Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Comet Blaster 2.0 Submitted to the iOS App Store

Comet Blaster 2.0 has been submitted to the iOS App Store. There are a lot of features and a few fixes coming your way in the 3 - 10 days (whenever they approve it)!

9 new levels to Milky Way galaxy
9 new levels to Andromeda galaxy
8 new levels that have 2 new game elements to Centaurus galaxy
Triangulum galaxy
1 free hint
Sound effect when you collect stars
Improved the look of the blast
Force field game element
Improved the look of the blue and white flipper
Blast cannon game element
Adjusted graphics and text to fit all screens better
Blast recharge feature and in-app purchases for blast recharge
Fixed a major bug that caused that game to crash when first launching

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Comet Blaster 1.0 Now Available

Comet Blaster is now available   

I'd appreciate if you could download it and rate it, it's free! I'm also very interested in feedback so I can improve it.

Friday, August 30, 2013

An Epic Story about a 10 Month Game Development Problem

I've been working on a problem in Comet Blaster that I've had from the beginning, which has been about 10 months. I haven't been working on it constantly, but, although it's a little embarrassing, I have gone on full several day sprees of working on it at a time. Somehow yesterday after only actively working on the problem for a few hours I was able to solve this it.

So why was this so difficult to figure out? It's a pretty deep question when I start to unravel it and it's why I decided to write a blog post about it. What I learned from my experience is evaluating the problem specifically and correctly is one of the most important thing you can do before coming up with a solution. Having patience and the persistence to go on is key. Getting enough rest and having a clear mind helps too.

The problem is beautiful illustrated above, but that's certainly not what I thought it looked like from the beginning. I knew what I wanted to do. At first I wanted the comets to blow up perpendicular to the line and cause damage or destroy to the nearby surrounding comets. So the idea was that you could use the line to aim the comet debris. The comet shards would only travel as large as the distance of your blast. If you not familiar with Comet Blaster take a look at this quick video I recently took to get an idea of what I'm working on.

This problem popped up again yesterday. I wanted to have a rotating cannon fire in the direction it's pointing, when you strike it with a blast, and have it only traveling a certain distance.

This problem has come up in many different forms/features and has stunted the growth of the game many times.

First I was trying to solve the problem with geometry, coordinates, and line formulas. Once I had something working after several days/week, it wasn't working quite right, because it was firing my projectiles either too slow or at a million miles per hour. So the problem started with I need these items to fire off perpendicular or at least according to a variable angle and now it was specified that it had to be the same distance.

So I started hammering away at more formulas, but got nowhere, and more frustrated. I finally realized I needed trigonometry to solve the issue. I could solve the issue partially using an algorithm that performed a ton of calculations at a time, but was a huge hog of computing resources and it was nearly as accurate. Every time I got this far into the problem I set it down for a month at a time and decided to move on without it.

I picked it up again yesterday, with a lot of confidence if I do say so myself, which after realizing how much effort I put into this makes me feel like I should have been pretty timid, but surprisingly I wasn't. I was going to solve this beast. So yesterday afternoon after drawing the cannon I wanted to implement this idea and decided to start from scratch again.

I found myself going through the same steps, but much faster, because there was a lot of familiarity. I bypassed a lot of the intro formula headache quickly and started looking at trigonometry. This was a big step in the sense of I was much more patient once I actually got to the trigonometry part and didn't feel like my head was going to explode yet. Well needless to say I ran into the exact some problem. I thought I had it, I knew I was supposed to use trigonometry I punched in the trig formulas and low and behold I got the same partially working result.

I became frustrated again and decided to ponder depressed in my bed where I fell asleep. I woke up fresh, played volleyball with some friends, ate dinner, watched a Star Trek episode, and all of a sudden got in the zone. I found that I was using right angle trig and I needed to use circle trig. I know these aren't the technical terms, but you get the picture. Once I figured that out and actually held onto that being the problem, exactly what is stated in the image above. Solving the problem was easy and it took 30 minutes.

This made me think back to when I learned trigonometry, not only trigonometry, but a lot of things in school. Teachers and/or the schooling program, were so interested in trying to memorize the formulas. WHY? At first I didn't feel like there was much harm in it, but it's a waste of space in your mind and your time. If we were given more strengthening examples or would have gone into more deep conversation about it or would have spent more time learning how to learn (maybe a topic on how or why someone would have ever wanted to come up with trigonometry or use it in the first place) I truly think I may have solved this faster.

So it's best to have the problem correct, be patient, and have enough rest.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Working on a new force field game element

While waiting on Comet Blaster's approval from Apple I'm already working on a new force field game element. When firing outside of the force field, it protects the comets and blocks the blast. 

You can however still blast from inside of the force field and from the inside out, because the blast comes from two different directions.

I think that this game element has a lot of potential for future releases of Comet Blaster.

Check out the video to see it in action

Monday, August 26, 2013

Comet Blaster 1.0 submitted to the App Store

As of last Friday night I submitted Comet Blaster 1.0 to the apple iOS app store! It should be available later this week.

Comet Blaster is a level by level puzzle game in which you use a powerful weapon by touching the screen in two different spots, to create a blast, and destroy comets that are seen as dangerous in each galaxy. It is your goal as the controller of this weapon, to clear the blue comets with the least amount of blasts. You receive star ratings depending on how well you do. Each galaxy brings new comets and obstacles, which prevent and aid you on your journey.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ready to Launch

Over the past few weeks I've been focused on learning as much as I can once I release Comet Blaster. This first launch in my mind is a final product, but I want to treat it as an experiment. One big things I've done is built my own custom analytics. I've been trying to build the analytics around all of the problems I can foresee. That may not be so bad, but I realized I've already come up with hypothesis to fix the problems that I'm expecting. Part of the reason I've done this is because Apple's App release cycles are so slow. I think in reality my thinking is going to deep and is wasteful. I need to create a control group for my experiment and exam the problems. I'm going to work hard the next two days and submit the game to Apple, so expect to see Comet Blaster in the store in about a week!