Friday, 29 October 2010

apps in store

Progress on the new game will slow down for a week or so as we are going to prepare a version of seaglass (our first iPhone game) for the new Mac app store. Tony is basing this off the code and graphics from the iPad version of the game. Since the game is locked to a vertical iPad display mode, the graphics will have to be reduced by around 1/3rd in order for the game to fit on most monitors.  Hmm, I guess we better figure out the height of all common mac / macbook displays.  I'm not sure what is in the SDK for these mac apps, maybe there is built in display scaling - that would be handy.
I don't think game centre will be available at launch, but we will have the code ready to support it when it is inevitably added to the app system at some point.

Check out seaglass on the app store:

Speaking of Seaglass, we saw a slight bump in the number of downloads after we changed the look of the icon (and upped the resolution) - I'm glad we got rid of the big green "S" icon, the new one looks more interesting, and a lot snazzier. It's hawt.

Oh, and someone has completely blasted my high score in seaglass on gamecentre, and I don't have a hope of getting back to the top of the table. The #1 score is currently 170799 () - my score is only 43,625, and that was me really trying!  Still it's still a lot better than Tony the programmers EXTREMELY SUSPICIOUS 18000 points.... no one else on the high score table has 000 at the end of their score, what's going on here? Could he have just typed it in to the database by hand???

- nick

Monday, 18 October 2010

Graphics and gameplay

output from some early level generator test runs

Another chat with Tone about the game tonight, some of the things we discussed were the graphics style, game mechanics, mini games and distribution.

Graphical style - I think that we are stuck in a weird limbo with the graphics - they don't look retro enough, and they don't look good enough either :) We discussed trying out a few different things, like reducing the palette, making them more pixelated and that sort of thing. At the moment I'm thinking of either going really C64 / 2600 ish or trying something very modern looking. Also, we are thinking about trying some swish Jeff Minter style effects, all blocky particles and vivid flashing pixels, that sort of thing. Revenge of the mutant camels, anyone remember that?

Intro - had a couple of ideas for a very silly quick intro to the start of the game, not really ready to talk about it yet but it's really very silly.

Curved Bat - We'd like to try making the top of the bat a curved surface, so that the angle the ball is reflected is changed by the position that the ball hits the bat - this could add a bit of skill to the game and allow the player to have more of a say in where the ball is going, something that is missing from a lot of breakout clones.

Collection / Avoidance Mechanic - We need to flesh the idea out a bit, but I'd like a big part of the game play to be collecting good objects and avoiding bad objects (whilst trying to stop the ball from hitting the bottom of the screen). We still need to figure out what the benefit and penalties will be for touching the objects. For the positive objects, maybe a level skip bonus or something else.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Some screengrabs

Screengrab 1 is of the very first version we had running, these are the original 1995 graphics, drawn in dpaint :)

Screengrab 2 (On the right) shows a slightly later version, we changed to a vertical display instead of horizontal. Tony added some pickups, enemies and a bit of GUI on the bottom. The gui stuff is taken from the 1995 version and needs to be redesigned.

Friday, 15 October 2010

New versions and old versions

We had a quick dev meeting tonight, Tony has got a rough version of the game running on both PC and iPhone. I say "rough" but it's actually a pretty good representation of how the game is going to play, and impressive to see so early in development.

We have decided on a portrait screen mode instead of landscape, even though this is different to how the original PC version of Enigma was designed, we feel this will be more comfortable for one handed play, and a portion of the bottom of the screen will be used as a kind of track pad to control the bat. (We have a lot of control methods in mind to try out so more on this later).

Tony also managed to hook up some algorithmic level generation stuff I wrote years ago, it's a miracle it worked really, but it has potential.

In the original game, ball movement was locked to 45 degree angles, we are going to experiment with allowing the ball to move in any angle, so if the bat is moving when the ball collides with it, the ball's rebound direction will be affected. Fun stuff!

Some other ideas we discussed but still need to flesh out a bit - algorithmic background animations, algorithmic block sounds (to make them sound a bit musical), the nature of level progression.

Oh yeah, while I remember, we wanted to post a link to the two shareware games we worked on back in our student days [circa 1995] - Enigma and Fracas. Both of these are for DOS and you may have trouble running them these days on your fancy PC, but you are welcome to give them a try. They are now freeware so go get them.

Apologies for the lack of pictures posted so far, I'll try to remedy this as soon as i can :)


Thursday, 14 October 2010

Just After the Beginning

It would be cool to make an iPhone version of that game we made when we were students. That old shareware game, Enigma.

That's the general idea behind this whole thing.

Ok, now let's get cracking.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


some enemy sprites and some pickups
a selection of blocks
Some zoomed in images of sprites from the original 1995 version of Enigma. All graphics were drawn in DPaint running in DOS on PC (Or Amiga, I can't remember :-) ) Whatever it was, they are .iff files, anyone remember those??

Friday, 1 October 2010

In the beginning

Hello folks, this blog is going to chronicle the creation of our new iPhone game, from start to finish. We intend to post frequent updates about our thoughts, development, behind the scenes stuff, things that haven't worked and screenshots. Hopefully it will be an interesting journey. Please sign up, follow us and post comments, questions or anything else!