Progress #4 MWC

Hello world,

Its been quite some time since I wrote my last post.

CoShopping

I’ve been busy working on CoShopping. I put out the iOS version on the appstore already and also Android betatest version. Currently both are finished only Android requires some more testing.

I am working on the backend for CoShopping to allow buying the discounts for the shops and create the easy way to import the discounts. It also mostly works except for the buying part and some security issues. I was able to import current discounts using the new backend already.

CoShopping has already some users but only a few (10 or so). I want it to become a online shop where a little local grocery stores  can introduce their discounts for a fair price to attract local customers. Usually people go to the big shopping centres to buy stuff which is overpriced and not as good quality to save time because they don’t want to search every little store as there is no discount list for them or they don’t have webpage.

MWC Barcelona

I’ve been to mobile world congress in Barcelona this year. I’ve got invited by GameLab Barcelona for free so I took some week off to visit. It was nice to change the locality. Barcelona is always full of people while here in Presov I barely see somebody in the street in the evening. Also the weather was sunny I spent some time on the beach and going through the city practicing my spanish skills while being pleasantly surprised I haven’t managed to forget everything already (I lived in Spain for 6 months before). I visited the 4YFN and MWC to get in touch how to projects are being developed now. It was first chance for me to see how they are getting funds from the Bussiness angels/Venture capitals because we have nothing like this in Slovakia. There are not meets and no investors easily accessible.

It was an eye opening event for me. People were starting bussinesses everywhere right left up down 🙂 with even simple ideas like some kind of vibrator, flats booking, homemade food market… Just every possible idea and mostly everything was working for them.

Also there was presentation from crowdcube platform where they shown us a company which got invested in a million pounds/hour for four hours straight and afterwards still going strong and getting more investments just from their crowd funding platform 🙂 Kind of money here we can imagine in our wildest dreams.

Games

I took a part in the Ludum Dare 38 and after some initial struggle eventually created the entry. My game is about little child trying to find his parents in the house haunted by the ghost and is called Amadeus.

I wrote most of the details on the game page of LDJAM so I won’t repeat them here if you want go there to look on how the universe has worked it out for me this time.

Other games I am working on including Splice and DieLight in this order. Both are being rewritten to Monogame and Xamarin with Splice being the first. I will write on progress then.

eNetworking

This is another project I got inspiration for in Barcelona MWC. They have a networking app for conference and here we have conferences but no networking app. I started doing this for iOS and Android with a friend who was supposed to do the server backend because I don’t want to do everything in another project alone again – CoShopping is enough of that experience for me. However there are another caveats this time 🙂 My friend got a lot of work in his job and does not have time right now to work so the progress stopped after 100 hours put into that and having iOS app working. I guess this is how the small projects usually go… Hopefully we will continue in the beginning of the summer again.

 

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Progress #2 – getting feedback

Hi guys,

last time I had trouble to focus on the finishing CoShopping app and made the games DieLight and Fobia instead. This week I went to Prague to visit some friends. Between drinking good beer they are always willing to give me good feedback on my apps 🙂

CoShopping

Before the trip I was able to beat all known bugs in the CoShopping. Also I managed to translate most of the app to Czech and Slovak languages. Translation is actually high priority because app is mainly targeted for these two markets.

During the trip I collected some feedback to implement. These are not new features but rather modifications to already implemented ones to make them more user-friendly.

DieLight

The rest of the time I spent on studying how I should implement free-to-play monetization into the DieLight. Eventually I have decided on going with in-game currency and achievements system.

Getting achievements will earn player the in-game currency “coins”. Player will spent his coins for unlocking more types of mazes. All the game content will be achievable without paying real money for coins if player will spend enough time getting achievements. Player can also choose to directly purchase coins and unlock the content faster.

Using this approach will let me make the game free to start with. Players that became interested over initial gameplay will progress faster by spending some money on the game. I saw similar concepts implemented by About fun company and their games are pretty successful. In the following time I will have to come up with exact achievement and new content system that will be interesting enough for player to spend some money.

During my trip I showed the game to my friends and they enjoyed it. Little things like these when you can see somebody enjoying my product keeps me motivated to publish it to market and see how it will be doing.

6 hours per day 6 days a week experiment

On the train ride back from the trip I read the thesis from Thomas Garrigue Masaryk. It is from the year 1905 and is about introducing 8 hour working day to the old Austria. In that time there was no limit for working hours length in the most of the world.

