Monday, February 11, 2013

Tile and Error Released!

It's official! Tile and Error - our very first game - is now up on the App Store for sale at $0.99!

Buy it now in App Store here:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tile-and-error/id552399082

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Case for a Design Document

The design document is a staple of game development. There are many developers who swear by having a well kept design document from start to finish. However, for some it's cumbersome to their workflow. I've heard cases from small teams or lone wolf developer that it just takes time away from actually getting in there and hacking around with concepts and prototypes.

Frankly, I think not having a design document of some kind is silly.

I speak with very little authority on this subject and this is all just the opinion of a single developer, but I believe there is a place for some kind of design document for even the smallest of teams. Even our team.

Tile and Error was made mostly without a true design document. Sure we had many prototypes and random documents, but no one place where we went to chronicle what was to be done. In some sense I think we suffered for it during development. For example, I can think of a handful of problems that we ran into during development that I think could have been avoided all together had we written everything out up front.

I do believe there is value in sitting down and working out problems through code, but when you take the time to plan your game out ahead of time, you might not need to spend so much time hacking through code. Writing your design document can cause you to plan ahead and anticipate where problem areas might arise, cause you to rethink that big idea you had, or even give you an idea of how to prioritize your work.

The case for a design document is simply that it allows you to plan, and by planning ahead your work gets spelled out for you and you can focus on the task at hand. This isn't a concept exclusive to game development alone, but developing software or web applications benefit greatly if you have a plan. I get the appeal of working through code and that some developers feel more comfortable with that, but I really think everyone can benefit from taking the time to plan and write a design document.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Small Update

The first round of Beta testing has begun with a few volunteers and some more small changes to the game have been made to give it a bit more life.

I have added music and sound effects to make the interactive experience more enjoyable. The music and sound effects are courtesy of opengameart.org. I'm also going to be adding a mute button to the main menu if a player wants to easily disable sound without muting their phone.

The next stop is integrating Game Center to use their leader board functionality to track your best score. In this case it will record the highest number of levels you've completed.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Gearing up for beta testing!

This weekend saw much more progress towards the final product. I added an actual "game over" graphic that appears after time runs out in arcade mode or when you run out of resets in survival mode. The difficulty progression equation was slightly modified to make the game the tiniest bit easier. Meaning, we made the curve more subtle so the difficulty wouldn't rise too sharply. All in all, it plays just like the finished product, but there are still some more fixes that are needed.

Some of the fixes left have to do with small errors in certain situations and there are a few noticeable features missing (settings, leaderboard, sounds). However, the core game is mostly complete.

The plan is to have the bugs fixed soon and start getting the game into the hands of some friends for testing. I'll have more information on that later, though. It will be great to get some outsider feedback from people.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tile and Error: Arcade Mode, Failure Conditions and Screenshots



Another update with more progress to report! The general gameplay has solidified and we're making quick progress getting the game modes developed. We are also implementing a difficulty curve that increases the level complexity as you progress through the game.

This week I'm hoping to implement the game over overlay and continue to adjust the difficulty curve to an appropriate progression.

Arcade Mode & Failure Conditions

The core programming for the arcade mode is mostly complete. We have implemented all the features we need save for some minor tweaks to the code and UI (like a current level display and game over graphics). It's really nice to have something closely resembling the finished product.

Speaking of the game over graphics, we have the code in place for triggering a game over when the arcade mode timer runs out, but in the rush to implement it, I think I introduced a bug because the game will outright crash roughly 50% of the time. I'm expecting to resolve it as I implement the finalized game over overlay.

Screenshots

I snapped a few in-game screenshots of what the game is looking like with its new main menu and gameplay HUD.



Friday, March 9, 2012

Tile and Error Status Report


Our first dive into making games has been quite the adventure, but - after several bumps and stalls - we've had a breakthrough. We have done some re-prioritizing and have considerably slimmed our original concept for Tile and Error down into what we believe makes it great. Our previous announcement post lists the game types we're focusing on now. Trimming the fat - so to speak - gave us a clear goal and helped propel us into a position where we're actually close to having a fully complete game.

The biggest change was the inclusion of a random level generator that plotted out levels for us. In previous incarnations of Tile and Error we actually hand designed the puzzles, but it was tedious having to load up all those by hand. I'll admit that I probably didn't have an ideal implementation for loading hand made levels into our game, but it worked and that was fine by me. While we were implementing the random level generator, we thought that it might be better to just scrap the handmade levels altogether and center the game around the randomized levels. The result boils Tile and Error down to it's core mechanic without sacrificing any of the fun. 

While we're close to completing the random level generator, there are still a few bugs that need to be worked out, but it's mostly complete. We still need to program the difficulty adjustments which will change some of the variables that determine the complexity of the board, but - as I often find myself saying - that shouldn't be too hard.