Ventures of an ex indie game developer

Terrible, horrible bugs and content

Just spent a couple of days on a horrible sound bug in the OpenAL implementation on iOS where the sounds eventually wouldn't play. I was able to circumvent after a couple of days of looking, but this type of thing really drains energy from what I should be focusing on.

On the game side, I think I nailed most things: controls are ok; game play can be made very easy for n00bs with a helping hand from the auto-pilot; the graphics are ok although ugly enough to run on my iPhone 3GS; and the sound is ok I think. The content is the Achilles' heel of the game, for several reasons. I've deliberately chosen not to include organic stuff into the game, and that makes the game feel really stiff and computer generated; very unlike all the successful titles of the App Store. My next game (after the die game I building right after this one) will be very much the opposite. Another reason for content fail is that it's really hard to build nice-looking levels. I'm using Maya, a tool I hardly know... I should probably take a course or something. Good content is good-looking with a low poly count, it is also interactive and fun with natural sounds attached to it; all of which are very hard to do well.

At least I'm progressing. My first game I had problems with the most basic stuff: controls. Mainly because I hadn't realized they where the most basic stuff. This, my second game, I'm having trouble with making content, making enough content and making it beautiful. Progressing on this train of thought to forecast the problems of my third game: I will have trouble with making things look and behave organic. Not a big surprise there.

Finally I want to share a realization I made. One of the prototype levels I made so far contains monster trucks which jump over the helicopter landing pads. The monster trucks proved to be nice toys to play with, sort of an "enemy" which try to sabotage your landing, but you can play with them too; a bit like Lemmings. If you crash land right before a monster truck, it will jump on the helicopter, and if it lands on its top perhaps become an obstacle to the monster truck coming after, and so forth. I thought some about this and realized that the reason Slime Volleyball was successful was that it included an antagonist, which your brain interprets as more "like you", not as much as a computer-generated artifact. Obstacles in a level, such as those found in for instance Badland, can never be as engaging to the player. Perhaps my next game will be about a mad horse facing various bosses. Or something equally cool.

About the author

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Gothenburg, Sweden