Opening Menu Design of My First Mini Game

In these last two weeks, I poured my sweats on refining the opening menu of my first mini game. It is almost finished. I only need to add two last pieces: the back button menu for exiting the game and the background music. I always aim to make my opening menu interesting, engaging and colorful. I have done simple animations for the title, start button and copyright font. If you touch/click the copyright font, it will open a window consisting information about my identity as a developer and the address of my personal website. I also have added a nice animation of the main character in the opening menu, with a simple interaction option. If you touch/click the character, it will create a new simple animation. Some of the animations are made using the tools inside the game engine while other more complex ones are made using Adobe Flash Professional. I also have added sound effects for the animation of the main character and the corresponding ‘clickable’ objects (start button, option button, copyright font, etc).

In the option menu, the player can choose to turn on/off the music and/or the sound effect. Creating this kind of options required some focus in writing the code. It might seems simple but it actually does require some mental thought in refining it. For example, to achieve a seamless effect when you choose to turn off the sound effect while it is playing require a ‘trick’. If you code it the wrong way, the sound effect will be off only after it finishes playing. But with the ‘trick’, I can turn off the sound effect instantly while it is playing and back to play immediately if I choose to turn it on again.

Making the exit button option is quite straightforward. In android, you can click the back button to open the window of this option to exit the game. Although the presence of this exit option is actually not that necessary (especially with modern phone that has a manual button to exit an application to the main/home menu), it is a standard option that exist in almost all phone applications. Regarding the background music for the opening menu, I want to create an atmosphere where you can sort of imagine the game play that I will present after you touch/click the start button. I hope the opening menu can lure the player to try the gameplay.

September 2015 Game Making Progress

This month, I have been working hard to make the art assets of my first mini game. I have completed the animation of the main character and the required background assets. I am still working on the other assets that will be used in the main gameplay. I also have done some ‘rough’ art assets for the opening menu (the title logo and other menu button assets). All of them still need some polishing in order to have a beautiful and clean opening menu. I haven’t done any art assets related to other interfaces such as option window, game end window, quit game window, etc. Although these things is unrelated to the main gameplay, I always put extra effort on it. I love a game that put attention to details and I want my games to be like that too.

During my game making work, YoYo Games, the maker of my game engine had server problem.  When I tried to update the game engine software, it suddenly become unresponsive. I tried to do a clean install twice but the problem still persists. Without the ability to download the required modules, the software is unusable. Later on, I had learned that they had a ‘bottleneck’ in their database server. I had to wait more or less one week until I can get it running again. At first, I want to make a simple prototype gameplay before doing the whole aspect of the game (opening menu, tutorial page, ending window, sound and music, etc). Since I cannot use the game engine for some time, I decide to focus entirely on making the game assets. Other than game making activity, I also still continue doing the book. I am a little bit worry whether I can finish the rough draft before I go back to Indonesia. I just have to continue working on it as much as I can.

I did not do any works related to the main game that I have been working for more than one year. I will try to work more on it in the future. The detail plan of my main game has already finished. I just need to slowly do the steps with constant perseverance. Right now, I want to focus on the mini game and the textbook only.

Getting My First Playstation Platinum Trophy

As a hardcore gamer, I have finished many games since the SNES and Sega Genesis era. Most of the time, I finished the games without the help of any walkthrough guides. I don’t like reading a walkthrough guide since it usually contains spoilers that will ruin my experience in playing the game. But later on I start using a walkthrough guide to uncover many secrets within a huge game that I love to play. I think the first time I used it, is when I try to uncover all the side quests and items of Final Fantasy VII. Until now I usually play without any guides until I finish the whole game. But sometimes for a game that I enjoy but not an important priority to my taste, I use the walkthrough guide to complete the difficult side quests as much as possible.

