Monday, March 31, 2014

Heroic Patterns Promo Video

Finally I have finished wrestling with the frustration of re-creating the promotional video, and also pinnacle 12. This time I took copies of the project as I did each significant piece. Still it worked fine this time.

I hope you like this video. It is a bit of a departure from my normal game promotional videos. This time however I was inspired to be more creative and less amusing with my take.

The most startling thing about this video to me though... is my accent. Yes that is me doing the voice over. I got exactly what I wanted.. and on the first take. whoop... Only 'Is that really my accent?'. Not always so English now it seems.

Gotta go, time for bed,

Da Voodoochief

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Useful program list

I have been asked now again about what software I use to develop my games with. As I think the list is rather longer than I ever expect I figured I would start tonight by writing some on the list tonight. Whilst I try and re-create the Heroic Patterns Promo video.

1. NCH Software Wavepad. This is my go to SFX editor. It is so like most other good ones except it doesn't mess around. It is smartly programmed and works naturally, doing what you expect when you try it's features.
2. NCH software MixPad. This is a multi-channel sound editor. Allowing me to easily overlay various sound effects and music and get the whole lot balanced and sounding right. Then I can simply save it out mixed together, lovely. Again a sharply developed App.
3. Pinnacle Studio 12. This is a poorly programmed piece of software in my opinion, only it is excellently designed and I love that about it. It is my go to movie maker as I can knock stuff out so incredibly fast. But some of the bugs are so annoying and have been around since pinnacle verison2 or so.
4. Prism by NCH Software. This is my sound and music converter. It doesn't simply convert from one format to another. It also allows me to alter quality and pixel resolution of the movie. Great for spot movies on tablets etc.

I think that list about covers my audio and movie editing set of software. I am not sure what list to make next... I'll think about it.

Da Voodoochief

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Stupid Pinnacle Software

Ya know, I love the way Pinnacle works. A single timeline etc and most of it's functions are easy and intuitive to use. But in parts it is simply a piece of crap. Namely it's stability.

I was working hard to get my Heroic Patterns promo video out tonight. It was mostly ready and simply needed a few higher rez screenshots and some tweaking with the transitions to make it about perfect. Today I managed to reveal the current state of it to me mates to see what they thought.

Still tonight however much I would like to finish it, I cannot. It is so frustrating and now it will be done some time over the weekend no doubt. I still have all the parts and I have the render I showed me mates to work from to get back some of the timing.

But ahhh! What a pain

Laters, I need to sleep,
Da Voodoochief

Monday, March 24, 2014

Heroic Simon Background Effects Video

This is a development video of the background effects I created for Heroic Simon. I love the way they turned out.

One of the interesting things that happened was when I created the rivulets from my finger touches. I decided that I would randomly choose a direction either matching the incoming direction or one of the two adjacent directions from this. I figured it would still have the rivulets going in sort of bendy lines away from me. However that was not the case as they tended to go around in circles and such. They were quite fascinating worms really, but not what I wanted. So then I changed the idea to use the direction the rivulet was needed to go and always randomize from that and not the incoming direction. This worked so well you can now see it in the video :)

Da Voodoochief

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Games ready for publishing, I'm not

I knew this day was coming. I knew weeks ago. But dealing with it has just not happened.

I should be truly happy. Both versions of Heroic Patterns has passed Apples review, first time. Only now it means I have to publish the games, which means I am now back to putting out the games and trying at least a little to back them up. This means modified web pages on and doing the promotional video that I have STILL not gotten done, gah!

This should not make me frustrated, yet it is the way I feel.

Heck, I have Heroic Simon done as well. As of today when I achieved the last achievements and final testing was completed, the game could easily go to Apple to review as well. Eeek, I am so behind.

Not quite sure what to do right now, I think get the darned promotional video done is my priority, everything else just might fall into place after eh? Surely?

Da Voodoochief

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Games supporting themselves? You Jest!

I have been playing Marvel Avengers Alliance on now for quite some time. I really enjoy the game, even if it does have it's issues.

Today they announced that the game was going to be closed down in a month. I have to say I am not really surprised by this announcement. It was only a few weeks ago that Disney who owns Playdom announced they were laying off 700 employees. A number of them had to go from Playdom for sure. What it also means is that Playdom MUST look at it's costs on its games and save money. Or put another way, focus on the more viable content and games they have.