He argues that less working hours leads to more work done. It is achieved by letting the worker to rest longer which in turn leads to less stress, errors and injuries due to worker being more concentrated on the job. According to Masaryk, such approach should be applicable for the occupations where stable every day performance for a long period of time is required. There are also occupations, for example some seasonal jobs, where this is not beneficial. Due to the short-time nature of such jobs the short burst of performance for a few weeks is desirable and a long recovery time is not an issue. Masaryk argues that even 6 hours a day for 6 days a week should lead to a better performance for everyday job. He makes some interesting arguments about human physiology to prove that more rest leads to better working results.

I will try to implement this for a month and see where this will take me. From now for a month I will work Monday – Saturday 6 hours a day and rest of the time will be spent on some non-working activity. This means no chats/web browsing/news reading during work hours to make them more efficient.

New ideas

I like these kind of trips because they make me relaxed and flowing with new ideas. I came up with a turn-based multiplayer system for DieLight. It is interesting but I think it will take a long time to implement and I cannot manage it without making some money from game or app first. Here comes the time when I have to decide not to implement more features to the app nor to the game and just finished both products.

Progress #1 – DieLight resurrection

Progress #1 – DieLight resurrection

Hi guys,

until last weekend I was having pause from CoShopping and working on Fobia game trying various stuff which I will write about in some of the next posts.

This week’s plan was to make a progress on CoShopping towards the goal to publish it before the end of the year. However that was not how things happened.

Through the week I got to talk to my friend who recently broke up with his girlfriend. Because he lives in different city we decided that we will get together to talk on Saturday. I know him from the beginning of my university studies and I already became suspicious that it won’t end up just with talking. I was right and it turned out to be a party until the morning leaving me not able to do anything useful on sunday 🙂 While trying to get myself together I watched some talks with Rami Ismail from Vlambeer which somehow made me look again at my last Ludum dare project Pyramid.

Thats how the things got started. The game feels good and is easy to understand and I already had an iOS version working.

SPOILER: I created a gameplay video and attached the link to the end of the page so you can let me know what you think.

Graphics update

Graphics was mostly missing, so I went ahead and drawn something in my favourite graphics editor inkscape. I drawn the new menus and dialogs. Afterwards I drawn new graphics for gameplay controls and background. Every control now has two versions, one is highlighted and one is normal. The highlighted one is shown after the touch to make the game fell more responsive.

Levels management

Also the level selecting mechanism was really shitty. It haD only two options to start from the beginning or to continue. It was made in a hurry for a competition and level selecting was not an important thing than. Also there was no information on the progress and no way to return to interesting levels.

To solve all the issues at once I created a level selecting page where player can choose which level he would like to play. I wanted to preserver the “Continue” mechanism so player has to play all the levels in their order and cannot skip any of them. I used colours to distingues between three kinds of level: already won, locked, not won yet. The result currently looks like this:

dielight-2016-11-25-21-26-52-levelselect

Player can see which levels were played, which level is required to be won to progress in the game and that there are more levels left to be played.

Gameplay

When I had graphics in place I tested the new level selecting by playing 207 levels in row 🙂   I felt that gameplay with rotating the light in the iOS version was a little bit hard to grasp. There were just too many angles to be covered and the result after rotating the light a little bit was hard to be imagined when mind was under the stress of time going out. Rotating the maze instead of light seems to be a better idea. It rotates only 90 degrees each time as in the Ludum dare version. With only 4 possible rotations it was easier for me to imagine how the rotation result will look and use correct rotation under the time pressure.

Also I had to widen the light to cover the corners because now there are only 4 possible rotations of maze. With narrow light the corners were shown only during rotation animation making the gameplay stressful.

Other stuff

Rest of the time I spent looking into the monetisation options and playing the games from About fun because they use the free-to-play model I think that will suite this game the best.

I created a video with current DieLight gameplay. Here is the link because I don’t know how to embed it directly.

Gameplay video

Fobia – introduction

Hi guys,

i want to introduce my side game project. It is top-down stealth action shooter called Fobia. From a design viewpoint it is the mix between games Tapan Kaikki, Phobia and Commandos.

As this is project that currently gets the most modifications it might be interesting how I explore and decide what to do with the project. I want to write about decision and technologies used during development. Currently this is side project to enjoy and relax the game programming because CoShopping app development became somewhat exhausting.

Lets get started.

fobia-2016-11-18-17-34-38

What is game about

The game is for one or multiple players using local cooperative gameplay. Goal of the players are to destroy some object or to get to some location. Players can use weapons available to their character. For example sniper has a sniper-rifle, pistol and the fist. Rifleman has rifle, pistol and the fist and is a bit faster than sniper.

Using players’ specific characteristics is important to the gameplay. For example rifleman can more easily follow and kill silently with meelee weapon because he is faster. Sniper can kill from bigger distance but to see more he has to cooperate with the other players get larger field of sight.

