Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Blobby Volley for Android: Progress Report 8 (Release!)

I've made it! I managed to release my Blobby Volley clone before going home for Christmas. In fact, my flight is in three hours. I couldn't sleep last night, because I was so excited to publish it and see if people would download it. Finally, I'm going to find out (and hopefully sleep better as well). You can go to Google Play to check it out yourself or simply look at the screenshots below. If you like it, I'd be grateful for a nice rating and a review.

Again Rafał Dorsz - my graphic designer has done a tremendous job. Thanks to him the game looks so pretty. I made the logo myself, and I'm quite proud of it as well.

I managed to commit 38 hours to the game this week, even though I was helping with organizing a festival in a nearby city this past weekend, and I was going back home at 2 in the morning. I was able to complete everything that I'd planned: three different levels of artificial intelligence, the menu with basic game options, AdMob ads (including a banner and an interstitial), bug reporting with Crittercism and fixing various issues that came up on the way.

In case it comes in handy for anyone of you, I got rid of the bug causing the ball to stick to the blob when their relative velocity was small by changing the value of the b2_linearSlop constant in the Box2D extension to 0.05 instead of 0.005 and then recompiling the native source. I spent quite some time working on it though, and I nearly gave up at the end only to find a solution when my patience was getting close to its limit.

Also, I got to know just today that there's a known bug in AndEngine causing it to crash when running the onResumeGame() method (which is for example when your game gets paused and then opened again). Luckily, I was able to detect this issue thanks to Crittercism and find a solution on Stack Overflow pretty fast.

I promise to write an in-depth postmortem on the game, mentioning once again all the tools that I used as well as my experiences with AndEngine. However, right now I feel a little tired of it and I want to enjoy my Christmas without too much computers and Android phones involved. Also, this week's interview will be delayed by a couple of days, because I'm going to spend some time away from home. Nonetheless, I can assure you that it will be very interesting when it finally shows up.

I want to finish by wishing you Merry Christmas. Take some rest, spend time with your family and friends and gain a fresh view on your ideas. Have a great holiday and good luck with all your projects in 2014.


  1. "Release and forget" model (the one when you release a new game and have to take a few weeks off to rest after final rush) is quite risky. From my experience first few weeks after game release are crucial. Many bugs/issues/request will be filed by users and if you are not able to respond quickly then you gather lot of negative reviews which in turn will lower your chance for success. Also google-play gives some extra handicap to newer games for the first 30 days (app is probably higher ranked in search results).

    1. I think you are totally right...

      However, I had a choice of finishing the basic functionality now or waiting at least another month. I decided to take advantage of the Christmas season, when a great number of people download new apps. Also, it gave me extra motivation to work additional hours to wrap everything up on time. I'm aware that there might be some bugs, but I explicitly wrote in the game's description and even in the logo that this is a beta version and that slip-ups might happen. Besides, I might find a way to fix the bugs from where I'm now - I have the code online, I just need Eclipse and the Android SDK. So far, no bug reports have been reported.

      We'll see how it works out. I hope that I'll get lucky and avoid major issues with Blobby Volley. I'll write a more extensive comment on this decision when I know more statistics. I wasn't trying to ignore other people's advice to polish the code as much as possible before publishing. It's just that others told me that "if you publish and everything works perfectly, it means that you did it too late" :)

  2. I have played the game now about half an hour. Overall it's good, and addictive. There is one thing tgough - I dislike the movement button. Usually there are two buttons for the movement - back and forth. Now you can choose where the player should move on the field - basically a very large number of buttons. This is very confusing to me and causes a lot of misplays and even the easy mode becomes difficult for me. So maybe it's a thing to look into. If other people have the same problem as I do then it might encourage users to uninstall your app.

    Good luck. Great blog!

    1. Thank you for your comment and remarks. It's great to hear that someone is playing and liking the game.

      As to controlling the blob, right now there are two methods of doing it: left and right arrows and a continuous slider. You can change the controller type by going to the menu and clicking the flashing controller button. I'm not sure which one you were using. Personally, I prefer the arrows, but on larger screens the continuous button might be more precise.

      I'm aware that there should probably be a method to resize the buttons or use full screen controls. It will be one of my priorities when I come back to work after the Christmas holidays.

      I took a look at your site and I can see that you've just started your adventure a month ago. I hope that my blog can help you develop better apps/games. Feel free to contact me, when you create something. Good luck to you as well.

    2. Oh I didn't notice the option of choosing the control method. My fault! :-)

      Your blog is great! I have my first app almost launch-ready, but I'm currently backpacking india for about ~1 more month. I also don't expect it to be a big hit since it's very niche (poker related). But I'll definitely let you know!

    3. I also prefer arrows, but before I was using the slider. On my S3 it's very easy to misclick using the slider so now, after changing the controler, I'm instantly a better player.