The Dreamerz

The Dreamerz is another collaboration with my artist friend robotJAM. It’s another point-and-click game but there’s not a Panda in sight this time. The concept for this game was actually dreamed up (see what I did there) before we made Panda’s BIGGER Adventure. I came across a game that I really liked, The Blue Beanie, and got in touch with its creator, asking if she’d like to do a collaboration.

I put together an idea for a game that I thought would go well with her style of art. Unfortunately it didn’t work out because she was unable to commit enough time to the project but I didn’t want to just ditch it completely because I really liked the concept of the game. I considered attempting to do the art myself but luckily I decided to see if Rob wanted to get on board first. He did a far better job than I ever could have done on the art and helped shape the game into what it is now.

I think we got the formula near enough spot on with this one with a lot people saying that they thought it was the perfect length and difficulty for a Flash game which is always nice to hear. It’s not too challenging but there is enough of a challenge to keep it engaging throughout and the puzzles are all (more or less) logical. We were also lucky enough to get a great sound designer, Reade McCardell, to work on the game. He put together all the sounds which add a lot of atmosphere to the planets. Check out his band here: Fresh Cut Salads.

It has been the highest rated game I’ve made to date, getting scores over 4 stars on Kongregate and Newgrounds, a really great result. It was also reviewed very favourably by JayIsGames, a site that reviews Flash games and that has reviewed several of my games in the past.

But it’s the great comments that players leave that make the business of making Flash games so rewarding. Several players likened the game to Myst and Samorost which was just fantastic since those are great games.

There were of course a few negative comments (you can’t please everyone!), most of them being about the fact that the sound puzzle was too challenging. That was probably the bit that I was least confident about before release since I was worried that people would find it tricky but I still like it and am glad that it stayed in the game.

Play this game…

Planet Basher 2

Planet Basher 2 got made because I received a lot of positive feedback on the first one and I wanted to build on it to make an even better game. I corrected the mistakes that I made in the first one and added some extra features to, hopefully, make the experience more fun. You can no longer get trapped between planets because each spaceship has health and so will be destroyed if it hits too many planets. You can also buy armour upgrades in the game shop.

I improved the graphics from the first one by quite a lot and was really pleased with the overall level of polish on the game once I was finished with it. I also added more upgrades to add an extra element of strategy, and achievements to give players more to aim for and rewards for their endeavours.

All in all I felt that it was a big improvement on the first game… so of course it got (slightly) lower ratings! Perhaps people were just a bit bored of the concept after the first one (it’s a fairly similar game in all honesty, just with some improvements).

Play this game…

September 23rd, 2010 Games Tags: , , , , , 9 Comments

Planet Basher

Planet Basher built on the Orbit concept, changing the focus of the game completely. In Orbit you had to aim your cannon and hope for the best. In this game, you get to buy your own planets and place them where you want in an attempt to stay in space for as long as possible.

You can also grow your planets and buy a star magnet upgrade which makes your job of collecting stars a bit easier. This game was a big step up from Orbit and seemed to go down well with players, getting some good ratings.

But it’s not without its flaws. One big problem is that it takes a long time to fill up the playing field with stars so if you want to do well you have to just sit there and wait in between shots. You can buy the Star Shower upgrade of course which brings the stars down much faster but that’s not exactly an ideal solution to this problem.

Another issue was that it is possible to get your rocket stuck in between planets meaning that you could rack up endless stardust… but the round would never end because you were stuck in limbo.

But the biggest flaw with this game was the fact that it plays completely differently on different machines. By this time I thought I was getting the hang of coding but I managed to overlook one issue; performance. I couldn’t understand how some people were setting such ridiculously good scores until I saw what was going on on a friend’s computer. On slower machines the game lags quite a bit, causing the playing field to fill up with stars. This means that on really slow computers it’s actually possible to get 200 stars in the first round and win the game straight away.

Since the game was well received I felt compelled to fix these errors and make Planet Basher 2. So I did.

Play this game…

September 23rd, 2010 Games Tags: , , , , , 2 Comments

Orbit

Orbit was inspired by a similar casual pinball style game. It’s another fairly simple game, designed to appeal to the more casual gamers who like setting high scores. The trouble is, there’s not a whole lot you can do to make that happen and it seems mostly luck based.

However, I felt that there was something to be done with the concept and a lot of the comments on the game seemed to agree so I took the core ideas from Orbit and used them to make Planet Basher.

Hopefully you will be able to notice that by this time I was spending a bit more time polishing my games as I learned more about art in Flash. This game has a nice transition where the planets come in and out of view and I think the art is generally better than the other games I had made so far.

The game also features a really nice relaxing spacey sounding soundtrack which I had custom made by a fellow developer who also composes music, Oknavi. His game Cube-Race has a really great soundtrack which is what first brought his skills as a composer to my attention.

P.S. The popping sound in Orbit is the same sound that can be heard in the Popopop games. My younger brother, George, made the sound and recorded it so he will be very pleased to know that it now features in 5 games I believe.

Play this game…

September 23rd, 2010 Games Tags: , , , , 1 Comment

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