Simple as that Testing took way to long. I don't even want to go into it but... way to long.
Long story short, Dodgy Rush is out for iOS and Android. Go Get it! Good luck finding it but, thanks for trying and I hope you enjoy!
I'll post a bit more latter but for now, thanks to all that stuck in there with me.
Hooooooly crap. Even if Dodgy Rush isn't done... I'm done.
It is done though. I've polished the hell out of it. I've added almost every feature I could think of. I've tested the hell out of it. I've asked everyone I've come across to play the damn thing.
At this point... its just fear. A fear that people will judge it for what I didn't think about, for the little quirks and fine tuning that I didn't or couldn't focus on, for the small bugs and glitches that will arise out in the wild. Even just a fear that people will hate it beyond anything I could ever imagine. I'm not sure but, the anxiety and fear of failure is ultimately keeping me from releasing it... and that feeling sucks.
But either way, I'm pushing past the anxiety and finishing the damn game. Dodgy Rush is done. It's such a small and simple game but, I'm proud of it. I think I'm most proud of the behind the scenes elements such as the language picker, leaderboards, High scores, UI, level transitions. All of the things that code is handling behind the scene, knowing that it is all working and I pulled it all together (With a lot of help), makes me feel good.
So, once last round of testing everything I can think of, then I'll submit to Google and Apple. Going to follow that by Beta testing and finally releasing the damn thing. I'm going to go ahead and say by the end of April.... hopefully. With that said, I'll leave you with some resent screen shots that I hope you all enjoy! "Is that Final Score screen in Russian?" Yup!
So, what is left to do? Isn't this supposed to be just a little starter game to get your feet wet and test the indie game seen with?
The game is done. What I mean is, the core game play, is done. If you were to load up the game, and actually play it, everything is there. In the last month I've finally added in music, sound FX, tightened controls and polished the core gameplay of almost all bugs and errors, making it feel like a real game. I've also tried to put a lot of time into making sure the gameplay experience is actually fun and immersive. I feel like it is. My wife is my alpha tester guinea pig (a person who doesn't really like video games in the first place), and she seems to like it. My 6yr old son seems to like it, although he tells me it's too hard, but that's okay.
So, if the core game is done, then what's the hold up? Well, as the title mentions, it's the little things:
And that's about it in a nut shell. A lot of time creating, fine tuning, and polishing the little things. things like a language picker and leaderboard API's are all new to me so, there's a bit of a learning curve there which is slowing things down. All of this well trying to work, raise children, and finish up school. About 12 – 16 hours a week is being spent on the project. Okay, honestly probably about 8 -12, as I hate to include the time I spend starring off into my computer screen wondering if this is what I really want to do…
I'd like to say that I’ll be done soon though. Hopefully by the end of Feb 2017, this little game will be wrapped up and hitting App stores.. we'll see :)
"Hello?" "Oh. Hey! Ya, sorry, I'm still here."
Oh man... I don't know what happened there. If anyone was paying attention, and was coming back to the site, or on social media, and was looking for an update... I'm really sorry. Things kind of just... got away from me. You know, the usual excuses, work, kids and family... life. But, I'm back! So ya, that's all I have. I've promised myself to release this little game. And, I'm going to do it! So, thanks for caring. Thanks for being here and please, stick around as I torture myself to release this... this silly little game.
I wrestled with what to talk about in this week's post. After going back and forth, I thought that bringing up the subject of marketing and Indie game development was a worthwhile topic to discuss. On that note, we've created and posted our first gameplay video on Vimeo and YouTube. Now, by no means am I, or anyone helping out, guru's in video editing or marketing but, doing our best here. All in all, I thought the first video came out pretty good. And, that brings us back to the fact that time needs to be spent creating these materials. Gameplay videos, GIF's, screen shots, press packages. Then you need to spend time putting it all out there, getting the game exposed, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumbler, Vimeo... wherever you think your audience is, you need to be there, engaging people, creating a relationship, exposing yourself and your game. It's exhausting. It's work. It takes a lot out of you and takes time away from making your game, the reason your here. But... You need to do it. If you don't, no one knows about your game. No one plays your game. You spent all this time and energy, and for what? So. It's gotta be done.
Let's talk about the other side of it though. For all of the blood sweat and tears that is put into marketing, so much good seems to come from it, and not just exposure so people will play your game. I'm finding that it's actually helping me stay on track. By exposing every part of our workflow, giving constant updates to all social media streams, we're almost forced to stay on schedule, to a degree, and pushed to finish this thing. It's been hard at times. I sometimes don't want to finish Dodgy Rush. I'm sometimes sick of it and want to move on but... I need to create new content to show for #ScreenShotSaturday. I need to have something new to post to Reddit. I've gotta talk about something new for the Dev Blog. I have to engage our twitter and Facebook followers, and attract more folowers with new updates and content. And, all of this keeps me going, thinking about how I'm going to be held responsible if we don't create this game. "What happened to Dodgy Rush?" "oh, we quite. But, We have a new game we're working on!"
