Back from holidays!

by Niels Brouwers 15. July 2014 05:33

And they were great!   Just before I left I managed to push The Carter Jones to the Android store, that makes four in a row:

 

 

 

 

 

All made possible through the magic of cross-platformness by MadeWithMarmalade - they have actually made the 'starter' version free now for everyone to use! That is some pretty cool tech that they are giving away right there: develop your game/app on windows and publish to all the stores with the push of a button, so easy - and so native!

I don't work for them, but used their SDK for The Carter Jones Adventures and they are really supportive and just a cool bunch, be warned though, it is C++ you will be coding in and that is not for kids.... (unless you choose some of their alternatives which I never tried, so no opinion about it).

Anyway, I think we got all bases covered, right? A port to Tizen failed, after multiple submissions and vague reports with failure descriptions that made no sense to me. A Windows Store port is still on my wish list....Amazon / Nook maybe? Who knows, I'll dig into it once I get some time!

 

 

The Carter Jones Adventures Windows Phone release and before

by Niels Brouwers 11. October 2013 05:37

 

It has been a long, long time since I wrote up something for this website. In the meantime, I became a proud daddy of a very beautiful daughter! Words can not describe how happy she makes me. The flipside, of course, is that I spend a lot of time being a daddy and that obviously has some effect on this website and my responsiveness in the big internet world outside there. However, last month things have began to settle a bit and I am finding some time here and there to work on expanding the Carter Jones Adventures to other platforms.

Let's talk a bit about that, in February the game was released for the new BlackBerry 10 Phone that was just released back then. For the initial release I hoped to get the game finished before the imposed deadline (the Marmalade BlackBerry program gave me a free license if I submitted the game in time to BlackBerry World). I made the deadline, with the game including 30 levels. I had no time to implement In App Payments or something fancy like that so I just put up the game as a paid game.

The response has been good in the sense that the people who played it on their BlackBerry liked the game. However, the numbers were very, very disappointing. Not many people got to play The Carter Jones Adventures on their BlackBerry. You see, BlackBerry did a great job getting a LOT of apps in their store. Once the phones went on sale, people got to chose out of literally 10.000s of Apps. It's pretty hard to stand out even if your game is great. We all know now that BlackBerry is struggling which probably didn't help with sales either. In the end, that was a prettty disapointing experience. I kind of left the game and focussed on other stuff.

Then, in August a new incentive offer came from Marmalade + Microsoft: build a Windows Phone game, get a free Phone! Because of the great platform support Marmalade offers, doing that was pretty easy and so I did! I submitted the game in the second half of september and surprisingly it got approved really fast (like, in 3 days or something like that!). Because I had a little more time, I implemented an In App Purchase: anyone can play the game for free until level 6 - it requires a single In App Purchase to unlock the entire game after that.

Then the show started...within a little more than a week The Carter Jones Adventures got more than 10.000 downloads and we're still counting. Reviews are mixed, either very good or very bad (most complain about the controls and the difficulty). The controls had some bad default settings, lesson learned and it is fixed in an update that will be live soon! In App Purchases are dissappointing just like BB but I like that a lot of people are playing my game and rating it! It's a great ride so far and I can't wait to release it for IOS and Android.

To Be Continued....

 

 

Animationtool finished (well, almost finished!)

by Niels Brouwers 17. April 2011 03:25

I was watching a documentary about SKA Studios the other day and noticed they've got a great custom tool to edit animations for their games. As I was struggling with the animations for my game as well, I figured something like what they have would be a solution for me.

You see, memory is a constraint in XBLIG games in the sense that once your game grows over 50Mb you are unable to price it at the lowest price point. Also, being an oldschool programmer I tend to use the most efficient code and memory usage whenever possible. So, if you have a player animation, and he is running then you might just draw a lot of frames for his animation (=lots of memory consumption) OR you get smart and draw his legs moving and leave everything above the chest unchanged (=saves nearly half of the memory required). If you decide to chop the chest off from the lower part of the body you need to take care how these two parts match up against eachother. Typically, the one is draw with an offset to the other. Other things like a glow could also be done in a separate sprite and drawn as an overlay to the main sprite. So you have all these frames to manage for a single character and doing this in-game gets tedious quickly, you know: adjust the offset in code, run the game, move the offset another pixel to the left etc.

So that's why I build this animationtool for my game! It easily lets me handle many frames for one object and adjust the offset in real-time, plays the animation to see how it is going to look etc. Also, by having this tool, it kind of forces me to have the animation completely data-driven and the game-engine just be that: a game engine! It's just good programming architecture, I like that! 

Right now, one small thing is missing: a save button...

 

Work in progress 2.

by Niels Brouwers 4. April 2011 07:42

Last month brought some real progress in the game's mechanics: I implemented inertia for the players movement, parallax scrolling, I added and then removed the energy bar that indicates your energy. Actually that last little bit is something I picked up from an interview that I saw with Michael Gagne, he mentioned that in his game the power bar was eliminated and replaced with damage on the ship itself - in line with the latest trends in minimalistic interfaces. I figured my hero is extremely wel suited to do the same, so his energy can be 'read' from the light on his chest. It's like a heartbeat.

Also, many bugs were fixed, I made some great improvements on the player's controls and last but not least I increased the overall speed with 100%. It plays so much better now! So I am really happy with the progress, but unfortunately for you there are no more improvements to be mentioned on the graphics front. Therefore, althought the game is destined for the XBOX Live Indie games channel, I will leave you with this (obviously photo-shopped) image:

 

 

What do you think?

More Screenshots...

by Niels Brouwers 23. January 2011 23:55