Lets look at this for a minute..
on Facebook I did a few PVP seasons and could see that they had 800K to 1.2M players.. WOW!
on Playdom I could see with the same method there were barely 35K players.

I seems to me that supporting maybe 40K players (some did not play PVP) was simply not viable, unless the Playdom players spent a LOT of money on Gold etc. I do not believe the Playdom players did this as they have a low tolerance for what they called Wallet Warriors, never apparently realizing that these WW players were the ones keeping the game going. Playing for free (ad supported play) was never going to support an entire development team.

I really enjoy the game. Yes some of the quality could be lacking, and some of the decisions on balancing were atrocious, but it is good. I like spending time there. Also some of the other players (not the moaners!) are great to chat with. I shall miss them.

Still, to suddenly lose the game in a month is odd.. but in the end the game MUST support the cost of itself. If it does not, how can it exist, or even why should it exist...

all Indie developers face this at some point, once what they do goes out of Hobby costs and into real money. I am glad I am not in that position at the moment. As I struggle to get my Indie games noticed. But it does absolutely mean my games are smaller and less interesting in a lot of ways than I really want them to be....

Space Invaliens is such an example...

good night,
Da Voodoochief

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mythic Mahjong by my mate Chris

I am very lucky to call a guy named Chris a good friend. We have been in this industry now for many many years. He is a talented guy that recently finished up his first Marmalade created game for tablets. Today I received an informational email from marmalade and I see his app is featured. Here is a copy from the email I got.

As you can see is game is the bottom right one.. WOOHOO! Congratulations mate, it is a fantastic game that hopefully will do well.

Here is a link to the official Marmalade promotional site. Mythic Mahjong iOS.
Here is the facebook page link...  Facebook Mythic Mahjong.

I hope everyone loves this game as much as me and my wife do. Now go get yours!!!!

I am very excited to see what Chris can produce as his next finished game.

Da Voodoochief

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Again with the Leaderboards

I cannot get away from them haha.

My new queuing system works great. So when a game ends I can add as many leaderboards updates as I want. So I realized today that I should add another. Yup, you heard me right. So off I went tonight and added another one, this one records the best rounds reached in each difficulty.

Ahh I love them so much :)

Next up will be to do some achievements for the game. this time I want to create slightly more interesting ones than in the last two distilled games I did. Simply basing them all on score is a tad boring if ya ask me. I will be thinking about these over the next few days.

So what's left for Heroic Simon?
1. Get the game its own advert ID
2. Get the Achievements created and into the game
3. Finish up the button pressed effect
4. Work on the copy
5. Work on the web site for pre-release.

Not a lot to do eh! Yes, the game is very close to being complete. Meanwhile Apple is testing Heroic Patterns the paid version.

The only complaint I have right now is that I asked Apple to reset my leaderboards for Heroic Simon, and the web page says it will be done in a day.. but it is still not zero'd out. Not sure who I should complain to about it either, gah! I need them reset, as I have a score incorrectly placed into the number of games played.

Da Voodoochief

Monday, March 17, 2014

Doh! on number of Leaderboards

In my previous post of course I mentioned that I needed 18 leaderboards.

In fact that was a mistake, I only needed 12, as to of those types I imagined as different, were in fact the exact same information. Namely I thought personal best score per difficulty and best score per difficulty were different.

Of course now I know they are the same thing, I realized once I actually called the leaderboard code to upload the values, and I was uploading the same value for both. DOH!

I didn't want to delete the leaderboards I have setup already. So I have come up with another idea to use them for. so I went back to iTunes connect and very quickly rewrote the descriptions. So now I have some new leaderboards to play with.

Da Voodoochief

Sunday, March 16, 2014

App setup, it was time consuming

ok, so setting up the App itself was not time consuming. The main app setup went quite well as I placed a bunch of placeholder pictures and information into it. The only thing I really had to do was add more to the description, as apparently there is a minimum requirement for the description of ten words. Simple to just type in a sentence of waffle haha!

The thing that was really time consuming however was the setting up of the leaderboards. It was the whole reason for setting up the app Now in the first place. So once I had the App created it was time to add the leaderboards. I was not ready for just how long this was going to take....

I had 18 leaderboards to add. They break down like this:-
  • Total score per difficulty level (there are 6 of them)
  • Best score per difficulty level (obviously 6 of them)
  • Best personal score per difficulty. (again x6)
That means setting up 18 leaderboards. Now it is not very difficult to set up a leaderboard on iTunes Connect. Apple have done a wonderful job of that. Only they appear to have missed out the clone or duplicate existing leaderboard button. If I had this button I could make the first one and then simply clone another 17. Then I could go and make the slight alteration to the names.

