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  #1  
Old 05-31-2014, 10:37 AM
WhiteSponge WhiteSponge is offline
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Default Folo Hearts :: Simple Arcade/Adventure Game :: Development Blog

Hey everyone, my name is David and if you know me from before, then it is most probably because I crafted Small Chronicles.

I am starting something new today as a way of learning and improving in the art of crafting games. I will be making a new game every month (#1GAM)!

If you are playing Small Chronicles Chapter 1 at the moment and are wondering if this will affect the development of Chapter 2 (the supposed continuation to Small Chronicles), it won't.

Starting with Folo Hearts, I will be making games that are simple to play but difficult to master. That means that it won't take away the time from Small Chronicles

So what's Folo Hearts? Well, to answer that, let's start with Day 0 of the development blog!


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1GAM #1 - Folo Hearts Day 0
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Conceptualizing the idea
As with Small Chronicles, crafting a game at WhiteSponge always starts with brainstorming ideas. A great way to do so is definitely through the use of the pencil and pieces of paper.




As you can see, I always tend to draw and sketch random ideas all over the place which might seem messy to some. If you observe carefully though, you can notice that some of these sketches seem to indicate some sort of similarity between them.

With 1GAM, I aim to create games with only 1 goal in mind - to make their core gameplay fun and simple to understand. In other words, I am going to reduce the entry barrier that prevents anyone from trying or playing the game, due to its complexity.

So for a start, the first game from doing 1GAM will consist of only a single objective - getting a score as high as possible! To make things as simple as possible, it will also consist of a single gameplay mechanic - tapping!




Referring back to the sketches, the aim is to make a game that can be played with 1 hand. Doing so will allow you to play from virtually everywhere and anywhere. This also means that the game will be in a portrait view.

When I combined that with the simple objective of getting a high score, I arrived at the decision to make a game where you will be flying up and trying to avoid as many enemies as you can.

As I have no intention of making a clone, it will definitely not be like Flappy Bird. The core gameplay will require you to focus your eyes on where you are. There won't be any pipes and there certainly won't be any obstacles of such. Just pure evasion of enemies raining down on you.


The Tools
Now while Small Chronicles Chapter 1 was crafted using a game engine called Cocos2D, I will be switching to another engine called Unity for 1GAM. If you are wondering about the differences between these 2 engines, well for one Cocos2D is free and Unity costs a lot.






However, Unity does allow me to quickly release games for multiple platforms ( iOS, Android, Windows, Xbox and more) . Luckily, Unity does have a free and stripped down version that should suffice for the games that I will be making for 1GAM.

On top of the game engine, I will also be making full use of my trustworthy Wacom Bamboo to create the graphics for the game.




While some people do prefer using the mouse to do so, I certainly prefer using my tablet as it feels more natural holding a pen-like object in your hand. I have my friends to thank for that!

For sound effects, the blue yeti will definitely come in handy as it can record in almost professional sound quality (there's a blue yeti pro version) .




If there is one thing that I have learnt from making games till now, that is when recording sounds, stay away from the walls as far as you can. Depending on your microphone, it may be sensitive enough to pick up on the subtle echo sound that is reflected from the walls. I am fairly certain that my blue yeti does that.

Instead, surround yourself with soft objects such as pillows, mattresses and even the sofa. These soft objects will absorb the sound projected from you so your microphone will not pick up on the echo sounds.

And so it is

Day zero of the first 1GAM! While there wasn't actual progress in regards to crafting the game, getting the game's core gameplay finalized is definitely important too!

Do subscribe to this thread for regular blog updates! Cheers!
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  #2  
Old 06-01-2014, 10:38 AM
WhiteSponge WhiteSponge is offline
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1GAM #1 - Folo Hearts Day 1
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It has only been a day since I have started #1GAM but I have already learnt many new and awesome stuff! To craft Folo Hearts, first let's jump right to how on this day I went about deciding the game's look and feel.



To begin with, first I went back to my pencil and sketchbook. It's always better to draw or sketch your ideas out before actually creating or designing them. It is faster and you can experiment with many different ideas rapidly. It is basically one of the benefits of low fidelity prototyping.

After having done so, this is what was finally decided on what you might first see when the game starts.



