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Jonathan Beebe

Mobile app and game developer from California.

Showing 19 posts tagged development

Our Next Game…

Beebe GamesWhile it’s too early to reveal the name, this post will serve as the first “dev diary” entry for our upcoming Beebe Games title.

As you can see in the (somewhat tiny) screenshot, the game bares a resemblance to other games that use the PlanetCute Graphics Set—such as Base 2’s Walkabout—but we are actually not using Danc’s popular graphics set for this game.

When we came across the PlanetCute graphics on Danc’s website, we thought the style would match our game perfectly, so instead, Biffy created our graphics from scratch, using the “cutesy block style” of PlanetCute as inspiration.

Inspired Game Mechanics

When I was first introduced to the world of computers as a child, one of my favorite games that came pre-installed on our (I think it was Packard Bell?) Windows PC was Chip’s Challenge, a tile-based puzzle game that put you in control of a character named Chip.

Your goal was to collect all the “chips” and make it to the exit. The challenge was that you had to collect keys, push things around, and get through various obstacles to complete each level.

I’m not a big puzzle-game fan, but this game was different for some reason. It was one of my favorite games, and is still way up there in my book, despite it’s—admittedly ugly—graphical style (hey, it’s Microsoft, what can you expect in terms of style? heheh).

Another one of my favorites—which I discovered way later on—was a 1999 shareware hit called Dweep, which you’ve probably never heard of. It was similar to Chip’s Challenge in that you had to get from point A to B by figuring out how to get around all the obstacles in between, but the challenge’s were different enough that it really was a completely different game—but it gave me the same “feeling” that the older classic did, so for me, it was another winner.

You’ve probably already guessed that the two games above served as my source of inspiration for our next Beebe Games title. However, before beginning any development, I searched the App Store long and hard to see if there were any other games like the two I described above. Unsurprisingly, there’s quite a few.

I downloaded a bunch of them and while there are definitely some promising titles (many great games), none of them really gave me the same “feeling” as Chip’s Challenge or Dweep, which both had this strange ability to keep me engrossed in the game, even when I was ready to pull my hair out.

So while our upcoming game won’t be a clone of either of the games I mentioned (and is completely original in terms of the obstacles, maps, objects, storyline, etc.), I want to give credit to the two games that heavily inspired me because it’s likely that I might not even be a game developer if it weren’t for the enjoyment I got from those two games!

Sadly, both games are no longer on sale and are slowly but surely being forgotten.

UPDATE: Here’s a extremely good article about creativity (and touches on game design) written in 2006 by the creator of Dweep.

Development Status

So far, I have created a screen management script, simple 2D tile engine (using spritesheets), most of the game’s objects, and an internal map editor which uses the Corona simulator—all from scratch—so development is definitely progressing at a great pace.

My greatest challenge is going to be the level-design process. While my internal map editor helps with level-creation, design is a completely different story.

I have to figure out a way to introduce each item into the game at just the right pace so that the game can maintain a low learning curve, while keeping the game progression at a good enough pace so that it doesn’t get boring.

The next challenge is map difficulty. I have to make each level feel like the first, so that the player doesn’t get overwhelmed, but continue to ramp up the difficulty so that the player is constantly being challenged. With games like this, it’s very easy to make levels either way too easy, or way too difficult. Striking that perfect balance is absolutely essential if I want to capture the “feel” of old classics such as Chip’s Challenge and Dweep.

The last development challenge will be weeding out any flaws on each level. It’s easy to get so focused on creating the perfect map, that an obvious shortcut ends up right in front of my face, completely unnoticed.

I plan on overcoming ALL of these challenges by taking my time, taking a step back every now and then, re-visiting already-created levels, and doing some extensive beta-testing before final public release.

Excited? I think so…

Overall, to say that I’m very excited about releasing this game—even more-so than any of our other past launches—is a gross understatement. So far, the game’s turning out to be really great, and I think if you like a good challenge, you’re really going to enjoy playing ________.

And that’s it for the first dev diary entry for this game. Perhaps next time, I’ll be able to reveal the name and storyline (which will loosely tie into the “world” of another one of our games), so stay tuned.

Oh, and one last thing before I end this entry… we plan on releasing this game for free :-)

Mar 26, 2011

Inconsolata Free Font ∞

In my opinion, the BEST font to use with coding. I have BBEdit, Textmate, and anything I use for coding set up to use this font. And guess what? It’s completely free to download and use.

Jan 8, 2011

2011 is the Year of iPhone Development

Well… for us anyway, mostly due to the amazingly fast development made possible by the Corona SDK.

I’ve been using the Corona framework for less than five months (since July 27, 2010), and this is what’s happened in that timeframe:

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Dec 5, 2010

Faster Garbage Collection With Corona

Before Tilt Monster was released, I was browsing around the Corona developer forums and came across a thread titled, Garbage Collect Delay?

A Corona developer, tempop, said he noticed a pretty significant delay when calling the Lua function, collectgarbage( “collect” ), but the delay isn’t present when adding that call to a timer delay, even if the delay is only for a single millisecond, which ultimately results in faster memory freeing.

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Dec 4, 2010

Dungeon Tap is Ready for Sale

We’re pleased to announce that our 3rd game, Dungeon Tap has been marked ‘Ready for Sale’. Please take a moment to visit the iTunes page and download it if it looks interesting to you:

http://bit.ly/beebedungeontap

Special thanks to Ansca Mobile for their Corona SDK, which allows us to create high quality games in record time.

Oct 16, 2010

Dragon’s Keep 1.1 Finished

Biffy and I did a lot of work today and finally got everything complete for Dragon’s Keep 1.1.

Some of the changes:

  • Lots of new retina graphics and a completely re-designed menus and character selection system.

  • Lots of the graphics have been redesigned completely (mainly the trees).

  • Added a new obstacle: Cliff with Bridge

  • Enemies are now segmented (instead of all appearing at once).

  • Facebook Friends Leaderboard added for 1:00 Fury Mode (we still kept OpenFeint for global leaderboards and Survival mode leaderboards).

  • No more physically running over keys to unlock characters—the act of passing a dragon will mean you “picked up” a key.

  • Survival mode is faster.

  • Bug fixes.

We plan on submitting the new update for review really soon and then getting started on our next app right away… hopefully we’ll get done with that one before our Anniversary celebration (it’s next month on the 7th, but we’re going out of town to celebrate at the end of this month).

Oct 14, 2010

Just a few more things on the checklist and Dragon’s Keep 1.1 will be ready to be submitted!

Oct 13, 2010

Last night, I stayed up very late working on Corona + Facebook API code to create a friends Leaderboard (score board) and… it was a complete success! Biffy and I are both very excited about it.

If you’re unsure what I’m talking about, think of Doodle Jump and Bejeweled Blitz friends scoreboards. They find the friends from your Facebook profile who are also on the game, and create a custom leaderboard of you and your friends (to see where you rank among them).

I’ve actually pulled Dungeon Tap from the review queue to add in the new Facebook friends scoreboard as well as add in some features that will help make the game really amazing. Biffy, of course, is helping me with her outstanding graphics work :-)

In other news, my order came in from Best Skins Ever (front, clear screen protector for my iTouch 4). It was a breeze to apply, and it looks fantastic. After it fully dried, there was no screen distortion of the amazing retina display, and it fits perfectly on the device, despite it being so new.

More to come regarding Dungeon Tap and updates to Dragon’s Keep and Doodle Dash!, so stay tuned.

Sep 28, 2010

Copyright © 2013 Jonathan Beebe