Naku the Cat

It’s a long time with no updates, so let’s fix it. This is Naku the Cat, my first mobile game. Naku the Cat is an arcade game about soap bubbles and a cat who wants to catch them all. Naku is dreaming and it lasts until Naku misses nine bubbles. Catching multiple bubbles with a single paw swipe counts as combo, more bubbles, more bonus score. Normal paw has limited range but with SUPERPAW power up Naku can temporarily reach higher.

The game has been on development for couple of month now, here’s some pics from progress.


A sketch about the idea, drawn by my wife:

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Version 0.4 with placeholder graphics and random bubble spawning:

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Version 0.21 includes work-in-process graphics and menus, moving background, some particle effects and gradually speeding bubbles

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I have learned a lot of things during development. One the biggest obstacles was how to deal with all the different screen sizes and aspect ratios. I decided  to use fixed aspect ratio 16:9, which is scaled to fit on the screen. I chose 16:9 because the wide screens are  majority, especially on tablets. The black bars are added to up/down or left/right if needed. Devs from Clash of the Olympians explains how I did it.


Drawing text on the screen sounded an easy task at first but it was far from it. I tried to use a font with one size only and to scale it up and down when I needed different sizes. But no matter which texture filter settings I used, scaled fonts looked always bad, especially when downscaled. So I ended up to use four different font texture sizes. They increases the game total size a little bit but it is worth it.

A lot of work has been done but to-do list is still quite long: graphics polishing, sound effects, music, menu transitions, some animation and game balance. And of course playtesting.

The dramatic tree. Learning to paint with Photoshop.

Chickens, please

A week ago I found #OneGameAMonth challenge where people are making games, one by every month. I was fascinated by the crazy idea and decided to join in. But only one week left and I haven’t even started! I must admit I doubted myself that I could finish a game in time. But I did, hell yeah.

The idea came from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. In the restaurant scene a fat man is eating a lot of food and later explodes when waiter gives him a candy. I simplify the idea by giving only chickens and a candy to eat. In “Chickens, please”, the purpose is to eat chickens as fast as possible. There’s also special “Bastard bonus” available when throwing chickens’ remains in the waiter’s face. The harder you hit, the higher is bonus.

This was my baptism of fire on Photoshop and Wacom drawing pad. I’m not really good at drawing stuff but this gave me a reason to start learning. I doubt that I will never be a professional artist, but I’m happy if I can make art that suits my needs.

I really enjoyed the rapid development process. I will certainly do this again!

PLAY

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Getting started

I have dreamed for years of making games. There have always been excuses, good and bad, to not get started. But now I have realized that if I ever going to release a game, I should start working on it. Right now.

I took some time in search of a suitable framework for the first project. At first I thought that I will make a game for the PC only with C# and XNA, but I ended up to develop for mobile devices because they usually needs less graphics and have simpler controls than desktop games. Android was the obvious choice for the platform, because I already have experience with Java and Android development.

For framework I chose LibGDX because it’s beginner-friendly, well documented and have good tutorials on their web site.

There was a little hassle in settling up all the prerequisites for development environment. But once it was done, I followed Simple Game tutorial and soon there was a sprite moving around the screen.

Things have been pretty easy so far, but I believe that developing a fully featured game, even a small one, can be a huge task. So let’s see what happens.

There’s no time to lose. This is my journey to the game development.