, tech or Intel. Tech is their physical capability to disarm a bomb that they are aware of. Intel is their ability to find and diagnose a bomb before they go on the mission. It’s essential to have good Intel to get the correct bomb location, and also to know to bring the correct equipment.
Monitor – This means they are currently searching for bombs, and monitoring chatter to provide you and the team with Intel.
As you can see to the right of each person, you can see their current well being, Intel skill, and tech skill. The Intel and tech skill will have numbers beside them, indicating which rank in that skill the operator is currently at. You can never lose a number in a rank, only your progress towards the next one. E.g. Once an operator is tech level nine, they always will be, but depending on how much they train it may take them longer to reach tech level ten.
When you receive new intel, or a message from a citizen, you will get it in the form of an email also. The email displays who the message is from, what it’s about, and then various dialogue choices (slots shown at the bottom) as well as useful links to do the action mentioned in the email.
*—————–MAKING PC VERSION ENDS – New Concepts—————*
*—————–UPCOMING FEATURES BEGINS—————*
There has been a lot to cover in this one article, but nevertheless there is a lot more to come.
Panic – The overall goal of the game is to restore order and eliminate the terrorist threat, but also to keep the people of the city calm. You are a government funded team, and if you begin to fail your tasks too often the citizens will become increasingly more panicked and petition to have your funds lowered, or ultimately have you removed. You must stop this from happening by performing admirably, effectively, responding to citizen emails and fears, and launching internet/information campaigns to calm the public.
Scanner/Send Investigation Team – As briefly mentioned, the map displays information about the city currently, but in order to find bombs there has to be a process to do so. You can do this by scanning for suspicious signals, or physically sending an investigation team (at your expense) to reconnoitre the area and report back if there are threats or potential threats.
Research – As Fraction grows, and their bomb making prowess increases, it’s your job to stay one step ahead, so you’d have to recruit avid researchers to provide you with the latest tools and equipment to deal with the threats.
Shop – You should be able to customise your own office space. Not only because you want to have your own unique space, but because some items offer unique bonuses, such as sending your operatives out on missions in a calm state, increasing the chances they perform better. You can also buy the latest tools and equipment here to improve yourself and your team.
Instructions List – Spoke about earlier, the instructions list is ever changing and requires your Intel teams expertise to be updated. So the instructions list for bombs one week, may say “Always cut the first red wire.” but it is your job to ensure your Intel team is well equipped enough to know if that rule ever changes. Equally, the Intel team can provide you with information about which bomb you are about to face, allowing you to prepare or research ahead of time. E.g. They might know a particular bomb is under construction, and know the attack will happen in three days. If your current tool set is unsatisfactory, you can invest in research to meet the demands and accomplish the mission by the time it arrives.
*—————–UPCOMING FEATURES ENDS—————*
I understand this is a massive adjustment, but I truly believe this is the right decision and the correct direction to take the game and the company. We weren’t really planning to have this happen, but it slowly became more apparent that it was necessary and more fun. I strongly believe we can deliver an excellent game of a calibre we have yet to release. The design process so far has been truly exciting, and I can’t wait to see where it takes us.
As always thank you for your continued love and support on the projects, I always appreciate your feedback, your words, and your continued inspiration.
We’ll talk again soon when the next dev-log comes out, but hopefully before then. But until then…
Well this has been one heck of a week, and yes you’ll be right to notice even the Dev Log is late. “Connor, what’s your problem? IT’S ONLY A DEV LOG!”
Oh, if only. Basically, how I fundamentally constructed the game completely made sense… until I tried to pair level components with bomb parts it was not used to. Then the whole thing went AWOL.
