Sunday, February 3, 2019

Stages screen

With thousands of game puzzles, I needed a way to present them. Predetermined with full map illustrations like board games came to mind. After all, I had already purchased vertical progress maps that could have been applied. The cartoon art interface pack came with a map too. I chose just to keep things simple and randomize it without visual maps.




Keys are given over time, used to unlock options to clear puzzles and collect items that are redeemed for coins. Coins are used to provide hints to help solve the puzzles. There is a fairly high demand for word games and I want this one to be polished and straight forward.

Coins and keys can be purchased, or given if a reward video is watched. I have observed gamers across southeast Asia, and I can assure you many are willing to watch a 30 second video rather than fork over hard earned cash. Many lack a credit card anyways, so overall ads are still king.

I use a dictionary of common words to generate the puzzles, and a much larger list of words stored in a HashSet to reward as bonuses. Notice that "woad" registered as a bonus word, which is a yellow-flowered European plant of the cabbage family. Few people would know that, so it would never be a required word in the puzzle.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Design changes

Match 3 Fantasy will undergo design changes. The skill placement onto the board feels too slow, so I will allow skills to be triggered instantly. The actual skills get confusing too, so there will be a limit of just one for each hero at any given time.

Overall it feels a bit clumsy and the features are incohesive. It has strong potential, it just needs to be simplified and sped up a bit. Most of the code will be conserved despite the large changes to be made.

Now I am glad I did not embark immediately onto a new super large project. I have a smaller word game which already works with saved generated puzzles.





Thursday, December 27, 2018

Word puzzle generation

As planned I have an algorithm to generate some puzzles. It finds common words that use a combination of letters and arranges them to maximize the number of word intersections on a grid.


So many puzzles can be generated with just four random letters. One of the first puzzles it generated included the word "assess"... emphasis on the additional 's'. With that said, I would prefer not to ship a game with such an unpredictable algorithm, so I would manually approve each one to feed back into the source as hard-code.

Alternatively, I could feed in words and have it spit out puzzle layouts with letter sets. There are many possibilities on how to proceed. For now, I would prefer to keep this first word game simple.

Daily challenges could just pull from a large and challenging list (nobody would notice repeating puzzles).

I have a pretty firm idea of what I want to create. Most of the effort will be polish. I consider this smaller project a "break" between the marathons of Match 3 Fantasy and Zombie Guard 2 because it is less content heavy.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Early ratings

Match 3 Fantasy has been updated again, fixing more issues including ones introduced in the big Unity engine update.

Early ratings of Match 3 Fantasy

Early ratings are positive, so I am thrilled. The benefit of having over a dozen finished games is that it removes a lot of pressure. In my experience, sometimes I win some, sometimes I lose some. I continue forward, as a better developer than I was the year before. I predict the rating will drop as more bugs surface and features are requested.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Word games?

As mentioned in a previous blog entry, I considered making a Zombie Guard 2. But as I go through the Unity asset store, I found some wonderful art packs for other kinds of games. I am leaning towards making a word game instead.




Time to go on a shopping spree! Long gone are the days I would sit down and draw these. It is just no longer cost-effective, and I would rather write code and create games more efficiently.

Having art from the beginning allows for all kinds of interesting game ideas to emerge. I can drag and drop pieces to help come up with new ideas while listening to audio packs.

I am convinced that I could easily write some brute force algorithms to generate necessary puzzles for word games. For starters, all I would need to do is copy-and-paste a dictionary of common words sorted by category and run some algorithms offline based on game rules.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Match 3 Fantasy

Match 3 Fantasy has been made available to the general public! The first update already has been distributed - adding in more bug fixes, a new hammer trinket, and the gorilla hero.

Will it succeed? Only time, and more updates will tell. As a puzzle RPG, my fear is the game is too casual for the RPG audience, and too complex for the puzzle game audience. The app is being approved by Apple for iOS; it is already available through Google Play.

The name intentionally was chosen to be optimized for search results.



Ads are still king for revenue. But as the game continues to get larger through updates, I may rip out ads and in-app purchases and distribute at a fixed price for PC and Mac through Steam.


Onward...

I'm probably just going to make a Zombie Guard 2 for project 16. The demand is there, and I could still push design by offering weapon crafting features and extra content to extend the game. I have acquired a great deal of experience with the Unity engine, so it will have much better special effects and general usability than its predecessor. Although I'm tempted to use real-world locations for international appeal, I fear it may do more harm than good due to tension between rival nations.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Match 3 Fantasy

This evening I held the closed beta of Match 3 Fantasy, uploaded to the Google Play app store.


As I played it, I recognized all the hard work that cohesively came together. The long sessions invested was worth it. I also regained ambition on my career during this solo journey across foreign lands.

I feel very confident continuing to use the Unity engine. I already know what I want to work on next, but for now I still have work to do on Match 3 Fantasy and Zombie Guard.

the updated website

I will gradually expose the app worldwide. I continue to work-full time on it.