Magigoo won the Super Flash Game Friday Competition from Mochi

23 09 2008

Yay! Thank you so much to the Mochi people. This is very unexpected, and I’m totally honored.

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Magigoo released

14 08 2008
Magigoo title screen
Magigoo title screen

Play it here.

This game was developed for a month. I finished it around July 12th 2008 and it took around 2 weeks to get it finally picked up by a sponsor: Candystand. And another 2 weeks to get the version ready for release.

Dave from Candystand was a great guy to work with, I manage to get a primary sponsorship which means after a month of exclusive in CS, I’ll be able to sell it for non-exclusive site-locked versions and also release a viral version with mochiads. Sweet.

Oh, and not to mention, Candystand QA was just awesome. I was happy it got QA’ed.. They found several bugs that I wouldn’t expect to see unless they helped. My previous experience in releasing a buggy game made me realize how important QA is, and I’m lucky this game got proper QA :):):). Double sweet.

Tell me what you think about the game :).





Pieces “sequel” frozen

10 06 2008

I had plans to create a “sequel” for Pieces and started it approximately a month ago.. but due to circumstances, I think I’m going to pass for another idea.

The current idea for the sequel was going to involve something less frustrating for people who were thinking it’s an ordinary platformer, which means no control restrictions at the start. And, no “finding a problem and learn from a role model” pattern anymore. The basic idea goes something like this:

We play as a transmagi apprentice. Transmagi is something I made up for wizards that shape-shifts. At the start the character will go through a tutorial that explains the basic mechanic, whereas as a transmagi we can shift into 4 types (including our human form).

First is the human form where the character can walk and jump. The jump is like in Mario, you hold down jump key and it can go higher, but of course there will be a maximum height. Second is the bird form where we are able to fly, the jump key will be used to flap its wings so leaving it unpress makes the char drop down, while holding it pressed makes the char glide. Third is the frog form, this allows the char to go underwater, while on land the char can only jump (no walk). And the last form is the mole, this allows the char to dig up loose walls (can also walk but no jump). It’s pretty complex huh.. 😀

The world was going to be much larger than Pieces, and mappings were quite different so I had to modify the editor. But due to time and circumstances, I think I’ll let this freeze for a while.

So now, I’m approaching a simpler design. The idea came after playing “Floats“. The basic idea is capturing colored bugs with your mouse by drawing a circle around the bugs. But this time I’ll add power-ups and the possibility to combine colors of bugs before capturing. I hope this will make an even more fun game. My approach to simple mechanics is an alternative to what I did for Pieces. I felt that a lot were confused and frustrated with the unusual way of doing things in Pieces, plus I’d like to experiment how a simple game might be more welcoming for quick players and see how it goes. 🙂





Pieces: post-mortem

23 05 2008

Honestly, I’ve been having hard times to write down this post-mortem.. There were several things coming up after Pieces, including time spent to brainstorm the ‘sequel’ of Pieces (on to that later). To sum up Pieces, personally, it was an emotional roller coaster. The award was most flattering and one of the greatest moments of my life.. while on the other side, it picked up various responses including from grief players about the many resemblance to Knytt.

Yeah.. digesting the responses was a mental challenge for me, and I regret being in such a condition of loosing productivity after the release of Pieces. I wasn’t quite prepared about post-release, so I got fed up by the bug fixing until a certain condition was set, which is version 1.3. And I left it be. Until, of course the winner announcements that just.. blew my mind. I always felt that Pieces was a failure.. to have it release in a buggy manner.

But, to balance things up, there were also very encouraging comments. And the most touching moment for me was when someone mapped the whole world as a walkthrough! I was in an awe, and by that moment I knew that some are truly liking it.. a lot. ;_;

So, ok.. nuff with the emotional stuff.. Here are the things that I had in mind during and after development for Pieces:


Things done wrong

  1. Next to none beta testing. Yep, you read it right. The competition was about 2 months of time + 10 days of extension. But frankly I only had 1 month and 10 days, since I started it on Feb 1st. Even on the first deadline my game wasn’t quite finished while on the second deadline, I made several last-minute fixing before the closing time. Good thing I was able to update throughout the competition.
  2. Left out important credits. This was mostly the cause of grief, Pieces was understood to be inspired by Knytt, but no credit shows either the name of the game nor author of inspiration. Now, in the midst of bug fixing, I set a thought that credits is on the lower part on my TODO list. So I left it be for several weeks and realized I could’ve made some time to write down a decent credit page and cool down the fires.. but I didn’t :(.
  3. Put it on NG too early. This is probably related to the commercial side of the game, but I hadn’t knew that it was important to be prepared and made sure everything is 100% OK before submitting to portals, especially NG.


Things done right

  1. Invested time on coding a map editor. During prototype, I instantly knew that the game will emphasize on map exploring for it’s gameplay. So I coded a map editor in haXe with SWHX, which allows me to save and load map data into files, and also export the whole world as a Map class in AS3, ready to compile.
  2. A simple and solid game design from the start. I was satisfied with the core mechanics and design everything around it. The amount and types of skills varied several times, and it depended largely on how quick I can code the basics of it. If I felt it’s too quirky or difficult, I quickly try something else.


