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Upcoming Platform Game: Suzy Cube

08-04-2017, 12:03 PM
Suzy Cube Update: August 8, 2017

Sorry, no multilingual support yet. Figuring out the best way to load stuff and the best format in which to store localization text has proven to be more trouble than I originally expected.

I know, I know, excuses excuses! Truth is, I haven't been concentrating on the game much this week. Little bits of work here and there mostly related to file loading and tester gameplay review have been disrupted by shopping trips as I attempt to cross everything off my wife's and my shopping list before returning to Caracas.



Among a handful of small changes like adjusting the placement of text on the "Stage Cleared" screen for better placement on iPad and iPhone, I did make a rather important change to the order of four of the game's early levels.

Based on feedback from a friend, I decided to swap Level 1-4 and Level 2-3. Both snow levels. Level 1-4 has proven to simply be a bit too difficult as a World 1 level.



Similarly, I've swapped the World 1 and World 2 special levels for similar reasons.

Well, that will, unfortunately, do it for this update. If all goes well, I should be back in Caracas next week. Hopefully, I'll be less distracted once I'm back home! See you all next week.
08-11-2017, 10:32 AM
Suzy Cube Update: August 11, 2017

I'm back home and it shows!
I've got a localization solution up and running and I think I've accounted for all text currently in game.



I settled on CSVs for storing and loading my translation data. Google Sheets makes it super easy to store/edit/export these using separate pages in a single spreadsheet. What's nice is that I've made all pages inherit their left column from the English page, so as I add new entries, all other language pages are automatically updated!

In the game, I simply load the appropriate CSV into a static dictionary using the left column as keys and the right column as values. I wrote a simple static function which takes a string as input, uses it as a key to search the dictionary and then simply returns the result or an appropriate error. This makes it really easy to call from any script which needs to dynamically populate text fields.

For text fields which are populated right in a unity scene...



I wrote a handy little script which I can attach to any object containing a text field. The script simply pulls the content from the text field, feeds it to the translator function and replaces it with the returned result. YAY! So in the shot above, for example, the prefab for the Settings Panel has a text field at the top containing the word "SETTINGS". In the Spanish localization file, the key "SETTINGS" corresponds to the value "AJUSTES". The script takes what's in the field (SETTINGS) and replaces it with the value (AJUSTES). Easy peasy!

Remember folks... If it looks, at all, like your project is going somewhere, don't keep shoving it full of static text. Take the time to properly source your text from external files to save you many more headaches down the road!

ALSO! I fixed a little timing issue I had with these guys...



It was a subtle one too. Depending on how fast the level was loaded, the timing of the beat-blocks would end up offset compared to the music. So, like, loading from the level select screen... probably fine... reloading after death (faster)... de-synced... Booh!

To this I say.. .WHY DID I NOT LOOK THIS UP BEFORE!!?? I literally found an analogue to Time.time called AudioSource.time!!!! I literally just had to search the Unity site for "Timing elements to music"!!!

Do your research, kids!

Anywho. I literally switched out Time.time for AudioSource.time, fixed a small issue it introduced and BAM! problem solved! The beat-blocks now can't de-sync from the music as they get their timing directly from the music's audio source timer!

A nice productive week! I like it!
Check back in next week. I'm hoping to put out a new test build this afternoon, so I'll hopefully have some test-led tweaks to a new set of levels to share with you then.
Until then!

08-18-2017, 02:06 PM
Suzy Cube Update: August 18, 2017

Why, hello there! How good of you to join me!

I have hardly received any videos from the current round of testing which is not what I was hoping. I'm going to have to check my TestFlight stats to see how many installs I've had to see if it's a problem with folks getting the build or not...

So, failing that, I've been doing little bug fixes, keeping 3rd party assets up to date and tweaking physics settings on the project.

I know, right!? Tweaking physics settings!? Well, thanks to a recent post on the Unity blog, I was given a better understanding of what certain settings do. So I changed the project's internal physics timing to better match the target 60fps framerate while also lowering the physics iterations count. This second change should lighten the load on physics calculations at the cost of accuracy. Since Suzy Cube mostly relies on the physics engine only for detection, I figured it would be a safe bet. So far, it looks like the game is running more smoothly on all platforms I've tested... So that's good news!

The only thing this change broke was the behaviour of the Double Jump's float ability. I made some changes to the script and got it back in working order.



The last few days have actually been spent working off script on a feature I had decided to defer a long time ago. Save Slots!



Now, folks sharing a device can each have their own save slot! Since I use PlayerPrefs for saving data, and it all gets saved to a single file, my implementation simply involved adding a suffix to my old keys. So, the key for storing coin total, which used to be "coins" now looks like "slot1coins" or "slot2coins" etc.

