Month: March 2014

Business As Usual

We’re getting towards the end. All the art is in the game – some small adjustments and sprite additions notwithstanding. The main audio implementation is done but some music handling still needs work; I want the music to consider the game situation in certain cases. We’ve got an idea with Ryan, the audio producer, on this one. A lot of the sound fx still need to be finalized but adding those to the game is minimal work; practically dropping the files into the build and calling a function when the event is triggered. All features but one are done: the Game Center integration still needs to be implemented.

Given this my immediate target is to fix the release date as soon as possible. To be able to fix the date I need all the features complete on the implementation side – if there’s a few sprites or sound files missing it won’t be a big deal. I’m aiming for a feature freeze and a last testing sprint of 1 – 2 weeks after the implementation side is done, so small adjustments can be done during that period. Currently the release date is pushed to first half of May, so I’m not diverging a lot from the original wish of releasing in April.

kisauveela-blah-oggiputSo no groundbreaking news on Oggipital side. But! On top of this I have been writing the game design document, plus a bunch of other supporting documents, such as a project plan, for Sneeweis’ next game! It had to be done this week because I am actually applying for some funding for it. Deadline this month – exciting times! Getting funding would mean fewer distractions and a faster time-to-market, which I’m all for in this start-up situation. More releases is better. Can’t wait until I have several games in my portfolio!

The new game will be announced immediately when the release schedule is clear for Oggipital. I won’t wait with the announcement as I did with Oggipital. Also, I will start implementing the prototype of the game even if I wouldn’t get the funding. I will push out games, one after another, no matter what – my intention is to run this as a business. Build up the market share, push out new products, grab opportunities, try to make this a full-time job first for me, and then for a few employees. Which game ideas, how many of them, and at what point Sneeweis is going to push out, is continuously up for evaluation. No funding = more subcontracting work and slower time to market, and less parallel work on game ideas. I have no problem in letting Oggipital be the cost of entering the market, on the contrary, it will most likely be a cost and I’ve prepared for it. I have no problem with even the next game adding to that cost. It only affects my balance between game development and subcontracting.

If I get some funding, or if one or more of my first games actually makes a profit, I will immediately adjust to that. My “Games To Do”-list is ready for this, and the main strategy is to speed things up by a) go full-time and b) starting more game implementations at the same time. The amount of parallelism is directly related to the available finances at the current time.

By the way, looking for an 2D artist for the next game! Tweet me if interested! The need for the art assets are, according to current plan, in the June – August time span, while implementation of the new game will start in mid-May.

Stable Development

Avid readers might remember that – now very faint – idea of a tongue-in-cheek life improvement plan I had. 1200 steps and all. What’s up with that? Another one of those “I knew it would go the way of the dodo” things?

Not really. Well, yes, I had a pause in sports and activity, but it was merely a pause. I’m not jogging or skiing outside when temperatures hit -20C, that is just not me. Suffices to say that I started jogging again as the weather starts to be nice and sunny (occasionally), and I’ve done light weight lifting every now and then. The gym is only three steps from my office door, I counted, and it’s included in the rent!

But first and foremost the life improvement plan is active and working – on the level it needs to be. See, I am enjoying my current game development tasks so much that I do not need to think about various aspects to improve in my daily business.

That’s a good thing.

I Almost Scored

For the last two weeks I’ve added a lot of visual stuff into the game, most notably the High Scores screen and several “for fun” animations to all of the screens. Adding those in makes wonders – now I starts to feel like the game I once was designing. And definitely fun to make this stuff. Small stuff, but gives a lot of character to the game. And it’s surprisingly fast and easy to implement!

We’re on the final stretch now, just a few features missing – most prominently the Game Center integration and the small in-game animations. I finally googled smart enough to find out why the animations kept crashing the game, so now all that’s left on that front is to include the proper sprites and animation sequences into the game.

On the Game Center integration front I started with the local score handling. A few minor bug fixes and that’ll be a wrap, after which the Game Center stuff will go in. For that I need to activate the Game Center leaderboards and achievements in my iTunes Connect account, alas I want to do the whole feature separated from other stuff. The testing of it requires also sandbox testing towards the Game Center test servers.

In the meantime I’ll treat you to Screenshot Saturday #4 even if it’s not Saturday!

highscores-screenshot1

For fun

Had I hard week developing your game? Does it once again feel like it’s going to tank? Let a tiny test group play around with non-game-related features, that’ll cheer you up!

Game Over- and High Scores-screen “for fun” animations in an actual test scnenario.

PS. No, “Gangnam Style” is not on the official soundtrack of the game.