Thursday, October 31, 2013

Making Games Prettier


     Now that I've gotten the hang of making mobile games, I've been looking at my apps and comparing them to the others on the market. Until this point I've been looking at poor examples and striving to be better than them. Now I'd like to look forward and see what little touches I need to add to stand next to some of the best. I've made a little list for myself to review for my next few apps in order to improve their quality.
 
      Take a look t it below the break.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Feels Good Man


     After Candy Shop Catch I feel like I've ascended onto a new level of indie development. It's like I leveled up and know what I'm doing now. I feel like I can do even better and really make something that looks polished and professional. And that's my next goal. Make a game that looks so good, people will doubt I made it myself.

     It's like I'm a level 3 developer now and I need to be level 7 to make my dream game. A feel  like I took a big step toward where I want to be. I'm going to keep running forward and improving until I know without a doubt that I can make something truly remarkable in the games industry. Big goals for a little fish, but this fish has got heart.
   
     I'm looking hard at Candy Shop Catch for flaws; things to improve on to make it look like the other games in the app store. I have a nice little list of notes I'm working on and I'll post it tomorrow when it's finished. Until my next game is ready, I hope everyone has fun with Candy Shop Catch!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Candy Shop Catch is Now Available!!


     Candy Shop Catch is finally available for Android today! Pick it up on Google Play!

     This is definitely my best game yet and I couldn't be any more proud of it. I accomplished everything I set out to do with it and now have something to show to anyone and have them pick-up and play. Try it out for yourself right now and see what I've been working on for the last five weeks!


The iOS version is on it's way, just going through Apple's review process. Hopefully it won't run into the same issues TriGrid had.

Monday, October 28, 2013

20 Years of Yotes!!


     This site hasn't been around for even a year yet, but I've been alive for 20. Today is my birthday and I like to look back at what I've accomplished over the two decades I've been alive. As of today, I have 3 finished games, a helpful website of my own, great friends, and the world's most perfect girlfriend. Things are pretty good now and it's about to get better. I feel like I reached the home stretch, and in a few years from now, I'll be living the life. Graduate and game developer, Tony Yotes.

Stuck on Apple Error Status


     In case you're wondering why TriGrid is not on iOS yet, it's because I found a pair of annoying glitches with the AdMob banner and my In-App Purchase Unity plugin. The banner never disappears and the purchase recovery button crashes the game. Instead of fumbling with these problems until I stumble across a solution (the usual way I solve programming problems that stump me), I'll just finish up Candy Catch first and fix TriGrid before beginning my next game.

      Candy Shop Catch needs to be out by November so I can start making money, validating to my parents that this mobile games thing is profitable. As of today, the game is completed and I'm getting it ready for the Google Play store. Once I can get a comfortable income, I can try to produce games with greater scale and polish. I really want that by January. I need to start making bigger and better games to prepare for the giant RPG I'll be starting next year.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Making School Relevant


     I doubt I'm the only one who finds school boring. I suffer from narcolepsy every time I hear about working at a generic IT job or sit in a class that I can't relate to anything involving the games industry. Most college students either don't know what they want to do and be or do know what they want but only chose it for the money. I'm not one to trade happiness for a guaranteed paycheck, and the thing I want most is the thing I'm most passionate about. My psychology teacher even asked me the other day "What's your special talent?" And I answered "Game development. I am an artist, I love bringing my ideas to life, and I'm willing to tear the world apart to do what I love most."


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Status Report #9


   Time for the home stretch. I'm coding Candy Catch Shop into Unity now and it should be ready to upload on Google Play by next week.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Logic on Paper

I scribbled out some logic for Candy Catch Shop the other day
     Every idea sounds great in your head. Same goes for programming ideas. It turns out when you write out how you plan to code a game on paper, you find lots of flaws when you try to connect the pieces. Over time you get better and find less of them, but the fact still stands. You should scribble out your programming logic before diving into an editor and start typing.

