The archives of this blog show how long I have been working on Crocodile Cat. It was my “teaching myself unity” project for a while, it was a commuter project when I was a junior, and now I am a lead designer at a larger studio – I don’t have so much time for personal projects. After a few days of -actual- relaxation over the holidays, I decided to finish it.
The biggest unfinished task was the audio. I enjoy making sfx and music (and I’m quite good at it). Unfortunately, I left all of my audio gear behind in the UK when I moved to Canada. Still, I have done my best using freesound and a few synths I still have a licence for.
The game design challenges also needed attention. Digging into old code is hard. When that code was written by a beginner, harder still. Through some user testing, I believe my tutorial is better than it has been but the game does not do a perfect job of teaching itself. Chance affects the difficulty curve more than I would like. But the game is stable, playable, fun and it is complete.
It now sits on the app store and a weight is off my mind. I can move on. Perhaps foolishly, I’m excited to start on another Unity game. I should wait until I’m back at work to decide if I can handle this though, or I will be sitting on yet another unfinished project. Rebecca Deakin created the wonderful art for this game and I took too long to share it with the world!
I’ve now passed a threshold on development of Crocodile Cat:
THE GAME IS NOW VISUALLY APPEALING
I’ve been really lucky to have Rebecca Deakin working on the art for the game.
Rebecca has been great at working with my slightly nonsensical ideas (It’s a cat in a bubble trapped between the jaws of an infinite crocodile) and making them appear practical and, most of all, gorgeous. The bubble has been replaced by a jetpack. See, I can’t draw a jetpack. But Rebecca can.
☑ Can draw cats
☑ Can draw jetpacks
☑ Can draw anything
I spent a bit of time last week incorporating some of these new assets, which meant working with (and adapting) Unity’s animation system and creating some parallax layers. It takes me away from game design, but it’s important and interesting work.
There’s still some placeholders in the above gif, so more to go in, more things to change, but it’s a great step towards sharing the project with more people.
The jaws are now at an angle with the screen, which makes it look amazing. This design change required a lot more behind-the-scenes work than you’d expect! The advantage of starting a project without an artist is that you can focus solely on game design, but the disadvantage is that by building things quickly, you can sometimes lock down things you don’t expect to change. I’m really pleased to be working with Rebecca since it’s little changes like this that really add to the visual appeal of the game, which will be really important in the coming months.
Somebody’s got a birthday coming up and wants you all to party! (It’s me).
When I released RememBear last autumn, it was after quite a lot of hard work. I’m not usually a computer programmer, so creating and releasing my own game was a big deal! I was mostly shocked at how much work went into contacting the press and promoting the game around launch. First time developers: you can only underestimate this.
Sales and interest in the game have tailed – as is to be expected with the masses of competition and tiny marketing budget! Also it’s my birthday and I want to do something nice for all of you.
So as of Friday, RememBear will be free to download wherever it is available. No ads (why would I spoil Faye’s gorgeous artwork?) no IAP, just a gift from me to you.
Thank you all for your support on my game dev journey, double thank you if that support translates to a sales figure on my spreadsheet, and I’d love to buy you a beer some time!
My birthday is on the 18th of April, so if you want to send me a birthday message, my Twitter is @Mikey_PB and I’d love to hear from you!
Get Block Stock on the App Store. See screenshots and ratings, and read customer reviews.
A busy day yesterday, my multiplayer iPad game was released and I was doing my best to follow up on emails and tweets to journalists. It has been really interesting to cut my teeth on a release and see just how much work is put into the release side of launching a game.
I’ve been working on the marketing side of this project for a couple of weeks, and it excites me to say I’m now working on a single player follow up that works across multiple devices. A response I have heard from some journalists is “What? iPad only?”.
The aim of this development cycle was to get something together and get it on the app store. After a while working with developers, I felt downhearted that I had so far failed to release anything. It feels brilliant to have launched the title and have some experience to bring to my next release.
Lots to do. Please check out the title and let me know if you enjoy it!