Super Marshmallow Ninja: Level Picker

Today I’ve made a quick video to show Super Marshmallow Ninja’s level-picker concept. If you’ve played Candy Crush, Jelly Splash, or even Super Mario & games of the likes, you’ll easily recognize what it is.

(click through to youtube for the annotations, embed doesn’t seem to be showing them).

As the video explains, I wanted to make this a more immersive experience. One potential flaw with my design though, is that the user loses sight of the previous levels when scrolling up to the castle, and so it shows fewer levels on-screen. I think it may lower the % chance that the user will want to go back and get the missing star from a previous level (since it’s not always visible), but we’ll see.

The graphics are also optimized since I re-use the same image for each hill; it allows for scaling and movement to provide dynamic content rather than stuffing the scene with more texture memory.

—–===== CODE FOR SALE =====—–

If you’re interested in purchasing the level-picker template & project files, you can find them here. Like all ArdentKid code, it is very organized, filled with helpful comments, and modular so that you can just drop it into any project. I am also planning to include a video tutorial of the code (when I find time to make it), just in case you feel lost. But act fast, since the project files will be on sale for the first 25 people only.

Check out the Object-Oriented Programming guide to see some of my previous work in teaching game programming, and my tutoring services if you want even more!

Super Marshmallow Ninja: Partnership!

It’s been a while since the last dev update but lots have happened since then. A couple weeks ago, another fellow app entrepreneur and follower of my blog decided to get in contact with me during his visit to Tokyo. We discussed a lot of things over a Starbucks coffee and ended up partnering for the creation of this game.

There’s good and bad sides to this, as I was set on submitting the game to apple that week. But the new plans involve another 6-weeks estimated workload, to add content and change direction quite a bit. If you’ve followed me for at least the past half-year, then you’d know how big of an issue releasing is for me. In fact, it often hits a mental nerve. But sharing that control with another person, despite it dragging the project on, helps to ease my mind about it. It’s not certain that the game’s mechanic is sticky enough to continue investing time in, but that will hopefully be given better odds of success by the changes its going through. Was a partnership for this game the right way to go? It doesn’t yet feel like a solid yes or no.

Fortunately, some of the tools being built around it will also be used for other projects like the next one. Particularly social media connectivity, as we’ve decided to go free-to-play. Other than that, we’ve already added in a level-editor (which might be packaged with the game for users to customize), and level map (it’s no longer an endless runner style game). Stay tuned for screens and videos!

Pavilion Game by Visiontrick Media – Indie Interview TGS2013

Today’s Tokyo Game Show 2013 Indie Game Dev Interview Spotlight is independent studio Visiontrick Media with their game, “Pavilion”!

THE DEVELOPERS OF PAVILION GAME
Henrik Flink, Creative Director
Rickard Westman
Tony Gerber

ADDITIONAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

ArdentKid: What’s your story/ why did you decide to make your Pavilion game? Why did you form Visiontrick Media as an indie?
Visiontrick Media: For us it started out as a small side project while having other day jobs, but when we finished the first prototype of it we were not satisfied with it and decided to scrap almost everything and build a new game of the few interesting design concept we had in the old prototype. Something we were more passionate about and something that would push our own comfort-zone when it came to game design and visual appearance. I guess for going indie it was not really an active decision, we didn’t choose between being not-indie or indie, we just wanted to make this game and the most optimal way to do it was just to form a small company and get to work.

ArdentKid: How do you define success?
Visiontrick Media: I think for us it’s mostly about doing something we can stand for and something that we feel is worth the time we’re putting in it. Independently from sales or reception, but that is not to say that we don’t value good sales and reception, but the core of it is our own satisfaction with the project. Just being able to continue to make the games that we want to make would definitely be a success.

ArdentKid: What were the biggest hurdles/ challenges in making Pavilion?
Visiontrick Media: There’s not really any game like Pavilion, so there’s no place where we can look for answers to design problems that we encounter. So it’s more of a walk in a dark place, trying to find our way without really seeing where we are stepping. But this is also one of the strengths of the concept which gives it a unique feel which is very different from other games. And fortunately we found that the game is way better at explaining itself through gameplay than we are at explaining it in words.

ArdentKid: What’s your single phrase motto/ message on life?
Visiontrick Media: Stanley Kubrick ones said: “You either care or you don’t care”, which is something I think resonates with us. If you do something, you better be 100% committed and put your heart in it, otherwise you might as well not do it at all.

