Side Projects

I finally cut all my side projects and reduce them to only two.

First, VR Demo project because all the cool people doing it 🙂
VR Demo is a new project and I’m doing it because I need something that people might talk about, help me grow my network here.
So I thought I might make a game about London.
And VR is the most talked topic nowadays amongst indie developers, advertising agencies and around.
VR game about London might be a hot topic.
And what do I remember when I think about London?
It is the LONDON UNDERGROUND!
Every day, every person who lives in or visits London hops in one of the carriers under London and takes their own journey with a carriage full of Londoners.
I made my research in Reddit and all internet is full of jokes about making eye contact at London Underground. Most of the entry-level VR games are about shooting things with the reticle, like duck hunting, zombie hunting etc. So I decided to make a similar game but not hunting, avoiding.
So this game “Avoiding Eye Contact at London Underground That Needs A Name” started.

Look at them! They are fighting for the empty seat.

Sadly when I update Unity(5.6.1f1) and GVR SDK (1.50.0) new bugs prevent me from continuing. I don’t want to downgrade or trying to find temporary fixes. I’ll move on with my other side project until next stable version.

So I’ll continue with the “Project about shot’em up while avoiding like river raid but in 3D with a story and series of plots”
I wrote a basic level editor, some physics on flying airplane and two or three different type of camera controllers.
I’m obsessed with playing this game, I can’t even continue writing more code whenever I open project I kept playing and playing, trying to find a good camera angle, fine tune death physics etc.

I was the programmer and sometimes the designer of the game or app for most of my projects but with those side projects I’m drawing the art and all other things myself.
 It might seem fun but It’s much more a stressful and hard process than it should be.
Coder art was all I did in my entire career and I sent them to art directors as a boxes, place holders, rectangles filled with full of saturated colours to make them question the existence of life and colour.
Now I’m trying to find tune in the final art style, colour palette, proportions of characters and environment, space and feel of a game.

This is a new thing to learn and takes time.
Now I’m in the process of deciding the right angle of camera. If this was not a 3D game but isometric I could take a calculator and give art team some ideas about the possible angles and pitfalls etc. But with 3D, concerns and challenges changes. I need to find the angle that looks good.
This is one of the problems I face, I can not define a proper solution for “looking good”.
What other people are doing is a good place to start a research.
In my findings a path dependency is noticeable about the right angle and “looking good”. People find it good looking when they see what they are used to. But being conservative about the style can’t help distinguish me out of the crowd. So I might need find much older things to get inspired.
Second and most important thing about right angle is finding the most enjoyable and playable one.
How much further should the player see, should left right axis be always visible or scrollable, what would the players’ avatars size be?
With that last question we loop back to the proportions decisions. Should I change the proportions or zoom a little etc.
I found struggling for art is harder than struggling for software development because answers are more blurry than the other. Yes I might find hard to find the right software pattern to use, right optimisation methods, good planing etc but with art decisions it is hard because it maybe impossible to measure the outcome of a choice that’s been made. Of course there are A/B tests, play tests, player groups, soft launch etc.
But outcomes and test results all become visible at later stages of development.

In the beginning there is only courage to go forward and accept countless failures.

Can’t find Sword by Sword on Play Store

I published a new game on Android called Sword by Sword 2 weeks ago.
Yes, I know this name is not a good name because it is a common word and it just repeats itself.
But now after publishing, even if you write the whole “sword by sword”  in quotes game does not appear in search results. I mean not in front page. It just doesn’t appear at all.

May be I did something wrong;
I translate game’s name to Turkish too. It’s Kılıç Kılıca.
When I search for this name, my game appears at search results.
But after selecting the result, title appears as sword by sword and descriptions also comes in English.
So I guess there is something wrong with Play Store’s localisation and search results when you set your language setting to different from your countries locale.
Such as I live in Turkey but select English at language settings.
I think search mechanism searches for Turkish titles in Turkish database but results come in English because of my language settings.
But search should be made in English too.

