Monday 31 July 2017

Weekly Development Progress Report, 31/07/17

Well, it's finally here. Zombie Cannon Attack! launches this week. I'm really looking forward to getting the game out there.

Please release me

Assuming the latest build (Version 1.0.01) hasn't broken anything I'll release it to open beta tomorrow (1st August) on the Google Play Store. As there's no current production version it should show up as early access until I take it out of beta, which I'm planning to do over the weekend all being well. I'll release the Newgrounds version on Friday and (again assuming all goes well) release on Kongregate a few days later, hopefully Sunday. After that I'll be looking into releasing on Gamejolt, but as I've never uploaded anything there before I don't have a set date I'm aiming for yet.

You've come a long way, Zombie

I'm planning to write a new in-depth preview to coincide with the release of Zombie Cannon Attack!, but in the meantime I just wanted to share a few before and after screenshots to highlight the progress I've made over the last few months. Hopefully you can tell which is before and which is after without me pointing it out.

As you can see, the differences here are like day...

..and night.

Change the font, add a few pictures, get rid of the awful green colour and...
...hurray, eyes no longer repelled, nausea greatly reduced!

Monday 24 July 2017

Weekly Development Progress Report, 24/07/17

I said last week I'd just uploaded what I hoped was the final pre-release build of Zombie Cannon Attack! to the Google Play store. As ever that proved to be a little optimistic, I pushed another build over the weekend and I've made some slight tweaks to that one too.

Just in case you thought I was making it up

As I've taken the decision to hold release until next week I can't be certain that I won't make any more changes but I feel like I've got the game balanced nicely and ironed out all the bugs. I made one really satisfying fix to something that I'd thought I was just going to have to live with so at the moment I feel the decision to delay was justified.

This is the new load screen, hopefully more entertaining than watching a bar fill up
Portal-ly Amazing

I'm planning to take the rest of the week to produce a version for portal sites, starting with Newgrounds and Kongregate and possibly Gamejolt. The idea is for this version to have the basic features that the Android version has, but without the bonuses and extra features that can be unlocked by watching ads or with in-app purchases. Hopefully this will prompt players to then download the 'full' version from the Play store. I also have a bit more promotional work to do, including a full preview blog post either this week or next.

Friday 21 July 2017

Weekly Development Progress Report, 17/07/17

Ok, so it's not the 17th. It's actually the 21st and this is is the latest I've ever posted a devblog since I started. This is also going to be the shortest devblog I've done.

Better late than never

I was hoping to release Zombie Cannon Attack! this week, but I'm not quite ready. It's a little disappointing as I'm really close. As I write this I'm working on balancing the later game a little better, and hopefully the latest Alpha build I'm releasing to the Google Play store (Version 0.9.78) will be the last. However next week is really bad for releasing as I'll be away for part of it so it looks like being the beginning of August. As I said it's disappointing but it gives me more time to get the game ready and some of the things I was planning to do post-release can be done before instead.

Yes, this is the same screenshot as last week, better than nothing though eh?
I've made big improvements to the game's performance and fixed a lot of annoying bugs and problems mainly to do with in-game adverts, so I'm satisfied that the final release will be something I can be proud of. Next week I hope to write a full preview of the game with loads of screenshots and gameplay gifs, so stay tuned.

Monday 10 July 2017

Weekly Development Progress Report, 10/07/17

I'm pretty pleased with how last week went. I put in more hours than I'd managed for a month and I now have an Android version of Zombie Cannon Attack! that works well. I'd go so far as to call it releaseable, but I'm planning to hold back for another week.

You medalling fool!

I spent about half the week adding new medals and upgrades that will unlock with Brainsville, the second stage/world. Along with the new enemies I added last week they add a new dimension to the game, prior to these changes the differences in levels were largely cosmetic.

Tricky Zombies deploy a fleet of flying Pow! signs in their attack on the city, probably.
I've also added little bits and pieces to give the game more polish, including several new sound effects and a little animation at the start of each run. The animation actually serves a useful technical purpose as I've found it sometimes takes a few seconds for the performance of the game to settle at the beginning, so instead of having the 'patient zero' zombie already in the cannon he now walks onscreen and jumps onto the barrel. It takes less than 2 seconds but that little delay is all I needed.

I spent the rest of the week testing and balancing, I've fixed a few bugs and made some minor changes
Still to come

I decided against using google sign-in, It's not really necessary for this game and I don't want to add delays for no benefit. As I said earlier, everything is now working on the Android version, performance is looking good too. I once again have a small list of changes and fixes but most of the work between now and release is going to be about promotion and marketing.

I'm not planning a huge campaign, but I need promotional materials for the GooglePlay page and while I have them there's certainly no harm in putting a presskit together and seeing if I can attract any interest. If you're a gaming blogger, writer or youtuber and are interested in featuring my game then please get in touch. You can find more info about the game in previous blog posts or just get in touch via twitter etc.

Tuesday 4 July 2017

Weekly Development Progress Report, 03/07/17

Not a bad week, certainly not by June's standards at least (see stats section later). I've spent the last few days working on integrating ads into Zombie Cannon Attack! Video and banner ads are now working but need some more tweaking and I may also add occasional skippable interstitial ads between runs but only once every 5-10 minutes. Obviously I'd rather not be putting adverts in my game but there doesn't seem to be another viable option at the moment, and I've at least enjoyed the technical challenge.

It's in the game.

On the gameplay side I've added the last currently planned character, SuperZee, complete with cool laser graphics and sfx that I'm pretty happy with. SuperZee appears alongside Brainman in Brainsville but is also the informal boss of World One (currently known as Starter Town) and will be an unpleasant surprise for any zombie horde that reaches the kilometer mark.

I've also spent time reworking the post-run backdrop, I've added buttons to play the rewarded video ads and change the world as well as link buttons to Twitter, Facebook and the Rubble Games website.

Buttons man, Gotta press em all!
I now have a small list of tweaks and bug fixes to get through and I still want to look at using google sign-in. I feel very close to finishing but the release date now looks likely to be mid-July instead of early July as I'd previously hoped.

June buggy

June was a very mixed month. I'm really disappointed with the hours I worked. There was some justification for working less this month but overall I should have done more and it's something I need to work on for the rest of the year.
However I have overcome a lot of technical hurdles this month and I'm pretty pleased with the quality of my work despite the quantity being too low.
On the social media side, my Twitter followers continue to grow but the growth has slowed. I've had to be a bit more picky about who I follow back which may have slowed the growth a little but I needed to rethink things or twitter would've become unusable. I like the idea of following back those that follow me but the numbers I'm following (nearly 900) are starting to become unmanageable.
This blog continues to grow at a decent rate, although it's still pretty small it's nice to see those numbers keep going up.

Twitter followers: 1203 (+166)
May blog views: 482
Blog views/day: 16.1 (May was 13.8)
Hours worked: 86 (2.9/day) (May was 4/day)