Notice that I have the animation tab opened at the bottom of the screenshot? While I used to create animations through typing code manually, today I found a faster way to do so.

Using Unity, I can work in a flash-like manner and insert keyframes for the sprite that I wish to animate. It was literally done within about five clicks and some dragging for the "Tap To Evade" moving animation.

On a side note, after having done the sketching to determine the game's layout and scenes, I arrived at the decision that Folo Hearts only needs a single scene. This means that the game's size will be relatively small. So thumbs up for a faster download and smaller memory footprint!

By now you might have noticed that the game seems empty. That's because the majority of the game's graphics aren't done yet. To do that, it is time to decide on the game's art style.

Okay I just lied. I have actually decided on the art style days before. If you notice carefully, the screenshot above shows the game's name in a rather easily identifiable font. Do you know what it is?

It's pixel art! Pixel art has been and is something that I have always wanted to try. Folo Hearts is definitely an opportunity for that! And as such, I went on the internet and searched for tutorials to practice on pixel art.



Another benefit of pixel art is that it scales up really well! Using photoshop, I am able to scale the original version to x2, x4 and even x8 if I wanted to, while still maintaining the same image quality.

So how does Folo Hearts look like now if I add a single pixel cloud?



Definitely much better! Now I just have to make more clouds to fill up that sky!
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  #3  
Old 06-08-2014, 10:54 AM
WhiteSponge WhiteSponge is offline
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1GAM #1 - Folo Hearts Day 7
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So much has happened in just 6 days! Crafting Folo Hearts in Unity has been so exciting that I am getting addicted to it! Progressing from its first pixel cloud, Folo Hearts now has its own main character, Hearts!.




Designing Hearts was really a fun and exciting process. With literally zero experience in designing a character in pixel art, I just imagined what a heart would look like if it was pixelated.

After a few rounds of trial and error, I have finally arrived at this.





If you notice carefully, the design of the eyes are literally just blocks of black pixels connecting to each other. Eyebrows with upward curves does always indicate happy expressions. Opening 2 windows of the same file in Photoshop definitely helped too.

But what's a game without any enemies? In Folo Hearts, there aren't any monsters or such. Instead, there are green and dangerous spikes. One look and you can tell that you wouldn't want Hearts to get hit by them.




Now that Folo Hearts has its main character, Hearts, and green dangerous spikes, how does the game actually plays out?


Low bandwidth Version | Pop Up


Did you expect that it would be so simple? Hearts actually flies on her own. So all you have to do is just to tap on the screen when a green spike approaches near her. She will then do her evasion move while you get a point! Awesome!

Although the core gameplay is done, Folo Hearts still requires an option to restart the game, to share your score and to view other high scores. And if you have noticed, there aren't any sound effects added in yet.

So watch out for more updates on all these upcoming additions for Folo Hearts!
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  #4  
Old 06-13-2014, 10:08 PM
WhiteSponge WhiteSponge is offline
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1GAM #1 - Folo Hearts Day 12
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As mentioned in the previous blog post, Folo Hearts still lacked its background music and sound effects ~ Both can be used to provide the mood of the game.

So during these past few days, one of the things that I set out to accomplish was to add the various sound effects for Folo Hearts. To do that, I first listed out the sound effects (on top of the background music) that was required.
  • When Hearts evades
  • When Hearts gets hit by a spike
  • When its game over
  • When Hearts' wings are flapping
  • When the menu buttons are tapped on

As with Small Chronicles, I chose to do the sound effects and their editing using Garageband. While Audacity is definitely a better tool, I feel that it is much better suited to situations like recording and/or editing recorded vocals.




If you look at the screenshot carefully, the sound effect for when Hearts evades is actually made up of 2 slightly different sound effects. I always use this approach to give more character to the sound effects that I make.




In the case of the background music, I did not have an actual instrument that was available. As such, I used Garageband's software instruments to make up for what I lacked. While it isn't the ideal situation, Garageband does have many useful features that I can use to edit and apply to the sound effects and music.

So how does the game sound now that sound effects and the background music have been added? To answer that, let's first talk about how I went about adding sharing options to Folo Hearts.




With Folo Hearts, I want you to not share your score with a screenshot, but with how you played the game! So without any doubt the first thing that came to my mind was video sharing!