Second and most important thing is:
I shouldn’t change games name/title for localisation.
Google says games title is not games name. But, what is it then, I’m confused.

Quick Iteration

I was planning to finish this game and publish as soon as possible but while playing with friends this idea came up.
-Can you make all possible attack options available at the same time?
-Yes I can and I did!

Screenshot 2015-08-12 16.00.03Grouped the actions so when one action is selected, all actions in that group are disabled.
After the penalty time of the selected weapon passed, player can attack again with the desired option.

Blocking is also available with 5 seconds penalty with action breaking ability.

After taking some response to this iteration, publish this game without the single player and turn based options.

Maybe add those features after an update or so.

Thank you for reading this and hope you download and play test this version.

Struggling with main menu

I designed this game as a local multiplayer but while developing, needed a way to test faster so I wrote a basic AI as an opponent.
Then people wanted realtime features badly so I added them. Now I have a game that can be played as singleplayer or multiplayer with turn-based or real-time modes.

While things get compilated, it’s a nightmare to decide which menu system should I choose or maybe just trash some features or what!

Interactive design is about giving choices to your audience, but sometimes giving a lot of choices makes them confused. So we may use learned patterns as our guide.
Here I used classic “field set” to group choices. In this picture below, choices are grouped by player count. They can be grouped by play mode too.
Advantage of this grouping is player can start playing game with just one touch.
Disadvantage is mobile users are not used to this type of menus, they usually have big few buttons to choose, even most of the time there is no button to choose, just touch and start playing the game.  
swordgame Menu One Step

 

Here i tried to break groups to single screens, this is more common on mobile devices.
Advantage is less things to choose means less confusion.
Disadvantage is you put more funnels before starting to play the game; meaning more players will give up on the way.
swordgame menu multi step type firstswordgame menu multi step player first

So, I chose second model for this game.


Play tests showed me that choosing a weapon before starting real time play  made this game more fun.
Screenshot 2015-08-04 00.02.48
Screenshot 2015-08-04 00.03.25This week I spend my time adding a weapon choosing system for real time play. You choose your weapon before starting the game and start fighting with touching attack or guard buttons.

Every selection has its advantages and disadvantages;  if you choose one step movement you have to wait one second before your second move, if you choose two step movement you have to wait two seconds before your next movement or attack.

To visualise this penalty waiting time, I used something like clockwise pie chart filler for the button. Hope people can make the connection and understand the use.

All the UI, graphics and a lot of things needs to be redrawn by a professional artist. Friends who are forced to playtest this game deserve better graphics, It’s enough coder art 🙂
Most of the game coding is almost finished, now it’s time to push and pull things a little bit around to fine tune.
And after some optimisations I plan to put this game on Android Store first and try to get some real feedback and after that make an other update and put it on both IOS and Android stores with In App purchases etc.

While trying use  Unity Cloud Build and share options to distrubute pre alpha builds for this mobile game and get feedback, cloud gets slower and slower over time. This is possibly only for free users, the more people start using this platform the slower it gets.
Someday I’ll buy this service and use it faster but not today.
I need to publish this game as fast as I can and get some proper feedback. Today even I can not load shared builds from cloud.

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Sword Game Development Update I

Hello friends,
Working Title, Sword Game still doesn’t have an official name. This means I’m still open to suggestions. Please feel free to suggest names 🙂
Since last #screenshotsaturday I’ve made a gameplay video

This game is under development for 2 months and project was on paper a month before starting.
We have made some closed gameplay tests with friends and family, now it’s time to spread this tests a bit more.

Open development is hard on mobile games because of restrictions.
This project is being built  on Unity3D and Unity has this great cloud build and share environment.
I’ll share time limited development builds under a pinned post for Android after this week of development.

You can subscribe to my mailing list for updates on development and some future stuff that I’m working on.