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IMakeGames
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:29 am    Post subject: Development Log - Star Warrior Reply with quote

Hey there!

I've been lurking this forum for quite some time and figured I'd join and start getting active already. :-)

So this is my development log for "Star Warrior", a retro 2D platformer for Android powered devices, mostly phones but also tablets. While the game is already published and out in the open, I don't consider it finished and I try to improve it continuously. So I'd say a development log is still a fitting title. This log should also help me keep my motivation up and maybe get some ideas from other people... :-)

In my first post, I'd like to introduce the game and also state some developer related facts no player cares about. Star Warrior is a pretty basic jump'n'run'shoot' game with retro graphics. Here's a link to the Android market place with screenshots so you get a feel of the style: https://market.android.com/details?id=starwarrior.app
As it's an Android game, it's written exclusively in Java and right now only relies on the Android SDK, so no additional third party libraries (yet). It currently features 12 levels, over 13 different enemy types and three boss monsters. I consider the general engine to be pretty much done, but that might change when I want to introduce new gameplay elements (OMG, it's a JetPack!!! ;-)).
Recently a friend of mine started working on some 8-bit music and the first tracks are already in the game.
What I'm currently working on:

    Designing, drawing and implementing new enemy types and boss enemies: I try to introduce new kinds of enemies with almost every level. The final game should have at least 16 levels and therefore about 16 different enemies!
    New maps: I've implemented a pretty simple text-format for storing maps so I can create and alter the map layout/enemies/traps/checkpoints/... really easy. I might one day create a real map editor but that's not really my top priority.
    Online highscores: I've been contacted by OpenFeint (http://openfeint.com/) that if I integrate their SDK, I would get a spot on next month's feature page, which will probably give the game a bit more publicity. I'm currently trying to get their SDK to work within the game.


That's it for now! I'll try to be active on this forum and always post my progress when working on the game. And if you like and have a (recent) Android powered device, please give it a shot and let me know what you think! :-)
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, welcome! Looks pretty cool, although unfortunately I can't play it as I don't have an android device. Many people on the boards do, though, so hopefully they can give some feedback as to how it plays.

Happen to have a video of this in action? :]
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0xDB
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like it's heavily inspired by Star Guard ;).
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I seem to recall seeing a post about this over at a mobile games site. I don't have an Android device, though...
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IMakeGames
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just finished my first draft featuring the online highscore library OpenFeint. Once they have reviewed it and all goes well, Star Warrior will soon have online highscore rankings for each level and initially 4 unlockable achievements for the "collectors" out there. :-)

Quote:
Happen to have a video of this in action? :]

I've been trying to capture a video of the game in action for a long time. But I haven't found a single working video capture app for android. Not a free one at least. I also tried to capture from the emulator but my computer does not achieve a decent framerate. Maybe I can get a decent webcam from my workplace and record a video that way. It won't be pretty though...
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is there some sort of Android dev simulator you can run on PC? If so, then you could use something like Fraps to capture it.
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IMakeGames
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Is there some sort of Android dev simulator you can run on PC? If so, then you could use something like Fraps to capture it.

That's what I meant with
Quote:
I also tried to capture from the emulator but my computer does not achieve a decent framerate
;-) Unfortunately, the Android emulator is painfully slow, even on decent hardware.

I tried using the webcam now but it turned out even worse than I expected. Looks like I won't be able to record a decent video anytime soon... :-(
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

I also tried to capture from the emulator but my computer does not achieve a decent framerate
;-) Unfortunately, the Android emulator is painfully slow, even on decent hardware.



Deeeeeerp. That's what I get for not closely reading the thread. A pox upon me :(
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IMakeGames
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lately, I've received some comments from people who find the game too hard.
It featured Super Mario style savepoints, where you need to complete 1 world (= 4 levels) in one go in order to save your progress. Stopped playing before completing level 4? Start again from Level 1 next time!

I figured that this was the reason why people found it too hard, even if you have limitless attempts to complete a level. Completing a world even takes me around 5-10 minutes, even if I manage to master each level without dying.

So since yesterday, saving takes place after each completed level, making the game a lot easier, IMO.
This should also be more appealing to casual gamers who just want to play for a couple of minutes and still get some "reward". Before, these players didn't have much chance of making any progress at all.

On the other hand, more players will now be able to complete all the levels much faster, making the "more levels!"-crowd louder again... oh well! :-)

Oh, and the online highscores and achievement system got approved and is now live! :-D
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mikedoty
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does the Android platform have some kind of "universal" achievement tracker like the 360 that you can tap into, or is that something you set up independently for your game? I'd be interested in hearing a little more about how you set that up.

On the topic of video captures... it'd be a fairly desperate move I am sure, but could you possibly set the game up to render each frame to file (frame1.png, frame2.png, etc.) and then combine them all into an animated GIF or such a thing?
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PoV
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mikedoty wrote:
Does the Android platform have some kind of "universal" achievement tracker like the 360 that you can tap into, or is that something you set up independently for your game?

No. You can instead rely on a popular 3rd party service like OpenFeint. That gives you what you want.

