August Dev Diary: Egg it

It’s the last Saturday of the month again, that means it’s time for my (slightly) regular monthly dev log. As always, I’ll discuss what I’ve been up to, what’s new & what’s next. Let’s get into it…

Weekend Jam

July was slow progress, I floated through It with very little productivity, hence the no dev log. But it’s cool, because by the end of the month I was that annoyed with not having done anything I just wanted to make a game. From start to finish, and do the key thing, finish.

So, over the first weekend I decided to have a little solo game jam. Honestly, making the game wasn’t too difficult. Usually I’d talk about the problems I had but besides the tight deadline making the game was enjoyable & mostly simple. So Instead I’ll quickly run through the first day. You can also check out the games page here:

https://alexthedev.org/portfolio/egg-it/

Day 1

Making breakfast – Yup, breakfast is involved. I wanted something fresh for this jam but didn’t have many ideas. So, I set a theme using the first thing I saw, and that was my breakfast.

EA9sjZOXUAARLBq.jpg

Design – This was one of the more difficult parts. I knew I wanted the game to be achievable, but I’ve got a habit of over designing. Let’s put it this way, I drew many eggs that day.

Basic spawning – Once I had an idea, I had to get a prototype working. Starting with the level itself, which was quite simple at first, all I had was a base and a plank that leads to the next base. Then I finished up by adding a little randomness and made the planks spawn anywhere between the two bases (excluding the first one).

EA-TuQoXoAEsZK_.png

Movement – The egg must roll! This was wayyy more difficult than it should have been. When I first started, I was aiming for realistic egg physics. I did a pretty good job too but apparently eggs don’t really roll very well making gameplay extremely difficult. Me & my friends spent a lot of time testing this version, had a good laugh at how hard it was. And it was fun, but it couldn’t stay like that. I had to play around with forces, colliders, gravity, the egg could even jump at one point just to try & make it easier (but that was cheating). I had a lot of problems getting the touch controls working properly too. Basically, it took a lot of trial & error, I didn’t get it right on day one, but I got it playable, I had proof of concept!

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Mobile ready – As I said me & my friends tested it from the start & I had to play with the touch controls numerous times. I could have kept doing it on the PC but no harm in making sure everything worked early! I’m glad I did too because things behaved so differently. It was also good to make sure things built to mobile smoothly, it meant I could build and test as I progressed.

Now there’s a functioning prototype, it was a little plain & lacking features, but it worked! The next few days I updated the level spawning (difficulty progression & added platforms), updated the visuals (with egg customisation) & created UI. I ended up taking an extra day to get it all finished but no harm in extending the weekend a little.

Publishing in a week

Game in a weekend, published in a week. Honestly I was very unprepared for the publishing stage; it’s changed a lot. I had a day set aside for creating the assets for the store page & built the app successfully. What I didn’t know is there is now a 64-bit support requirement, and I couldn’t publish until it was compatible. I had no idea how to go about doing this, so to whom it may help (if you use Unity) here’s the fix:

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/55974331/unity-export-android-64-bit

Shortly after fixing it, the game was uploading & being processed. It took 2 days before it got accepted because Google now takes longer to review their apps. Which I can understand but again, I wasn’t expecting it, the last few times it took hours not days.

I wish that was the end of my problems but after being live for a day the game got removed. If you saw my little twitter rant you already know why. If the game collects data (through ads, analytics etc.) the game requires a privacy policy. But since this was a completely free game it didn’t have any of that, so I didn’t think it needed one. At first, I thought something might be triggering it & I found a solution that said you can completely disable ads/analytics from the build and the problem will go away. It worked, but a day later the game got removed for the same reason.

Eventually I caved and spent a day researching, understanding & writing a privacy policy. Once I added a link to the policy in the store listing the update was processed for a final time & that was that. I also added a link to the policy from in-game, I’m not sure if this was a requirement but a lot of people recommended it.

I learned a lot from doing this, it was a massive pain but next time I’ll have a better understanding, should make it easier. At least until something else changes.

Update #1

After making sure the game survived publishing, I spent a good few days working on the first update. A content-based update, mostly small features & gameplay/difficulty tweaks. But let’s look at some of the stuff I added:

Are You Sure?

dev3.png  untitled2.png

An example of some of the small things I added. With the new policy I had to move some stuff about on the settings. I mostly used the clear score button when testing (it probably shouldn’t stay). But since it did, I added a safety net. Never let someone accidentally delete their own score. Nobody wants that.

untitled.png

More skins please!

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I had and still have a massive list of skin ideas but obviously over the weekend I only had so much time, so we started with 6 (since that fit on the screen nicely). But after a few days I had friends messaging me saying they almost unlocked them all. It was time to expand! I added a nice little scrolling menu & 6 more skins with some space for more. I mean it didn’t take long before I had messages & tweets with the new unlocks. But at least the new players have more to work for…

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Better sounds & checkpoint

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I got a few reviews, awesome! And they came with some constructive feedback, for example I got told the repetitive score sound was annoying. I could not agree more, I didn’t go too far into sound design in ver. 1.0 so to make that slightly more tolerable I made a sort of checkpoint. Every ten points it will play a check point sound highlight the score with a little animation, then the sound changes slightly, at least until it gets too annoying. It wasn’t much but I think it helps a lot & the animation makes me feel good about getting that far! 😛

Experiments – background

Another suggestion in the reviews was changing the background or having level themes. Just to make the game feel a little different each time. I investigated this, but sadly I couldn’t get it looking right when switching colors. This may have to be something I come back to.

Final updates

And we’re caught up, finally. There’s still a little more to do before I can call this game finished though. There’re buttons for skins that say “coming soon” can’t leave them blank. No but seriously, I’ll be hopefully adding a few more skins before I finish up. I also want online leaderboards for competitive reasons. Now, this is something I am completely unfamiliar with, I’ve done some research, but I’ve never actually got it working or even tried. That hasn’t stopped me before though, so let’s see what we can do.

Also, in the reviews, again to avoid repetitive gameplay someone mentioned a level-based mode. I’ve since designed this & have a pretty decent idea on how it will work. No promises but it’s something I’ll try, if we don’t see a leaderboard, we will see this!

What’s next?

Well we finally got a game finished! It wasn’t one of the original 10 ideas, but something is complete & that’s all I wanted to do. For now, I’ll continue updating the game & making it the best it can be. Once the games in a slightly better place I want to try porting it to iOS, something I’ve not experienced before so it should be fun! But it means a lot of other people get to play it so, worth it! 😀

See if we can get there by next month. Oh & if you haven’t already, go download Egg it:

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Until next time…

 

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