Bubble game, after the first week

As you may have guessed I haven’t had time to keep doing daily updates for my bubble game progress. It’s not that I haven’t been working on the game anymore, but for most of the week I’ve been at work which doesn’t leave much time for me to work on my own projects. For those days, I’d have 2 or at most 3 hours for myself if I’m lucky. Drafting and posting an article can take me up to an hour, so for any time spent on that, it was better spent finishing up as much of the game as possible.

Finishing up?

So the week’s gone and it hasn’t all been complete as I originally planned. I didn’t get to start on the menus, and no additional graphics or scoring system is in place. But I have managed to put together something very workable in just a week’s time, and have a good foundation towards a fully fleshed-out game. During that time I fixed the a major bug that kept some bubbles from falling when you popped the ones above, and it only happened in certain cases, where almost the whole is cleared and you were able to get to the ones in the top row.

Additionally, I’ve placed all the necessary rules for a game over, so now the game keeps you from shooting bubbles when they overflow, and you can restart with a fresh new group of bubbles by pressing the A key. The targeting system has been left nearly untouched since I last worked on it, and for me that’s okay. There’s still a decent amount of challenge to be had with that, considering that there are many bubble games on phones that use the touch screen to directly aim where you will shoot. Eventually, I will add a more traditional control scheme using left and right controls to rotate the launcher towards the direction you want the bubbles to shoot.

The bubble sprites have been resized from 64 to 48 pixels, allowing for at least 11 rows of matching fun. This would keep it closer “to the original” in terms of challenge and gameplay. This left even more empty space on both sides, which could be used for a lot of things in a first player setup, and roomy enough for two-player screens as well. I may consider having an extra one-player puzzle mode with larger, wider playing areas.

The future of this project

In a step I would consider making the game project “official” in the long term, I’ve set up a Subversion core repository with Assembla to keep track of my updates. This will go well beyond what I’ve done in my first week. I plan to turn this into a serious project, and showcase my progress in various communities online when it’s at a good enough state to get some detailed feedback, and get a feeler for interest on the game.

Since it’s being made with the XNA framework, Xbox Indie Games seems to be the natural first step towards distribution, but I’m keeping my options open for anything else depending on the progress I’ll be making. I know these sorts of games can be found for free on the web so I have been doing some research and exploring similar games, to see what I can do to give my own game an edge. I’d be happy already if I can get it in the hands of dozens of players, and get some positive reviews from it. But these things will be on the long term list. For now I am comparing other games to see how I can add or enhance on them.

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