Nathan

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Joined October 27, 2006
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Finished a game - Gravity Galaxy!
Posted on March 02, 2017 at 13:37

Hey!

After over two years of development, completely in my free time, I have finally released my game onto iOS and Android. The release has gone pretty well so far, with the game being featured by Apple on the app store in a whole bunch of different regions!



Gravity Galaxy on the App Store
Gravity Galaxy on Google Play

I thought 64D might be interested in a quick look at some of the different stages of development the game went through before being released:

The original prototype was made right before I had to move out of my student house, in about a week of pretty much working on the game non stop until like 6am every day. At the end of the week I had made a prototype that looked like this:



Once this was made I got a job and moved to London and pretty much forgot about the game entirely for quite a few months. At some point during this period as an attempt to get things going again I started playing around a little with procedurally generating planets to be used for the graphics in the game. The furthest I got with this idea spat out planets that looked like this:



If you are interested in how this worked you can read more about it here. These graphics didn't really seem like they could really be used with the game, so yet again I sort of just forgot about the game completely for quite some time.

At some point later, when speaking to a friend from uni, he said something like "oh yea, I said I was going to make some graphics for that game you showed me" and a little while later sent me this mock up:



Pretty much instantly it was decided that is how we should try and make the game look. From that point onward we began working together fairly frequently, at least once a week or so on the game.



At the time, I remember thinking this looked really good..We continued working on the game slowly on and off for awhile, updating things from the original prototype with new art.



Eventually we had created a build that somewhat resembled an actual game:



Around this time things shifted a bit from 'just pissing about in our free time' to 'we should actually release this game'. With that goal in mind, it became pretty obvious we couldn't really release the game with the graphics how they were. The game used quite a few lights and loads of transparency. This caused the game to run very hot on phones and caused low FPS on older devices. So we started redefining the graphic style to something more mobile friendly.



Doesn't actually look to far off the finished game here! We took this art style change as an opportunity to try and explore some alternatives to how we represented gravity, including one really crazy way that just didn't work out.



We spent some time updating everything to the new graphic style, and further developing the game, until one day we came across an application for mobile games to receive funding for development. We decided to put together a video and apply for the funding, although we weren't very hopeful.



To our surprise we were successful! Things got a lot more serious at this point, although visually the changes weren't as drastic. After receiving the funding we spent another year developing the game, working on things related to monitisation, level creation and all the million small things you never notice until you need to finish a game (such as juicyness!). We now had to commit to working on the game pretty much every night, as we were both still working full time jobs at other game studios, but had deadlines we had to meet for the funding. To make things a bit harder, the studio I worked at was in "crunch" for about 6-7 months, so I would have to work 11-12 hour days several nights a week, then come home and find a few more hours to work on Gravity Galaxy. Also, my lung decided to collapse 3 times during this period, hospitalizing me for a few weeks and evenutally requiring me to have lung surgery!

But some how, no one died and we finished the game!




FlyBy - Now released on iOS!
Posted on August 16, 2014 at 07:06

So after nearly a year since the Android release, I've finally managed to get the game released on iOS!

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/id849846434?mt=8
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.me.GDXEngine&hl=en_GB



When I first started developing FlyBy, LibGDX had no support for iOS. I had decided I would just make an Android game and it would never be released on iOS. So its pretty amazing to be able to say the game is available on iOS. But there were quite a few challenges even once LibGDX added its RoboVM backend for iOS. For starts, I don’t have a mac, or any iOS devices and I’m not a registered Apple Developer. Three essential requirements for making an iOS game! Luckily fellow game developer Matt Taylor offered to help out with the iOS version, and he had access to all three of the things required. Due to the way LibGDX works, where each platform has its own project that shares a common core project, it was possible for me to work on the core game, adjusting game play elements and re-factoring certain areas that would allow Matt to work on implementing game center support for the iOS version. The process essentially had me exposing certain elements of the game into interfaces so they could be accessed by the iOS project (for example achievement unlocks). This worked well, since Matt was not familiar with the code base at all, and allowed him as little direct interaction with it as possible, making it possible for him to focus on getting the core game center implementation to work.

For the most part, the core game worked almost without any adjustments, once the initial setup of deploying to iOS was overcome. However, there was a few quirks, mainly with sound. If serveral sounds were playing at once, there was a noticeable drop in FPS on the iOS version. Debugging issues such as this was very difficult. As they lied with the base engine classes, I had to essentially guess at what the problem could be, ask Matt to try out some changes, wait for him to do it, and then wait for him to tell me the results. This made for quite a slow and tedious development cycle and made it nearly impossible to tackle the problems to an acceptable standard. In the end, to overcome the sound issue, all sounds except the background track was removed from the iOS version, a less than ideal solution.

However, against all odds, the game is now released on iOS, and works decently on most devices we know about! So if you haven’t yet, download the game!

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/id849846434?mt=8
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.me.GDXEngine&hl=en_GB




FlyBy
Posted on September 23, 2013 at 14:08

Hi, Long time no blog. So I very recently released my first Android (only at the minute) game onto the Google Play Store. I developed the game in LibGDX over the past 7 months with two friends from University. We originally thought we could get this finished and released in a month, but we were pretty wrong with our estimates, but here, after 7 long months, is the finished version!

