Sunday, March 4, 2018

Swipe & Shoot Remastered Update 1

Swipe & Shoot, our freshman year i2 project, is back and better than ever! At Jack's request, we'll be doing weekly updates similar to the ones we did for the original.

Now, it's worth noting that we've been working on this new Swipe & Shoot for about 3 weeks now, so this update is gonna cover a lot. As usual, Jack decided to switch projects spontaneously, so from February 10th to the 11th, we worked for about 10 hours total and managed to get a pretty solid version up and running. Since then, we've been adding features at a pretty reasonable pace, and at this point the game is working about as well as the original, if not better.

And remember, we started the original Swipe & Shoot in November and didn't finish until April, so who knows how far we'll get on this one.

Anyways, the main reason we wanted to remake Swipe & Shoot in the first place was because we really liked the idea, but we felt that the version we had released just didn't reach its full potential. Additionally, there were a lot of gameplay problems that we never really addressed, because at the time we were more focused on actually making something at all.

Just as a refresher, here's a demo of the old game:


See any problems? Well we certainly did. Here were the things we wanted to fix most:
 - Swiping on the character makes it hard to see (because your finger blocks the screen)
 - Shooting at enemies is difficult (because your finger is right where you want to shoot)
 - Vehicle physics are broken
 - The models slow down the game
 - The bullets sometimes don't work

So how did we fix these? Well you might be able to tell by checking out this demo video of our new game:


Pretty cool right? It's probably worth explaining exactly what's going on here though.

First of all, you can now swipe from anywhere on the screen. That little dotted circle represents where the center of your swipe will be, and when you're driving a vehicle that circle basically behaves like a joystick.

Second of all, you now shoot automatically. You may also notice that the characters have hands now, which makes it possible to aim in more directions to have more varied combat. We also made it so that the bullets aren't physical projectiles, which is both better for physics and for gameplay.

And of course, Jack once again made some awesome low-poly models for the game, which should significantly reduce the amount of lag that people experienced in the original. 

Obviously the game isn't done yet, and there are still a lot of bugs and gameplay tweaks left. But, at the very least, this is a pretty solid start and there's still a ton of new features we haven't implemented yet. 

In fact, there are even some features that we do have already finished that weren't featured in that demo. Here's a quick list of stuff to look forward to seeing in a future post:
 - Campaign levels
 - Ally soldiers
 - Escort missions
 - Checkpoints
 - Projectile weapons (e.g. RPG)
 - More vehicles
 - An actual story

That's all we have for now though. We hope you're just as excited as we are to bring back Swipe & Shoot!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Swipe & Shoot Returns

NOTE: this post was written by Jack and not me so don’t be surprised if it’s not up to our usual standards

So Etherium is dead. Just as Europein society went through the great Renissance period where classics were revisted and revived, we too went through a similar revival. We have recently been remastering Swipe and Shoot, the first (and argueably greatest) join project between Jack and I. We loved the old Swipe and Shoot, but it was riddled with dumb features and bugs. This new version surpasses it in greatness by a magnitudes previously unimagable. Not only does the new game have reimaged controls and physics, by also an entirely new (and much more efficent) art style. Swipe and Shoot will be making an impressive comeback. Bellow is an update on the progress made in this new and great project. Except we'll do it later yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaape

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Friendly Competition

Welp looks like I forgot to post an update on Etherium. And rest assured we are still working on it.

But it's always nice to take a break, right?

Well that's exactly what Jack said to himself as he decided (in ASL class) to start work on recreating one of my old website classics: Asteroid Escape. If you haven't played it before it's arguably the most popular game nowadays, and even though the story of its release is interesting in its own right, that's not the point of this post. Regardless, you can play it here.
*Note: the game is a bit broken

Anyways, over the course of the last week Jack and I spent our free time working individually in an attempt to remake the game with our own new twists, something I personally have always wanted to do. And, at lunch today, we presented our final products.

Now, for any of you who didn't go to the link, here's what the original game looked like:

So how did we each interpret this? Well we each took some pretty different approaches, and well...I'll let you see for yourselves.

Nathan's version (Asteroid Escape 2)

Jack's version (Space Swing)

So who won our little competition? Well according to local Asteroid Escape enthusiast Nicolas Chin, there wasn't really a clear answer.

My game (Nathan's) stayed more true to the original both in terms of visuals and physics. It used the same music, almost identical sound effects (with some extra sounds added from the original source material), and more accurately preserved the original difficulty and overall gameplay. However, my game was also filled with inside references that made the game somewhat less accessible to a wider audience, and is only really fun if the player gets those references.

Jack's game, meanwhile, has vastly superior graphics, smoother gameplay, and a much more consistent style. It also happens to feature a nice little story too, which definitely adds to its appeal. Overall, Jack's game is much more mainstream and could potentially be a viable product for release. However, in terms of the actual gameplay, it is, as Nic put it, a "very adventurous approach" and differs quite a bit from the original mechanics. In fact, it's almost a completely different game in terms of how it feels, which may make it less appealing for those who are interested in playing a game more similar to the original.

So in the end no one really won, but I guess that wasn't the point of this little side project of ours. It was fun to show off what we could do given a limited amount of time, and I'd say it turned out pretty well. Jack is excited to potentially present his project at the showcase in addition to Etherium.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Quick Updates

So since we haven't posted in a while here's what has happened. And it's actually some pretty big stuff.

First of all, Jack and I switched from Flickship to a new game called Etherium, which was designed as the antithesis to Imperium. Instead of being multiplayer it would be single player; instead of complex 3D models it would use a minimalistic art style; instead of making no progress after years of work we would make a working version within a couple weeks.

Check it out!


