Saturday, February 25, 2017

New Blog!

I've moved to http://shinerightstudio.com/


I will not be posting anything on this blog in the future.




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So...

Last couple of weeks I've been fumbling with html, css, and other annoying front-end web stuffs to and finally set up my new blog!

I used the light-weight and easy understanding Ghost framework for my blog, and modified the basic casper theme to suit my style. I've learned two important things after setting up my own blog:
  1. Setting up a blog isn't that hard, most of the blog frameworks (Wordpress, Ghost, etc.) are extremely easy to understand and modify.
  2. I really don't like developing front-end web...
Lastly, I really appreciate the AWS education promotional code (100$USD) provided by Amazon so that I can have enough budget for my server (still have to pay for the domain name though).

Hope that I have enough self-discipline and post at least monthly on my new blog. Thanks a lot.

Friday, February 10, 2017

kQq -- Published!!!

After 6 months of hard work, my first “complete” game was finally published.


Download on:


I'll provide some free promo codes here!!!


iOS Promo Code: 
TEN9H7PRFYKNLKN34ERYE4F3FJW37A3T4YMME33TKFAJ7LNLMPLHPF7A9WY9


Credits

Background Music: Chao Chung
Background Art: Chao Yuan
Game & Animation: Chao Yu

Updates

[Level Redesign]
I received a lot of helpful feedbacks after distributing the promo codes of the first version of kQq. The major issue of the first version of kQq is that the gameplay of the first several levels were too repetitive and thus were a little monotonous. To fix this, I simply added a couple of interesting game objects (such as bombs, time stoppers, portals) to the first galaxy of the game. I hope that players would now be more appealed to the game because they would encounter a variety of cool game objects at the beginning.

[Android Back Button]
As an iOS user, I made a mistake in neglecting the functionality of the Android “Back” Button. Fortunately, a friend of my pointed out the issue immediately after play testing the game. To let Android users have a better user experience, I quickly modified a couple lines of code and made the “Back” button work correctly.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

kQq -- Game Dev Diary #5

If you haven't read the introduction of the game, you should check it out! Link
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This week, mostly what I've done is fine tuning the game levels as well as editing the final 2 minute game trailer.

Adjusting the Game Levels

By testing my game from the very first level through the final level, I realized that it only required half an hour for players to complete the entire game. To avoid such short gameplay, I added more barriers and reduced the amount of available particles in each level, making sure that players would spent at least 1.5-2 hours to complete the whole game.

Below is an example:

(Before | After)

The Final Game Trailer

After adding some gameplay footages and animations into the 50 sec. trailer, I finally finished making the 2 min. official trailer for kQq.


Making the "Free with Ads" Version

Paid games aren't competitive in the gaming market of Android. This is an irritating fact for indie game devs, especially those who refuse to insert annoying ads which ruin their games or those who  avoid the troublesome in-app purchase integration.

I've pondered over the matter for quite a while, and finally gave in to placing ads in my game (but only in Android). As a consequence, I would be selling two versions of kQq on the Android Play Store: the pure and clean paid version (0.99$ USD), and the "free with ads" version.

Friday, January 13, 2017

kQq -- Game Dev Diary #4

If you haven't read the introduction of the game, you should check it out! Link
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"The last 10% of work takes 90% of the time."

This is especially true in game development. Every little changes made in the game--either graphics, music, game mechanics, or even marketing materials--would lead to a huge change in other parts of the game.

Looking back at the dev log I keep myself, I found out that I started developing "kQq" on August 26th 2016, and finished building the core game mechanics within about a month on September 19th 2016. However, all the other polishing, promotion, bug-fixing works took me another four months and a half. Hopefully, the game would be released on February 2017.


Below is an example of the 10%-90% rule...

(Level Picker now)

(Level Picker on Sep. 19th 2016)

This week, I focused more on the final polishing of my game.