I'd say the work was about 50% coding the support for the feature and 50% building the interface for accessing/deleting the save slots.



All properly localized, of course!

Aaaand I've, finally, put ink to paper on a publishing contract! Not ready to announce with who yet, but stay tuned for more on that!

That's it for this week. See you all next Friday!
08-19-2017, 10:16 PM
First, gotta to say, "Save Slots?" Very cool! - I can count on one hand how many iOS games bother to do this.

Are you planning any sort of Game Center (or cross platform) leaderboard integration?

Regarding relative dearth of new test videos, it can be hard finding beta testers that are engaged enough to keep providing feedback across multiple beta refreshes.. maybe even for a game as nifty as Suzy Cube. But a bigger issue may be that:

1) the latest update's changes are more subtle; mostly tweaks to existing levels. I played through each of the designated test levels, but it didn't seem worthwhile for me to bother uploading any of my runs. I'd pretty much mastered all the levels even before the latest changes. For what it's worth, I did spot (most) of the changes, and think they are right on the money.

2) it's a bit painful uploading a video - I mean it can be minutes waiting for EveryPlay to finish submitting.
08-25-2017, 09:15 AM
Suzy Cube Update: August 25, 2017

I can FINALLY say it...


Noodlecake will be publishing Suzy Cube!!

In addition to the usual publishing duties, they've also agreed to take on some development tasks to help me make Suzy the best she can be. I want to be clear, though, we are not moving the goalpost and are not growing the scope of the project. The game was a lot for me to take on alone in the first place and Noodlecake's involvement will help ensure you all get to play a solid, polished version of what I set out to make. Also, with Noodlecake helping with porting and additional localization, it also means more people will get to enjoy Suzy, which is fantastic news!

In other news...

Most of my week has been spent cleaning up code comments and trimming fat from my project files in anticipation of actually having to let someone else in there (YIKES!). And I also went ahead and solved an issue a lot of testers had been complaining about forever...



Yep... Suzy can finally find her own damn way out of doorways! It used to be that after getting teleported to the doorway exit, players would have to manually move her out of the doorway... Annoying, I know... Well, no more! Thanks to a new script which, when triggered, can override Suzy's controls, she can now walk herself back out of the dark. What's neat is, as far as Suzy's concerned, the player it still the one holding down on the joystick!

This script might come in handy again when it comes time to make a controls tutorial animation...

Well, there you go, folks! Cat's out of the bag! We've been in talks since GDC and I'm glad to finally have all the papers signed and the hands shaken to be able to share the news with you.

So, please help me in welcoming Noodlecake to the world of Suzy Cube!
08-25-2017, 09:29 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louard View Post
I can FINALLY say it...


Noodlecake will be publishing Suzy Cube!!

In addition to the usual publishing duties, they've also agreed to take on some development tasks to help me make Suzy the best she can be. I want to be clear, though, we are not moving the goalpost and are not growing the scope of the project. The game was a lot for me to take on alone in the first place and Noodlecake's involvement will help ensure you all get to play a solid, polished version of what I set out to make. Also, with Noodlecake helping with porting and additional localization, it also means more people will get to enjoy Suzy, which is fantastic news!

In other news...

Most of my week has been spent cleaning up code comments and trimming fat from my project files in anticipation of actually having to let someone else in there (YIKES!). And I also went ahead and solved an issue a lot of testers had been complaining about forever...



Yep... Suzy can finally find her own damn way out of doorways! It used to be that after getting teleported to the doorway exit, players would have to manually move her out of the doorway... Annoying, I know... Well, no more! Thanks to a new script which, when triggered, can override Suzy's controls, she can now walk herself back out of the dark. What's neat is, as far as Suzy's concerned, the player it still the one holding down on the joystick!

This script might come in handy again when it comes time to make a controls tutorial animation...

Well, there you go, folks! Cat's out of the bag! We've been in talks since GDC and I'm glad to finally have all the papers signed and the hands shaken to be able to share the news with you.

So, please help me in welcoming Noodlecake to the world of Suzy Cube!
Congrats on getting a publisher and also some additional development help! That's fantastic!
08-25-2017, 11:05 AM
Congratulations!!!! Can't wait to see the final game.
09-01-2017, 08:50 AM
Suzy Cube Update: September 1, 2017

Been busy redesigning Level 3-2 this week.

I know, I know... I said I was done with levels... But when you gotta do it, you gotta do it! So, "why?", then you ask... The old design, lacked a good memorable hook. It's only defining characteristic was that it was played entirely from a side view and I just didn't feel that was enough.




