Tuesday Developer Diary – Silent Totems #6

In parts 1,2, 3 of this developer diary I explained the building-blocks of our newest game. Part 4 was about how the parts should come together in our sandbox game, by giving collectable cards as rewards to the player.

(Part 5 was an intermezzo i had to write to blow of some steam about performance issues).

Today i will talk about how the game is ment to be released / developed further in the next weeks / few months, utilizing what i call a “visual achievement” system.

Achievement Screenshot (click for larger version)

All characters you helped in the game, and all totem poles you build, and all task-cards you solved. Screenshotted as one long penis for you to be able to compare with others (hopefully this joke works as well in English as it does in German ;)

Visual Achievements

Whenever you reach, gather and gain things in Silent Totems, you will be able to walk towards the Photographer guy on the first layer and ask him to take a picture of your rewards which will then be uploaded to the Ludocrazy.com website. There you can associate a display-name for yourself with the picture.

Of course this achievement screenshot allows you to compare yourself with your previous states to see your progress of our sandbox’ed and probably chaotic game world, in a quite ordered way. But it also allows you to compare yourself to others and especially take a look what they reached and what you are still missing.

I’m also hoping people who like the game as much as we do, will use it to show it to others. Giving the players achievement screenshots public URL to friends far away, or show it to people when you are in an environment where you can’t start the game on the phone (often also called “workplace” or office ;-)

Upcoming Demo / Test version

And a forth “driving idea” behind the visual achievement system was the fact, that Yann and me wanted to not implement to many self-thought-up ideas into the game, but instead wanted to see what players actually do. In other words we wanted to monitor play-testing without calling it play-testing, and thus wanted to see which of our ideas=tasks=taskcards players actually found out (its a somewhat puzzling game ;)

I hope the picture does not need any further explanations. (click for large version)

I hope the picture does not need any further explanations (click for large version).

Also it will be possible to upload normal in-game screenshots from the phone to our website, so i hope people can send in visual glitches/errors/bugs this way.

So next Tuesday i hope to have the demo / test version in a releasable status, with most gameplay features implemented. We would love if people could give the game to friends then (as i will release the demo/test simply as a free-to-play version via the android market) and also tell them to read my next Tuesday Dev Diary which will give some details about the testing.

So, would be great if you could find yourself some time to play this game (when i write about the details on next weeks Tuesday Dev Diary). And please send in some feedback and use the visual achievments and screenshots as much as possible.

Further Development

What’s missing in the demo version (what is to be coming for the games release version) is of course bug-fixing and compatibility, but also a few more gameplay details / puzzles we have planned but not yet implemented (the evil guy, the eclipse, the walkers, the machines and walls). Also the game has yet to undergo a whole polishing process (visuals, music, sound- and particle-effects).

But this is more or less just the B-side of what is to come, mainly Yann and me have the intention (and hopes) to use the ideas people tell us (email, forums, comments here). And especially to get told what people try out in the game – and where people were sad that what they tried had no effects (i.e. a new game to the games puzzles). We would then like to add new task-cards for new / additional ways to solve puzzles in our game. We especially hope to extend the list of our strange puzzle ideas with things people find easier / more intuitive to do.

This will happen in the course of the next few months, as i will in parallel bring another small game to the Android platform … which i am waiting for Krystian to provide me some assets since last summer ;) I intend to develop a few more smaller games on Android in the near future, and put the most of my time into those of the projects that find most interest with players. And then finally i have some kind of meta-idea up in my design-wiki that will try to bundle all my smaller game efforts into one of my dreams.

Daniel Renkel

Daniel 'sirleto' Renkel is a true indie game developer (at heart ;) and a part time simulation engineer (space- & aircrafts). He's studied computer science at the university of Darmstadt, Germany and has a background of 8 years as game developer (assistant projectmanager, game designer, associate producer and technical artist). He worked on a whole number of PC and console games including the Aquanox series. Visit ludocrazy.com for more information about this current android mobile phone games.

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The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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