So, there's the pressure and the accountability piece but, there is also the experience piece. These road blocks and hurdles are going to be met with any game we develop. Gaining the experience now will only make things easier for the future projects. Building those marketing streams, relationships and connections can only help in the long run. Knowing what works and what doesn't is going to save time in the future. So, to any wanna be Game Dev out there that is reading this, just know that Yes, you do have to get all up in the marketing game and yes, you'll have to spend almost equal time talking about your game as you do making it. It's worth it though. So, get your feet wet. Get your hands dirty. The Indie Game Dev community is actually really nice and supportive and willing to help out (except for the Reddit trolls. Beware!).
Outside of marketing, what else do we have to talk about. As the first game play video of Dodgy Rush shows, we've added in a lot of content. The new stages are coming along. We're currently working on the transitions for each stage as well as tweaking the spawn rates and placements for non-player vehicles and obstacles, for each stage. As we touched on last week, there was a bit of an overhaul on the UI's. I'm happy to say that a lot of work has been put into the UI's and the new look and feel is pretty nice. At this time, I feel as though we are 80% there. There is a lot of cleanup work to do now, and just have to tweak some of the mechanics. I want to get to 20 playable vehicles, and we need to spec out each one to be unique. There is not any new features that need to be added or new content that needs to be created so, we should be well on our way to finishing up with polishing what we have. Oh and Sound! Gosh darn I keep forgetting about sound...
The title says it all. We've learned some very important Dev lessons in the past few weeks. One is that when faced with a decision between which direction to take, go with your gut. I've spent about two days changing art assets, creating new game objects and testing new art styles before deciding to stick with what we had... But, now we know! I''m referring to some feedback that we received saying that some of our art was pixel art and some wasn't. We tested making PixelArt cars for both player cars and enemy cars, added them in and hated the result. We like what the cars look like now, and we're continuing in that direction. So let it be known! "Why didn't they decide to go in a different direction with the cars?" We tried it, didn't like it, went back to what we started with and like.
Another important lesson learned is that it is impossible to take a break, and you really shouldn't. I tried to step away from Dodgy Rush, and still found myself constantly on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook and all the other social streams talking about the game. I couldn't help it. Then, I had to constantly force myself not to code but... that was futile. "I just need to quickly address this bug, or add this in." or I would have a small idea for something new along the lines of new UI layout or animations, and want to jump in and try it out... No break, not really.
So, that leads us to, what has been accomplished in the last week? Well, we made some mockups of new levels, that we commented on last week, so this week was spent creating those new stages. A lot of the latest accomplishments have been behind the scenes, working on stage transitions, changing stage spawn placement and frequency for enemies and hazards, adding in different stage elements and animations. Outside of creating the new stages, we've also been working on tweaking and changing some of the UI's. We received some great feedback from the Dev and gamer community and based on the feedback, we made some changes to almost all of the UI's and overlays, in one way or another. I'm happy to say that I think we've made some big improvements and the new, updated UI's look great.
And that's really it for now. Things are moving a bit slow but, that's only because we're spending a lot of time not only coding everything to work perfectly but, polishing everything to look and feel as great as we know it can be.
So, for this past week it has really just been more of the same. I've been working hard on a lot of behind the scenes mechanics with "The Garage"(Car purchasing, choosing and Leveling) as well as working on a lot of the UI layout, color schemes and info windows. Honestly, the UI piece is probably going to take a while to square away, as I was not prepared on how much design decision making would need to go into it. After soliciting some feedback from various social media, I've taken a lot of feedback and I'm trying to boil it all down to what looks and feels right for Dodgy Rush. We'll see what happens
As for anything new, outside of the UI, I've begun designing a few new stages that players will progress through, as I realize that, much like in real life, staring at the same road and scenery, attacking the same hazards over and over is going to get boring, fast. After doing some quick mockups of the levels, I've already started coding how and when the stages will change. Just have to code all of the other little bits, and we should be in business with some new levels.
So, I'll be honest with you, I knew this project was going to take longer that I wanted it to but, I underestimated the mental toll it would take out of me. This really is the reason that I wanted our first public game release to be something small and casual. Everything is a learning experience here. With that being said, I do feel as though I need a small break. I feel as though taking the rest of this week off will probably help in refocusing myself for what needs to be done next. So, hopefully this holds true, I'll take some time to be with the family and pets, refuel and get back to it! Till then...
