October 20, 2014

Sunchasers Developer Diary #8: Touchy Feely

After completely re-writing the input system, I'm happy to say that Sunchasers now has mouse / touch controls! You can now click any valid location and your character will move there, regardless of her current state (sitting, eating, using the washroom, etc.).

Moreover, when she arrives at her destination, she'll take the expected action. If the destination is a chair, she'll sit. If it's a stool, she'll eat. If it was the washroom, she'll relieve herself. Well, sort of.1

With the new control scheme, I will need to start highlighting the square that you've clicked on / tapped. It's not such a big deal on a computer, but on the mobile app it's hard to tell where you've tapped until the character arrives.

But the mobile app! It works, I've been playing on my phone on my commute when I can't get a seat (note to self: make a level in which you're trying to get a seat on the bus...). The port to iOS was miraculously simple thanks to Unity's great cross-platform behaviour. There are some performance issues that need to be addressed, but it's still really freakin' cool to play this game on my phone.

Homer Simpson, dancing like a fool

Me, playing Sunchasers on my phone for the first time.

Whenever this game gets to a polished state, count on it being released to the iOS app store (and maybe the Android store if I can find a device or two to test on). I'm strongly considering tweaking the level size, etc. to make everything bigger on mobile devices and having that be the default platform.

In other news, a couple of people expressed surprise at least week's goal to improve the visuals of the drink power-up, mostly because they didn't know that there was a drink power-up.

That's a big UX whoopsie-daisy on my part, so I've modified last week's goal from "Make the power-up prettier" to "Make people realize that there's a power-up". The icon now embiggens itself momentarily whenever it spawns. I'd still like to pixel-art-ize the icon and test a bit of in-place animation, but I also don't want to muddle the screen with what already feels like an awful lot of motion, so we'll see...

This week, I'm gonna fix the difficulty for all y'all complainers (srsly though, thanks for letting me know!) and try to get a new sprite for one of the characters on the beach with you.

There are only about 15 things left in the issue queue before the level and the core game is 'done', at which point adding new levels should be a breeze. If I could have something ready to launch (for realsies) by Christmas time, I'd be pretty damned happy.

To see the full list of issues (or add your own!), take a look at the issue queue.

The code for this week's release is available on GitHub, and the playable build has been posted on the Pixel Pistol Games website. Note: It's possible the build this week may not work for you because of some Unity beta muckery that's happening behind the scenes. Let me know if it's going or not and I'll try to work up a new one!

Drop me a line in the comments if you like the new control scheme and new expand-y drink.

1You actually have to click the square beside the washroom. I need to add the functionality for clicking on the washroom itself, but for now you'll need to click on the square nearest to the washroom entrance (the same square you'd walk to if you were using the keyboard).