After playing for some times during the era of digital games, I realised that a trophy system has become a big part within the gameplay experience. At first, I didn’t care at all when I got message that I have achieved ‘this’ and ‘that’. I always thought that the most important thing is to create your own experience with your own skill until you finish everything. Psychologically, I started to be aware of this gratifying feeling whenever I achieved a trophy, especially the hard ones. Also, by comparing myself with my friends achievements, I started to feel this sense of competition among us. The hardest achievement is in the form of a very rare platinum trophy. To get this trophy, you need to unlock all trophies that exist within the game. Platinum trophy hunters are called ‘completionist‘ since they put a lot of efforts to beat all the challenges and features of a game. Actually, most of my friend does not have a platinum trophy within their set of achievements. Some of them with very high level even never bothered in getting one of these platinum trophies. It means that they have played a lot of games but they didn’t care on ‘completing’ all the features in these games. Nevertheless, I envy those that have gotten platinum trophies.

Gravity Rush

One day I read an article about Shuhei Yoshida (President of Sony’s Worldwide Studios for Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.) in his journey to get his platinum trophies. Upon hearing that he didn’t have a single Platinum Trophy, PlayStation Underground crew sent him a copy of Hannah Montana: The Movie on PS3. It is a very easy game to get a platinum trophy from it. This gesture is seen as a ‘friendly mock‘ for him as a Sony’s President. He finished the game and finally get his first platinum trophy. In contrast, his second platinum trophy deserves high praise since he completed all the challenges of a very hard game called Bloodborne. After knowing about this, I feel challenged in getting my own platinum trophy. Finding a decent game for this purpose is quite difficult also. I don’t want to get my first platinum trophy from a mediocre game. Above all, I also need to love the game since getting a platinum trophy requires repeating a stage or challenge many many times over. After some thought, I chose Gravity Rush. It is a PS Vita exclusive game that I adore very very much. I have also finished the game once.

Some of the challenges in Gravity Rush is quite difficult. Although I have to do a challenge over and over again, I am actually enjoying the process very very much. The satisfying feeling I get after finishing a difficult challenge was overwhelming. I use a ‘platinum trophy walkthrough‘ to understand all the challenges that I need to do. A walkthrough is essential, especially for getting the ‘secret’ trophies. Although the guide explains everything in details, at the end it is your skill that will determine the result. It took me around two weeks to finish all the challenges related to the achievements. Finally at last, I get the ‘rare’ platinum trophy. I intend to invest more time to get the platinums in the future although for sure it will not be as dedicated as this guy. Now, he already has 714 platinum trophies!

I am happy to hear that Gravity Rush will get a PS4 port remastered next year after its initial release back in 2012. And also not long after that Sony will release the sequel, Gravity Rush 2. I am very excited since this is a game that I have been waiting for so long to be released. I want to know more about the story and the improved gameplay. I love the unique gameplay of this game, although some critics hate it very much.

Update on my first book publishing process: It turns out that my friend is in a process to get our book publish in 2016. Since he has published several books, he has good relations with some notable publishers. He scraps his idea to make the book larger by incorporating EURO cup and Olympics events. He opts to push our book publishing that focus solely on football (related to the last FIFA world cup event), culture, economics, and politics in Brazil. I hope it will be published without any problems.

October 2014 to August 2015 Game Making (zero) Progress

What happened? I did not make any posts for almost a year since October 1st, 2014. There are many things happened during this long inactive periods. Let me explain everything to you.

First, my leave of absence permission is almost expired (see my Bio). In order to put good faith to the university, I try to finish this textbook that I have been working on for quite a while. The promised book could be one of the reasons that I got an extension for another year until February 2016. Actually, there are two textbook that I plan to create but I intend to focus only on one of them. What kind of textbook? Basic econometrics textbook. What is econometrics? (Err… look it up on google okay?) ^_^ I hope I can finish a rough draft before I go back to Indonesia next year. The other one is about history of economic thought. Sometimes I work on this textbook when I got bored with the econometrics subject.

Second, The book about world cup and soccer in Brazil took more of my time. I finally finish it but then my friend told me since I submitted the material very very late, we lost the momentum. He plan to release the book after the event of EURO Cup and Olympics. He wants to incorporate these three big events into one book (including the world cup). I do not know whether I will have to write more on the two events that will be held next year. We will see about that. He ask me to meet him later next year to talk about this. Am I upset with this? No, totally! It is my fault to begin with. I hope it will be published one day.

I think it will be quite difficult to finish a game when you still have obligations to other works and projects. I didn’t do anything related to game making for almost a year! Will I give up? I can’t. I have already put a lot investments to it. More importantly, this is something that I want to DO in the future. Will I give up my other job for this? No, but I might be. I don’t know for sure. I just have to keep doing it in my spare time even after I get my old job back in Indonesia.

