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  23 April 2015 - Bombs away! :: Posted in Burst-a-Bubble (project)

Yesterday I made a tweet that I'd be adding new gamemechanics instead of making that sneak-preview movie. I had to add new (extra) gamemechanics because I still had one problem to fix with the Bubbles project...

Look at my Facebook post of April 16th (which held a very shord sneak-preview movie ).

Small preview on what I've been working. Added the 'exploding bubbles' today...

Posted by AE games on Thursday, April 16, 2015

Though I made it to show the Bubbles fall apart, it does show an other problem. The Bubbles in this level slowly fall down and when playing, at a certain point you might get stuck with a few Bubbles at the bottom that are about to trigger a Game Over.

To counter this problem I have introduced bombs to the game. Each level you'll get 1 bomb and it's up to you how to use them. You can use all bombs you have in one level, or you just use them in case of emergency only and stock up your bombs. I have to warn though, the bombs will only destroy Bubbles - you can't use them on chains or locks!

I realize this is also a very nice monitization item, but for now I won't use them for that. I want the Bubbles project to be a game that you have to purchase instead of making it Free2Play with a cash shop.

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  18 April 2015 - Still no movie with commentary :: Posted in Burst-a-Bubble (project)

I know I've promised you a sneak-preview movie with my commentary this week (last week actually ), but I found yet an other problem (read: MAJOR BUG) with the game and yet I'm not sure if this is a bug I made or something that's not right in Unity...

To get into technical details, I'm writing the Bubbles project in 'Scenes'. These 'scenes allow me to let each one take care of their own part of the game. So far I have made 3 of them - one for the game's menu, an other one for the game's animations/movies and the last one holding the actual game. According to the documentation, when I load a scene using Application.LoadLevel(), all game objects (and data linked to them) in the previous scene should be destroyed. Sadly though this is not the case in the Bubbles project. I am either doing something terribly wrong or there is something wrong with the way Unity clears up data from memory using this method and thus has a bug in it.

I have already asked about this issue on the Unity forums and so far there is no solution yet to this problem, other than what I've come up with myself and that's clearing all data before building up the new level.

And that's exactly why there's no sneak-preview movie yet. I have to play-test the game thoroughly again and find out what data stays in memory but is not allowed to stay in memory. You can imagine that things like scores and such (which I pass on the right way between scenes) really doesn't matter if that stays in memory. But stuff concerning the previous level you played (like a list of special objectives you have to hit) are more serious and should be cleared 'manually' when starting to build the level.

At this moment I'm still using Unity 4.6.3.f1 for the Bubbles project, but I think I'll give the new Unity 5 a try and see if this issue has been resolved. If it has, there's one less reason for me to stick with Unity 4.6 (TetraGems was build using Unity 4.3)...

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  15 April 2015 - Animation blues :: Posted in Burst-a-Bubble (project)

I have finally figured out how to rid myself of a warning in Unity that animations should be marked legacy (and as always the solution was extremely simple). That was with a test animation of a humanoid I made...

Now to the Bubbles project... Knowing how to import animations and make them work, I took the 4 sets of animations (a total of around 20 animations) and tried to get them working. To my surprise those animations didn't show up in Unity's camera. The only difference between these animations and the test animation is the lack of 'skeleton bones'.

Of course, for a humanoid you need to create a skeleton with bones so that movement of arms and legs goes well and all stays in place (it would be very odd to have a lower arm float away from the body ), while just a couple of bubbles don't need them. But that's not true for Unity (and probably every other engine out there) - animations do need bones to have the sprites (bubbles in my case) linked to them.

This means that I have a lot of work to do (adding the bones) to get my animations for the Bubbles project to work...

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  17 March 2015 - 2 months of development - lets compare with TetraGems :: Posted in Burst-a-Bubble (project)

Yesterday I realized that I've been working on the Bubbles project for only 2 months. How time flies when you're having fun

When I compare the progress of the development of the Bubbles project with tat of TetraGems, then I clearly can say that the Bubbles project goes a lot faster. And faster is good! It means that I'm getting the hang of the Unity3D engine and working in C# and OOP. Where TetraGems was my first attempt to make a game with Unity3D and C#, I had to figure out how a lot of stuff works, consult the online Unity3D/C# reference guide and ask a lot of questions on the Unity3D forum.
With the Bubbles project, I can show what I've learned from making TetraGems and speed up my work on it a lot! For instance, it took me 2 months for TetraGems to figure out how to get the game's engine to run because the collider that Unity3D provides didn't work, while for the Bubbles project it took me only 2 days to get the game's engine to work how I wanted it!

