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Dogefin rejected by Apple :D

Posted by
Thursday, May 8th, 2014 12:29 pm


Really, no surprise there. You can still play it here!

A big thank you to everyone that has rated and commented so far :)

iOS version submitted!

Posted by
Sunday, May 4th, 2014 11:18 pm

Play Web (Flash)

So, this could have been finished sooner, but I got stuck on a few things:

– Performance issues. Decided to give up. 30fps is acceptable for now, and likely only affects older devices.

– IAP code. Decided to leave this feature out and just have ads only.

– Chartboost crashes on iOS 5. Turns out it’s not supported.

– Added Flurry Analytics. Ah, feature creep.

Echo the Dogefin coming to iOS!

Posted by
Sunday, May 4th, 2014 1:06 pm

Play it here! (Web)

I’m hoping to have this released soon. It’s a lot of work!

Some tasks include:

– Adding Chartboost ad support.

– Adding IAP to donate/remove ads.

– Support for different screen sizes.

Shameless plug!

Be sure to check out my other iOS game, Spectre: Cybertank Wars

Official Trailer (Youtube)

It’s a single/multiplayer retro-styled tank action game, and supports the iPhone and iPad!

I seem to have a thing for the color blue.

Post Mortem

Posted by
Friday, May 2nd, 2014 11:10 pm

Play it here!

Post Mortem:

Background ———–

Hi, this is Matt. I’m the developer of the iOS game Spectre: Cybertank Wars, have have developed games/prototypes as a hobby for much of my life. Echo is my latest completed project, created for Ludum Dare 29.

This was my first attempt at LD. I had decided that I would enter (time permitting) about a week before. With a lot of time on my hands, I decided this would be a huge mental challenge to pull off

Basically, I’ve been suffering from ever-increasing depression lately, coupled with realizing I’ve lost interest in games & game development. Participating in LD was just something to challenge myself mentally, and see if I could learn anything new, or perhaps rekindle interest in game development.

The Technology ———–

For about a week leading up to LD, I had been looking into Haxe & HaxePunk, which claim to be cross-platform technology that can build for just about any major platform, including mobile.

Going into the contest I was basically a novice at HaxePunk, but had played around with it just enough that it didn’t put me at a serious disadvantage.

Development ———–

On Friday, “Beneath the Surface” was announced on the theme. I had been watching some Ecco The Dolphin videos recently, and sea life fascinates me. (Also, I had wanted to make a dolphin game anyway!).

I think the MH370 idea came to me instantly and I found it hilarious and polarizing, but I tried to brainstorm some other positive ideas, such as cleaning trash from the ocean. Needless to say I went with my first idea.

The first 24 hours of the game were spent doing graphics only. I’m not much of an artist. I traced a dolphin from an image and extrapolated everything else. Then I coded like mad.

A lot of effort went into the swimming and jumping physics, as well as cutscenes and effects like bubbles and splashes. I really wanted a game world that had some … uh … depth to it.

It was smooth sailing almost the entire time. The only real challenge was the formula to handle the helicopter motion, where I had to do some math on paper to figure out the rate of deceleration the chopper needed to apply to stop at a certain point, given an inital speed… it was something like:

a = (v_0^2) / (-2 * dist)

for delta time = 1

My last tasks were to add UI/menu, sound effects, and music. I wrote the worst blues-pattern raggae crap ever, and submitted.

What went right ———–

I have a lot of game ideas. Most of them I’ve never prototyped because I think they’re terrible. This idea was one of those.

It turned out better than expected! Honestly, I was afraid that the repetition was going to be really boring, but the hilarious dolphin physics I wrote to allow him to jump out of the water really helped make the game feel a little more interesting.

I had other challenges that I wanted to put into the game, including:
– Sharks, that would attack swimming humans, or humans in the rafts. You’d have to shoot them with some kind of Ecco-style sonar, or bubbles, to scare them away

– Random spiky sea creatures that would causes you to drop any humans you’re carrying if you touched them.

In the end, I didn’t need anything like this; it was quite challenging already, between the swimming humans and the silly controls.

What went wrong ———–

Amazingly, I’m pretty satisfied with the product, especially as a 72-hour project. It looks good, plays well, and is challenging but not impossible. It also had a great dose of humor.

Most of my complaints about HaxePunk relate to things I’m running into *now* when trying to port to iPad, however…

HaxePunk lacks a scene graph and no quick & easy UI framework. There was certainly some time spent attaching ladders to choppers, people to ladders, tanks to dolphins, etc.

HaxePunk is a very, very young library. It lacks documentation and tutorials. In my attempts to port to iPad I can’t seem to base the entire game on a single texture atlas and use the built-in features like SpriteMap at the same time. The iPad performance is also dreafully slow because I think it is software blitting.

If you’re building a game for desktop or a fast tablet, Haxe, HaxePunk, OpenFL etc have a promising future.

HaxePunk still feels like proof-of-concept tech for the moment. I’m hesitant to recommend it for a serious project, but absolutely DO use it for prototyping.

Final thoughts ———–

On that last note, prototype! You may discover things you didn’t expect!

Uh, anyway… so I can’t say I enjoyed the process. Then again, I doubt anybody did. It’s HARD. WORK. You have to keep pushing. From art to code to debugging to UI chores to sound and music and deployment. Your brain is gonna hurt.

I actually find the game kinda fun :). It’s simple with enough challenge. The game’s tone is very positive: To win, everyone must be rescued! Everyone is working together to avoid a tragedy. Choppers are dropping rafts and air tanks, and picking up people in rafts.

This project was no cure for depression. Still not into games, still not interested in making them. I’ve been tinkering with an iPad port, but ehh, I don’t really care.

I think it was interesting that in the middle of this crippling depression I was able to push myself and create something large and complicated: something I really haven’t wanted to do lately. I really feel this is the point of LD, to motivate people through that resistance in the face of a daunting challenge.

title screen wow

Posted by
Monday, April 28th, 2014 11:07 am


Posted by
Monday, April 28th, 2014 12:23 am

Okay, game is at MVP. Need sound effects and instructions screen.

I think I’m going to skip adding sharks/hazards for now.

Click the image for a GIF!


Okay, bed time. Still some gameplay elements to go…

Follow me on twitter @matt_j2


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