I plan to incorporate some real-world missions from commando corps if I can get my fingers on some interesting materials 🙂

I will try to keep the blog posts smaller and more on one specific topic and put them together more often. The next posts will be about technologies used and features that are currently implemented.

Porting and redesign of CoShopping

Hi guys,

winter is coming, my runing session are coming short (haven’t run for last two weeks) and I’m becoming a little bit lazy with blogging. I guess it is because currently I am writing the CoShopping ‘s iOS version for the third time.

First it was in swift, then ported to Xamarin.Forms. This seemed to be a good decision because backend part was supposed to be same for Android and iOS version and there should be only minor changes required in the frontend part between iOS and Android versions. It proved to be very wrong. Xamarin.Forms is not mature project, it is full of bugs with each new version breaking the previously working api and introducing new bugs. It breaks also such a simple things as menu will inevitable crash the app on iOS 10 while on iOS 9 it was happily working 🙂 If somebody out there is trying to find crossplatform option for development I have to say that Xamarin.Forms is waste of time and money. This is based on my experience. They have a lot of bugs and are very slow in resolving them.

Currently I am porting this to Xamarin.iOS. This seems to be working. I managed to save all the backend stuff while having to write completely new frontend staff. Hovewer when I had to do a rewrite I also done some redesign with the UI and introduced a multiple local lists feature. Main screen of the app now looks like this:

simulator-screen-shot-15-nov-2016-01-33-33

I also created new icon:

120

I hope I can finish everything this week and put out the final betatest version. Before christmass I want to put the app out for iOS and work on the Android version using Xamarin.Android.

Fobia

I also have to write that I’m working on the game called Fobia. It is mix between tapan kaikki and commandos. Players are in the position of commandos trying to reach their objective while killing the enemy soldiers in the stealth or action way. It is top-down shooter which features cooperative multiplayer.

I will write a separate blog posts about this because it seems to be getting more updates than CoShopping.

August’s progress

Hi all,

Today it is raining here in Slovakia and all the young children have to go to elementary school for the first time this year. Bad sign? 🙂

It has been quite a while since my last post. For the future I will try to make a weekly posts. 

I wanted to continue in single apps and games development and I did. Most importantly I put out betatest version of the CoShopping, which is cooperative shopping app. Currently there is the iOS version and while it is being tested by my friends I am working on the Android version. If somebody wants to try current webpage for betatest is at CoShopping.

Already I got first comments from betatesters so I will have some more fun resolving that to everyones happiness. If you try the app and have the comments, please do not hesitate to write them.

Working regiment

For my apps development I managed to introduce normal work hours for myself. I go to the office in the morning and comeback in the evening at latest. Initially I stayed at the office too long during the night. This was fun at the beginning because I worked at my own app but it also caused me to be really tired and my progress significantly slowed down. I was tired and nervous because it was not going as expected (I like to plan) so I tried to go home earlier and not to think about development when I am not in the office. 

Now I must say this new working pace was sustainable for a five to six days a week and afterwards one day of a rest.

Ludum Dare 36

Previous weekend happened to be the ludum dare gamejam. For those of readers who are not familiar with a term gamejam. It is an event where game developers get together physically or online and spent some time to create a game. For ludum dare it is 72 hours straight from friday night to monday night. During this time gamedevs usually loose a lot of sleep some going 40 hours straight to finish their idea the best they can in the very limited amount of time. I joined the game jam as usually: got up in the morning and working until the morning. After spending about 40 hours and almost unlimited amount of coffee, I had my game Pyramid as ready as I was able to make it in the time. Also if somebody wants to try the Pyramid is here. Afterwards I spent some time to make the game working on the iPhone. It looks promising so I will get it to some friends if it is good enough to spend some more time on it and publish to appstore.

Since the competition I was getting to the normal work regiment rather unsuccesfully because I got used work until the morning again. Hope this resolves soon. Now I have to go to Prague and hopefully I will bring some more ideas and feedback from there.

Also I said that I will write some gym stuff. Now there was little time and energy so I switched from gym and running  because I was always tired and had some knee pain. Now I am running three times per week for 10km and doing short street workout sessions for upper body also three times per week. Also because of the previous knee pain I am not working out legs apart from running. I find this less energy consuming and I need my energy somewhere else. I will try this for a few weeks and afterwards decide if it brings some progress. My focus is on general conditioning.

Recapitulation

Done iOS betatest. Working on Android version and resolvinf betatest comments for iOS for CoShopping.

Done Ludum Dare 36 game Pyramid. Created also iOS version.