What I don't understand is why Apple don't have this feature. You know, clone how many times and increment the name would be easy enough to implement, and Who just has a couple of leaderboards in their games? I would expect the number of them I am using to be quite small. In the end I feel that apple could improve this area of their App seup, and then they can do the same thing to the Achievements setup.

Laters, gotta go setup the leaderboards in game now they have had time to spawn across the internet.. or applenet.

Da Voodoochief

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Setting up an Apple App

I don't know why, but I really dislike having to create a new app in iTunes connect.

I simply want to setup my App by name, then add what I need to when I have them. Instead I have to setup a bunch of stuff right away, though I can them come in later and add or alter the assets. I am just not sure why I need to have so much ready at the beginning.

Now a friend told me I do not have too. In fact he said that I can upload any images, and who cares if they are blank images. also he mentioned that you don't really need copy, just a sentence or two.

As I am doing this at this time for the requirement of using Leaderboards for Heroic Simon. I feel that maybe I should try his nonchalant method of setting up an app. Wish me luck :)


Da Voodoochief

ps. I have now uploaded Heroic Patterns (non ad paid version) to apple for test.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sfx are cool, like bow ties

I enjoy putting in sfx for my games. Recenttly I have not had to do that for Heroic Patterns, as I did not feel I could do the game justice with my Sfx library. they would have had to have been more custom and maybe dynamic.

So here I am working on Heroic Simon and it is the perfect game for adding in some Sfx to enhance the gameplay. Not just enhance, but also help people distinguish more easily what is going on.

It has taken me well over an hour to find and grab the Sfx I need for the game (A list I made at lunch time). Then maybe another 30 minutes or so to process all these Sfx for the game. Processing the Sfx includes adding echo or other effects if needed, and then normalizing them to the correct volume.

Tonight I have also spent about 60 minutes on getting them into the game. Although they all appear to be playing now (after an awkward start), but not really playing at the right times. For example the two result Sfx, correct & wrong, both play when you got a match, but neither play when you didn't.

I am so tired now tonight that I will have to come back to this tomorrow. I am expecting another hour and the Sfx will all be in and working satisfactorily.

Da Voodoochief

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Heroic Patterns Lite Passed Apple

At 11:27am this morning I got an email telling me that Apple had placed Heroic Patterns Lite 'in review'.

At 2:39pm this afternoon my next email told me that the game was 'in processing for the App store'. Woohoo, it passed first time!

At 4:09pm I received another email telling the game was ready 'Ready for Sale'.

I think it has been a good day. Now I need to go and grab the Ad free version and get that passed. Once that is ready for sale, I will release the games at the same time.

A truly busy day at work today, but a pleasure to see this progression with my latest App.

Da Voodoochief

Monday, March 10, 2014

Something is better than nothing

Finally I am over the hump I wrote about previously. to do this I simply chose what would be the easiest option (or very close to it). This has enabled me to move on with the rest of the game code and I am now once again making headway on the game.

I have to say that although I have chosen the easiest way out, it is not looking too bad. Though I will have to change the method I am using to bring on the information test (instruction/prompts). Even my daughter doesn't like the way I scroll them in from the right side.

I also started to add in the score today, though I do not have a scoring method hooked up as of now. So everything is zero.. haha!

I also need to go and setup my leaderboards on Apples connect, but that will have to wait a bit till I get some form of scoring in I think.

More tomorrow for sure, I feel like I am on a roll again.

Da Voodoochief

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Creative Carnage

It really is a simple blockage in my creative side. All I need is to design this simple item and Whammo I can write the code to make it all happen, and then follow that with the rest of the games code.

Alas I have hit a blockage this weekend. A Simple thing, where all I need is to design how I will help instruct the player about the current mode of the game. This is a new thing and not part of my original design. In the original design the player would be guided around the various modes the game is in by simply lighting up the active section and low-lighting the inactive sections. I felt that would be great an work well. There are various reason why this is now not enough, and one of the main reasons is the wonderful background and it's activity, is simply distracting from this original design. So what to do now? Well put something up that tells the player what is going on.

The thing is the game layout is not designed with a message in mind. So instead I will have to make something up that fits well enough and doesn't look entirely stupid. So annoying.