    It's good to have a little logic chart around anyway. If you make a mess with actual code, it's much more hazardous to fix. I learned the hard way from TriGrid that deleting one useless script does more harm than good and makes fixing whatever missing link you made a black hole for development.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wildcat Comic-Con 2013

 
     My school hosted a Comic Con a while back and I figure it's about time I talked about my first convention. Going to the Wildcat Comic Con was a fun, interesting, and educational experience for me. I got to meet people like author Jerry Craft and voice actress Erica Schroeder in the same halls I normally sip milkshakes in. It felt pretty surreal waking up that morning and seeing a crowd of costumes stroll by as I hunted for french toast. It was a great way to start a day of surprises.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Big Risk


     Making games is definitely not like a part-time job. Money is not guaranteed and loads of hours get poured into your creations. By quitting my job (hopefully permanently) and taking on focused indie development, I basically did a leap of faith. I believe in myself enough to risk my college education and financial safety on the games I make and the blog I write on.

    I'm hoping that my games get reviewed and sales pick up soon. My college tuition problem is getting worse and I admit to having a moment of serious self-doubt a few days back. With renewed vigor I look to the future and I look at myself. Who I've become since I first learned Java. I think I have what it takes. I know indie development is worth the risk.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Getting Android Reviews

Android Authority

     I've been tossing out URLs for my game left & right in order to get people to notice it more. As far as that goes, all I needed was a few single sentences to either grab attention or describe the game quickly, a few paragraphs to describe what makes it special, the app description, and links to the game and web pages associated with it. 

     Since I can't start sending out the iOS version until I fix it, I have a few go-to android sites to depend on to boost sales. I can even list a few for those who are curious. 



     Obviously there are much more than this, but it's a start. Also, it'd be a good idea to avoid spending money to get reviewed. If your game is great, the reviews will come on their own and others will follow. If a site needs money to get your game out there to it's "thousands" of followers (who are most likely fellow developers), it's likely a waste a money. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Game Development Magic


     Have you ever had that one dream job in mind and just couldn't imagine being anywhere else? For me it's game design. I don't know where I'll work, or what I'll be making (I've got an idea but we'll see how it turns out) but as long as I get the feeling that I have when making games now, I'll be entirely too happy. There is just some unexplainable tingling feeling I get whenever I think about working on my dream game, bringing a childhood idea to life, that is magical.

     There were times where I wanted to be a Disney animator or imagineer, a cartoonist, an author, a game animator, or recently a games programmer. None of those things hit the mark. With where I'm headed, there's nowhere else I'd rather be. It's good to think about how you're planning to spend most of your life. Work shouldn't be a drag for you. everyone has talent and everyone likes fun. How do you plan to combine those and make money to live off of?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Persevering Through Self-Doubt



     Everybody gets down on themselves sometimes. I definitely do. Sometimes feedback hurts (a lot), even when it's said jokingly, but the feedback wouldn't exist if there wasn't something behind it all. There is  room for improvement and you should always be trying o better yourself at your craft. You just may need to think positively for a bit to pick yourself out of the dumps so the fumes don't keep you from seeing where you could go next.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Status Report #8


   I basically took a week off game development. Played a game I liked a lot, caught up with a few shows, built a pillow fort, read some comics, and knocked out some annoying school projects. I refreshed myself to prepare for what is to come. A big mess. Take a look at my to-do list for next week and see for yourself.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Reasons To Play


     There are loads of different reasons why people play video games, but their reasons are not the same as their favorite aspects. You could say you love challenge, exploration, or competition, but do you know why? What things in your life brought you to the point where you'd rather play Minecraft than League of Legends

     Asking myself these questions I get the answers I repeat all the time. I like exploration games and fantastic adventures to see things I've never experienced before and enjoy escaping into a fantasy world while my problems fade away until further notice. What brought me here was years of stress and not wanting to be myself. I don't mean myself as in who I am, because I like everything about me. It just feels tough, like I'm playing life in Hard Mode in hopes of a bigger reward. 

