Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fruit Worm Bubble

I promised you to reveal some details about the game I'm working on. Well, here they are.

It's called Fruit Worm Bubble (but you might have guessed that already) and it's a bubble shooting game. I'm not writing it from scratch, but rather finishing up the details left over by the previous developer. I agreed to do it because I really wanted to try libGDX and more serious game development in general. I have to say I've been having a blast so far, even though some of my expectations didn't really work out that well. But we'll get to that later...

To give you a better idea of the game, I should mention some of its features:

  • very nice graphics
  • two game modes - story and arcade
  • five distinct bonuses helping you beat the game
  • in-game store which allows you to buy additional items
  • customization options available after beating all levels

For people who like visual stuff - just take a look at the artwork to get a better grasp of what I'm talking about.

What I like about Fruit Worm Bubble is its playability. I rarely download similar games and if I do, I get bored with them rather fast. This time, however, I have to say that I was catching myself playing for much longer than it was necessary to just test the new things that I had added. The gameplay is very dynamic and addictive. The nice backgrounds, animations, and well-matched music help with the general impression as well.

Unfortunately, there are also elements I don't like so much. The biggest one is probably loading screens. They appear almost every time you move between views and they stay visible until you tap the screen.
I also had some problems understanding at first what the bonuses were for but I guess it might be part of the design.
Finally, I was under the impression that both story and arcade modes were quite similar to each other and should have been made more distinct.
All in all, the game is still quite fun and I'm pretty sure that future releases (possibly done by me as well) will get rid of the nuisances.

As to my unfulfilled expectations, I was hoping to learn more of libGDX, when as a matter of fact, I'm using mostly custom classes created by the previous developer. Does it mean that the library itself was lacking them? I'm not sure, but I'm inclined to think that at least some of the code is trying to reinvent the wheel.

What I did learn was the project's general structure and some game development stuff I hadn't had a chance to use before - tweening, advanced texture packing, resource loading/unloading mechanisms, porting to different platforms, etc. In fact, the ability to compile and run the game on my PC was a great thing that I didn't value enough before. Not only did the game launch waaay faster, but also it let me set custom window sizes and take screenshots more easily. As far as I know, they used the desktop version to record in-game videos as well.

To sum up, you can expect Fruit Worm Bubble to be published in December or January. I'll surely brag about it some more, so you don't have to worry about missing the big event. The game will have banner and interstitial ads in it, as well as take advantage of in-app purchases. I'm not sure if using those two monetizing techniques together is such a great idea, but we'll find out soon enough. To be honest, I'm really curious how well the game will do. The idea isn't new, neither is the gameplay very complicated... If only I had someone helping me with the graphics, I could surely create something like this from scratch (not necessarily of the same genre)... Perhaps it's time to start a new project :P

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