Basically (and apologies if this is boring, it’s quite tech heavy), the problem with the Bombs was that they are made up of various child game objects, called “Bomb Parts”. Now since it’s a 2D game, these Bomb Parts are technically on top of each other, and they each have multiple colliders on them for the various puzzle pieces. Colliders are just a component which detects to see if you’re interacting with an object or if an object is interacting with another object. It’s a check for calculations, physical or otherwise. Now the problem is that with many bomb parts technically on top of each other, you could interact with them all at once. So if the bomb part on top (the one you could see) had a red wire at position 1, and the bomb part underneath had a blue wire at position 1, and the instructions were to cut all the red wires – you would tap on the red wire you could see, but technically it would cut the red wire and also the blue wire underneath, and so the bomb would detonate.
Now the poor man’s solution would be to never have wires in the same position. But this is just lazy and limits the amount of bomb parts we can have or the variety of them, which completely defeats the purpose of the game.
Now it sounds simple, just tell the computer which bomb part is on top and only have those colliders active at a given time. Which is what we did do. So until you complete the bomb part you can see, the bomb parts below and their colliders do not exist, to avoid you accidentally blowing yourself up.
Simple – moving on – oh no wait… problem. Which is the top part of the bomb? How to I tell which part of the bomb is on top to know to show that one? Easy, check through an array of bomb parts. No not quite, because I first need to determine where the bomb parts should fit in an array the size of the potential bomb parts.
Let me just show you the code needed to do that…
Doesn’t this just look horrible. This took a solid day of problem solving amongst other things to be able to reach this solution. (And even then the final code looks a little different)
Basically – and this is getting really boring now – it’s going through each bomb and checking for which number I have predefined the bomb part to be placed, and then placing it in that position in the array so that the array knows which bomb part to show first, and then which parts it should show subsequently until it ends.
Once I managed this, I had to go through every bomb and assign a number to them, which was just monotonous. But once it was done, it’s done for good! Which is just nice to say it’s finally done, and I now have the levels 1-1 :-: 1-9 completed, all that’s left is to do the final bomb level, of which there will be one every set of 10 or so levels. That one will be a little different and I’m looking forward to showing it off once it’s fully completed.
One of the newer things I did manage to work on, was changing the instructions colours on specific words to whatever I wanted. Actually, it was incredibly easy. For any devs out there using Unity, very easy system for changing style of text.
As you can see, that allows me to do some cool and confusing things with the instructions text. As the instructional text always fades away after a given time, I thought it interesting to keep the colour text up there, even when the rest of the instructions are removed.
When the instructions get a little more complex, “Never cut the red (<in green) wires, always cut the blue (<in red) unless there is yellow (<in green)”, it should get extra confusing leaving the instructional text up there, adding a layer of difficulty I’m happy with.
Another little feature I added (and love by the way), is that each bomb beyond the tutorial levels (and one in the tutorial level just to explain the concept) will get it’s own serial code, displayed on top of the bomb. This part is unscrewed and removed, but you can still see it as it rests just before off-screen. Now sometimes this code will read something like “4JTAQ” which means nothing. Othertimes however, it will read “5TYRB” or something to that effect. Now the instructions dictate (and I’m unsure whether to show this every level or that you just have to remember) that you must cut the wires in the order that their first letter appears in the serial code. So in the above bomb, you would cut, yellow, red, red, blue.
Interestingly enough, because of the way the game works, I couldn’t randomly generate these and place them as text, I have to manually make them as an art file, so the tutorial one looks like this:
And while that art style reminds me – I thought the instruction for the Simon Says tutorial “Do what Simon Says” might get confusing for those who’ve never seen the game, so I literally named the little colour device S.I.M.O.N, like this:
To avoid any new players getting lost.
The next step over the coming week(and it’s already begun) is to complete the boss level and begin work on the newer levels, finally leaving the tutorial stage and making them really complex. I’ll then get fix the ranking system which is currently a little buggy.
Thanks so much to everyone who continues to follow us on this journey and support us, wishing you all a brilliant week ahead!
About a month ago now, we started a number of new mobile titles to work on over the next 2-3 months. One of those was “Don’t Go Bang!” which you can read about here: DON’T GO BANG – Dev Log # 1 and another that we’ve actually been working on for longer but yet to reveal, is Tumble Tower!