     So what do you like most about video games? What elements of your favorite games do you enjoy most? Why do you like that so much?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Does Game Length Matter?


     Why do games that last 3 hours feel as good as some that last for 30? When you spend hundreds of hours in a game, how many of hose hours were fun to play? Some people consider games that don't last a few hundred hours not worth the $60 price. Others think play time has nothing to do with how good a game is, but rather the experience you have with it. If a game is paced well enough (take Portal for instance) the few hours spent playing it are forgiven in favor of the great experience that does not need to be any longer.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Empathy With Characters


     Games are a lot more intense when you care about what happens. It can make the difference between a chore and an activity. While I'm playing Pokemon Y I'm noticing small details that really make it shine for me. One of those details is the empathy I feel for the monsters I send out to fight for me. They're more interactive than ever and turn your friendship with them into a game mechanic.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Immersion Makes the World



     When you get into a game, and I mean really into, it'll stay with you as a life experience forever. I notice a big difference in the amount of investment I give a game when I feel like I'm in the world. I find myself pouring hours into games like Pokemon, GTA, Zelda, and Skyrim because I play games for escapism. To forget my worries for an unspecified amount of time so I can explore, overcome fantasy conflict, and just have fun.

     To make an RPG people can immerse themselves in is a dream of mine. I want to build a world people want to spend time in. Games that achieve this are the ones I love most and want there to be more of. Being able to put all my worries aside, even for just a moment, is the biggest reason I play games. It makes me incredibly happy and I just can't seem to give the feeling justice with words.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Yo-Ho, Yo- Ho! A Pirate I'll Never Be!


     I just can't do it. I can see why people do though. No money, not sure you'll even like the game, it's not available on your platform of choice, all good reasons. I just stand firm in my belief of supporting people who make the things I like. I do it so they have a reason to make more. I don't even get used games unless there are no new copies left in any game stores nearby. Voting with your dollars is one of the many ways every individual shapes the world. I don't even sneak popcorn into movie theaters because I want to support the theater that plays the movie I'm seeing (the food is only expensive because they aren't making enough money because people sneak in food because the food is expensive).

     You give, and you get back. Piracy hurts the developers. Games are crazy expensive to make, and to think that simple mobile games ask for $1 (small fries at McDonalds, or less than a soda out of a vending machine) and took some guys about a year to make, and people who actually like it would rather pirate it. It hurts. Heck, even Crysis abandoned PC exclusivity because of the rampant pirating.

     To get a feel for it first hand check out Game Dev Tycoon. If you pirate the game, you'll reach a point where your business fails because of most of your fans are pirating your games and you can't stay afloat. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Expect Delays: Pokemon X & Y Came Out


     It's a good thing I took this into account when planning out how long Candy Catch Shop will take. There's no way I'd miss this gaming event. This game has, and will continue to, consume my entire weekend. I'll call it my mini-vacation. I'm learning a lot just from playing it anyway, like I do with every game I play, so if anything I'm studying the thing and finding lots of improvements.
    
     Now, I gotta get back to training to create the greatest Charizard who ever lived.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Status Report #7


   Sprites are done, but sounds are next. I may get started with coding in the meantime though. Candy Catch is on it's way and I'm going to be distracted with playing Pokemon Y with my girlfriend very soon. See what I DID do all week after the break.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Making Fish Feaster - Part 3



     Once I had a game up and running all I needed to do was add some pretty fish and ambient sounds. I thought it would take me a few weeks at most. Maybe even a month, I did have a lot of fish to make after all. I also wanted to scale them all for each size the fish could possibly be. Pixel-by-pixel perfection. My game was going to be beautiful. Oh how foolish I was...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Making Fish Feaster - Part 2


     The first thing I did with Fish Feaster was make solid colored boxes in MS Paint to prototype. The actual fish graphics were made after I had the game working perfectly. It was a long and tedious process, and one I won't let myself fall victim to again, and I'm very pleased with the end result. A cute fish game that's fun to play. Find out how it came to be below the break.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Making Fish Feaster - Part 1