We're going to keep this week's post short and sweet! ;)
The goal for this week was to complete all of the different User Interfaces and graphical displays throughout the game. I'm happy to say that we were able to start and layout all of the UI's and displays. Unfortunately, finishing all of the needed code for the UI's, and coding the different features, have been a bit time consuming, and are going to take a bit longer. Everything is there! It just needs to now be tightened up and polished a bit
And, that's really the goal for the next week, tighten up and polish. There still the matter of sound and additional content, along with bug fixing, but... all that is going to have to wait. At least one more week.
So, we set a goal for last week, and I'm happy to say that I think we accomplished it. We were able to create a nice, tight police car sprite sheet and animation. I have no skill what so ever with creating art assets so, this one was based off of one of the existing car sprites from Kenny's racing pack. I just simply added some lights to the top, and worked in a bit of animation to make it pop. I'm pretty satisfied with the end product. As far as the police AI goes, that had taken a lot of patience as well as trial and error but, in the end, it all came together. the finished product is a combination of a police car finding what lane the player is in and coming straight down from the top, as well as a police car being spawned at the bottom and following the players movements, with an intentional delay.
We were also able to accomplish a few smaller goals. A few new cars were added in, for variety as well as a lot of new walking people combinations. Outside of that, we were able to work in a bit of behind the scenes error handling and a few mechanic tweaks. All of this put together gives the game a much more fluid feel. Still a bit of work to iron out some mechanical issues that could be improved upon but, nothing too pressing that's glaring us in the face.
So, what's next on the agenda? Well, it's finally time to tackle some of the more complex features of the UI. The next big thing to start on is the interface to choose the players car. I have a lot of ideas for this so, trying my best to not let the system get away from me. What I'm hoping for is a system where the player can view what cars have been purchased, and what cars can be purchased (for in game currency), as well as the ability to upgrade certain attributes of purchased vehicles (speed, handling, durability). Hopefully all goes well and we're able to create this UI within the next week and get everything working together.
And that's were we are at. Thighten mechanics and finish up UI. We still have sound to add in as well as a few other "to do's" but, we're getting there!
Slowly but surely, we are getting there. Dodgey Rush is coming along nicely so, let me start out by talking about what has been accomplished so far. Over the weekend I've fleshed out the UI elements that will be used during gameplay (Health Bar, Wanted Bar, Score text and Coin text) as well as added new hazards in the form of pot holes and collectibles with coins. I was also able to script out the player's health and health bar, as well as a wanted meter (used to track the frequency of police vehicles spawning). All things being considered, it was a pretty productive weekend!
For the coming week, I'm hoping to actually create the police vehicles and create an AI controller script for them. I'm hoping to have some sort of AI element to them, where they will actually chase the player, to a degree, as well as being spawned from the top of the screen, in the lane that the player is currently in. We'll see how all that goes. If things go rather quickly, I may have time to work on some other elements like enemy car AI (currently they just spawn and go down screen) and maybe some tweaking of other UI elements.
So, that's all I got for now. The more I think about what else has to be done for such a small game, it worries me but, just taking it one step at a time. We still have to create and add in sound elements for the entire game and UI, as well as flesh out all of the the car selection system, menus and unlockable's. But, again.... one step at a time.
Alright! This is it. I'm finally putting LastPlace Games out there, and with it, out first game. Still in development, of course but... Talking about the first game that we'll be releasing, I think, is a big first step! For years I've been quietly making little games that I play for a day or two, then shove them away and work on whatever other idea I get. Of course The dream is to always share something with the public but, as I'm sure anyone who makes games for a hobby can tell you, you just never really get to that point... But! I'm about to change all of that. My hope is that, by publicly talking about my games, it will give me some sort of push to actually finish something and release it. It might suck. It might get harsh criticism but, it will be a completed game that I've shared with the world. And that is an achievement all of its own. So, we'll see how this goes! Hopefully, who you (whoever you are) are willing to go on this journey with me and we both learn a little something.
For our first game, I've decided to do something very simple. I wanted to make a game that was easy to explain, create and play. With that, I bring you Dodgy Rush (working title, maybe). A simple game about trying to drive through traffic, without hitting Pedestrians, other drivers or nabbed by the cops. Just a simple game, short, sweet, easy to play. I'll hopefully release it on all major mobile platforms so, we'll see how that works out. I plan on making it completely free, and really just want to release to go through the motions of the process. We'll make the dream game some other time.
I'll talk more about how development is going some other time. For now, let me just say that I've got the core mechanics down, basic gameplay is fleshed out and coded and I've put together a rudimentary menu system. Using a lot of game assets from Kenny, as well as some other CC assets, as I have no artistic ability in me what so ever. I'm hoping I can get things done in about 20 - 30 hours' worth of work left but, that's being optimistic
Anyway, thanks for taking the time to check us out! Be sure to check back often for updates on things. If all goes well, I'll be keeping this thing up to date regularly