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Animal Trackers (Release Date: Thursday 3rd May 2012)

View Poll Results: When playing Animal Trackers, which control method do you see yourself mostly using?
Finger point: Tracker moves to where you point to. 2 18.18%
D-pad: Tracker moves in same direction as position of thumb relative to centre of on-screen d-pad. 9 81.82%
Accelerometer tilt: Tracker moves in the direction the iDevice is tilted. 0 0%
Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll
03-13-2012, 11:03 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 76
Easy mode

I've now added a number of 'easy' mode versions of those levels which I felt may be too difficult for young children to complete. The level layouts are predominantly the same, but have a few tweaks here and there to simplify the puzzles and keep related items spatially close.

For example, sometimes a trail will disappear down a hole only to emerge from another hole further along, so in easy mode, the holes tend to be a little closer together.

Also, some gates have switches which are quite far away (or even hidden) in medium / hard modes, but in easy mode the switches have been brought out into the open and relocated much closer to their respective gates.

Here, Sidey the Sidewinder has come across a gate with a switch next to it in medium mode. But, does that switch activate that gate? (Since I'm mentioning it here, it should be little surprise that it doesn't.)

Now, an adult will hopefully be able to explore and find the switch which does activate it, but I'm not so sure a young child would necessarily be able to, so that is why I've added the easy mode versions of such levels which keep related switches closer to each other.

As a result, it should be easier to finish a level in easy mode, but because I've often subtly changed the layout, playing a level in easy mode won't give away the locations of hidden items / shortcuts in medium / hard modes.

Remember, stars and points are awarded based on the difficulty mode being played, so even if a player completes a level in easy mode, they'll get a higher score completing it in medium mode, and an even higher one in hard mode.

Plus, it's only possible to collect the golden egg in hard mode, which adds another 100 points, so it's in a player's interests to complete each level in as hard a mode as possible.

Last edited by DaveA; 03-13-2012 at 12:10 PM.
03-26-2012, 05:02 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 76
Progress report

In the last couple of weeks or so, the improvements made behind the scenes have taken a while longer than I had anticipated to get working properly and be fully integrated, so the schedule has been pushed back a bit.

However, I'm still making progress, so it shouldn't be too long now...

Oh, and with Apple increasing the OTA limit from 20MB to 50MB, I've also been able to upgrade the iPhone graphics to retina resolution.

Here's the gang, all ready and waiting to get the tracking competition under way...

03-27-2012, 12:35 PM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 220
Thanks for the updates/info DaveA.

I recently picked up a number of good apps, leaving me with only a few left on my radar, including animal trackers, so a delay's a good thing from my point of view for a more even spread of titles!
03-27-2012, 12:39 PM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 747
I've been following your progress on Twitter. Really glad that you've almost got this complete. I can't wait to get it on all of my devices!
04-01-2012, 01:14 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 76
Twitter Integration

I’ve now added a Twitter console to Animal Trackers, so that players have the option to tweet about their accomplishments.

Upon successfully finishing a level, a new Twitter button now appears on the score card…

Pressing it will bring up the Twitter console…

… which has a vertically scrolling picker view on the left containing all Twitter accounts that have been set up in iOS 5 and a pre-written tweet on the right containing information about the accomplishment.

The tweet may either be sent unmodified, with the success…

… or failure…

… of the transmission indicated in the status area, or sent with amendments…

… if the player wishes to add / remove / change anything in the tweet.

The number of characters remaining (out of the maximum 140 allowed by Twitter) is displayed in the status area, with the ‘Send’ button only being active if this value is at least zero.

Once a tweet has been successfully sent, the ‘Send’ button is disabled to prevent duplicate tweets, but if the player wishes to tweet again, tapping in the tweet area and making a change will reactivate the ‘Send’ button.

Finally, pressing the 'Cancel' button will dismiss the Twitter console and return to the score card.
04-09-2012, 06:26 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 76
Sound options

I just have a few tweaks left to make on the sound side of things, but it’s mostly there now.

Animal Trackers now has four background audio options: in-game music, ambient sound effects, iPod music and complete silence.

Pressing the cog symbol from the title screen (or pause menu during a game) will bring up the options console. At the top of the scroll view are the audio settings…

The speaker button controls sound in general, so disabling that will turn off all sounds, including music and sound effects.

The game will detect the status of this button on launch and if it is set to ‘off’, it will allow whatever music is already playing in the background to continue playing.

The musical note button enables/disables music and the ‘FX’ button enables/disables sound effects.

When playing the game, the player can have as a backing sound track either music or ambient sound effects (such as birds singing, wind blowing, etc.)

Beneath the ‘FX’ button are a check box and a play/pause button.

With a tick in the check box, ambient sound effects will play during the game (if background music has been disabled), otherwise just action sound effects, such as footsteps, flicking switches, etc. will play.

Pressing the play/pause button next to it will immediately play a sample of each ambient sound track.

Scrolling down will reveal the music controls…

These work in the same way as the sound effects controls.

The title music will play on both the title screen and the level selection map if there is a tick in the ‘Title’ check box.

The background music for a game will cycle through the tunes that have been ticked. Each successive start/restart of a game will select the next tune in the cycle.

Well, that’s it for the sound options. Hopefully, these will allow a level of control that will suit most players.
04-09-2012, 01:10 PM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 747
Wow! That has to be the coolest bunch of sound options in any game I've ever played. The option for ambient sounds seems very relaxing. Still can't wait to play this game!
04-10-2012, 04:34 AM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 220
Really like the additional features (nice to have optional extras - that extra yard) and audio options seem v well thought out! I like choosing "the right balance" for me in games. eg audio for atmosphere and mute for when I want to dang well win that 3rd star!
04-20-2012, 01:07 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 76
Updated trailer

In the lead up to the release of Animal Trackers, I've updated the trailer to include more recent footage in those parts which had changed as development progressed.

For those who like 'spot the difference' puzzles, you could try to count how many scenes have changed between the 'pre-release' and 'release' versions.

Old 'pre-release' version: http://bit.ly/Iac1XC

New 'release' version: http://bit.ly/HXqAUp

If you have a YouTube account, please feel free to vote / comment.
04-20-2012, 03:06 PM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 747
I RT'd your post on Twitter. Can't wait for this to get released.