Monday 10 April 2017

Weekly Development Progress Report, 10/04/17

Zombie Cannon Attack

I've mentioned my new project a few times already. I think I'm finally far enough into the development process to feel comfortable going into a little more detail. The project's working title is Zombie Cannon Attack, as this is a pretty good description of the gameplay it may well end up as the games actual title too, but we'll have to see.

A zombie in a cannon, (allegedly) preparing an attack

Zombie Cannon Attack sees you assisting a mad scientist as he attempts to conquer the world (or something) by sending his Zombie Test Subjects against the terrified inhabitants of a small town somewhere, presumably as a test run before moving on to the major cities of the world. You do this by firing Zombies out of a cannon so they can attack and infect the population, hopefully creating a full blown rampaging zombie horde that can sweep all before it. The gameplay combines aspects of throwing games such as Toss The Turtle or Learn To Fly with side-scrolling endless runner type mechanics.

The upgrade shop, where the mad scientist upgrades your zombies for points because something something plot.

All very interesting I hear you say, but will your game feature goths defending their town by throwing bottles at zombies? Well...

Mobile Issues

Zombie Cannon Attack was designed from the start to work on mobile unlike my other project, Super Endless Kingdom. So when I started testing on mobile last week and found I was getting around 4 frames per second(fps) with nothing happening onscreen, having mostly had a solid 60fps on desktop browsers, that was a pretty major problem. I spent a few days refactoring code and redesigning the games core functions, on the plus side I ended up with a game that's can now theoretically go on forever without getting slower but on the minus side I had to strip out the Tilemap I'd spent a few days learning to use early in the dev process and just go with a background colour and sprites sitting on top. This got me up to 15-20fps on mobile, which was still not good enough. On a hunch I then forced the game engine to use the Canvas instead of webGL and suddenly I had 40-55fps, a huge improvement. It still drops to 30 on mobile during busy points so there's more work to do, but for this sort of game 30fps is still playable.

Is it a bird? No it's a zombie, you must have funny looking birds where you come from mate.

To-do list

As well as improving performance I still need to add sound and a titlescreen. I also want to add an achievement/medals system, expand the upgrade shop a little and add obstacles to impede the zombie hordes, but I'm trying to keep the feature list as light as possible so I can launch pretty quickly. Once these features are added I'll concentrate on balancing the gameplay and polishing the graphics. It'd be really nice to have at least a beta launch this month but that might be a stretch, development always seems to take longer than anticipated so it'll be ready when it's good enough to release.

These Army guys certainly are tough, I wonder what this Rampage button does (mwuhahahaha)

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