Week of June 17th: Weekly Update!

So it has been a while. Only two weeks actually, but when I am used to writing weekly posts it certainly feels like a long time. I think I can safely say that I am 10% away from being finished, which really means I have 90% of the work left. But it does mean that I am starting to promote the game and look for beta testers. The TouchArcade thread should be coming next week along with the first teaser trailer for the game which will feature some cool gameplay footage. On to the updates.

I have spent a large amount of time working on the in game menus. Mainly because it is my least favorite thing to work on, so I am trying to work in it first and save the best for last (Creating new gameplay elements/bosses.) The ship upgrade screen I showed off last time is now fully functional, allowing you to unlock and open ships. It is still not 100% as each ship is going to have a blurb of text as a description, but the screen is to the right. It even has custom dialog boxes, which surprisingly is the first time I have not used built in system dialog boxes. I felt they ended up taking you out of the experience and just looked out of place. And in AquaWars they will be quite a few more dialog boxes then my other games, so I didn’t want to ignore an important element of the menus. The level ending screen also got a complete facelift, but I am not going to show that off here.

Oh yea, I also designed a few new ships for the game. Along with your starter ship which is a dinky patrol boat. Ship characteristics also now affect the gameplay, so you have slow/fast ships, heavy hitters and armored ships.

In the game you will collect “gold” which will allow you to both upgrade your ship/weapons and buy some special one-time use powerups, not unlike the original game. But of course I will also be allowing In-app purchase’s for those who want to upgrade faster. But don’t worry, the game is not designed to make you pay money, the option is just there. You won’t be able to buy every ship on your first playthrough, but you will be able to get neccessary upgrades. If you want it all you will either have to play a lot or pay. There will also be modifiers to help you collect gold faster, so there are a lot of options available.

I also implemented a few new gameplay elements. You can now collect gold, of course, but I added some new animations. When collecting powerups they now pop out towards you. I’ve always been amazed at how much adding a simple half a second long animation can completely change the feel of an interface. It is the little visual cues that count.

The latest thing I have been working on is the save system. I have looked at a lot of different options, but I have decided to use an SQLite database. I have designed it in a way that it should allow “easy” game save syncing using UIDocument in iCloud. If it works well I may write up a post about it after the game is released. Easy is in quotes for a reason, as no syncing is easy from development standpoint as there are so many edge cases. But yes, the game will be Universal and allow you to move from iPhone to iPad and back again, without any button pressing at all. Hopefully.

So that is the end of this update. As I said earlier, I am begining to look for beta testers. So if you would like to test you can sign up for Test Flight, which is an awesome company that makes distributing/installing betas super simple. Join here: http://tflig.ht/enMnwr

Also, I have been playing NimbleBit’s newest iPhone game, Pocket Planes. If you want to join the same flight crew I am on #IndieAir, help us get to the top 10!