Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blobby Volley for Android: Progress Report 5

Last week brought some pretty unexpected events - this time positive ones though. I was working on blob and ball shadows, as well as controller buttons and I had to add a lot more textures to my game. Using TexturePacker, it was quite easy, but I noticed that the free version I was using wouldn't let me change the layout algorithm, resulting in very suboptimal layouts (see the images below). Also, the texture produced this way was much larger than it could be. This, and the fact that I couldn't change the package name in the generated Java file so I had to correct it by hand every time I modified something, convinced me that I needed a full version. The bad news was it cost $40 and I wasn't sure if I was ready to spend so much on my game. I started desperately looking for a way to get it for free... and I found it. I'm not talking here about some black hat method involving key generators, torrents, etc. It's totally legal. The only condition is having a blog about game/software/web development. If you meet this condition, go to the Request a free license section of the Code'n'Web site and apply. It's that easy. You can also request PhysicsEditor, which comes in handy when you create Box2D physic connectors for sprites. I wanted both, and I got them the next day. Yuppie!

TexturePacker's basic layout algorithm
TexturePacker's MaxRects layout algorithm - not available in the free version
The second unexpected thing happened when I was talking on Skype with my friend Justyna, who makes T-shirt designs. You can check out her Facebook profile. She's done some drawing for me in the past, so I was hoping she could help me this time as well. It turned out she's a little busy right now, but her brother, who is an awesome artist as well (take a look at his gallery), is much less occupied. In fact, he owes me a favor after I helped him with a college programming assignment some time ago (I almost forgot about it). I haven't talked to him, because he was finishing a project of his, but I'm planning to make a list of every piece of graphics I can possibly need in the game and ask him what he can do.

Apart from the exciting stuff, I worked hard for another 12h on the following things:
  • I added ball and blob shadows
  • I'm showing an indicator when the ball is outside of the screen
  • I made the movement controls look nicer and behave like buttons (highlight when pressed)
  • I moved all physical objects' definitions from code to PhysicsEditor - now I can easily change the bodies without thinking too much about coordinates and writing lengthy methods initializing all the necessary connections
I also read a couple of pages from AndEngine for Game Development Cookbook. Not too many though. I'll try to read more next time.

Take a look at the screenshot below to get a grasp of the current game state. You can also download the latest apk.

This coming week, I'll probably have less time to code, due to my Italian exam (yes, I'm studying the language of Dante), and my friend's visit (he's staying for a couple of days). Nonetheless, I'll try to complete the following:
  • limit the number of legal ball hits (perhaps also parametrize it)
  • start working on a simple AI
  • talk to my graphic designer and decide on what I need and what he can actually deliver

While I spoke with Justyna, she was trying to persuade me to release the game before Christmas, because that's when people download the most apps. I think it's a good idea, so I'll try to finish the basic stuff (namely options, AI and graphics) until then. I'm pretty sure I can make it. I'll leave multiplayer and other more complex features (achievements, advanced game modes, animated backgrounds, etc.) for later. If I get a lot of downloads, it'll give me additional motivation to work. If not, I might just abandon the project and start something else. I believe that the black scenario will not happen though.

I hope you like where the game is going. Feel free to share with me any thoughts you might have. I'll read and consider all of them.

For those who are waiting for another interview, I have a couple of them accumulated and I'll be releasing them every week around Wednesday/Thursday. Come back then to get a new portion of stories, tips and advice from other developers. 

No comments:

Post a Comment