Fun Infused Friday 6
Today is going to be an update a lot like last week. I'm really only worked on two games this week and nothing drastically changed in either. Hopefully next week will be more interesting as I'll likely be doing more work on World of Chalk and Volchaos and hopefully have released Hypership Out of Control for Windows Phone 7.
It's hard to believe I've had my WP7 device for less than two weeks yet I've got a nearly completed game. All the waves in the game are done and online high scores are mostly done (using a web service that saves to a SQL database).
The remaining work on the online scores is securing the web service so hackers don't ruin the online score experience, handling errors if the web service times out or isn't available, and adding paging to the scores listing on the phone itself. While some of this may be challenging, overall there isn't a lot left there.
I've also been spending a lot of time on tombstoning the game. For those not familiar with WP7, there is not multitasking available for 3rd party apps so when someone navigates away from your game, you must save state values for your game and then reload those when (if) the user comes back to your game. This has proven to be a bit tricky as there is a lot of info to save and restore in Hypership and also if you cannot display something within 10 seconds of switching to a tombstoned game, the WP7 device will kill your game. I spent most of last night working on this and it's pretty close to working minus a few odd bugs (finishing any wave after tombstoning causes you to jump to wave 10 and there is odd score text appears on screen for no apparent reason during gameplay).
Gameplay wise Hypership on WP7 has gotten a hair slower than its XBLIG brother. With a smaller screen and lower framerate (30 fps vs 60 fps), the game was just too fast from the get go. I reduced the acceleration and initial max speed and this seems to make the game more accessible while still being a lot of fun (and if you can get far, it will still get fast). Hypership is not an easy game by any means but I don't want it to be so punishing that Joe Gamer won't enjoy playing it too.
Looking at my list of what is left to do, it's hard to see a week's work left. I'm very anxious to finish up the game, see how well it is received by the mobile community and see what kind of ad revenue it can generate. I'll be releasing a Lite version first that is ad supported only with a full version (no ads) released shortly afterward. I may include some other features in the full version such as more ship colors to choose from.
World of Chalk
We've got doorways between levels working so now you can explore the many levels my partner on this project has created. I've still got to do some more collision detection issues and get items working and add in more enemies. There is a lot to do on this game still but a lot is done as well. Hopefully once Hypership for WP7 is complete, this game will grow by leaps and bounds.
The rumor is a new Wii is coming and will be announced soon. I was an early adopter to the first Wii... I wasn't planning to buy one but there I was at Target and there were 3 or 4 on the shelf (this was at the time they were sold out everywhere) so I snagged one that day because I was unsure if I'd be able to find one later. I have enjoyed my Wii a fair amount, mostly playing multiplayer games with other people. Technology like the Kinect though is so far ahead of what the Wii does for motion control and the normal games on Wii just haven't grabbed my attention for a while now. While I play my Xbox often or use it for Netflix, the Wii often goes months without being turned on. It should be interesting to see what Nintendo has planned for the new Wii... I don't think tacking on HD support or even more accurate motion control is enough (you'll never do as much with a single controller as the Kinect does) nor is fixing the Wii's awful online experience (though it does have to be fixed). Honestly I'd rather see Nintendo do a more traditional console than something crazy innovative. I've always enjoyed Nintendo’s first party franchises the most (Mario, Zelda, Metriod) and miss playing them with a standard controller on a competitively powerful console. It feels like to me in recent years Nintendo has gravitated more towards casual gamers and less away from gamers like me. If Nintendo just re-released the SNES with online play and started making games for it again, I'd be ecstatic. That's all they have to do to win my support. Instead they’ll probably release something I control with the 3DS I didn’t buy and play on my microwave.
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