Two weeks ago we started a new development cycle. Now it is time for a review.
New theme and game elements
One of the goals of this cycle was to paint the decoration of a park theme with some pastries and candies. Here are some of them:
We have also worked on the fourth series of levels, introducing the TNT, some huge walls quite hard to destroy and several floors of rails:
In the above capture you can also see the new user interface, displaying the available plungers and the state of the cannon in a box reflecting the quality of the next shot (i.e. if it will reach the cursor or not). Since the game goes up and down, it was hard to find a place that does not disturb the player while playing but such that the information is visible while looking forward. Here are two mockups that were not convincing:
Experiments on the graphic style
One of the common feedbacks we hear when people test the game is that the interactive elements are not distinct enough from the decorations. Thus we have added a halo behind all these elements, with a nice reaction when when the mouse is over them. Moreover we have explored several styles among which we may pick before releasing the game. Here are some of them, any preference?
Music and sound effects
A great part of the development cycle was devoted to the audio. We had two contacts that could have worked on it but unfortunately one of them did not answer the request and the other has too much work. Thus, we had to do it by ourselves.
One task was to compose a music for the western theme. I made the main parts of it and I will finalize it in a week or two, unless we could find a musician to work on it.
The other part of the audio work was to add some sound effects in the game. For this, it was a good surprise to discover that freesound.org has finally integrated some Creative Commons licenses other than the CC-sampling+. Even if we did not find all the needed sounds, we managed to find fourteen of them which, with some adjustments, make the game experience really better.
Like any development cycle, this one contains several minor improvements, like:
- The game can optionally be played only with the mouse. The wheel is used to jump and to crouch,
- The game has a screen to select a level,
- The bomb and the bag of tar are larger and thus easier to hit,
- The user can turn the music and the sounds on and off, and toggle the full screen and windowed mode,
- The user looses some balloons when he is hit and can try to grab them back with his plunger,
- The mouse works even if the window is resized.