Use Open Source Font

Finding a suitable font for kQq is always an irritating issue for me. I mean, there are numerous free and beautiful "Commercial-OK" fonts in English. Nonetheless, I'm also launching the game in Traditional Chinese, and finding merely an ACCEPTABLE Traditional Chinese font drove me nuts.

I spent hundreds and thousands of hours browsing the internet and finally spotted a nice font named "YouXianTi". Bursting with tears of joy (I figured out later that the tears probably came due to sore eyes), I sent an email to the designer of the font and asked for authorization. 

The designer replied me within a week and notified me the authorization fee. As a humble university student, the authorization fee was totally uh......unaffordable. I knew the authorization fee wouldn't be cheap, but the price totally blew my mind.

Desperate, I searched for another few days for open source fonts and decided to use the font "Notos Sans CJK - Thin".

Take a look at the lovely Traditional Chinese font:


Polish, Polish, and Polish

Making the art style of a game coherent is a vital job for game designers. This week, I made most of the game elements bearing some luster with a taste 3D.

Also, I redesigned the level complete scene with a more intriguing background image.

(Before | After)

App Store Preview Video

What really drove me nuts this week (aside from the font issue) is making a proper App Preview for kQq on App Store.

At first, I had trouble exporting the resolution (1080x1920) that Apple accepts. Not until I noticed the "New App Preview" selection menu on iMovie did I successfully produce my video with the correct format.

As I delightedly uploading my perfect App Preview video, an error text popped up, saying "The length of the App Preview is incorrect" (or something like that). It turned out that Apple insists that the video length of App Previews be between 15 sec to 30 sec.

After trimming and speeding up some clips of my video, I finally managed to make it below 30 sec.

Have a look:


Friday, January 6, 2017

kQq -- Game Dev Diary #3

If you haven't read the introduction of the game, you should check it out!
Link

(本文章的中文版在)

Test on Different Screen Sizes

It's been a tough week for me because the screen of my testing device (iPhone 6 Plus) was being smashed by my mother's iPhone 6 accidentally...and it turned out (unfortunately) that my mom's iPhone 6 won the hardness test.

 What a beautiful (& expensive) mess...

However, a loss may turn out to be a gain...I know that's a cliche, but in my case, it was totally true. As I fished out my antique HTC one SV phone (as the alternative test device) from the deep corner of my drawer and ran "kQq" on it, I found a ton of UI bugs due to different aspect ratio of the screen. Also, I've noticed that most of the Android devices have the "Return" button, so I added some code in my game to make the "Return" button function.

Lesson learned: Make sure to test your game on different screen sizes...and keep your iPhone 6 Plus away from the mighty iPhone 6.

Polish Level Picker Graphics

I've adjusted most of the level picker graphics this week to make them less messy and with more clarity.

I'll show some changes below:

 (←Before | After→)
 (←Before | After→)

 (←Before | After→)

 (←Before | After→)

Tutorial Video & In Game Tutorial

I've always been struggling to provide a decent tutorial for the game. Since the gameplay isn't that straightforward for most of the people (especially those without engineering or science background), a simple and understandable tutorial should be given.

As a result, I not only inserted a tutorial clip in the game trailer but also created a short illustrative tutorial in the first level of the game.

The new trailer:



In-game tutorial:







Hope people would understand how to play the game now.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

kQq -- Mobile Game Dev Diary #2

If you haven't read the introduction of the game, you should check it out! Link

Game Title Changed

I've made a lot of changes throughout this week. One of the major change is the game title. Originally, I planned to stick my game title to the whole Coulomb's Law, that is, "kQq Over R Squared". However, it turned out that there were only 3 out of 10 people who understood the meaning of "kQq Over R Squared" when I asked them (seems that less people took physics during high school than I thought), so I had to change the game title for easier recognition and memorization.

