Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Congrats, Microsoft

For a long time, it seemed Microsoft was doing things to compete in the world as it used to be, or in the world they wished it was.

But in the past week or so that changed.  Office for iPad, and now $0 for Windows on phones and small tablets.

Great ways to attack the world of today!  I'm sure are all a credit to the new CEO.

One interesting thing to see how it pans out:  Android makers have had to pay a license for various patents to Microsoft, $5 per phone or something like that.  I assume that's not happening with the new $0 Windows license.  Suddenly, it's cheaper to make a Windows phone than an Android one.  Smart move.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

bloc'd. Tower Defense + Match 3

Grr, blogger deleted the post I'd been adding to over the course of a year+ as these various prototypes happened.  Thankfully the screenshots were still around.  

What became bloc'd started because I was thinking about Tower Defense games, and why I didn't like them that much.  Place the thing in the right spot for the incoming monsters, wait, tap to pickup coins, repeat.

The first test was as a potential new game mode in our game Pawn'd.  We've still not added it, but I think it would work nicely there too.  As the dragon came across, you could attack it by matching pieces with the color it is next to.  So below, the purple and blue (Pawn and Knight) can attack the little dragon below them.  Keep the dragons from getting all the way across!

That got into a lot of prototypes, starting in January 2013.  (So the final product came out a bit over a year after the first test ideas.)

We weren't sure what sort of game or theme it might be.  Below might be hordes of little red square Orcs attacking towers in the center of the circles.  Each tower has a type of ammo (arrows, magic, stones), which you would use to attack by matching the colors in connected lines.  They could shoot Orcs in the range of their circle.  The extra white color could be coins to collect to upgrade the tower or repair damage.

I think there's a good game in that...but seemed like the graphic art requirements would be high--lots of little animated monsters.

I think this one was similar but with different sized units.

It evolved into a "big" enemy that dropped small ones.  The 91 orbited the center of the green, and dropped small white units--each drop is minus 1.  Matching a color when the big one passes through its range reduces the big enemy too.

It orbited in something like 10 seconds, so there was a big timing aspect.  Can you make a big match in Red while the big enemy is passing through.  Match quickly to keep the little ones from attacking your tower too.  One little one in range destroyed by each tile matched.

If we'd have finished it, an alien-invasion theme was the likely direction.  Same gameplay as above, but a different skin (just a mockup Shawn did.)

Again, I think there's a good game with this variation too.  Much lower graphic art needs.  A nice computer console type look....  (which I may get to in a later post :)

There were various months long lulls between all those prototypes above.  Do some new idea in an afternoon, then marinate on it for months as other things were happening.

What finally became bloc'd came in August 2013.  This prototype had too many incoming things, but it got the right mechanic with little shapes you had to match.

It again sat for months, until I was showing off some in-progress things at an NSCoder Night in Seattle.  It seemed close so I revisited it while on vacation in Feb 2014 a few weeks later.  It mostly got done on that trip, typing away in the evenings :)

It only needed a few graphics, Pete did a little texturing so the squares weren't simply solid squares (my programmer art.)

And that's it!  The name was about the last thing we came up with before submitting.  The basic mechanic of matching shapes seems like it can work with more game trying some of our ideas to add into updates!