Blow Things Up! 2

The second Blow Things Up game is out! After the success of the first one I’ve got high hopes for this one but time will tell. It’s not just a few extra levels tacked onto the first game though, it’s a completely new game with lots of extra features.

I redid all the artwork and introduced a bunch of new characters all with different properties. There’s the good and bad ‘Things’ from the first game but now there are also Bouncy Things, Heavy Things, Balloon Things and even Fire Things!

Another big new feature is the level editor and the ability for anyone to make and share levels with the world. I’m really looking forward to seeing what you can come up with so get making levels :)

Once again there are 42 levels to complete and trophies to get on all of them to add a little extra challenge. For those hardcore fans of the game (possibly dangerous pyromaniacs) there’s also a secret level. How to get to the secret level will be revealed if you complete all the trophies (although I’m sure if you’re keen enough it won’t be too hard to find out by other means).

Thanks to my brother, John, for helping design some of the levels. John is just getting into game development so you can expect to see our first collaboration soon!

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Hambo

Another new game! Golden Robot and Hambo ended up being released almost at the same time (just because we had to wait on our sponsor before releasing Golden Robot).

The idea for Hambo came to me pretty randomly while watching TV. People often ask how I get my ideas so I’ll explain what happened with this one. I’d been thinking about doing a physics type game for a while but wasn’t too sure which direction to go in. Two adverts actually inspired this one. Firstly there was an advert for a bank which showed a load of cute little piggy banks running around and then the next advert was a Ferrero Rocher ad where an arrow was fired at a pile of chocolates sending them flying. Almost instantly my subconscious offered up ‘Pig Rambo’ and I knew straight away that I was onto a winner!

RobotJAM did the art once again (and came up with the genius name of ‘Hambo’ for the game). He had a clear vision of how he wanted the game to look before starting, opting for a cute style which suits the game nicely.

We worked pretty quickly on this one, going from idea to full game in about two weeks. The box2d physics engine made all the physics side of things nice and easy and Playtomic handled the level sharing so the majority of the work was in building the level editor (and making it simple enough for anyone to use) and then designing the levels.

We both made a bunch of levels (and my brother George made a couple as well) and then we weeded out the ones that we felt weren’t as good and arranged them into some sort of order.

I’m optimistic about how this game will go down. Initial statistics certainly look very promising (it did a pretty huge 385,000 plays yesterday). It’s rare that I’ll still enjoy a game after testing it over and over but this one I’m still coming back to. It’s great seeing what other people are coming up with in the user levels so be sure to make some yourself!

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February 27th, 2011 Games Tags: , , , , , , , 21 Comments

Blow Things Up!

Another new game out! That’s three within about a week of each other. Obviously they haven’t only taken me a few days to make they’ve all just been sitting waiting for sponsors and release dates to come along.

Blow Things Up is my first attempt at using box2d, a physics engine that handles all the collisions and physics simulation in the game. It’s a fantastic tool that is very versatile and can be used for any number of game ideas.

Blow things up started out with me just playing around and trying to get to grips with box2d. The original game featured a character that could shoot cannons at structures to knock them down and I was going to invent a whole bunch of different weapons that would help him achieve his goal. With that in mind I started trying to come up with a way to create realistic looking explosions using box2d but once I had a method I decided that it was so much fun just clicking to create explosions that I could make a game using just that as the core idea.

The actual method I used to create the explosions was fairly straightforward but it seems to produce good results so I decided not to delve deeper into creating a more sophisticated method. Basically all I’m doing is applying a force to the centre of an object if it is within the blast radius and the force strength is greater the nearer the object is to the blast. This does have drawbacks (the main one being that if an object is really large then the bomb might register as being too far away to affect it even though it is right next to it since it is only actually registering at the centre of the object) but I feel that it generally works well in the scope of this game.

The main difficulty in making Blow Things Up was coming up with good level designs. I made a simple level editor to help me make the levels which did the job reasonably well but I found it very tough to come up with a variety of levels that were both challenging and fun. I think the levels ended up being a bit on the easy side but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Players don’t always like to have too much of a challenge and there are at least a few levels in there that are a bit trickier than others. I wanted players to enjoy the experience of just having fun blowing things up and not getting too bogged down by levels that were too difficult. Also, to add more of a challenge for those players who want it, I added in a trophy system which will award you a trophy if you use the minimum number of bombs possible for a level.

Update: I feel that I should update this post just to say that in its 2nd day of going live this game had just under 250,000 plays, a new record for me for the most plays from a single game in one day :) That equates to almost 3 plays every second over a 24 hour period! I’m very pleased with how the release of this one is going.

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