ADDITIONAL PAVILION GAME FOOTAGE

(and more here)

CONNECT WITH VISIONTRICK MEDIA
Website: http://www.visiontrick.com
Press: http://press.inthepavilion.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheVisiontrick
Facebook: http://facebook.com/inthepavilion

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Tokyo Game Show 2013 – “Hero Emblems” Indie Interview

Today’s Tokyo Game Show 2013 Indie Game Dev Interview Spotlight is HeatPot Games with their game, “Hero Emblems”!

THE DEVELOPERS
Gino Kuo, programmer/ game design
Julian Kuo, artwork/ game design/ audio-video

ADDITIONAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Q: What’s your story/ why did you decide to make this game? Why are you indie?
A: In short, we have worked in big game companies in Taiwan for many years . Later we leave the companies, and try to continue our game development career , so we become indie.
This game was just beginning for practice, and we think the tile-matching game should be easy to implement. However, we also try to make the game have something different with other tile-matching games in the market, so we develop by trial and error. and this is a long development process.

Q: How do you define success?
A: Players could enjoy our games so that we could earn the money to continue to be indie.

Q: What were the biggest hurdles/ challenges in making the game?
A: It is very difficult to make a fun and complete game with less requirements (including program features, art assets and game data) . For our team, we always try to avoid unnecessary requirements, unless there is a critical impact on the game. But most of the time, we still face to choose, and often in order to achieve the best result, we decided to challenge and try.
We are very satisfied with the current version of our game. The next biggest challenge for us is to make it complete.

Q: What’s your single phrase motto/ message on life?
We love to develop games and play games.

ADDITIONAL GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE

CONNECT WITH HEATPOT GAMES
Website: http://www.heatpotgames.com

Don’t forget to follow ArdentKid on Twitter, Facebook, and G+ for more updates!

Tokyo Game Show 2013 – “Rocket Cube” Indie Interview

Today’s Tokyo Game Show 2013 Indie Game Dev Interview Spotlight is Keitai Co, Ltd with their game, “Rocket Cube”!

ADDITIONAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Q: What’s your story/ why did you decide to make this game? Why are you indie?
A: Tetris is a great game, it’s easy to learn how to play, but kinda hard to play well, and it costs lots of time to play and UI is not suitable to touch screens. We like Bejeweled Blitz very much. The game can easily give you excitement in only a minute. Besides that, we also like another game on NDS called Meteos. Launching those tiles into the air is so much fun.

Therefore, we wanted to combine the main features of these 3 games, with touch screen style UI, and allows to play with only one hand. And, whoa-la, here comes the Rocket Cube!!

We made the cubes drop like Tetris, touch to launch them like Meteos. Plus, we have added some technical elements in manipulating, making Rocket Cube full of excitement and fun even players have only one minute to play.

Q: How do you define success?
A: People keep pressing the “Retry” button when play Rocket Cube.

Q: What were the biggest hurdles/ challenges in making the game?
A: 1.The style when launching cubes into the air, yet drop back down due to lack of energy.
2.Designing the functionalities of Special Cubes. How to make these cubes come in handy to players, and make players consider carefully on how and when to use them.
3.Game style: Because cubes are keeping dropping down or launching up, so any background art will disturb the progress of gameplay, so we have decided to present the game style with very limited elements, such as cubes, special effects, and UI.
4.The appearances of cubes. We have tried four versions in the phase of designing, not only to make them to be easily identified in bright colors, but also being easy to be identified in shapes for those players who are having trouble to tell from colors.

Q: What’s your single phrase motto/ message on life?
Be cool!! Keitai.

ADDITIONAL GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE

CONNECT WITH KEITAI
Website: http://www.keitai.com.tw
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KeitaiMobile
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/keitaigame
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/keitaigame

Don’t forget to follow ArdentKid on Twitter, Facebook, and G+ for more updates! Additional Tokyo Game Show 2013 Indie Interviews can be found on my youtube channel as well!

Tokyo Game Show 2013 – “Fluff Eaters” Indie Interview

Today’s Tokyo Game Show 2013 Indie Game Dev Interview is Henry Fernández with his game, “Fluff Eaters”!

THE DEVELOPERS
Henry Fernández, programmer/ designer/ creator
Tamara Hadeed/ Alejandro González, graphic artists
Stefano Merino/ Cameron Dodd, musician
Gabriel Balda, special thanks

ADDITIONAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Q: What’s your story/ why did you decide to make this game? Why are you indie?
A: I really believe that some games are more suitable for certain kind of platforms than for others, and I (as a gamer, not developer) have experienced negative results from playing games that are intended for a specific device, but the developer decided to release them for non-suitable devices.