An other significant difference between the development of Tetragems and the Bubbles project is code efficiency. Though for Tetragems I did make a pretty efficient code to get the game running, now with the development of the Bubbles project I see some mistakes I made and how to correct them (yes, this means I will pick up TetraGems next month to make the game's code more efficient ).
But a more important thing I found out is how to 'read' the mouse clicks in Android without loosing performance. This is certainly very important with the Bubbles project, where I create around 200 bubbles that each 'read' their own mouse clicks, but it's also a technique I can use for TetraGems. In TetraGems I can use this technique to make the game an actual slide game and remove the green arrows a the lower corners *YAY*

On the progress of the Bubbles project I can tell a lot, but I won't. Just wait and see when I'm ready to present a working demo movie like I did with TetraGems But I can tell you that the basic game is already working. Now I need to add all those 'special features' I've been musing on to make the game more fun and challenging. I have also already started on the menu and options. Though that part is still using conceptual graphics (taken from TetraGems ), it's important for now that all the menu items are fully functional.

Last but not least I can confirm that I have 'contracted' my son to make part of the music for the Bubbles project. He's been playing the piano for the last 5 years or so and he's making his own music for the last 3 years or so. Though he has not written a lot of music, I gotta say that what he makes really sounds good and I think it's a good exercise for him to make actual game music. Needless to say, I will of course pay him for his efforts for the music he has made...

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  15 March 2015 - PSVita development canceled :: Posted in Burst-a-Bubble (project)

With the announcement of the Bubbles project I also stated that I'd make the game available for the PSVita as well. Back then it was a good option available for me, but sadly, SONY has announced that the PlayStation Mobile (PSM) platform will be discontinued later this year.

As things look right now, the PSM platform will no longer accept new games to be submitted after May 31st (this also includes fixes!). The final day for customers to purchase PSM applications will be July 15th and September 10th will be the last day in-app purchases will be processed, only to shut down the whole platform on November 30th.

This leaves me with 4 options:
1. I rush the development of the Bubbles projec, publish it and possibly deliver a game with bugs that I can't fix.
2. Drop the PSVita development all together and focus on Windows PC and Android.
3. Same as the one above and find an indie publisher that has a PlayStation Partner license and publish the game on a later date.
4. Alternatively I can also wait for income from the Bubbles project sales and get that PlayStation Partner license myself to release it for the PSVita on a later date.

Though I now do have a PSM license with SONY, I did check how things were handled when I compile the Bubbles project ;for the PSVita. Sadly, it'll check my license online with SONY, which means I can still check how it runs on my side, but after Novemeber 30th that'll end...

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  09 March 2015 - Starting on level design :: Posted in Burst-a-Bubble (project)

I think it's time to show some progress I'm making with the Bubbles project. As you might have seen on the AE games Facebook page, I've been real busy on the project and game mechanics change almost every hour But by now the game mechanics seem to be final (if there ever is such a thing with a game in development ) and I have started on creating the levels for the game.

The first few levels will be easy, allowing you to get used to the game. The 1st level is the same as the 2nd one (shown below), aside that it doesn't include the chains which are introduced in the 2nd level (black lines for now - still need to work on the graphics), while the 3rd level will introduce keys and padlocks.

 photo Unity 2015-03-09 Lv2_zpsxedtwe84.jpg

An interesting feature that I included to the game is that you can't remove chains or claim keys when the bubble you drag to it has at least 1 empty space where no bubble is attached. In the above level it would mean that you need to play a bit before you can remove the chains. Padlocks on the other hand can always be removed from the bubbles when you have a key for it.

But as I started with, game mechanics are never finished, unless the game is finished. At this moment I'm thinking to add 3 more features to the game (one which might allow you to place chains ) to make the game more challenging and fun to play.

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  30 January 2015 - Basics fully functional :: Posted in Burst-a-Bubble (project)
I've made a lot of progress with the Bubble project. I managed to get the basic game fully functional while squashing the latest few bugs I found.

- Clicking bubbles will change their color as well as the ones around the clicked bubble (they will change color differently though)
- Lining up 3 or more bubbles will trigger an action
- Chains, keys and locks are fully functional

Next week I'll start on level design, better graphics and start on the story to for the game.

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