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.me.GDXEngine&hl=en_GB



FlyBy is an exciting, fast paced, arcade style mobile game with a variety of exciting obstacles and challenges to complete! With randomly generated levels and online leader boards powered by Google Play. FlyBy offers many hours of plane flying fun! We hope you will enjoy playing and share our game with your friends!

Features:
- Randomly generated caves and levels for endless game play
- Many different exciting obstacles to avoid and fly through
- Online leader-board powered by Google Play Services
- Collect coins to buy power ups and upgrades in the in game store
- Thrilling challenges to complete

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.me.GDXEngine&hl=en_GB




LSA
Posted on May 18, 2008 at 19:17

I know when I start this I won't be able to put into words how great what I just experienced was. I wish now I dedicated more time to understanding English, and expanding my vocabulary so I could describe this event better, unfortunately I have a very limited vocabulary, so this report will lose a lot of the...Already I am failing to find a word to use, I do not know how to describe it!
Normally when I try explaining events that have happen to me I try to hide the true nature of the event, so I'll just say it this time. What I am about to describe is an experience I had with the mind altering drug LSA. No, that isn't a typo, the drug I took was not LSD, as many of you might think I meant. I am probably still under the influence of it right now, my pupils are still way above normal size.
LSA is legal, here in the United Kingdom, where I currently live. I took 4 happy cap trip-e pills, which contain ground up Baby Hawaiian Wood Rose seeds. These seed naturally contain LSA with in them. Now I know many people have many different opinions on mind altering substances. Whatever you want to think about them, or whatever reason you want to think as to why I'm taking them, is for you to think, and I really couldn't care less. I have my own opinions on them and there mine, whatever yours are, are yours.
I took the pills at about 3pm. Today was a rather nice day. Although not too hot, or very sunny, there was a blue sky, as well as quite a few large white clouds in the sky. About one and a half hours after taking the pill, I started to feel quite sick, and thought that I may actually throw up. I decided to go to the bathroom in preparation to me throwing up. After a few moments of sitting by the toilet, I decided to get in the shower and turn the water on. As well as feeling very nauseous, I was starting to feel the effects of the pills. I got in the shower, and turned the water temperature to the normal temperature I have when taking a shower. Already my sense of time was starting to get distorted. Because of this I do not know how long I sat on the floor in the shower, under the relaxing warm water, but I do know that after awhile I realized I was practically asleep. Realizing that falling asleep in the shower was most likely not a good idea, I stood up and stood in the shower for what felt like not a very long time.
While I was on the floor of the shower, my nausea started going away, but when I stood up again, it came back. I decided to get out of the shower and try being sick again. I got out of the shower, but did not turn the water off. I dried myself off and lent over the toilet trying harder to be sick, but after several tries, I was not sick. I stood up and got dressed. Turned the water off in the shower and went back to my room.
I had ginger biscuits, as I was expecting this sickly feeling, and had read ginger biscuits or ginger ale helps stop the nausea. However in this hour and a half, I had only managed to eat half of one biscuit. I laid on my bed, waiting for the nausea to pass. I'm not sure when it happen, but before I knew it, I was on my computer, feeling great. No feeling of nausea, I was full of euphoria. I was talking to several people on MSN, and all I really wanted to do was talk to lots of people. I started a conversation with everyone on my contact list. I do not really known how long I spent having various conversations with various people about various thing, nor do I really know what these conversations were about. All I know was at the time, I was really happy and full of excitement. After what felt like some time, I got the urge to go for a walk.
I got my mp3 player, and went outside. They day was great. There were families walking around with young children, in the small playground by my house. I remember I stopped for several minutes trying to find the perfect song to listen to. I was unable to find a song that fit the occasion perfectly, but every song worked very well and sounded great. I walked past this playground, I didn't really know where I was going, but I really didn't care, everything was great, I just wanted to be part of this. I walked to another near by playground. I remember as I was walking to it I was really hoping there would be no one at it, so I could use the equipment there without strange looks. The relief I had when I walked around the wall and first saw the playground empty, and no one else around, was great!
I walked over to the playground and first went on the zip cord. I believe they are sometimes referred to as death swings. It was just a button seat attached to a wire where you can be pushed back and forth along the wire. While I tried going as fast as I could down this wire for awhile, I remembered my trip to Salisbury, where my friend lewis had pushed me so fast I swung an entire circle upside down on a swing similar to this. Although kinda disappointed I was unable to get myself going very fast on my own, I was still having a great time on this swing.
After awhile I decided to go onto the normal swings, and I spent some time just swinging on them, listening to music which at the time, was all very good. After a period of time, I walked off into the football field next to this playground and headed towards where one can cross the train line to get to another much larger field. However I realized that by the fence to the train track, and the field, was a small area, full of trees and uncut grass. I have walked threw this area 100's of times before, and never really paid much attention to this area. I decided to walk into it and explore it some. It was all very, I guess the best word would be beautiful. I really enjoyed being here, which felt very much like nature, despite the man made rail way tracks right next to it, on the other side of the fence, which even though man made and normally I would consider rather ugly, seemed very natural and pleasant. I walked around this area, and eventually decided to climb trees. Now climbing a tree under the influence of anything is probably never a good idea, but I found I could climb these trees with ease. Not really caring much about what would normally be an obstacle for me, for example large over grown bushes. I just pushed my way threw them, and climb the tree's, almost not caring if I fell.
Quickly however I found these trees didn't satisfies my desire to climb, as I couldn't get very high, as they were all rather small, and weak. I wanted to find a better tree to climb. So I got down, and headed towards the train track, to search for a better tree. However instead of crossing the train track and enter the field on the other side. Something occurred to me, that seemed so obvious I don't know why I never thought it before. I didn't have to cross the tracks, I could walk down them. I have no idea why I never realized this before. I actually wondered if there was a law against walking down rail way lines. Even if there was I didn't care. I started walking down it.