As I have spent this entire weekend dithering and second guessing all my ideas, I feel like it has wreaked carnage over what I would have achieved if I had solved this problem fast...

This is the way it goes some times when working on designs...

Da Voodoochief

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Great word that one. Love it, and cannot get enough of it.

In this case I was collaborating today with my artist friend. I finally got a version of the game up and running on the iPad and this allowed us today to go over the very few changes that I wanted.

As it happens the version of the game I got to the iPad is a version with no gameplay at all. It really is the games graphics laid out properly. That way if the artist wants to move stuff around, then this is a good time, before I write any code that could possible care about such things. though of course I try hard to make my code not reliant on fixed positions of anything. I love defines and tables of positions etc. So this version had all the graphics in it, but also it had flashing input buttons to show just how good they will look.

Next up is to write some of the actual game code. From here gameplay will exist....

That will give me even more to collaborate with my artist on.

Da Voodoochief

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Raining in my game

While I am patiently awaiting Apple to test Heroic Patterns Lite. I am not standing still... Ok, I am sitting still instead haha. Working on Heroic Simon.

The artist came up with a great look using Hexagons all over the place and covering the background of the game. So from this we came up with an animation that looks like rain, only it is raining hexagons instead. Today I got that effect going and then added an effect trail and also colored the rain. Man, am I happy with the way it looks so far. I hope the artist will be happy as well. Now as it happens I tried to video this effect using Fraps. Somehow, or for some reason Fraps no longer captures the simulator properly, instead every other frame is bright yellow, most odd.

So unfortunately I do not have a video for ya to look over. though I did want to mention something about this 'rain'. It falls down the screen and can fall either left or right to the next adjacent and lower hexagon. So I did this randomly and at the moment I am wondering if I should some form of AI to keep these rain droplets straighter down the screen. It is quite possible for them to make the same choice 20 times in a row and I watch the droplet slide off to the side, though it doesn't look bad, I am not sure if this is what I want.

The above image shows my colored rain droplets heading down the screen. I hope people like them, I think they have a nice look to them.

Da Voodoochief

Monday, March 3, 2014

Getting going again

Although I still suffer from Bronchitis I am on the mend, just slowly.

Yesterday of course I uploaded Heroic Patterns Lite version to apple for them to approve. Once that is passed I will get the paid version up and tested. I already set it up with no ads and it's own mobile provisioning files etc. So now it simply needs to be uploaded. However I won't do that until the Lite version is passed, cos it would be stupid to submit them both and maybe get the same bug for them both reported back. Ok, it's cos I am a bit lazy haha!

Next up though is my Heroic Simon. I already have some mock graphics from my artist friend and once I get setup properly I will create a version of the game for the iPad so he can see his graphics in use. Then after that I will get to write the game. As you can tell, even though I am not truly q00%, I am getting things moving again.

And on that note I am also working on the design for the title after Heroic Simon, though I have no real name, I have a couple of nicknames like, RoboZilla and Robo walker. So back to being busy, and I am also working on the redesign of my kitchen.

Laters all,
Da Voodoochief

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Why wait

I have had Heroic Patterns Lite ready now for several days. Though I have been worrying over the game description that goes with the game rather more than I would like too. In fact what I have is pretty crap, but in the absence of anyone doing it for me, I will simply have to go with what I have created.

I am not the fondest of working with Macs, not that they are bad, only I am not experienced at all with them.. I mean virtually nothing in all these years of working on games and computers. So when I think about connecting up my Mac cube and finding the program to run to upload a new game binary I can procrastinate really easily. This is what has happened these last several days. Well today was the day I decided I was gonna face my Mac. As it happens I had already left it connected up to one of my desktop computers monitors, so all I had to do was turn the thing on and grab the mouse and keyboard.

When the machine booted up I looked at the screen in a confused manner (you know, head cocked to one side) because it had a window already on the screen and it was for the uploading of a binary. Whhahhh? I thought. This is what I needed to find. Well lets see if it works. I clicked a few buttons and selected the only game available for upload, Heroic Patterns Lite. Then selected the file I had created and placed into dropbox. Then whammo it was on it's way.

I would say 5 minutes after booting up the Mac I was done. the binary had gone and was awaiting review and so I researched and setup the mouse curser movement speed (it was way too slow). So I learn't something useful as well about Macs :)  Good eh!

So now Heroic Patterns Lite is in Apples review hands. I hope it goes through smoothly, but one can never tell.

wish me luck,

Da Voodoochief