Crocodile Cat

Crocodile Cat is a game where you control a cat that has become trapped between the jaws of an infinite crocodile.

It is a reflex game where you must tap the screen before the cat reaches the jaw of the crocodile. Once you tap, the jaw moves to the location the cat was when you tapped. This makes the play area smaller with each input, so consistent skill is important to reach a high score.

The player collects power coins to open the jaws. The power coin distracts the player’s attention and encourages to make a decision: risk collecting the coin to extend the run or make a mistake and greatly increase the difficulty.

The player can unlock cats by collecting gems to spend in order to free them and use them. Each cat has a unique power: extending or increasing the chance of seeing a different power coin type. Spending gems gives cats nine lives. Buying a key from the store gives cats infinite lives.

The artwork for this title was created by Rebecca Deakin. Rebecca is an obviously talented artist and illustrator who I had the pleasure of working with back at Plug-in Media.

This is the first game I coded and published myself using the Unity engine. It was my “Teaching myself Unity” project. It is now available to play on Android through this link.

RememBear goes free

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!

iOS link

Android link

The Making of RememBear’s Trailer

Hello!

By now you’ve probably seen the trailer for RememBear. This post is going to discuss how it came together and look at some of the decisions I made whilst creating it. Just in case you haven’t watched it yet, it’s linked below:

The original creative direction for RememBear was to revisit woodland characters as they might have been portrayed in old fairytales. No child should survive an encounter with a bear. This fairytale element led Joe (the game’s writer) to suggest delivering the tutorial in rhyme.

This was a brilliant idea and caused me to make this remark on twitter:

But is was not to be. It’s more important for a tutorial to be clear than it is for it to be awesome. Nevertheless, the seed had been planted and come trailer time, I knew that I had to explain the core concepts of the game through rhyming prose.

But how to go about that? I’m lucky to have been working on some animation production at work recently, so I’ve gotten quite handy with After Effects and Premiere Pro. It would be great to have seen my characters fully animated, but I’d run out of art budget and I believe that a game’s trailer should reflect its content, so I had to compile something awesome just using the in-game sprites.

I flick through the asset source. This is going to be easy.

First off, I storyboarded the trailer in a few panels, just to get a feel for the story I was telling. The image below is an early revision, but is the tidiest(!) image I have to share of this. On a small & personal project, this process is more like brainstorming and its aim is to create the foundation of the story you are telling. Putting your ideas into shots helps visualise the narrative.

(If you’re working with an animation team, please make sure your storyboards are tidy and well composed. Please.)

With the structure in place, I moved on to the script. Since I had my framework, knew I had to set the scene, introduce the baddies (bears), introduce the heroes (rangers) and end on a cliffhanger. Easy. “It’s picnic time in Bearsville park…”

I handed my completed script to Joe who smoothed a few things out. Meanwhile I wrote a quick ExtendScript that would let me generate a large forest scene in Photoshop (using the 4x Assets for the iPad) to use as my background. I needed a larger forest than the game’s play area to allow for lots of camera movement to keep the viewer’s interest. The production pipeline became clear:

I’d create a set in Photoshop, direct the actors in After Effects, then choose my shots in Premiere.

Just as I’d finished exporting the forest foreground into After Effects, Joe got back to me and I started recording voiceover.  

I recorded the voiceover to a metronome because the poem was very rhythmic and I knew I’d be adding music. This would prevent me from having to retime my animation at a later date! I added the sprites in time with the script recording and got ready to export. At this point, I could see everything coming together. Very exciting!

The next job was adding zooms and pans in Premiere, much as I was tempted to start on the music. I’m used to receiving a final cut of a video when I work as a freelance composer, so I thought I’d treat myself in the same fashion! Of course I knew I had the luxury of adjusting any cuts that weren’t quite fitting with the music.

Music composition will be the subject of my next blog post.

With everything timed, cut and looking beautiful, I added the app store buttons, blood splats, some SFX from the game and exported at good settings. Video encoding can be an artform in itself, so I took great care with this step and I advise you to.

How long did the process take? Working evenings and weekends, I’d say the Trailer took about a week to produce. It’s time well spent and I got to exercise my skills in areas outside of game development too. I’m really pleased with my trailer and I hope that you have enjoyed watching it!

If you’d like to know more about RememBear you can follow me on twitter, like the Facebook page or subscribe to my blog.

Block Stock Launched! (free multiplayer iPad game)

Block Stock Launched! (free multiplayer iPad game)

Block Stock announced | Multiplayer iPad game

The Multiplayer iPad game Block Stock is officially announced today!

 

So are a ton of Xbox titles at E3, but this niche free iPad game isn’t looking for the AAA market. 

Block Stock is a two player game for iPad & has been described as a Backwards Brick Breaker. Players tap the screen to place blocks and build up their defences from a bouncing ball. 

Play passes quickly between players and gets rather heated and tactical. There are three game modes at present and the game is free to download. It is released on June 19th. 

More information is found at http://games.embow.co.uk