Sunday, 6 October 2013

*Taps Microphone* Is this thing still on? (Blog Update 7/10/2013)

Hello there ladies, gentlemen and gamers and welcome to the long-awaited blog update from Sonic Punch Studios!

Here, I'm going to predict that you guys are probably going to say: Where the hell have you been?

"Where the hell have you been?"

(If you didn't get the reference, go read Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency)

Anyways, to answer that question - I have been extremely busy in the past few months as I will explain below.

Updating Bubble Virtuoso

From my last blog update I have been working on implementing an update to Bubble Virtuoso (if you haven't got it yet, get it here. Now!). At the same time, I was also developing another version of Bubble Virtuoso where people can try the game for free. As luck would've had it, I had to cancel the free version at the last minute due to some conflict of interest.

So what was this new update? The newest build of Bubble Virtuoso now has an exciting new play mode called "Time Attack" - where players are only given 100 seconds to score as many points as they can. While the basic gameplay of Time Attack is the same as the original game (now called "Classic" mode), there are a couple of minor tweaks in the game rules. One of the tweaks include the removal of the time limit to clear each wave of bubbles - while that may seem to be making the game more easier, less points will be rewarded if players take too long clear the bubbles. Overall flow has also been slightly modified so that game plays more faster and less ponderous than Classic mode.

Time Attack mode was an idea that I came up with a while back when Bubble Virtuoso was still in early development. At that time I was working on revamping the base concept gameplay (read "Revamping the Game (Blog Update 4/2/2014)") to make it feel more competitive and it was back then that the basic idea behind Time Attack was considered as part of the revamp. Of course, in the end I opted to save it as a future Bubble Virtuoso update.

What I like about Time Attack is that it really brings out the true essence of what Bubble Virtuoso is - a game where it tests your speed, reflexes and really keeps your brain on its toes!

Working with 100% Indie and selling BV on Samsung Apps

To my greatest surprise, right when I was beginning development of Bubble Virtuoso's update I received an email by the guys behind the 100% Indie expressing their interest in featuring my game under their initiative. Of course, considering the lacklustre sales that Bubble Virtuoso has been experiencing I jumped at the opportunity to get some help in spreading the word out about my game.

Liam Eagle, the business development consultant from 100% Indie who contacted me, was extremely helpful and patient with bringing me through the entire process including the process of uploading my game onto the Samsung app store.

However, the process of registering my game with Samsung Apps was a bit rocky - to say the least. Not to delve too deeply into it, applying for a commercial distributor status with Samsung Apps set off a chain of events that involved a lot of things in Sonic Punch Studio's administration and also my personal life. It finally settled one and a half months later since then but at the cost of falling behind my plans, among other personal things which is why I haven't updated my blog in a while. Oh, that and having my game erroneously rejected by Samsung which also involved a process of me presenting my case explaining how their testing team made a mistake while screening Bubble Virtuoso. That soon resolved after I've resubmitted the game (it finally passed, yay!), so it's all good!

Analog Jam

Me (right) and Krister (left) locked in a battle of rock-paper-scissors.
Taking a breather from all the hectic things I've gone through, I've taken the liberty to participate in the "Analog Jam", a 48-hour long casual event where, for a change, participants gather together to create board games! As with all jams, we were given a theme to follow - for the Analog Jam theme, we were given 4 words: family, invasion, betrayal, and one other word which I forgot since back then I failed to note down the words. Hehe.

Designing board games for the first time was fun, AND refreshing, but it sure took me a while to get accustomed to the fact that I can't really introduce complex concepts, much less refining them within the 48-hour deadline.

What I came up with at the end (after many hours of RSI and PTSD inducing arm pumping) was what I would describe as "turn-based strategy meets rock-paper-scissors". The game's scenario is this: One country's army invades another army's country and decided to make a prison camp to contain the Prisoners of War (POWs). The POWs want out and it's up to the Wardens to send them back to prison before they cross the country border to freedom. And what would happen if both sides meet in conflict? They play rounds of rock-paper-scissors to determine the victor!

A revamp of the original idea is in the works (as a side project) so look out for it in the near future!


Various people enjoying bubble-popping fun!
In the month of September I had the opportunity to showcase my game to the attendees of iFest 2013. The reaction was extremely positive - people screamed and panicked while trying to spot the next bubble to pop and also commented on how Bubble Virtuoso forced them to think on their feet!

Fast hands = Bigger scores!
It was a day full of talks and play testing games from other fellow indie developers. Although I didn't get to win any awards for Bubble Virtuoso, seeing the reaction from people playing it verified that my game was indeed fun to play.

In Closing

So yeah, as you can see I was extremely busy in the past months - not lazy! But either way, I shall try my best in keep you guys posted as to the happenings within Sonic Punch Studio. Tell you guys a spoiler for my next blog update: Apart from my side project I'm also assembling my art portfolio so maybe my next update will feature something artsy?

Stay tuned for more updates by Sonic Punch Studio!

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