I came up with a bunch of possible game titles including "Charge", "Stay Negative", "Lil' Neg", "Electro", or just "kQq". I chose "kQq" eventually because it not only is easier to memorize than the original "kQq Over R Squared" but also preserve its reference to Coulomb's Law. Since the core game mechanics of my game IS exactly the Coulomb's Law, I think its fairly important to make the game title resemble the equation.

Hope the title "kQq" would work!

Galaxy Picker & Level Picker Completed

Beautiful level picking scenes are essential to mobile games. I'm not sure if I made my level pickers pretty enough, but at least they comply with the overall black/white art style of the game.

Galaxy Picker



(The second scene)

Galaxy of Geometry Level Picker


Galaxy of Emotions Level Picker


Galaxy of Time Level Picker


Galaxy of Colors Level Picker


Galaxy of Formulas Level Picker


I've misspelled "Formulas" as "Forumlas" for the level picker of Galaxy of Formulas without noticing it for a long time. Not until I posted the image on Imgur did someone point out my misspelling of the word... (Thank you, the guy on Imgur!)

First Game Demo

Finally finish recording the first gameplay demo. Hopefully people would understand the game mechanics now!


(The video of the first game demo was deleted because I merged the demo clip into the App Preview)

Background Music Completed

I prefer my game having a mysterious style to a happy and cheerful one. In order to make it so, I've changed the original background music (which is the music of the gameplay demo) to a more umm... psychedelic one (if it is the right term).

Link -- Composer: Chung Chao (Alex)

The original cheerful background music is only played in the Galaxy of Colors now.

Monday, December 19, 2016

kQq-- Introduction (Dev Diary #1)

The game is called "kQq", from the famous Coulomb's Law: $F=\frac{kQq}{r^2}$.

Yes, I know, if you aren't a science or engineering major, you'd probably be like WHAT THE HECK IS THIS THING???

But I promise, though you may cringe at the game title, the game is incredibly easy and fun to play if you enjoy puzzle games.

(Targeted Platform: iOS/Android)

Settings

You were an ordinary negative charge named "Lil' Neg" who drifted in the vast universe, seeking for love...




Lil' Neg spent half of its life traveling, finally found its true love --Lil' Pos in an amazing planet. They stuck together all day love as if they were a whole hydrogen atom...

As bad luck would have it, when Lil' Neg was enjoying his new life with Lil' Pos, an obnoxious rocket was launched from the formidable planet Earth. Even though Lil' Pos was positive and calm, it was blasted off by the explosion of the rocket...

Brokenhearted, Lil' Neg began its long journey across multiple galaxies in search of his love.

Gameplay

You have to guide Lil' Neg to the Worm Hole by placing positive, negative or neutral charges on each game levels.



(Gameplay)


  • Positive charges attract Lil' Neg
  • Negative charges repel Lil' Neg
  • Neutral charges does nothing except blocking Lil' Neg from passing through

There are 5 different galaxies consisting of 12 levels each. Each galaxy has their unique gadgets affecting the play style and strategy of players.




(Blinking Stars in Galaxy of Geometry)


(Tears of Joy in Galaxy of Emotions)


(Time Bombs, Play/Pause Gadgets in Galaxy of Time)

   
(Color Portals in Galaxy of Colors)

   
(Pi & Springs in Galaxy of Formulas)

Post Script

The idea of the game is originated from an interactive teaching material for physics made by Flash presented by my high school physics teacher. I made the prototype of the game (with only 15 levels) in my freshman year as a practice with an eye to familiarize myself with Unity game engine. However, as the project nearly reached its end, some new thoughts emerged in my mind which made me want to do some reworks and upgrades on the project.

I added a story, made various game mechanics-related gadgets, redrew the graphics, and designed 45 more levels for the game.

Not until I nearly finished the game did I realize I have to make some efforts in marketing and introducing my game (Since this is the very first "Complete" game I made). As a result, I would start posting weekly development diaries in which I introduce the game as well as share my thoughts on game development.

Thanks for reading.