Several technical-related issues

I had pretty much everything working really good. Map loading was surprisingly fast, and the collisions were simple and working the way I envisioned. Except for one, the progress saving system which uses LSO’s (Local Shared Object).

There were several reports and complaints about having the blue herb and after a load, it was gone, etc. I’m sure it’s something to do with LSO but wasn’t quite sure how it happened and why. Currently I’m guessing it’s a file size issue. The game needed N amount of bytes but the players computer stored less thus cropping several data. What bugs me the most is how I couldn’t fix it because I can’t make it happen in my system. 😦


Performance

I think Pieces isn’t everyones game. I found several loving it, and several hating it. I think it’s probably due to how I broke several fundamental game culture, like not allowing Proo to be able to jump at first, and the awkward way of getting skills. Plus, there were no monsters to jump on or kill.. :D.

Several stats:

  • Kongregate. Submitted on March 26th, 2008. 47,338 plays, 3668 ratings (avg score: 3.39 of 5.0), favorited 300 times.
  • Nonoba. Submitted on May 15th, 2008. 4.984 plays, 128 ratings (avg score: 3.5 of 5.0), favorited 44 times.
  • Newgrounds. Submitted on March 24th, 2008. 1,136 plays, 267 ratings (avg score: 3.23 of 5.0), favorited 12 times.
  • Mochibot statistics.




Got “Best Use of Theme”

10 04 2008

Last monday JIG announced the results for CGDC5, and (drums rolling) Pieces didn’t win but instead got the prize for “Best Use of Theme”. YAY!

As mentioned in the comments, I really really really didn’t expect to win anything, mostly due to how buggy the game was on release. But I just got an email from Jay saying that I had the most updates, or err.. “upgrades” *winkwink*, on my game than the rest of the contestants and that adds my score on the theme category. I’m not sure if that’s a good idea to do for any other competition :p. But I’m happy, and very honored.

Feedbacks were great, and even for version 1.3 I had the credits changed mentioning my thanks to the JIG audience that literally beta test my game. How embarrassing, they’re supposed to just play not beta test :(.

Congrats to the other contestants (even the ones who didn’t get to the top 10), all of the games were great!





Detour: entering JIG’s 5th Game Design Competition

1 02 2008

Yup! A ‘quick’ detour.

I wasn’t intrigued to enter at first, I never thought I had any good original ideas to come up with. But after reading about the benefits of entering (like your game gets submitted automatically for MochiAds “Be a RockStar” gamedev competition, and the possibilities of sponsorships, plus the use of MochiAds), it got me hooked. So I took the time to do several brainstorms, and had a somewhat good concept.

It’s called “Pieces”, and it’s a platformer. You play as Proo, this little character (girl?) that landcrashed to this strange place. She lost her memories about everything, even her bodywork skills (running, jumping, etc). Your goal as player is to guide her to recollect pieces of her memories, skills and craft to get her back home. The somewhat unique aspect of the game is how she learns (upgrade) her skill, which is done by doing 2 things in order:

  1. find objects that interests Proo (create curiosity/interest).
  2. find creatures that indirectly tell Proo how things are done (watch role-model).

The mechanics of getting these status is quite simple, as soon as Proo enters a map with either one point (interest or role-model) it automatically gains the corresponding status.

To make it more clear, here’s a simple example of how things would work (and will be in the tutorial mode):

You start with Proo being immobile, sitting and wondering what to do. Then Mr.Tutorial drops a food beside her only several steps away. Proo has the food in her interest slot, but you can’t command her to move her to the food. What to do? Proo needs a role-model, so Mr.Tutorial lets a creature come in running from side-to-side, probably stopping for several moments before finally it move along. By that time, Proo gains a new skill, you get a notice how to use the cursor keys to move her.

That’s pretty much the base of how the game works. Proo will encounter a certain map where she needs to jump and the same thing start over, ‘jump’ is in her interest slot and she needs to find a role model to help her understand how to jump. The placements and terrain of the map will be the puzzle and exploration is essential in the game. Monsters and obstacles? Maybe I might add them, but currently I imagine this game as ‘very peaceful’, so no death feature for Proo, I guess.

I’ll be programming this in AS3.0, using flex2SDK. One of the things I took consideration is that I’ll need to add external codes from JIG and MochiAds to be eligible to enter competition. But I’m sure there will a place for haXe coding as I’m planning to do the map editor in haXe+swhx.





Got “pick of the day” :)

19 01 2008

Yesterday, David from Playyoo commented on my PicrossLite post-mortem article. I was surprised to find anyone commenting, so I looked it up and it turns out to be a very useful comment :). He gave me some tips regarding technical and gameplay aspects to improve PicrossLite. Hmm.. it made me feel like doing more flashlite games now :D. As if it wasn’t enough, PicrossLite got to be in Playyoo’s pick of the day :D. This is really encouraging. Thanks David! 🙂

 

PicrossLite - pick of the day in Playyoo