This new design still has you, essentially, playing in 2D, but requires that you flip between the front and back section of each room in order to proceed by hitting switches etc. I also like how this new design, with its central room and light puzzle elements calls back to the World 2 pyramid themed level.



So, what about the old design? Well, since it was a complete level, I would hate to just scrap it, so I plan on reusing it as a Special World level.

"But if it wasn't good enough for the main game, why would it be good enough for the Special World!?" I hear you screaming at your monitor. The issue with the old design wasn't that it was bad, I just didn't feel it was distinct enough. I want all the main levels to be memorable and offer a bit of a different experience. The old Level 3-2 was a fine level, it just had a bit of a week hook, that's all. Since my goal with the Special World levels is to offer challenge over variety, I can use the old level as a starting point and build in some extra challenge for the expert players who manage to unlock it.

Well, I've still got some work to do on this new level. I've got coins and other pick-ups to add and the ending section still isn't build. So on that note, I bid you farewell and until next time!
09-08-2017, 12:05 PM
Suzy Cube Update: September 8, 2017

This week's update is focused on level improvements and a bit of spruced up effects.



As I'm currently coordinating with Noodlecake to get them set up and contributing to the project, I decided to simply address simple bugs and cosmetic issues this week. I did, however, complete design work on Level 3-2, seen above. All that was needed was for me to add some collectibles and add the darkness gradients around the outside to complete the effect of spelunking into an ancient tomb!

I decided to start decorating some of the more solid levels of the game to the level of decoration found in the World 1 levels. First to get this treatment has been Level 1-4 (formerly 2-3). The level has been in good shape, design wise, for a while now so I felt confident getting in there and adding some decorative props. I also added and tweaked some camera triggers for a more polished experience.



Level 5-3 didn't get a decoration pass but I did give it some attention, adding more coins to the level to allow players more opportunities to earn extra lives.



I also tweaked one of the jumping challenges late in the level which had been proving problematic with testers for a while now. Even I had a hard time avoiding the spikes in there old configuration. I think this new setup is much more fair.



Finally, I spent a little time tweaking a couple of effects related to Suzy herself. One was Suzy's spawn in sequence.



The change is subtle, but those little shockwaves as the Spawn Box bounces coincide with a bouncing sound which adds life to the previously silent sequence.



Suzy's death also got a little extra touch up for the first time since... Forever, actually! Again, the changes are subtle, but where the old effect only included the cubes, this new version has some extra little flourishes for good measure.

That's it for this week's update. I've got some stuff lined up for next week, but I don't want to make any promises. Noodlecake and I had a Skype meeting to discuss scheduling and it looks like Monday will be devoted to getting them access to my project repository so they can download everything on their side and get it uploaded to their own local repository. Once we've confirmed we can both still build the game locally from the new project we will be scheduling a formal kickoff meeting for the project. Given that I have no idea how any of this is going to go, I can't really guarantee what else I'll get around to next week. No matter what, I invite you all back here to find out!
09-15-2017, 11:38 AM
Suzy Cube Update: September 15, 2017

So, just this morning, I was able to run the game from the version downloaded from Noodlecake's Git repo! Big step! This means we can now all start contributing to the project.. Though I haven't tried pushing changes yet... Soon...

Once I had to, basically, lock in changes so Noodlecake could take over the project, I took the opportunity to work on some translation. I finished off the French and continued to working back and forth with a buddy of mine on the German.



I also wrote a couple of pieces for the ol' blog. One is an analogy for anyone having trouble over-polishing aspects of their game the player will never notice:
https://louardongames.blogspot.com/2...cognising.html

The other is my latest entry in the long neglected Lessons from Suzy Cube series:
https://louardongames.blogspot.com/2...l-1-1-how.html

In other news. Before locking things down for the SVN to Git handoff, I did get around to some level improvements and decoration.

My recent redesign of level 3-2 has proven somewhat problematic in the hands of testers so I made some changes which will, hopefully, help players who were getting lost. I added some teleporter shortcuts to cut down on backtracking.



For Level 5-2, I changed up a section where the player must run over a series of platforms which only appear in the nick of time. The issue being that testers were being too timid and there's a big rolling snowball relentlessly chasing Suzy the whole time.



I had, originally, placed a single coin on each platform, but I decided to add an additional coin between them to further highlight the safe path. Lesson: If your player is being chased by a big deadly snowball, it's too much to ask them to notice subtle clues.



And four gussied up levels...









Well, that's it for this week's update. I'm off to see if I remember hot to use Git! See you all next week!