Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Treasure Hunt Challenge

In order to break up the monotony of battles, there will be mini-game challenges to gather resources. In this one called Treasure Hunt, after a match is made, one cell (typically the latest one moved) of a contiguous block will be upgraded to the next type and the rest are removed. A match can be made mid-air with that upgraded cell, before it even falls to the bottom. There are a limited number of turns, and a match-4 or greater awards one extra turn.

It makes a lot of sense when played. There are many strategies too.

"Treasure Hunt"

I had to rewrite the algorithm a few times until I got it completely correct. I use basic AI to play the game for me in fast-forward mode. There was a rare bug I fixed where cells would annoyingly overlap one another.

The order of the upgrades.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Hanoi

For August I have settled into a comfortable modern studio apartment on the western side of Hanoi. Kitchenette, large bathroom, air-conditioner, great desk, and very spacious. Each month is different, as I hop from one city or town to another.

One of the many lakes on the western side.

The Old Quarter of Hanoi on the eastern side.
The Old Quarter on the eastern side is only a Grab motorbike ride away. There are plenty of landmarks and live shows.

This city is more dense compared to other cities of Vietnam. It is easy to walk around and explore the narrow roads that all seem to lead to delicious fragrant food like traditional phở, best enjoyed with sweet iced-coffee or fruit smoothies to cool off during these warm days.

Northern-style phở.
(More onion, clearer broth, no side basket of herbs, but more variety of sauces)
Here on the western side, I am living in a Japanese and Korean neighborhood, with a hint of Russian influence due to the nearby embassies. I buy fruit every other day at the local market, interacting with locals with as much Vietnamese that I can speak and understand. I am thoroughly enjoying everyday out here.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Big update for Zombie Guard!

It is about time. A much needed update for Zombie Guard is on the way! Three new weapons, a new level, and multiple competitive survival modes.


Working on this update is a delicate task. I must be very careful not to make mistakes that could destroy the saved progress of many of the current players. I plan to serve the update to a small percentage of users, gradually increased to 100% if there are no reported issues.

But fortunately, this update does fix a notorious bug that has existed from the very beginning. Thanks to a fan, I was able to reproduce it. It turns out equipping landmines as the primary weapon would freeze the game going into any mission.

In the future I am a bit tempted to make a Zombie Guard 2, in Unity, with much better special effects, audio, music, and features. Zombie Guard is made in Corona, which these days is a less supported engine that I do not recommend.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Items!

Each time a match-4 or greater is made, an item is created in place. These are intended to speed the game up. Skills need to be placed on marked cells at the expense of harvested gem elements, so an explosive for instance, effectively clears cells while harvesting resources in one go. Even better, an item can trigger others as a chain reaction if lined up properly.


The type of item created is determined randomly. All unlocked items can be added to the range of possibilities. Perhaps for strategy, opting only for one particular item would be suitable. It all depends.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Ancient Artifacts

Here we go, ancient artifacts for long-term playability. These are permanent bonuses for successive runs, in order to progress a tad further each play-through. By entering the portal, all progress is lost except ancient artifacts and energy to further upgrade them. For example, one ancient artifact can increase all red damage, and another one reduces the cost of upgrading items for all successive play-throughs.

Holding the staff button on the bottom upgrades the selected ancient artifact.

The numbers take into consideration the targeted language. In English we use commas to separate thousands and a period for decimal places. Some languages interchange these two symbols. Other languages use apostrophes too. This was fairly trivial to handle because C# allows this change through the CultureInfo class.

Upgrading an ancient artifact.

A feature like ancient artifacts and language localization are two critical features missing in Zombie Guard. That app will get some updates soon, after I am finished with this one.

I started debugging the app through my Android phone and the SDK. It is really motivating to hold the game in my hand, rather than poke at my laptop screen within the Unity application.

The game being debugged, connected to my laptop

I feel like I've doubled my skills with Unity during this month in Canggu. After I reach beta, I want to invest some time researching some open source Unity games and script packages in the asset store. There are so many little tricks in this engine and C# that I have accrued from here and there.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Time to cool off...

I went ahead and started the third zone, a frigid mountain populated by strong defensive creatures. For now, an icy golem with strong armor, a spear wielding skeleton that pierces all three heroes in one attack, a frost mage that deals cold damage over time, and a mystical cloud that has low life but very strong physical and cold armor.


I still need one or two more zones and many more enemies to populate them. Additional heroes are a priority because there are only three. Hats and armor need to be added; the runes section too.

Today is June 15th. I am halfway through my stay in Canggu, so I ought to take advantage of my location! I'll be exploring a bit more these next few days, as I did in Ubud and Kuta.

Kuta, near Canggu

Kuta is a crowded beach area filled with shopping malls and restaurants. It is where I began my journey in Bali, since it is beside the airport. Canggu is along the shore too, but further northwest, away from the busy parts of Kuta. Ubud is centralized in Bali so it has picturesque rice terraces and a dense downtown area of shops and restaurants, commonly compared to the old city of Chiang Mai.

Rice terraces in Ubud

Sunset in Canggu


It is tough to choose a favorite between Canggu and Ubud. This Airbnb swings marks slightly in favor of Canggu, because of the incredible desk and proximity to a wider range of restaurants. I've raided some nearby fruit vendors and finally suspended my immersion of culture by eating western food like pizza and burgers. Coffee shops are everywhere and there is always something new around each corner.

I depart to Da Nang in less than two weeks and I am eager to return to such a wonderful country - Vietnam. Fragrant pho beef soup with endless herbs, rooftop craft brew pubs, rivers of motorbikes, scenic farms, and cities that have retained charming traditional qualities of the old way of life - floating markets and roadside street vendors. Despite the relatively recent decimation inflicted on that country, it is thriving and illustrative of the strength and willpower of the people of that nation.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Cloister

I added a new zone called "The Cloister". It lingers with arcane and cold magic. It is populated by the undead and supernatural creatures.

Arcane magic (purple) is pure and it is the only elemental type that cannot be resisted through armor. It can even deduct a percentage of life, so it can be rare but rather destructive. Meanwhile the apparitions wielding lanterns can temporarily blind heroes, preventing basic attacks and skill activation. This is a dangerous zone, so a strong offense to kill swiftly will be a viable strategy.

The Cloister (the path will be fixed)



Each of the three current heroes now have a third skill. The frog with his/her "Cold Vine" skill can now bring any enemy to the front while inflicting nature and cold damage.


Yellow topaz gems used to represent pure physical damage. It never looked right and would clash with the orange coins. I replaced them with white gems, which makes a lot more sense given the purity of physical damage.