Second of all, Imperium is pretty much officially dead, although Sawyer is still in denial. We ran into some trouble setting up our servers, and that was pretty much the end of it. There hasn't been any progress since our last update, and even then we weren't really doing anything.

Third of all...

There is no third of all.

We'll explain more about the specific of Etherium later but for now we gotta gogogogogogogogo

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Q1 I2 Project Benchmark (2017-2018)

So.

As many of you don't know, Jack and I have recently been working a lot more on our project Flickship as we help test the new Student Launch Initiative (SLI) program. We've learned a lot about how to manage a project and actually consider an audience, and one of the big things we're trying this year is actually releasing regular versions for testing. And the first version is already here!

But first, it might help if I actually explained what our game is.

Basically, it's a two-player turn-based strategy game where you command a fleet of spaceships to try and wipe out the enemy team. For every ship you have, you can either try to shoot an enemy ship or pull it back launch it forward, which reveals more of the map. If you still don't get it here's a video demo:


It's obviously a little unpolished, but at this point we've learned it's important to get a really basic version out there just to get some initial feedback. That way, we can change stuff easily if people don't like it.

Which means we need your help!

If you're interested, you can sign up here: https://goo.gl/forms/xL9ppAovVIpuFzhH3, but note that it only works on iPhones. It would also probably be best if you got the app with a friend, so the two of you can actually play the game together.

Remember, we're looking for as much feedback as possible, so if there's anything you want us to change or fix let us know! The more responses we get the better, because at this stage anything can be changed. You can submit feedback herehttps://goo.gl/forms/Uh8jLUPSbFvMVfyH3

But wait, there's more!

Sawyer kind of gave up on his i2 blog, so now I'm posting his updates! And maybe Steven's too since he's working on the same project.

Anyways, for those of you who don't know (which is all of you), Sawyer has actually gathered a bunch of new people to work on his project over the past few months. We now have two new coders from other high schools, and one new artist who kinda just left (nice going Sawyer), so that's exciting.

Here's what Imperium looks like right now:


Yeah...we still aren't done with design yet.

So with all that being said, here's a general sense of what I have planned for this year:
 - Continue working on Flickship with Jack
       - Add a tutorial
       - Add more ships
       - Write a song for background music
       - Work on marketing with help from SLI
 - Finish up design work on Imperium
       - Complete the items list (shown above)
       - Solidify the game mechanics
       - Run through a simulated version of the game to see what problems remain
       - Set up the overall framework for the code
 - Help code the client side of Imperium (basically the stuff that's on your device)

I don't really have a set timeframe for any of this just because my schedule has been so packed, but just note that those tasks vary in length quite a bit. Some of them might take a week, others might take a couple months.

Also if you want to see my reflection on last year's project, you can check some of my previous posts.

Alright that's it for now.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Last Summer

So I think I was supposed to post last week but this summer has been...busy. I got a pretty sweet internship this summer where I got to develop new features for an actual iPhone game, which was awesome (technically it's still going which is why this post is at like 1am). And, during the first two months of summer, I took a summer biology class, which was...slightly less awesome.

I guess what I'm saying is that I haven't really had any time this summer to make progress on anything.

So why post? Well besides the fact that this seems to be one of the last few surviving i2 blogs and we need some representation, it would probably also be helpful to give a general outline for what we hope to accomplish over the next year, and what's happening to all of our old projects. Again, since we haven't actually had a chance to make anything new, there won't be any screenshots.

Spation/Project 17:
As we've said before, we had to cancel this project for a number of reasons. For one, it wasn't a concept that we felt we could go very far with, and even though the universe generation was incredible, it still wasn't enough to make a very fun game. I might post a demo of the game if I ever fix up some of the more game-breaking bugs, but I wouldn't expect anything from this going forwards. For now, like last time, here's a link to the song I wrote for the game, which is one of my personal favorites:
UrVolumeIsOn

Fish Tank:
I do plan to continue working on my big solo project from last year, even though it wasn't super exciting at the time. I'll be honest, this one is probably going to be the slowest of the projects listed here just due to the kind of work it requires, since the core focus of this game (besides being a solo project) is the story, music, and art. Basically, I'm trying to do all the stuff I normally don't put a lot of effort into, even though I've always wanted to. Here are a couple demos of some of the songs I wrote for the game:
Fish Tank Songs

Imperium:
This one isn't really my project, but since no one really seems to know much about it I figured that it would be worth mentioning here anyways. I'll be helping Sawyer work on his impossibly massive project, even though we all know that we're not going to finish. And yeah I probably shouldn't be saying that, but the important thing is that this is a game we've spent a lot of time designing. It's a nice learning experience for everyone, even if we are destined for failure.

Flickships:
Jack is at it again with a new game idea! Once I find him I'll make him add a couple demonstration videos here, but for now just know that we still have some original content coming soon. Hopefully. Although knowing Jack we might not get to see this one either...

Remastered Games:
Something else that I've always wanted to do is remaster/finish some of my older games. While Swipe & Shoot might be a bit extreme to fix up, website classics like Multiplayer Madness, Block Bomb Survival, and Asteroid Escape are all definitely easy enough to polish. Block Bomb Survival may even get an App Store release, but we'll just have to see how much time I have.

Anyways that's about all I can think of right now, and while we may also come up with new game ideas, I kinda doubt we'll actually get to implementing any of them considering that we'll have so little time and so many unfinished projects.

In terms of 3D games, since it is a little hard to tell from what I outlined above, we'll probably stay away from those unless we have a really solid game idea. Jack has nearly perfected his 3D artwork skills, but he and I both know that making a fully 3D game requires a lot of extra effort that might not be worth it depending on the concept.

Welp that's about it for now. I'm really looking forward to this year, but I also know that I won't have nearly as much free time as I did last year so again I doubt that we'll make that much progress.