Status Update: A Park And Pigeons now runs on Android

Hello again, 4000 Pounds website.  You might think I forgot that you were here waiting for me, but I didn’t.  I was just busy with Real Life.  But I realized that I needed to return to you with the latest development from this week.  Get ready for an UPDATE.


The last time I posted (if you can remember that far back), I had just finished getting the game running on my iPhone.  Since then, I’ve made some various improvements, but the biggest news is that the game runs on Android now!  My brother loaned me his old Samsung Galaxy S5, and it’s quite smooth:

See?  Smooth.

So where is the project now?  The game runs on the two most popular OS’s for mobile devices, so it should be for sale soon, right?  Right?

Well, sorta.  I’ve still got a lot of work to do.  Okay, maybe not a lot, but it’s all important.  I want to make sure the game is solid when I release it.  So here’s what I have left on my list, broken out into some basic categories:

Programming

Backgrounds – I want to have more decorative backgrounds, and a larger variety than just one background.  Some of this will be procedurally generated – nothing too complex, I promise to keep it simple.

Menus – They are kind of a mess right now with the move to mobile.  So first I’m going to get them working right, then I’ll add some screens for settings, high scores, or whatever else there is.

HUD – I’m pretty happy with the HUD as it is, but since moving to mobile, there are a few changes I could make.  For one, the screen is kind of small, so I’d like to make the fonts just a tad bigger to start.

New Features – There are a few new features I have in mind for the game, so I’d like to get those added as well.  I won’t get into all of them here (I’d like some to be a surprise for players), but they shouldn’t be too much work to get integrated.  I’m also thinking of revising (or even throwing away) the bonus challenge stuff, as it just still feels kind of clunky.  We’ll see.

Defect Resolution – I’ve been keeping a list of bugs, so I’ll be working on cleaning those up.

Assets

Pigeons – I need to draw lots of pigeons.  So many pigeons.

Food – I also need to draw more food.  More seeds (for more variety).  Street foods for bonuses.

Dog – I’m mostly happy with the dog, but I’d like to make a few modifications.

Background art – In addition to implementing some background generation, I’ll need to actually make the assets for it.

Animations – I need to do some fine-tuning for animations.

HUD/Menu/Logo/etc. – I need to work on a lot of the screen graphics, the things you don’t generally see in-game.

Font (?) – I might try to make a new font, or even a secondary one.

Sound/Music – I’m not sure if I’ll put any music in the game.  I definitely need to do some work on the sound though.  More/better sound effects.  And I need them to sync with the action a little better (I seem to notice a small gap between a pigeon flying/dashing and the actual sound).

Marketing

Website – I really need to do some work on this website.  I need to add a landing page for the game, and even set up the games page.  In fact, I really just need to redesign the whole site so that it looks… well, you know.  Good.

Press Kit – I don’t know how much press attention my game will get, but it’d be better to have a press kit than not.

Trailer – I’ll need to make a decent trailer for the game.  Short and to the point.

Distribution

iOS port – Sure, the game runs on iOS now.  But as I make changes, I’ll need to make sure it keeps playing on iOS.

Android port – Same as with iOS, let’s keep it running on Android.

App Stores – I need to figure out what steps I actually need to take to get the game into the app stores.


So this is pretty much the list – I know parts of it are vague, but they’re a little more detailed in my notes, so no worries there.  I know what I’m doing.  Sorta.  The point is that as I get an idea how long these things will take me, I’m going to start looking for a release date.  As soon as I have it, I will let you know.

Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

A Park And Pigeons on a Mobile Device

Long time since I’ve done a status update.  Sorry about that.  I took an extended vacation in Hyrule, and since I’ve been back to work on the game, I’ve spent most of my effort on getting the game ported to iOS, so I didn’t really have much to report.

In any case, I’m happy to say that it’s finally working!  A Park And Pigeons now runs in a mobile environment using SDL and OpenGL ES.  There are, of course, a handful of bugs that were introduced in the process of porting the game (shadows aren’t working, depth maps aren’t working, the game crashes occasionally), but I’ll be working on those and hopefully some art assets this next week.

Here is a preview of the game running on my iPhone:

I’m going to try to get back in the habit of posting on this blog more frequently.  So check back next week!

Status Update – IndieCade 2017

My ideal weekend update involves putting a gameplay sample out across social media (specifically Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit) tagged as #screenshotsaturday.  The Reddit post includes a short write-up of what I did during the week.  I also write an update for this dev blog which has mostly the same information, which goes out on Twitter and Facebook.

Some weekends though, I just don’t have the time or energy to do all of that, so I end up just doing the Twitter/Facebook thing and calling it good.  Or I might also do Reddit.  Or the dev blog.  In any case, this is one of those weeks, but since it’s been so long since I last did one of these here, I thought I should, especially since something cool happened last weekend.

Before I do the update – last weekend I submitted A Park And Pigeons to IndieCade 2017.  For those who don’t know, IndieCade is an independent games festival, basically the video game industry’s Sundance.  Every year, thousands of developers submit games that are reviewed by a jury, which chooses games to showcase at the festival, and games for the festival’s award ceremony.

It was a lot of work getting the game ready for submission.  I wanted to have a stable build, running in a stable environment, with easy-to-use controls (i.e. gamepad support).  Plus there were still some glaringly obvious bugs with the game that I needed to get cleared up.  So I spend the last several weeks getting the game into some sort of semi-polished form – the best I could get, since it’s not a complete game yet.

In any case, here’s my status update for this week:

  • I sort of took the week off from working on the game, to reset after cramming for the IndieCade submission.  Still, I did go in and clean up most of the changes that resulted from cramming, and committed what I wanted to keep to source control.
  • I also started working on some new artwork for the game.  That’ll probably be next week’s update.

Here’s the video for the week:

See you next time!

Status Update – Lighting and Rendering

This week I worked on two main areas:

  1. Lighting: Previously, all of my lighting was hardcoded in the method that renders the scene.  Now it’s all hardcoded in a separate class.  That’s one more step to making lights configurable, as the game will eventually have multiple parks to choose from.
    Also with the lights, instead of moving them with each wave, now the lights stay the same for each cycle.  At the end of the crowded wave, when the cycle starts over, the lighting shifts to the next phase.
  2. Rendering: I added vertex array objects for all the sprites, which gives me a small performance boost.  I still notice some slowness on the crowded wave (mostly on my laptop).  There are a couple more ideas I have for boosting performance, maybe I’ll write up a more detailed post later this week.

And for those of you who just tuned in to see the sample:

You realize you can view these weekly samples on the 4000 Pounds Twitter and Facebook pages, right?

Status Update – Sound!

This week I worked on a few different sub-projects for my game.  Lately, the things I’m working on are a little bit of a struggle, but I’m keeping at it:

  • Sound!  I finally added sound effects to the game.  It’s been… a while since I last mentioned them.  But the game has sound now.
    Like most other things, what I have are just placeholders for now.  Implementation was fairly easy – the hard part is trying to find good pigeon sounds.  Have to keep looking.
  • Player controls:  I am working on revising the controls, taking out some of the player’s special moves.  I know that sounds like it sucks, but while the “flying” and “long-dash” abilities were well-intentioned, as I’ve tested the game I found them to be more annoying than anything.  Especially when I’d do them by accident.  Working out some other special moves though.
  • Progress Screen: I’m working on adding a screen to show the player’s high score, achievements, unlocked things, whatever.

Here’s this week’s sample, with sounds:

Enjoy!