     Last August I set out to make my first iPhone game. It was going to be done quickly. It was going to be a port of a game I made in C++ with SDL. It was going to make thousands of dollars. It was going to rule the app store. Then reality came smashing down and smacked those expectations down to size. After having my first game erased, I started on what would have been my second project instead of enduring the frustration of starting the first one over. That second project was a game I called FisheatFish.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

More Peace Through Simulated Violence


     I don't know about you, but I'd like to see a world where people are killing each other only in games instead of real life. Humanity just has this bloodlust that's lasted throughout history. Maybe through sports and simulated violence we could eliminate the need for war and urges to murder. Psychos can get their fix in virtual worlds and maybe governments can settle things with high stakes games or sports instead of murdering each other's citizens and getting the strongest ones to fight with the biggest weapons.

    I guess it really falls down to me personally. I don't like to control how other people act and just focus on myself. I think it's really sad how we will never reach a point where reason and open-mindedness are all we need to solve our problems. I dunno, just a crazy thought I had today...

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Power of Recommendation


     Having the kind of game that draws crowds is a dream for game designers. If people gather around your game and get excited to ply it, you obviously made something special. No matter how many advertisements and banners you post, the biggest thing to help grow your game into viral popularity is to make a game people want to talk about.

     Make a game that makes a passerby want to stop and look at over another person's shoulder. If the player is expressing excitement,  it'll make nearby people curious as to what the fuss is about. Give the player something to laugh about and want to tell to their friends later. you could even try to tickle a niche's funny bone and get them to spread it on forums.

     The big picture here is to not forget that the players are the most important part of your game. Players are not just numbers and sales figures that stop mattering after you've taken all the money you can from them. They keep the game alive and running for as long as they choose to.

     So give them a reason to choose to.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fit It All In


    Getting everything your GUI needs can be pretty tricky. It's important to draw it all out first and plan through your game flow completely, or else you'll end up squeezing in buttons at the last minute and may even have to recreate the whole thing. You have to decide what is important to have on screen at any given time. Some things wil end up being harder to get to so priorities have to be considered. Just think through these things ahead of time and you'll save headaches and time in the end.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Status Report #6


   I started Candy Catch Shop last Sunday and have made tons of sprites and a design document so far. Midterms are coming up and interfering with my development time but I should still get things done on time for release.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Next Game Revealed! (Game #3)



     Candy Catch Shop is on it's way to iOS and Android by the end of October and I'm finally ready to talk about it! Catch the description of it after the break.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fish Feaster Free Update 1.5: Now With Ads


     My first game now has working ads in it, courtesy of Google's AdMob service. Now my only game as of today with 500+ downloads will be at least microscopically profitable. It looks pretty good. Putting it into Xcode through Cocos2d was a bit of a pain but it turned out well in the end and only took a couple days. From now on, all this stuff will be handled by Unity and the AdMob plugins I got from Plato Evolved.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pokemon X & Y Refresh the Franchise


     So, Pokemon is making a comeback huh? Well, it never really went away. This franchise has been going strong since I was born and something like that won't vanish without a lot of effort. No matter how popular it is though, there is no denying that a lot of people have burned out on good ol' Pocket Monsters. I was one of those people until a few months ago.  Looking at this game, I see a lot of my gripes being dispelled. If you loved Pokemon as a kid but feel sick of it now, I think I can teach you something that will let you relive those happy old times again. (At least as far as the games go.)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Simple Instructions

TriGrid's only instructions
     Nobody likes to read a mountain of text. After tons of playtests I've seen that about half of the players never bother to read tutorials. Lots of people prefer to jump in and figure things out for themselves. When making instructions, I try to minimize the amount text and provide pictures that can better explain the details. People like discovering strategies on their own, so I just give the basics on how to get started. One sentence is pretty easy on the eyes don't you think?