Devlog #11

Hello again for another friday update.

So on the weekend we had our appointment with the Freeplay judges to show them our game. Freeplay is an independent game festival a little like iFest and we decided to enter our game in the hopes that it gets selected to be shown during the event. Lunch on Sunday at the State Library was where we needed to meet the Freeplay guys to show our game. We sat in a room with the lappy and phone setup to show them Puzzle Puppets, excited to see what they would think of it. Two other developers came into a room for a chat, finding out that they had been kicked out of their room as the judges wanted to play the game without them anywhere near them. This was not great for us, we weren’t exactly expecting for them to have free reign of the game without any of our guidance. We had heaps of debug stuff still left in the game because it takes time to rip them out and we had only been using them the previous day and needed them for work on the Monday. So after a slight stressing out session we decided we would be fine as we could tell them to avoid these parts of the game as they arent intended for anyone but the developers. So as they came into the room to kick us out we quickly explain for them to only play the Ogre Wedding and Gladiator plays. “Ahhhhh” we felt relieved that it was all sorted. While we waited for them to play our game we chatted to the guy that organises Freeplay, he has a love for the theatre and so enjoyed the idea of our game.

It was probably 20-30 minutes before the judges came back to us to tell us they were done. The whole process was interesting, because they had so many entries this year they needed to get through them as fast as possible and so they couldn’t chat or give us any feedback on our game. We thanked them for their time and were looking forward to hearing from them about whether we made it in the finalists (10th of Sep it seems). So while not the demo we had in mind it wasn’t the end of the world… then we checked the phone and laptop and saw their saved progress… They played all the debug dev stuff :( They played the test play which has a whole bunch of yellow puppets that take 1 hit to kill and it looked like they did the smallest amount of customising of the puppet. We are really hoping this hasn’t made their experience of our game a terrible one and hasn’t hurt our chances of hopefully getting into Freeplay.

But we move forward, we still have our debug stuff in there but we are getting very close to what we will send of to Microsoft to start selling our game. This week we have been working on final things and starting to polish everything. In the picture below you can see what my placeholder art was to the version I made yesterday on the right, a little nicer and more consistent to the art style I’ve settled on. I’d like to still add more details to the map like small little jokes or interesting bits but time is running out and we can always patch things in later if we really need.

The other thing I spent some time on was making an actual tutorial level. Tutorials are always a funny thing with games, they can cause much rage to some players and then others cannot function without something telling them what they need to do. I personally like to experiment with a game and enjoy learning the game as I play so tutorials that are mandatory and cant be skipped annoy me. The one we have in our game is made the same as all our other plays, its the first play in view when they start the game but can easily be skipped over. The tutorial is a couple of small battles with a cutscene before each one pointing out an aspect of the gameplay and giving them a dummy puppet to practise on.

The last thing I’ll chat about is the most exciting, Azza has been coding away at implementing leaderboards to our game hurray! We are using a service called Mogade to bring online highscores to Puzzle Puppets. I asked him if theres anything he wants me to talk about in regards Mogade and all he said is “It’s and awesome free service”. So if you’re thinking of adding online leaderboards to your game you should check them out MOGADE. There seem to be a fair few Windows Phone games using it already and apparently an Android version is in the mix as well. So yes leaderboards are coming and you can check out the concept art that Azza is adding into the game as we speak. He seems to be getting all the information correctly handled and has some of it displaying already in game.

Leaderboards are a big part of any score based game and ours is no different. Mogade allows us to set leaderboards for all the plays and acts in each play so you can compare yourself against the world. It also lets you see your rank in the Daily, Weekly and Overall flavours.

Well I think that’s all the waffling on I have for you this week. We are sort of at the crunch end of the dev cycle and have heaps of things left we need, want and would like to do but also need to get this game out to the public. We have no idea how the process will be once we send it off to Microsoft for review but we are aiming for that to happen very soon. Once its been sent off we will be focusing on making more content, providing updates and looking at the best way to port the game over to Android and iPhone. Also during the certification process I’ll probably throw together an awesome release trailer to get people excited about the game.

Oooh one final note before we head off into the glorious weekend, I really hope its going to be sunny and nice. Our fantastic mate Kirky has given us some more music he has been working on to help make Puzzle Puppets a great game to play and listen to. So we should have all the major pieces to round out the game and only need to add extra sound effects to small things. So a massive thank you goes to him for having musical talent and being awesome enough to spend his free time making tunes for us. His latest song is very catchy and so we are thinking of putting that as the fighting/gameplay music and putting his other more colourful/circus piece to be the menu to give the dressing room more personality.

 

Ok I’m stopping now so you can all go and enjoy the weekend. A happy fathers day to everyone, and as always we look forward to seeing you next week.

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