#1GAM May – It’s Tricky


So Jelly has been coming along very nicely. This week I added:

  • falling obstacles in the form of a toxic barrel and tyre
  • a second enemy in the form of a turtle
  • updated the HUD somewhat (though still needs tweaking to suit iphone 5 resolution)
  • added a pause button
  • added a basic high score system
  • started work on a dash ability
  • implemented a wave based difficulty system

On the dev sides of things everything is going swimmingly (yet another terrific pun there) but testing has complicated things somewhat. For the first week or so I was only showing the game off to close family members. This has been super helpful with one major feature in particular (the ability to drag jelly around as well as tap) was born from their feedback. However I need as much feedback as I can get while everything remains relatively easy to tweak so I put the call out for testers over facebook.

SIdebar: I’m using testflight for distribution to testers and was finding implementation with unity somewhat overwhelming. Luckily enough there is a really handy solution on the unity asset store called Autopilot. It is really terrific and makes the whole process much easier. 


Then things got a little trickier…

I came out of my dev bubble on Friday with the impression that the game was too easy and that there were too many moments of downtime in which nothing was happening (my notes packaged with the build can attest to that). Oh boy was I wrong! Every tester I spoke to said it was too hard – looking at their play sessions via testflight and that is pretty obvious (most lasted well under a minute). I also noted that all but one tester hasn’t played again since the day the received the build though I’m unsure whether this means it’s not fun/too hard or simply that they haven’t had time. So I start thinking up ways to make the game easier when *RECORD SCRATCH* I get feedback that it’s too easy and that there are moments where nothing is happening… if you remember from a few sentences earlier this is exactly what i thought.

Too easy and too hard at the same time

Now what do I do?  Well my current plan is:

  • add some more variety to gem collection – at this stage meaning different sizes with greater value correlating with smaller size
  • work to remove the boring downtime moments – there are more features/set moments I think should help this
  • in regards to difficulty I’m pretty stumped (it’s so tricky as my skill level obviously skews everything). I had already considered moving Jelly’s collision off of his tentacles so I’ll definitely be trying it this week. I thought that the increase in enemy numbers and speed was gradual enough but this can’t be the case if the majority are dying so quickly. I need to find the balance so that both ends of the spectrum are happy – if that means introducing easy, medium and hard difficulty settings then that’s what I’ll have to do.
  • continue with the features I already had on the cards – figuring out the dash for example

To summarise. Making procedurally generated games are tricky business.


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