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My new game is only semi-officially announced now, but I figured for anyone cool enough to be following me here, you deserve to at least see what I’m currently up to!

PZB Feature

The new game is called PuzzleByte, an action match-3 style game inspired by the likes of Tetris Attack (aka Panel De Pon/Puzzle League), Meteos and Puzzle and Dragons. I found that existing puzzle games on the app store mostly try to appeal to common players but in doing so they leave out puzzle gurus and players who are really into the genre. Not so with PuzzleByte. Thinking quickly, finding patterns and learning the flow of moving blocks around is what this game is all about.

Screenshot_2014-07-23-15-18-42

PuzzleByte is currently an Android (Google Play) exclusive. The goal is generally to match up blocks in the usual formations (3 in a row of the same color, horizontally or vertically) to score points. Like Bejeweled or Candy Crush, PuzzleByte still works in “turns” where you are unable to make moves while the action is happening, but unlike those games, you can pick up any block and shift it around the board freely, displacing other blocks as you go. Your only limitation is a timer, which can be recycled – any remaining time after you set your block down can be used as soon as your matches are deleted and new blocks fall in to replace them. You are also given the ability to earn more time by making multiple matches or larger ones. This “chaining” feature is a key part of earning high scores, and makes PuzzleByte a fast-paced and frantic game.

PuzzleByte is all about the score and replayability. It’s something that I hope will have players coming back for a quick round every day, watching their progress and unlocking new features as they improve. Google Play has a lot of features such as online leaderboards, achievements and cloud saving which I think will lend a much-needed sense of connectedness to the game.

This game is, more than anything, my love letter of sorts to the puzzle games of my youth which I still love to this day. It’s currently in alpha and I’m looking for feedback on the game (if you happen to have a device you’d like to test it on, send your Google+/Play email to thebitcoon@gmail.com and I’ll add you to the tester community so you can give it a shot) as I implement features, tune up the gameplay, and tighten the visuals. I want to say it’s close to release, but anything could arise as this is my first time ever getting this far along in development and trying to mess with these external APIs.

I’m excited to get to show off this game that I’ve been working on for half a year now, and excited at my ever-improving development and design skills. I hope it’s a hit, and I hope I get the chance to go on to make more, better games.

I think more than anything, I’ve learned that I really suck at staying open and transparent about my work with games.

Maybe it’s because I know it isn’t that good. It’s true, I’m still just getting started, I’m still learning the ropes, I still have a long way to go. It’s exciting but it’s also frightening, as the more I learn, the more I look back on what I’ve done so far and cringe.

I had no idea how small a “small” game needed to be. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t still think in the back of my head, maybe I STILL don’t have any idea.

I have so many conflicting ideas and goals that it gets very difficult just trying to do this all myself. I find that I jump into a project really enjoying one aspect but then realize that it’s not really going anywhere I care to take the time to take it. What do you DO when you know your results just don’t match up to your hopes and expectations? That the trajectory your project on is going to hit square in the “way too mediocre” bullseye if you keep going forward on it?

I started in Game Maker, and I’m still using it… but now that I’ve gotten to really learn what Unity can do, and experienced plenty of it in another project, I look back at the limitations of GM and wonder how I ever thought it could put out something at the level of quality I wanted. Some people can wrangle that beast, through whatever trickery they use, but I fear it’s beyond me, to make my GM projects into something that I really want to label me.

So, what’s to become of all my work? Trust me, I have plenty up my sleeves. I’ve been neglecting a lot of my own personal art time to really crack down on something new. I’m not going to make promises because I’ve proven thus far that breaking them is something I’m very good at when it comes to these flimsy projects of mine. But this one… it’s solid. It’s well on its way to completion. It’s something I think I very much would like to label myself with. It’s a gem which I think is likely I’ll see to completion and commercial release in moderately short order, but it needs more time in the oven before I can really put it out there for everyone.

I must thank everyone who’s stuck around so long. It really means a lot to me that there’s even one person out there reading my ramblings and excited for what I put out. I think by now you’ve learned not to get too hyped up, though! I’ll have something cool out there eventually, but time isn’t ticking by too fast to let it bake until it’s really ready.

 

For now I have nothing to share, but I do have an imminent, approaching need to gather a small group of testers. I’ll be putting up a message here first, and later in other places, to gather a small group of Android tablet and phone users. I’ll be needing to gather some data on how new players catch on to the mechanics and how capable they are of overcoming certain challenges early on. Progression is going to take a fair bit of fine-tuning and I want to make sure I have it locked down before release. I would be looking for testers right now, but I need to program in a few more menus and a few other bits before it’s ready for play-testing. Preliminary and alpha play-testing went quite well, though, and I’m excited to hear from players once they get to experience it in a closer to complete form.

 

In other news, no more sketches for signing off! I enjoyed using them, but to be totally honest, half the reason I’ve waited so long to make a post on here so often is because I was too lazy to sketch up a new one. 😛

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