On the field there was a couple sitting on the hill taking advantage of the nice day. I'm not sure if they actually were looking at me, but it sure did feel like it.
I walked down the rail way line around a bend. I looked down and didn't see any large trees down the line, so I headed back to the crossing. I can only imagine what the couple sitting on the hill were thinking. Seeing a random guy stumble around, looking clue less, wondering down the rail way lines, then a few minutes later coming back in the direction he had just walked. When I entered the field, I could almost feel what felt like there feelings. They were almost terrified, or so it felt, that this crazy man, me, would walk in there direction. I laughed at this thought, but had no intention of going near them, my only interest was the large over grown grass in the corner of this field I had never noticed before. “why had I never walked over there before and seen what was in this grass” I decided now I should. When I got there the grass was not that interesting, just large over grown grass. Its strange now, when I think about it, that I didn't notice the extremely beautiful looking trees, on the other side of a hedge right by me. And the presence of these trees, were not the reason I wanted to explore the other side of this hedge I now found myself by. This hedge was like a solid wall, but I knew there would be a forest like area on the inside of it, I tried to enter the hedge is several locations, before finding one thin enough to enter threw. Although it was thinner than the other locations, I had to almost run threw it sort of, to get threw. I got greatly reminded of walking threw a mirror in a lucid dream I once had. And entering the hedge was very similar to the walking threw mirror experience as well. I found myself in what looked like a completely new location. It was far more pleasing to the eye than the field I had just been in. Sun rays were empathized, as they shun threw openings in the hedge, in the much darker location I was now it.
Thats when I finally became aware of the presence of the large trees here. It seemed like faith that had made me find these trees at the time, I had no idea they were there. The tops of them glowed in the sun light that reached there high branches, sun light that was not present down here on ground level.

Although there were many thorn bushes between me and this tree, as well as other over grown plants, I decided I would get into that tree no matter what. I noticed their was no low branches on the tree either, but I decided I would get into it, no matter what. I broke off a branch of a near by tree, and started hacking my way towards this tree, recklessly killing any plant that stood between me and this tree. Eventually I got to the tree. It looked even more amazing the closer I got to it. I stood under it and looked up and could hardly see the top. I jumped up and grabbed a branch and pulled my way into the tree. I thought about how it was fortunate I had the strength I had, had I never been interested in gymnastics at a younger age, I may never of been able to get into this tree.
Climbing this tree was as care free as climbing the other trees I had done earlier. Nothing was a barrier for me, if anything was in my way between me and the top of the tree, I could quickly find a way around it. It was almost like I was in a trance, I didn't have to think about what I was doing at all, I just did it. I kept looking up, looking for a higher place to climb. I thought about the return journey down, and thought I might not be able to get down, but I didn't think about it for long, I didn't care if I got stuck in the tree, I just wanted to get to the top, thats all that mattered to me at the time. After what seemed like a lengthy period of time, I was at the top. Although there was a road next to the tree, that had been raised by humans to make it higher than the natural ground level, and in comparison to this road, I was only 10 or 20 meters above it (my judgment of height and time were distorted at this point, and my natural estimate for height has never been that good either, so these numbers may not accurately portray that actual height at all) I was much higher above the actual ground level, what seemed like at least 50 meters, but this is probably a very bad estimate. I don't know how long I sat in this tree. But eventually I decided I should head down, as it was 8pm, and I didn't know how soon till it would get dark, and if it got dark, that would make climbing down near impossible. I laughed at the idea of me having to call the police, as I had no credit on my phone, the only number I could call would be 999, and having to explain to them I was stuck in a tree. How stupid I must look, and they would no doubt be suspicious as to my current state of mind.
Although initially I thought climbing down could be difficult, I did it with more ease and a lot faster than I had expected. I couldn't find where I entered the hedge into this area, so I recklessly forced my way threw it. It would have been a strange sight I'm sure for anyone in the field, to see a random guy appear out of a solid looking hedge. As I walked home, threw the large field and back over the railway lines towards my house, I was still feeling extremely great.



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