What now? I will continue to work on my mini game project this month while at the same time keep working on the textbook. I will let you know the progress at the end of this month.

September 2014 Game Making (zero) Progress

There is no game making activity during this September. I only have time to sketch some game design ideas. All I do during September is read then write and read then write and read then write…

I need to get new idea, fresh idea, fascinating idea… from my book collections…

I need to surf the internet more to find reliable information related to my books…

I need to write more and more and more….

Arghhhh… I need to get this book done ASAP…

 

Book Progress Update

Not a while ago in early September, my friend send me an email regarding our book draft and the result of his meeting with a book publisher in Indonesia. Although he receive a positive encouragement from the publisher, they demand that we need to double the number of (short) chapters in our book. It means there are a lot more work needs to be done in order to finish the book.

As of today, I am still struggling in finishing the book. I even went to an official friendly futsal match between Brazil and Argentina and Brazil’s football league match between Sao Paulo and Botafogo to add content to my book. Not to mention, there are also many interesting things happened now in Brazil. The first is related to the election process of Brazil’s new president and the second is concerning the economic crises challenge in the last two quarters of their economy.

There are no game making activities throughout the month of September. I need to get all of my book materials done as soon as possible.

August 2014 Game Making Progress

Similar to previous month, my productivity in game making is also very low during August. I got sick for almost a week in around mid August and also I haven’t finished my parts for the book I’m currently co-writing it with my friend. It turns out that I need more research for my writing parts (I was wrong in thinking that it will only be a ‘light’ research. I wrote it in this blog post) . When I read again my articles that have been published in a soccer tabloid in Indonesia, I sense that some of the sentences and ideas feel a bit ‘dry’. I made a lot of modifications and I only use about half of what I have written before. I also have added many new chapters with many new ideas. Until now, it hasn’t finished yet. Right now, I don’t want to set any strict deadlines again. I will try to finish my book parts as soon as possible.

What I’ve done related to game making are collecting some resource parts for my mini games and preparing its game design.  I have collected some sound effects (from www.freesound.org) and inspirational arts (pictures and photos) made by other artists. I made detailed game design sketches related to gameplay, arts, sound and music. Since this is the first time I plan to incorporate ads on my game, I have subscribed to many mobile advertising company such as Mopub, Admob, Adcolony, etc. I also have secured twitter and email address related to the name of my upcoming mini games. Unfortunately, I haven’t done any works in the production of my main game during this month. I hope I can finish my book parts during September so I can fully focus again in developing the games. I will write a blog post if I manage to finish it during September. Thcau!

Making Mini Games

As you already know, recently I make a short announcement that I will be making mini games. Actually, this plan has been in my head for quite some time. The reason is simple, I want to produce ‘light’ casual video games apart from the one I have been working now. I notice that there is a large demand for this kind of game (for example flappy bird). Honestly, I also need the experience in publishing a game. Even though I already pick a small project for my first main game, it turns out it needs a lot of work. Especially for a one-man developer. I intend to produce these mini games with a very short production cycle (2-3 months) with very simple gameplay. I plan to produce most of my mini games by using a one-touch or one-swipe input system. In special cases, I will use at most two touches or swipes to play the game.

Although I have some original gameplay ideas, the mini games could also be an ‘improved clone’ of other games. Actually, flappy bird has inspired the gameplay for my first two mini games. Of course it will not be exactly the same as flappy bird since I will greatly modify the gameplay and ‘tone’ of the game. I choose to do these two mini games first since it is simple to make while I also have to learn how to integrate user scores with Google leaderboards service and to incorporate ads that will not disturb the user experience. I also need to subscribe with the respective ads networks and learn how to integrate them into my mini games. All of my mini games will come with an option to remove the ads. If all goes well and I have gained sufficient knowledge in building and publishing those two mini games, I will start making other mini games with my original ideas.

I intend to try continuously make this mini games every 2-3 months, even if I get my daily job back in the future. I hope the stream of ideas for this mini games will not run dry. I have added a new section called minis on this website. You will find my mini games there, when they become available.