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iPhone: Pocket God 1.45 - Dance Dance Execution

05-31-2012, 11:38 AM
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: San Francisco, Ca
Posts: 1,477
Pocket God 1.45 - Dance Dance Execution

Hey Guys,

The new update is out and introduces the dance chamber. mainly because I think that techno is one of the signs of the Apocalypse.

We really tried to get this update done in a week, because we need to focus on the runs badly, but it ended up taking about 2 and a half weeks instead. We started out by adding some simple animations, we wanted to add this Dance Dance Revolution style item in the room where the Pygmy would dance or maybe do a funny animation when placed in it. However, I thought it would be a bright idea to make it into a mini game instead. I mean, how hard would it be to have some random symbols fall from the top of the screen and detect when the user hits the button. I completely underestimated the work involved (like with most of our updates).

So, I'm going to start with some of the technical stuff first. When creating a music game, it turns out that being able to exactly sync code up to the beat of a music loop is actually pretty challenging. The first thing is being able to calculate the timing of the beats in the loop. and even though the timing of the beats might be one thing, the loop might be cropped in a way that isn't on the exact same timing as the beats. so if you sync the code up with the beats in the music, if you play for long enough, eventually the end of each loop will introduce a slight error and the timing will be completely off.

Then once you get that problem out of the way, you need to start a timer at the exact start of the loop. We have a short intro piece that starts before the game and loop takes over, so if there is even the slightest delay when you start the intro sound, or the loop at the end of the intro, the timing will again be off for the entire game. We ran into a lot of problems where the timing felt good 9 out of 10 times, but then that 10th time it would feel like crap.

Then once you get through those issues, just testing it is difficult because the only way you know if it feels like its on time or not is from playing it yourself. In the past I learned how to play guitar and the keyboard but I don't have great timing. Allan is actually more accomplished than I am in the music department, he actually played guitar in a band (and also recorded his own songs), but he even admits that his own timing isn't perfect. So our ability to tell if something is wrong is really only based on how good our own timing is. which is scary. I'm sure if there are any real musicians in this crowd, they will be able to tell us that the game is slightly ahead or behind the beat. We've been playing the game for a while, the game feels good to us, but this kind of nitpicking drives me crazy because I want things like this to be perfect.

But I do think the game feels good, and I would be interested in hearing what you all think about it. The game is harder than a tap tap revenge. not in terms of the speed of the symbols but in tap tap, you can still have sloppy timing and still do ok. In Dance Dance Execution, you have to be able to carry a beat to be able to last a long time, this might be a little frustrating at first if you have never played an instrument but keep at it and I think the way we did it, is much more satisfying once you get good at it. Also, it's an endless style rhythm game, once you miss 4 beats in a row the game ends but every time you get a correct beat, the health bar recharges.

One secret to doing well is that you shouldn't rely on sight to play the game. if you try to visually wait for the symbols to fall into their spots then you will probably hit the symbols way too early. You have to listen to the music and hit the symbols with the music. Only use the visuals to give you an idea of what kind of pattern is coming next.

Including the Mini Game should have been all we did with the update but we also added two new features. You can stick a Pygmy in the go go cage and he will sit there and do whatever the currently selected dance is. and we added helium balloons that you can give to the pygmies to inhale. We used audio from the David After Dentist Video to give the pygmies some cute sayings after they inhale their balloon.

the skin pack with this update is our third dance pack. We chose some pretty funny dances with this one. Allan helped to create a new Pygmies Theme song written by Parry Gripp (one of Allan's favorite musicians). We also added the Elaine dance from Seinfeld, the MC Hammer Dance, and we parodied the KONY 2012 guy's melt down in San Diego.

To give you guys an update for PG moving forward. We need to reshuffle again and focus on The Runs. We are basically working on two games at the same time and The Runs is turning out to be huge. I don't think we will be able to do the 8 updates this year for PG, we will probably do a few more updates between now and the end of the year, but we won't be able to all 8 apocalypse chambers between now and then. We think The Runs is going to be awesome, and we really want to put all our effort into making that a great game. We are still trying to figure out how to handle the rest of the Apocalypse Temple. Maybe we reduce the number of rooms so we can still do the final Apocalypse in December. Maybe we continue with all 7 rooms and just do the final Apocalypse in 2013. Let us know what you think.

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05-31-2012, 12:08 PM
Joined: May 2011
Location: Italy
Posts: 509
Awesome update Dave! Don't worry for the time! If you have to do the Apocalypse update in 2013, then do it! But please, don't reduce the number of the chambers. Also, even if the true Apocalypse will take place in the next year
I'm sure that the 2012 for Pocket God will still be remembered as the "Apocalypse Year". Moreover, the scientists said that the REAL Apocalypse could appen the next year. Also, GREAT PACK! I wonder what the next update will contain (a little suggestion: I wouldn't make another minigame, even if I think that this one is funny; I just think that some good god powers would fit better). Anyway, best wishes for The Runs, make it EPIC!

05-31-2012, 01:42 PM
Joined: Aug 2011
Location: Dallas TX
Posts: 606
I also think that you should just continue what your doing now! Update is wonderful! Just keep working at it! Also can't wait for the Runs!! If you go into 2013 that's fine! As long as all the updates are cool!!
05-31-2012, 02:31 PM
Joined: Jul 2011
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 861
I love the minigame!

Night of the living dead? Damn right it is! - John Gore
05-31-2012, 02:41 PM
Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Montclair, California
Posts: 473
The minigame is really fun.

#1 apps: Pocket God and Pocket God: Journey To Uranus
Happily beta testing Pocket God and Pocket God: Journey to Uranus with Allan, Dave and other people of Bolt Creative.
05-31-2012, 03:18 PM
Joined: Jul 2011
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 861
What challenge belongs to: lets NOT dance.

Night of the living dead? Damn right it is! - John Gore
05-31-2012, 03:22 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Indiana
Posts: 652
I think it would be better to reduce the updates and do the apocalypse in 2012, but if it goes to 2013, it's okay, although the hype is for 2012 and there may be a better chance of sales if you do it around the supposed end of the world. The update is great, btw.
05-31-2012, 03:24 PM
Even though I suck at it, the game is very fun. Good job with this update.

I personally think you should keep all 7 rooms and just wait until 2013. 13's an unlucky number in most people's eyes anyway.
05-31-2012, 03:55 PM
Joined: May 2011
Location: Italy
Posts: 509
Dave, maybe you should do a poll about the Chambers problem, on the Blog!
05-31-2012, 05:42 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 761
The Apocalypse is supposed to happen on December 21st. When it doesn't, it will become a farce immediately. People will be joking about it during the holidays, and then by the time the end of January comes, people will have long forgotten or care about the apocalypse that never happened. To release the final PG apocalypse update at that point would be silly. It will have to be 6 chambers. Besides... by then everyone will be looking forward to some new island location.... maybe Jungle Island, or the Forbidden City where all the females live...