Nov/12

9

Agent Tom

The Weekly Roundup

Settling In!

We moved into our new office in Collingwood last week and we’ve been settling into the new space. We’ve had to deal with all kinds of things such as a brilliant coffee machine, a bit too much sunlight, and everyone having to work out how exactly to get to work.

The new space is great. We have a lot more room to move and it’s closer to home for most of us (except for Sam… sorry Sam) and it’s right near Melbourne’s funky Smith St. Maybe we need to start being more funky so that we all fit in?

Levels! A whole bank of levels!

We’ve been making a lot of levels for our next game. So many in fact that just managing all of them has become quite a chore (hundreds and hundreds of designs that could make their way into the final game).

To deal with these numbers, Agent Sam has made a really nifty tool that allows us to easily sort and structure our levels, give them ratings, and easily view information about each level. This was all done using Google Spreadsheets and some nifty Google Apps Script. We’ll have to write a full feature-blog post describing how great Google Apps Script is for making simple tools as it’s proven to be a very versatile weapon we can use in our quest for making better games.

Metrics!

Another cool thing we’ve made by hacking Google Spreadsheets is to create nice reports about who is actually playing our games and how long they are sticking around. This info is great because it helps us make our games a lot more fun, but it can sometimes be hard to really read the graphs that Flurry make. So we made our own graphs!

Even more awesomely, we were able to use Google Sites to automatically pull these graphs from the Spreadsheet, and display everything in a somewhat nicer format.

Leveraging Google’s services has proven to be a really great way for us to rapidly create useful tools that enhance our ability to make games. More on this in a future blog post feature.

We made some really hard levels, couldn’t solve them, and so made the computer do it for us

When designing levels, it’s often very difficult for the level designer to be able to keep all the variables and permutations of the level in their mind at once. It’s possible for us to make much higher quality levels if we have an automated “solver” that can solve our levels for us, as well as providing very useful information about a level (such as the number of possible solutions). We’re also kind of lazy.

So we made a “solver”. This has actually been a work in progress for quite some time, but it only just recently became awesome.

 This tool was made by extending Unity through it’s great editor features. We really strongly recommend that other Unity developers get in on this and start making wicked tools by extending Unity.

And then we made it even more awesome

The next step, of course, was to make it automatically show us the possible solutions in a way that was highly readable to a level designer. Agent Sam is doing a more detailed write up about this, but basically we can learn so much about how our levels are structured through this tool and it makes it much easier to make great content.

We quietly started a beta test

Agent Henrik began work on a beta test for our new game. It’s a closed beta at the moment and I am sorry but it is now closed.

Sorry about that.

On the bright side this means that our new game is getting close. We still don’t have a definite launch date but it will definitely will be released sometime.

We also started thinking: “What’s Next?”

The new project is in it’s final stages so we’ve started thinking about our next project. We have some new IP that we want to develop further into a new game, and so we’ll definitely start work on that.

But we also see a lot of potential to improve Train Conductor, so we’re going to explore that. It’s still early days so we don’t have totally concrete plans at the moment, but we’re thinking of making the newer “Challenge Mode” the focus of the game since that style of play seems to be much more the kind of play we were trying to create with the original Train Conductor.

 

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