Sharing your game replays means that your friends and family will be able to see how you got your score in Folo Hearts! Adding video sharing using Everyplay was relatively easy and straightforward though. I guess that that is also why Unity brought them over.

So how does Folo Hearts look like now?

https://everyplay.com/player?id=6232642

Also notice how at the end of each try you'll get a star? I have also added a simple incentive for you to increase your score. A score of 5 would only get you a bronze star but if you can get a higher score, a silver star is definitely possible!

While it seems like Folo Hearts is almost completed, that is only true for the iOS version. If you have been following the 1GAM blog posts regularly, I have not mentioned anything about the Android version.

The good news is that since I am using Unity, crafting the Android version should just be a matter of making sure that the UI stays as consistent as possible to its iOS counterpart.

So watch out for when the release date for Folo Hearts' iOS version is announced! Follow me on Twitter or on Facebook to do so!
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  #5  
Old 06-20-2014, 08:42 PM
WhiteSponge WhiteSponge is offline
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------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1GAM #1 - Folo Hearts Day 17
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It has almost been 3 weeks since Folo Hearts was first conceptualized! It has since progressed from being sketches on a notebook to an actual game on your iOS devices! Hmmm what about Android?.




As I am using Unity (a game engine) to craft Folo Hearts, publishing it for Android is just a matter of pushing that build button for that .apk file, or so I hoped. As the devices running on Android comes in various sizes and resolutions, it just was not that simple.




Couple that with the fact that Folo Hearts will also be my 1st game on Android, and you get a rather inexperienced Android game developer. Naturally, many things will just come to attention. The first to come to play was the notion of supporting many different versions of Android now on the planet.


Updated as of June 2014, straight from the Android Developer website


Got the rough idea? Now check out the chart for iOS.




Notice the differences? While the multiple Android versions on the planet isn't the direct cause for worry, the real situation arises when certain features aren't supported on the older versions.


You can share your game replays in Folo Hearts using the Share button


The sharing of game replays was crafted using a very awesome video sharing/recording service known as Everyplay. For iOS, Everyplay supports version 5.0 and above but for Android, only version 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and above are supported! This means that if you are still on, say version 2.3 (Gingerbread), you won't be able to share your game replays.

While that is the case, I am also contemplating the idea of adding the option to allow you to share a screenshot of your score with your friends if you're on version 4.0 and below. No guarantees though!

Finally remember to check this thread regularly for when the release date for iOS/Android is announced! You can also follow me on Twitter for that!
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  #6  
Old 06-24-2014, 02:02 AM
WhiteSponge WhiteSponge is offline
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After 3 weeks of playing with Unity and crafting, Folo Hearts is finally ready to be let out into the wild! Want to know when it will be released?




Before I release the release date, here are some things that you should know about Folo Hearts beforehand. The first and most important thing to take note is that Folo Hearts will be available for both iOS and Android devices!

Excited? And that brings me to the second point. Folo Hearts will effectively be WhiteSpongeís first Android game! So if you are wondering why WhiteSponge doesnít have any other games on the Google Play store, thatís why!

And if you arenít aware of it yet, a huge part of Folo Hearts is about sharing your game replays!

When you share your game replays, your family and friends will be able to see how you got your score. They will definitely be able to get a laugh out of it! That definitely beats just sharing a screenshot of your score!

Now are you ready to find out when Folo Hearts is available for download? Well I have just the trailer for that. Be sure to watch till the end for the release date! Enjoy!


Low bandwidth Version | Pop Up
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  #7  
Old 06-24-2014, 06:48 AM
Naraxis Naraxis is offline
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That are some nice devblog and things you used for development, keep up the good work dude!
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  #8  
Old 06-24-2014, 07:24 PM
WhiteSponge WhiteSponge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Naraxis View Post
That are some nice devblog and things you used for development, keep up the good work dude!
thanks Naraxis!
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  #9  
Old 07-02-2014, 08:59 AM
WhiteSponge WhiteSponge is offline
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Only 1 day left till Folo Hearts is out! Are you excited for it?

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  #10  
Old 07-02-2014, 11:23 PM
WhiteSponge WhiteSponge is offline
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Folo Hearts is now available for download for FREE from https://itunes.apple.com/app/folo-hearts/id883553528?mt=8! Grab your copy now and have fun!
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