New games every week!
One week wasn't enough...
3rd February 2012  
Last week, there was no AGameAWeek.
It was the clown's fault..
.. stupid clown..

With my newer shinier iOS Framework running the way it was more-or-less supposed to be, I decided to take a week to "quickly" port an AGameAWeek game over to iOS.
People had expressed an interest in a tilt-controlled version of Unijuggler, and I figured what the hey.
1. Scrolling Background
2. Moving Objects
3. Collisions

It's pretty much SpikeDislike, except you're hitting the objects instead of avoiding them.
Should be easy, right? Especially since I already had all the sprites drawn from the original AGameAWeek edition.

So, in the assets went, and in went a simple scrolling background.
It took a good couple of hours to get those clown sprites realigned, so that the guy's head wasn't inexplicably 16 pixels over his shoulders, and his legs weren't flailing all over the place as he cycled.
Job done.

Then I added a ball...


Here's the thing, and if you played the original AGAW edition of Unijuggler, you'll probably spot the issue.
The simple mechanic worked well enough, but having to constantly keep forcing your way ahead, whilst simultaneously losing balls because your speed is varying so wildly, it wasn't the easiest job in the world.
Instead of juggling 5 balls at once, it seemed much easier to just keep one ball going, and then it just became about keeping an eye on that, and rushing as far forward as you could.

It was tricky on the PC.
On iOS, trying to keep even one ball in play, while constantly wiggling back and forth, just became a horrible nasty chore.
The game needed tweaks, and that's when the whole timeframe of the project started to spiral wildly out of control!! in, it took me two weeks, not one!

The game now has limits.
There's an invisible wall either side of the arena (about 1.25x screen width) which will bounce back the balls.
You can choose between Easy, Normal and Hard in standard AGAW style, and those relate to the number of balls you'll have to control.
Easy is 1, Hard is 3.

If you drop a single ball on the floor, a little timer starts to decrease. Relaunch the ball (roll up to it) to stop the timer where it is.
Essentially, the game is now less about moving forwards, and becomes much more Juggle-centric.
Keep the balls in the air, keep playing, score more!

Without the Moving Onward bonus, a new scoring method was needed, so a combo system is now also in place. Each ball juggled adds a combo point, and as soon as one of the balls hits the floor, the combo resets.
.. really simple..
and works!

I've since added in some other objects (Ducks, Clubs and Rings) which appear inside little balloons. Pop a balloon by throwing something at it, and attempt to juggle one of the extra props. Each of the three props have their own weight, so will fall at different rates, and the faster they fall, the more points they're worth.
And on and on you juggle, until you either deplete the timer, or you get bored with the game.

One Single-ball (Easy) it's a heck of a lot easier, whereas on Three-ball (Hard) it really is mentally hard! (current highscores : 7007 on easy, 558 on Normal, 115 on Hard!!)


On Thursday, I reached that "I think this'll be ok for version 1" point, so I bundled it all up, shouted at XCode, bundled again, shouted at Apple, bundles, submitted and then bundle/submitted it again, about 30 times.
It finally went through late last night, at around about 4am.

With any luck, the game should be in the App Store at some point next week, but it probably won't appear until the weekend. (they usually take a week, at best)

The game is simple, the game looks like ass, and the game is pretty limited gameplay wise.
Being a great game isn't the point of this game.
Being a test IS the point.

This game will be testing three main things.

1. That I can do quicky games for iOS.
Two weeks wasn't quite quick enough, but I was still tweaking the framework, too.. should be able to cut that down to single-week games..

2. That the Gamecenter stuff works..
I STILL hate the way that Apple have done Gamecenter.. Too much faffing about, for my liking. Again, I can't really test it until the thing's actually out there, so.. guess we're going to be waiting for that one!

3. iPad Usability
I still don't have an iPad, so I still have to wait and see if it ends up running at around about 3fps on one!

And now it's the waiting game, while I quickly rush to finish this week's AGameAWeek before Tuesday. Oops!

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