Besides that, I wanted to create something for mobile touchscreen devices, something fun, not too difficult, not too easy, with a very simple game mechanics that everybody could enjoy. The idea of a Jacks core mechanics on a game sounded interesting to me, since one could interact a lot with the screen and solve some interesting puzzles, have fun, etc. This is how Fluff Eaters idea was born.

Once I made the idea clear and created some prototypes of the game, I hired Tamara and Alejandro to make the graphical part of it: animations and illustrations. Stefano decided to join the project and make a soundtrack for it, as well as Cameron, that contributed with the gameplay soundtrack (although I’m not sure if this will be the final gameplay soundtrack of the game). Gabriel support the development from the beginning with ideas; he also contributed by making the website and is still doing it.

I don’t have much experience creating games so far, Fluff Eaters will be my first released game ever. I’m learning a lot from this and really like the feeling of freedom as an indie game developer. I haven’t worked for a AAA company and I’m not sure if I want to do it. Although I believe there are a lot of things I could learn from AAA development, I truly like the possibility of creating what I want to create, regardless of whether it will be successful or not, and how crazy the game may be.

Q: How do you define success?
A: For me success, in terms of this game, is the sense of completion (to release it), the feeling of watching people playing and enjoying it is amazing, really. This is one of the things I have experienced at the TGS this year. This was an opportunity to play-test the game in many different ways. Despite it not being completed yet, people could play it a lot and with their feedback I hope I can make it better before the release.

Monetarily speaking, if I get back the money I invested for the game, this will be 100% successful for me. In addition, I’ve learnt a lot from it and I would be able to enhance Fluff Eaters or work in my next project (which is already in a prototype version), or both, it depends on what happens with it.

Q: What were the biggest hurdles/ challenges in making the game?
A: Although there are some design decisions that were difficult to make, the most difficult part so far has been creating the tutorial. The game is very simple to play but difficult to explain how to play it. I believe that this is the most difficult thing so far.

Q: What’s your single phrase motto/ message on life?
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done” – Bruce Lee

ADDITIONAL GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE

CONNECT WITH HENRY
Website: http://fluffeaters.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/fluffeaters
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fluffeaters

Don’t forget to follow ArdentKid on Twitter, Facebook, and G+ for more updates!

Tokyo Game Show 2013 – “Lost Toys” Indie Interview

Today’s Tokyo Game Show 2013 Indie Game Dev Interview Spotlight is Danielle Swank & Jim Fleming with their game, “Lost Toys”!

ADDITIONAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Q: What’s your story/ why did you decide to make this game? Why are you indie?
A: We’re indie because nobody would hire us to work together. So we had to create our own studio. Plus, working for yourself is way more fun.

Q: How do you define success?
A: Making enough money on Lost Toys so we could both work on our next game full time.

Q: What were the biggest hurdles/ challenges in making the game?
A: We spent at least three months coding our rotational mechanic to get just the right feel. It took forever before we had something that we were happy with.

Q: What’s your single phrase motto/ message on life?
Always Be Coding.

TRAILER VIDEOS

CONNECT WITH DANIELLE AND JIM
Website: http://barkingmousestudio.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/BarkingMice
Facebook: http://facebook.com/BarkingMouseStudio

Don’t forget to follow ArdentKid on Twitter, Facebook, and G+ for more updates!

Tokyo Game Show 2013 – “Coated” Indie Game Interview

Today’s Tokyo Game Show 2013 Indie Game Dev Interview Spotlight is Muhammad A. Moniem and his game, “Coated”!

ADDITIONAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Q: What’s your story/ why did you decide to make this game? Why are you indie?
A: OK, let’s try to make it short story. I have been always trying to make new ideas of games even if it is more weird than being playable, And when I got the idea of coated, I did a prototype. And after lots of feedback from my friends and people who played the prototype, I decided to run the project. I am an indie from the first day I wrote a code, am from Egypt, we have “ZERO” market there for gaming. So, if you are going to make games, definitely you meant to be an indie developer. No resources, no support & no universities teach you how to make games!

Q: How do you define success?
A: Having lots of downloads for your game

Q: What were the biggest hurdles/ challenges in making the game?
A: Splitting my time between four major things (my family and being a father, Coated, Full time job to gain money, learning new stuff as it is a main quest for me)

Q: What’s your single phrase motto/ message on life?
Try to make people remember me and smile

TRAILER VIDEOS

CONNECT WITH MUHAMMAD AND COATED!
Website: http://mamoniem.wordpress.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MuhammadAMoniem
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/muhammed.mesho
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=143006891

Don’t forget to follow ArdentKid on Twitter, Facebook, and G+ for more updates!