For the last month or so, I’ve been re-working pieces of the game all to make it possible for in-game cutscenes. But why would I want in-game cutscenes for an arcade-style mobile game with no breaks in gameplay?

It turns out that the main takeaway, of all the feedback I’ve received for my game, is that starting out, people aren’t sure how to play it.  This even goes for the trial desktop version I was working with originally.  So I can only imagine how much harder it would be to figure out how to play a mobile version.

A Task!

The challenge was to present the basic game mechanics to the player, in a way that would be clear and concise.  No step-by-step help screens, or vague images.  What I wanted were simple cutscenes that show the user what to do.

So began the difficult task of revising the game’s entity handling so that I can have a bunch of pigeons and a bunch of food… and then also have a bunch of other pigeons and a bunch of other food in another space entirely.  Kind of like a parallel dimension sort of thing.  It turns out, it’s a lot of work.

Stick to the Script

Next, came the task of figuring out a simple way to script cutscenes.  I want this to be small, so I’m not loading in any third-party scripting libraries where I can use a 4th-generation language and reflection to make birds move around the screen.  That’s more than I want to try to debug at this point.  Just simple events will do.

I think it works.  The videos are short and easy to follow – and if you miss something they loop, so you can just watch them again.  There’s no text or spoken instructions, so I don’t have to worry about translating them.  And they don’t explain all of the game’s mechanics – I want to leave some of that to the player to discover.

What’s next?

The next work cycle for me is going to be mostly fixing bugs and completing art assets.  Bonus foods are a bagel, pizza, and hot dog.  I think the pigeons need more than that.  Also this park needs more pigeons.