OpenFeint used to be "the one" on iPhone too, but Apple made their own (GameCenter).


Video, the best way to handle it (no matter the system) is create some way of running your game natively on the PC. If the game is written in Java, use J2SE. If the game is in C/C++ w/ OpenGL, write an SDL wrapper. This is true of consoles as well, as most lack enough bandwidth to actually capture 1:1 video to disk/to network. "Perfect Capture" hardware is thousands of dollars too expensive.

Plus, a compile->run workflow on a PC is often way faster than a compile->send to device->run. You have no choice when it comes to system specific issues (porting), but the actual meat of a game shouldn't be tied to a system anyways, just a configuration (unless the system has very exotic hardware such as the Nintendo DS). And you can save money buying devices for a team if you have a PC build - An artist or level designer can test locally w/o a device.

And if touch plays a significant role in a game, you can always hug a camera:
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also of note: If it's fairly simple and runs well with Bitmap and Canvas drawing, switching over to OpenGL might seem overkill. The advantage though, beyond the obvious performance benefits, is that your game engine will transfer more directly to other platforms such as iPhone or any desktop OS. It's nearly impossible to find a good book dedicated to just OpenGL ES, much less for Android, so I've been using "Learning iOS Game Programming" from Addison Wesley and it is almost a 1-to-1 correspondence once you know how to set up a GL context in Java.
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PoV
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I couldn't stand some of the platform inconsistencies, so I ended up using AirplaySDK for my Android port. Though that's $100 per year for non iPhone platform support.
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0xDB
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was going to try this but the Android market decided it won't let me.
When I ran the market app on my phone it could not find the game at all when I searched for "star" "star warrior" and just "warrior".

So I went to the market website, logged in with my regular google account and tried to download from there but then the website said I have no phone linked to my account... wtf? (I was logged in and browsing the site from my phone, why would I need to link it first?)... anyway, one FAQ later I knew the answer. Android 1.5 phones do not work with the website and thus can't be linked to the market... so no download for me from there. I'll never get another cellphone (this one was my first ever and fortunately the contract runs out this year).

Is there any alternate download location?
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IMakeGames
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yay, I finally managed to take a video with the help of a work-collegue and his semi-professional camera. Have a look!

Quote:
I was going to try this but the Android market decided it won't let me.
When I ran the market app on my phone it could not find the game at all when I searched for "star" "star warrior" and just "warrior".

The android market is really misleading when it comes to this stuff. In general, if you can't find it in the market, your phone is not compatible. Would you mind posting your specs?
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now that's a helluva lot more effective than a few random screenshots! It looks pretty slick, and seems to control well enough to not get in the way.
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah. This looks really awesome-slick from the video. Wish I could play!
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BadMrBox
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks very nice :)
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0xDB
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMakeGames wrote:
Would you mind posting your specs?
It's a Samsung Galaxy (aka I7500) running Android 1.5 (Samsung never bothered to provide an update and the only unofficial one I know of is still in beta stage) http://www.drakaz.com)
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IMakeGames
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dennis wrote:
IMakeGames wrote:
Would you mind posting your specs?
It's a Samsung Galaxy (aka I7500) running Android 1.5 (Samsung never bothered to provide an update and the only unofficial one I know of is still in beta stage) http://www.drakaz.com)

I googled your phone and it doesn't support multitouch which is required. Playing without multitouch wouldn't be much fun anyway.

I published a new level and also timed myself how long it takes from the brainstorming phase to the final testing. Took about an hour. With a proper map editor instead of changing characters in a textfile I'd probably be much faster. But developing a map editor is probably the most boring thing I can think of right now. :-/
I also have few ideas for new enemy types. Most of them are of course "stolen" from various other games like Donkey Kong, but I challenge anyone to design a platformer enemy no game has ever done before. :-)

And thank you very much for the encouragement! :-D
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0xDB
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMakeGames wrote:
, but I challenge anyone to design a platformer enemy no game has ever done before. :-)

How about a pissed off Samsung customer throwing Galaxies at the player.
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IMakeGames
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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Created a new level yesterday. That's number 14 now. Keeping to my rule, I introduced a new gameplay element: shields! A shield let's through enemy bullets but not the player or his bullets.
Even in earlier levels, I wished I could have created "invincible" shooting enemies. By placing a shooting enemy behind a shield, I can do that now. I can force players to not play it safe and pick off enemies one by one and focus more on evading enemy bullets that just shooting them. :-)

http://www.imagebam.com/image/0235ce130556083
The screenshot shows an enemy behind a shield. The player can't shoot it from the front but needs to go under and around to destroy it. Sorry for the crappy emulator quality. Can't even get a decent screenshot from that... >:-/
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IMakeGames
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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

New level time!

The screenshots show a rather hard part at the beginning. The red/white enemies at the top move from left to right and back. They can't be shot and kill you on touch. The two squares with the yellow lines sticking out (which, when animated, look more like rotors) are moving platforms, this time they rather hinder the player than help him. They move horizontally as well and might push the player into the lava, so be careful! :-)
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