Now while this game has yet to be redone in terms of adding in appropriate art, there is a heck of a lot to cover what has been done to make the game fun, exciting every time, and easy to learn but difficult to master.
Tumble Tower is a 3D mobile endless cube builder game, set from a fixed camera perspective, where you’re objective is simply to build a tower as high as you can. You will be given a random block shape to place, and must rotate your perspective or rotate the shape vertically to determine the best position in which you should place your shape.
It’s one of these beautifully simply concepts, that came from the idea of, “How can we make an instinctually fun game, with as little artistic intervention as possible.” and while to a degree we stuck with that, we’ve taken on board the idea of adding more variety to the art style in the game. By that I mean that we begun offering background packs etc, which obviously in no way affect your performance in the game, but will offer up a little change of environment which is just nice to see. All the environment packs will be purchasable with the in-game coins, which you earn by getting higher and beating high scores, whilst also completing missions which are delivered to you in packs of three. So say you were given
1 – Get to 1000m in height
2 – Reach 500m with no power-ups
3 – Collect 10 coins in a single match
You would have to complete all three before the next trio of missions was delivered to you. We added that to give a sense of purpose when playing the game, and to provide incentive to just play that one extra game per play session, but with the nice catch that when you do, you’ll simply be given new set of missions to complete. We’re unsure yet as to whether we’ll have a delay between mission pack delivery, or whether you’ll be given them instantly, but we’re leaning towards a wait being put in.
Now the ranking system we added into the game, is just neat and feels so professional when you play. Basically you earn XP every game (shocking, I know) and when you reach a certain number of XP you rank up (still, mechanic of the century hope no one steals it!). But the cool part is that like some current console titles, you are awarded power-ups as a rewarded, and are awarded the ability to earn new kinds of powerups. But to avoid cluttering up the screen too much, you’re only allowed three powerups at one time, and so it’s upto you to select which ones, from our comprehensive list. What powerups you ask? … Well we’ll tell you anyway.
Currently we have:
Shuffle – This changes your currently selected shape to a random one, in the event that the current shape would mess
up your tower or there is no room to be placed.
Strike – This removes a life that you’ve lost, granting you one extra mistake.
Erase – This allows you to remove a troublesome shape from the tower, to make your
tower more stable.
Solidify – This glues all your current shape pieces together, so that your tower is completely cemented. This can be incredibly useful for your tower once you reach a certain level, as insecure towers will begin to sway just with the wind.
Bomb – This completely removes the shapes on the layer it lands on. This can provide a base for your platform to be strengthened on, or completely tumble if it’s used improperly.
Head Start – This… well you should know. It gives you a head start so you don’t start at 0m, and currently it can also be used IN-GAME, making it incredibly useful for reaching higher areas or starting anew if you’ve begun to mess up.
Many more to come…
But get involved! If you think there’s an obvious powerup we’re missing, get in contact! Seriously as much as this is just a dev log, we want anyone reading to get involved, and make a better game for you.
On top of that, even though it’s in early stages, we’ve already implemented leaderboards so that you can compare your highest towers to others to see how you’re getting on.
We get that this is all a lot to take in, as honestly we should’ve started this dev log sooner, so while we’ve got a lot to talk about, it’s almost difficult to remember it all, but we’ll do better over the next couple weeks until release.
If you’re thinking it’s quite a lot of little concepts for a mobile game, we agree. But we implemented a fantastic and easy to understand tutorial system for you to learn the basic concepts of the game, from swiping to move the camera, to tap and hold to place the blocks. We just approached it as someone who’s literally never played a mobile game before, while not going so detailed into it that you’d frustrate a regular gamer. The secret though is that we get around that by having the game mechanics nice and simple. Stack shapes, rotate, stack more shapes, use powerup, stack, fail. And start all over again with a better head on your shoulder to reach higher heights.
We hope you enjoy hearing more about this brilliantly simple game, and to the engineers among you it seems appealing.