Monday, June 19, 2017

Blobby Volley 2.0.8

A new beta version of Blobby Volley is out! The basic game functionality is virtually complete. What remains is just general tweaks and adjustments. I'm hoping you can help me with them...

I created an open beta program, so you don't have to be part of the Google+ group to have access to it. Just go install the game from the Play Store and enable the beta program there. Then you can see what the game is like and leave me feedback.

Here's what's new since the last version:
  • there's a complete options menu with controller settings, themes, player colors and miscellaneous game parameters
  • the game uses Fabric/Crashlytics to track bugs
  • the game runs faster and is smaller in size
  • numerous bugs were fixed

The new options menu

I worked for another 14h which makes a total of 105h. Blobby Volley is already so much better than the original version and it took me less time than when I was using AndEngine. Unity is a great engine and I'm glad I decided to learn it.

I can't wait to have the game finally released! If no serious bugs are found and it turns out to be fairly balanced, the moment might come pretty soon.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Blobby Volley 2.0.6

I released a new beta version of Blobby Volley. The game is almost complete and the only thing missing is the menu system with game options. I've already started working on it. Take a look.

This time I was able to work for another 19h, which makes a total of 90h. Here's what's new:

  • I added the game icon
  • I improved the AI significantly by adding delays to its actions and fixing some bugs
  • I adjusted camera scaling on devices with different aspect ratios
  • I added Unity Ads when you go back to the menu
  • I adjusted some of the game's parameters, e.g. the ground level
Join the Google+ group to be able get the beta version of the game from Google Play and remember to activate testing after you're in.

Next time I might actually release the game. There are still more things that I'd like to add, e.g. multiplayer, but they can be done after it's already available to the public. I wonder what people's reaction to it will be. I guess I'll have to wait a bit more to find out...

Monday, May 22, 2017

Blobby Volley 2.0.5

Blobby Volley is getting closer and closer to the final release. In version 2.0.5 I did the following:
  • I improved the AI by using normal distribution random values for errors instead of uniform distribution random values. Thanks to the changes the AI is more human-like.
  • I added Firebase tracking, so I can get more gameplay statistics and adjust the parameters like the difficulty.
  • I fixed the size of point counters, because it was incorrect on some resolutions.
  • I added a pause screen.
  • I added win and lose screens.
To give you a sneak peak, the new screens look like this:

I'm not publishing the WebGL version this time, because it doesn't work well with Firebase. You can play it on your phone and if you don't know how, see one of the previous posts.

To close up this short update, here are some stats. I worked for another 11.5h which gives a total of 71h so far. The amount of time committed to the game in this sprint was rather miserable but preparing a presentation about Unity for the local Android Developers Group consumed lots of it. I'm hoping to do better next time and work on the following: polishing the AI, adding a menu system and ads.

Now go play the game and see if you can experience the win screen yourself.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Blobby Volley 2.0.4

The new beta version of Blobby Volley is out. If you're a member of the testers group and you've activated testing then you should get an automatic update from Google Play soon. Otherwise, sign up to be a tester or try the WebGL version.

What's new:

  • points
  • opponent's AI

What's coming next:
  • pausing the game
  • win and lose screens
  • more customization options (controller side, player colors, etc.)
  • ads
For more details see the Trello board.

Since the last update I've managed to squeeze in additional 22.5h of work, for a total of almost 60h. The AI was quite hard to implement. Fortunately, I already had the old code to help me with it.

What's worth mentioning is that I started using Rider instead of Monodevelop as my IDE. I can't even express how much better it is. Here are some of its features that I particularly like:
  • it auto-formats the code according to the C# standard
  • it auto-saves files, so you don't have to press cmd+s all the time
  • it compiles the code on the fly, so you don't have to do it by hand when you want to know if there are any compiler errors
  • it's integrated with version control tools, so I don't have to use Source Tree anymore
  • it has static code analysis tools that help you find compile-time errors (I've found a lot of them)
  • it has intelligent auto-completion that speeds up writing code a lot
  • it has the same shortcuts as Android Studio, so you don't have to learn new ones from scratch
  • it has a dark theme
There are probably more advantages of using Rider, but these are the main ones that come to my mind first. If you use Unity and haven't tried this editor yet, make sure you do it.

I also started using UniRx - Reactive Extensions for Unity. You can find it on the Asset Store and it's free. It's like RxJava but in C#, so if you're familiar with reactive paradigms, it'll make your code clearer and easier to write.

