It’s been a fairly hectic past 3 weeks. However, somewhere between signing a lease on a new apartment and getting a new job, I found time to work on Gun Runner. So much work, in fact, that it was submitted to Apple on Sunday!
Now, to be honest, I am not as happy as I could be with the version we submitted. There were some visual issues with non-retina vs retina devices, a lot of optimizations that could’ve been made to speed the game up, and a good amount of polish I would’ve liked to apply to it. We have some time between approval and release and I’ve been working on the 1.1 update already, so I’m not too worried about those. But it still feels weird having a game in the submission process that I feel is not as good as it can be. Then again, I am a crazy perfectionist so it’s probably better that it’s submitted as is instead of under constant scrutiny from my flaw-seeking eyes.
Since my last update, a lot has changed. So much, in fact, that I’m literally just going to make a list:
- Dropship explosions!
- Intro animation with the player hopping off a helicopter!
- Weapons can be bought with coins!
- GameCenter achievements and leaderboards!
- In-App Purchases for more coins!
- Player data is saved to device!
- Different types of dropships!
- More enemies!
- Pause screen! (seriously one of the last things added)
- Sound effects!
- Music! (courtesy of Syphus)
- Player health!
- Icon and loading screen!
In list form, it doesn’t seem like a lot of work, but believe me, it was! Back to working on the 1.1 update. Once the project is completely done, I’ll write up a post-mortem about the overall development process and what I’ve learned.
In the meantime, for your aural pleasure, the music of Gun Runner!
2 weekends of snowboarding followed by a relaxed weekend full of programming. That’s where I’ve been for the past however many weeks. At some point before the programming-filled weekend, my iCade arrived in the mail. A huge thanks to Bruce for hooking me up with it. As soon as I got it assembled I immediately tested it out to make sure everything was working properly. League of Evil 2 was the test subject and it performed flawlessly. It’s a great, hardcore, Super Meat Boy like platformer that you should pick up if you don’t have.
The reason Bruce sent me the iCade was so that I could program our game to use it. After some googling, I stumbled upon this wonderful tutorial on how to do just that. It took me all of 10 minutes to get it working properly and it works great! I’m thinking I might make some iCade specific controls, such as having to press a button to shoot instead of the player auto-shooting. It just seems like it would be more fun like that. I believe Velocispider does that for the iCade. I’ll have to tinker with that when more of the gameplay is programmed. For now, it’ll suffice.
After Bruce checked out the game on the iCade, he came up with a pretty cool idea on how to make the combat more fun. This more fun version would involve 2 key changes. The construction of each “chunk” would have 3 “tiers”. You can see below how there are 3 different height levels, whereas before the level design was more free form. Disregard the FPS counter. My computer is old and can barely run Flash, let alone the iOS simulator.
The second major change is the way the enemies appear. Instead of appearing randomly throughout the environment, a dropship now flies in and flies along one of the tiers. The dropship spits out enemies like nobody’s business and will continue to do so until the player destroys it. Once the dropship is destroyed, another appears at a different tier and the player must again fend off enemies while also trying to destroy the dropship.
Next steps! I’ve already added explosions to the enemies and dropships. However, the dropship needs a much more epic explosion. So when it “dies”, it’s going to have smaller explosions all over it as it crashes to the ground. And when it hits the ground, the entire dropship will explode. I’m also thinking a screen shake effect would work nicely. We’ll see how it looks.
The rate at which enemies pour out of the dropships, how quickly another dropship appears after one has been destroyed, and how many dropships are attacking at once are all things that need to increase in difficulty as the player runs farther. These variables will basically define how long an average session will last. I have a feeling it will require the most amount of tweaking.
That’s all for now. Back to the wonderful world of game development!
Some updates that I haven’t gotten around to due to not having any time for a posting.
First and foremost, GUN RUNNER is now the official name of the game!
Secondly, I’ve got the enemies in-game, but rather than posting a video, here are some animated gifs of them in action.
The enemies in the game are quite dumb at the moment. They literally just charge at the player when they appear on screen. But they are being procedurally generated and placed in each new chunk as it’s generated. Currently there are only moving enemies, but there will be support for flying and stationary ones, too. I’m going to put the stationary ones in next before starting work on collisions for bullets and enemies. I’m anxious to work on this just because everyone I’ve handed the game to so far sees enemies and wants to kill them!
Which brings me to the final thing. Bruce got everything with Apple squared away, so now we have a developer account. Which means I was finally able to put Gun Runner on my iPhone. Such a huge motivational boost and a great way to get people to play it. It’s a lot easier to say “Check out this awesome thing I just put in the game” and then have them play the game than describing it.
Back to work!
Here’s a flamethrower test of the weapon system. All of the behavior is specified via plists.
And a helix sort of shot.
Not completed yet, but it’s at least working with some of the awesome features.