Sunday, 9 December 2012

July to December Update!

Since the last post I have gone on my hen night, switched jobs, got married and been on my honeymoon so I have not been as focused as I should have been on my mobile game.   My time gaming has also suffered (I've not even played The Walking Dead yet :() but with the imminent release of BS5 and the third installation of The Longest Journey game I have been trying to get through my Steam and GOG backlog of the games in these series so that I am fresh when the latest ones arrive.  I've also abandoned my obsession with Tiny Tower.  After I lost the "race" to have the most floors within a circle of my friends I gave up and only play occasionally.  But I still have lots of games to keep me busy to the end of next year at least. 

Firstly, I have decided on the working title of my mobile game, Werdz.  This still needs to be AB tested and I'm not sure if the spelling will confuse people searching for the game in the Play Store but I like it for the moment.

These were my goals the last time I posted and how I have progressed through each task.

- Smiley: This needs to be extended to check if the player has already guessed that word, if the guessed word is incorrect and output the appropriate smiley's for these events but I'm sure it won't be a difficult task

The smiley's progress has remained the same.  It still only outputs if the player enters a correctly matching word.  However, I have now removed the need to use the "Enter" button to compare the string entered to the word that you are guessing meaning that players can continue to guess more words and gain more score without taking a break from the fast-paced action as every second counts.

- Resizing/repositioning elements for different screen sizes

The menu buttons have been resized so that they adjust when played on different devices.  After figuring out this I briefly began to re-arrange the element of the main game screens but decided to move on as I didn't have a concrete decison on the GUI layout.

- Rework of the GUI

I've hopefully come up with a design that is not too cluttered, the player's will be able to use easily and will understand the use of just by looking.  After working this out I didn't go back and reposition the elements as I probably should have.  But I wanted to concentrate on creating the random word selection algorithm.  Then I had other ideas to further refine the game.  These additions to the gameplay again influenced the GUI layout.

I now will have 3 different difficulty levels for each game mode.  The player will be able to view a hint
using the '?' button depending on whether they are on the easy difficulty.  The words will also be categorised and if the player had the difficulty set to easy or medium they will see the category image.  Hopefully these additions will make the challenge of this game more interesting. 

- Increase the time that the blocks switch

The time that the blocks switch has been increased from 3 seconds to 10 seconds.  This gives the players a lot more time to not get caught off guard by the switching mechanic and makes them feel less restricted if they make mistakes.

- Create a random word selection algorithm

To my surprise I managed to get this completed in a shorter time than I had thought.  I ran into some annoying issues such as when comparing two matching strings from two arrays the values were not matching up.  Thankfully Unity Answers came through and after two simple additions this was done.  Once this was working within one game mode it was simply a case of tweaking it pick a new random word at a different time, and that was the second game mode done too.  Well...almost.  The remaining work for these game modes is to ensure when the word is correctly guessed the board switches and new word is generated (and that the switch timer is reset). My first attempt has failed so I'm having to redo this.


I've been thinking of trying to reduce the amount of words that player's can enter so that this will reduce the apk size and make the gameplay a bit less harsh.  Now that the player was guessing one specific word as opposed to spelling whatever word they could make from the randomly generated letters, I decided to reduce the list of words that the game could select from.  It was then that I thought of theming each release.  This would in turn attract specific players who were interested in the theme, signifcantly reduce the list of words to guess from and focused them on a specific subject.  Hopefully this change has made it a lot easier for players.

- Output a block switching timer so the player knows exactly when the blocks will be switching and are prepared for it.


- Increase the time that the blocks switch


Hopefully by the end of January I will have a fully functional version of the game which will be amazing.  Then after it will be a case finishing the graphics so the game is at release quality.

But first I will have to do the following:

- Rework of the GUI gameplay elements for the Galaxy S3 and other Android operated phones
- Ensure the gameboard switches correctly when a word is correctly guessed
- Output the hint for the word when '?' is pressed (only when difficulty is easy or medium)
- Output the category
- Set difficulty when respective buttons are selected