The game has finally reached the state in which it's actually fun to play. I'm really proud of the AI and I'm curious to find out your opinion about it. Do you think it should be easier/harder? Can you find any bugs in its behaviour? Do you have any suggestions regarding its way of playing? I'll be grateful for any feedback.

Oh, there's one more thing I forgot to mention. I'll be doing a presentation on Blobby Volley and Unity on May 11 (Thursday) as part of the Android Developers Group in Poznań. I'll be happy to see you there if you feel like coming. You can find more details on Facebook and Meetup.

Once again, have fun playing and come back for new updates in about two weeks.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Blobby Volley 2.0.2

I've just released a new beta version of Blobby Volley. To play it on your phone or tablet, join the Blobby Volley Beta Testes Group on Google+ and then activate testing, if you haven't done it already. This time, I published a web version too. It will be available on Gamebucket for 30 days. You can see it here.

Here's what's new:

  • you can control the player with left/right arrows or an accelerometer
  • there's a simple menu in which you can choose your controls
  • player-ball collisions are disabled when the ball is waiting to be respawned
  • the ball's bounciness is reduced when it hits the ground, so it comes to a stop faster
  • there are sounds when the ball is hit or when a point is scored
  • there's an arrow indicator when the ball is out of screen
  • consecutive ball touches are limited to three
  • game start events are tracked using Unity Analytics
  • there are player walking and jumping animations
  • some bugs are fixed now
What's coming next:
  • gameplay improvements
  • counting points
  • AI
  • ads
Remember that you can always see what I'm working on if you go to the Trello board.
The new changes took me 16h 20 min to add, which makes a total of 37h worked on the game so far.

I'm hoping to have an AI working next time, so make sure not to miss the new updates. I can't wait to test it on all of you. Do you think you'll be able to beat it? We'll see...

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Blobby Volley Unity Remake Beta Released

The first beta version of the game is out! To play it, be sure to join the Blobby Volley Beta Testers group on Google+ and then register for testing on Google Play. Make sure to leave me some feedback afterwards.

Blobby Volley screenshot

Here's what I've done so far:

  • I created a Bitbucket repository
  • I created a basic game scene with a background, a net, a ball and two players
  • I added basic physics to the scene as well as special physics for the ball and players
  • I created a keyboard controller and a touch controller for the players
  • I added ball and player shadows
  • I handled respawning the ball when it hits the ground
For a more complete list of features done, in progress and pending, see the Trello board. I'll be keeping it up to date, so you can follow the progress more closely.

It took me 20h to create the current version of the game. I'm still learning Unity on the way, so it's probably slower than it would take a more skilled programmer, but I'm happy about the result nonetheless. I use Toggl to track my work time. I quite like the tool so far and I see a lot of new features added since I last used it four years ago.
Here's what I'll be working on next:
  • I'll add ball hitting sounds and whistles when the ball hits the ground
  • I'll add different player controllers, so you can use the one that suits you
  • I'll fix the bug causing the ball to start falling when a player gets close to it but doesn't touch it
  • I'll add player animations
  • I'll add an indicator pointing at the ball when it's off the screen
For a more complete list, go to the Trello board.

Once again, I encourage you to become a beta tester if you haven't done it already. I know the game is still in its early stages, but I'll be grateful for any feedback you give me.

The next update will come at the beginning of April, so in more than a week. Until then, I hope you have fun playing and are as excited for more features as I am.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Blobby Volley Unity Remake

It's been almost 3.5 years since I finished my Blobby Volley game. It certainly is my most successful app on Google Play with more than 130k downloads. Unfortunately, it hasn't been very profitable and its retention rate is miserable. However, I still believe that it has a lot of potential. That's why I'll be rewriting it in Unity.

I want not only to recreate the existing version of the game, but also add new features to it like user activity tracking, achievements, more diverse levels or game modes, less intrusive ads, better controls and probably other things that will come to my mind on the way. I'll be tracking my work time and giving you progress updates every week or two. I expect the project to take up around 3 months.

If you want to keep a close eye on the results of my work and perhaps give me some feedback, you can join the Blobby Volley Beta Testers group on Google+ and later go get the beta version of the game from Google Play (mind that it's not there yet at the time of writing this post). I'll be grateful for any constructive comments and I hope you'll have fun testing the game in its new form.

Now, go play the existing version of Blobby Volley and don't forget to tell me what I should keep, add or change!