I haven’t posted in a little while because I’ve be extremely busy working on tweaking the OpenFeint system so fit within our games theme. I know I said before that it was all easy peasy, and as long as you’re OK with gray bars on top of your game, that is still true. We, however, already had a cool pop down notification system built into the game and really wanted to use that. That is where the frustration hair-pulling and cursing began!

READER BE WARNED: DEVELOPER’S RANT AHEAD!

To give you an example of what I’m talking about, here’s what the default OpenFeint notifications look like:

Achievement Unlocked: This is Ugly!

And here’s what our, much cooler notifications look like:

Achievement Unlocked: Now That's Sexy!

See that awesome green bar along the top?! Yeah, that looks much better since it fits the theme of our game’s UI and doesn’t just cover up all that vital information at the bottom. Unfortunately simply adding this text to our already existent notification system wasn’t an easy task. It really comes down to the fact that OpenFeint uses two separate notification systems that deliver information in two different ways.

The regular notification system tells the game about things like achievements, user login, high scores, etc. Unfortunately, it just has standard text notices like “Achievement Unlocked” and “High Score Submitted.” We wanted to actually tell the player which achievement they earned, and that required overwriting the separate achievement notification system, which of course is further broken down into one for regular achievements and one for progress achievements. Yes, seems ridiculous doesn’t it!? It was really a lot of work for something that should have been very easy. Couple that with the fact that OpenFeint is very poorly documented with few examples and you’re in for a few long nights. I just finished this up yesterday, however, and I’m very pleased with the results!

OK I’M DONE VENTING, NOW LETS TALK ABOUT PA

Phew! Sorry about that. So since I haven’t posted since our weekend up in PA two weeks, I guess I should fill you in on how that went. Overall, I’d say it was a roaring success. I spent a good deal of time getting our dynamic music system set up and it turned out REALLY cool. It starts out on the first level with just a bass, but by level five you’ve got drums and synthesizers and it all just works really well.

Another cool thing we did was rearrange the main menu to have in game links to our social sites. You can now click on a button on the main menu that will bring you right to our Facebook and Twitter pages and even to this website. This was actually really easy because of the Android framework and I think it’s a really cool addition. We also replaced the exit button with an OpenFeint button that brings you to their dashboard. We felt the back button was enough to exit the game.

Time To Get Social

As you can probably tell, the button in the bottom left displays and hides the social buttons so they won’t be cluttering up the screen all the time. You can also just ignore the red “X” as that’s something we put there for debugging purposes and it won’t be in the final release of the game.

The last major change was fully implementing the training system. We decided to break the text up over 5 games to have only a few important bullets during each game as we know gamers attention spans are limited nonexistent. The game freezes while the user is reading text and then lets them play one game. If they get it wrong, the game repeats. If they get it right then the next game and subsequent training text is displayed. We think it looks really cool and sets the player up to jump right in and start playing.

Go Learn Something!

Some smaller things we did were separating the survival high scores from the endurance high scores and changing the in-game functionality of the back button. Since the endurance and survival modes are very different, we’ve listed the highscores on a new swipeable two page menu similar to our game over screen. We think it looks very sleek and keeps the games clearly separated. The new back button now sends the player to the game over screen instead of back to the main menu. We did this because it lets the player keep their score and achievements even if they don’t play a full game. All-in-all it was an EXTREMELY productive weekend and it really helped us to refocus and and press on to finish this game.

NEW WEBSITE AND MARKETING

So what have we been doing since then? Well in case you haven’t noticed you’re reading this on a nice new website! Yes, Yes, it LOOKS the same, but we’ve migrated over to a new domain to reflect our new name, Midnight Tangent Studios. We spent a good amount of time working on finding the right name and then choosing a web host and setting up all our new emails. We wanted a name that represented that we only get to work on our games at night after our regular day jobs and we’re usually up all night making and playing games. We’re really proud of our new name and hope it becomes a studio behind many awesome games in the future!

Why was getting a website up and running so important? Well because we’re almost done with the game!!!! We’re reaching the final stages of development and have begun switching focus to marketing. We’re sending our story to every indie site with an email address and we didn’t want to send them to a site that wasn’t associated with our new studio. Once the game is done we’ll be trying to get reviews and doing some alpha testing before final release and we’d like all those users to be familiar with our website as well.

We’ve had a very busy couple of weeks here at Midnight Tangent (love it!) and we’re getting super excited to present our final project to the world. We hope you’ll love playing it just as much as we’ve enjoyed making it. And if you’re still reading this and have a Droid, then let us know and we’d love to get your feedback during our Alpha testing. Until next time gamers!

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