Hi there! You've probably reached this page from the Freeplay website in search of the elusive 'Up Down Ready' which took Best Design in this year's awards.

UPDATE: Hello! If you've arrived here from StumbleUpon, why not go play the game now on Kongregate! With high scores and EVERYTHING.

The versions of the game that were on this page were hosted on Dropbox. Since the recent spike in traffic, Dropbox has cut off access to my public folder. I will hopefully be migrating this stuff across to an actual server, but the version on Kongregate is the official release.

I'm Delia, the Sword Lady half of Sword Lady and the Viking. You can find my teammate over here. We are third year students in the Games Design course at Griffith University, and Up Down Ready (previously known as Horse) is our first semester project from this year, made using Adam Atomic's free Flixel library.

We entered it in the Freeplay Awards for a lark, and were incredibly surprised and excited to make it to the finals and take away an award. We hope you enjoy playing the game as much as we enjoyed making it!

- Delia

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Moderate success!

Well, Henrik and I just posted the mobile version of Up Down Ready on Kongregate. Which is, admittedly, almost identical to the desktop version bar a couple of bug fixes and the addition of some touch-based controls.

I've spent an unpleasantly harrowing couple of weeks working on this, compounded by the inability to access any flash-compatible Android phones on which to test it. I have learnt a lot, the most important thing being this: YOU GUYS, IT'S SWEET THAT ANDROID IS OPEN SOURCE AND ALL, I GET IT, THAT'S ADORABLE, BUT JESUS FUCK DEVELOPING FOR IT IS HORRIBLE*. Ensuring a consistent experience for all users is a massive headache when half of them have something like half the display resolution of the other half.**

Also half of them don't have flash yet - because it's not a case of 'everyone gets the latest OS all at once'***, but rather 'oh well here is the latest OS but Samsung hasn't put it out for THEIR phones in Australia yet, who knows why.'

And in ANY case, if you are running an actual, honest-to-goodness open-source distro of FroYo such as Cyanogen, while it may 'greatly extend the capabilities of your phone' this does not actually include the capability to run Flash, because Google apparently hasn't actually released the FroYo source code yet. Go figure.

On the other hand, the new Multitouch API in Flash Player 10.1 was surprisingly easy and pleasant to use (then again, it's Adobe, so my expectations were kind of low). Touch support detection is as simple as Multitouch.supportsTouchEvents (of course, there's another potential minefield here - you can also check Multitouch.supportsGestureEvents, and given that some phones support single touches but not gestures or multitouch, you would have to create multiple input methods and different UIs and - augh, see? It just snowballs.)

This was actually all I used Multitouch for - since I was using single touches, which also automatically fire MouseEvents in Flash, I just used mouse input. I also spent some time noodling around with scaling modes and alignment, so that it doesn't look completely pants when it goes to fullscreen mode.

ANYWAY. What I am saying is that we entered Up Down Ready in Kongregate's mobile games contest (we had to upload it as a new game to be under consideration for the competition, which I thought was a bit silly, but there it is) and now we are officially downing tools on it for this year. We will hopefully come back to it in the future, at such time as we feel we can make a significant leap in quality and depth of gameplay (possibly an iPhone port or similar).

For now, we move on to Snowball. We will be crunching heavily over the next few weeks to attempt to get something, you know, functioning.

- just stab the other guy in the face straight away, it saves time

*Compared to, say, developing for iPhone. I'M JUST SAYING. I concede that developing for desktop environments has always, and will pretty much always be a compatibility hassle, but that's a different ball game and outside the scope of this blog post.

**See also: I know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.

***Gosh wouldn't it be super convenient if all the users got the updates to the OS at the same time OH HEY THAT'S WHAT APPLE ALREADY DOES WITH THE IPHONE.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Don't mind the cobwebs

Eep. It's been quiet here for a while, hasn't it? I am rather shame-faced about it. Still, I have been busy!

It's been a couple of weeks since we 'officially' released Up Down Ready on Kongregate. We got a really good initial reception, and since then we've had:

- 46,000 plays and counting
- an average user rating of 3.5/5 stars
- US$25.40 in ad revenue
- a whole bunch of player feedback to take into consideration
- a number of reviews and shout-outs (even one in Spanish!), all generally positive and some absolutely glowing

See the full list of reviews &c. on our under-construction homepage HERE

We also recently received an email from Greg who is in charge of badges and achievements on Kongregate, suggesting that we do some optimisation and a touch-based control scheme for Up Down Ready to make it suitable for play on Android devices and enter it Kongregate's upcoming Mobile Games Contest.

So this is what I am working on at the moment. I admit to struggling to find time for it with my job taking up a pretty hefty cut of my time. I have spent the past week screwing around with Flash and Flex just trying to get an environment where I could work with the relatively multitouch API in Flash 10.1

Technobabble time: I have been working primarily in Flex Builder 3 for Up Down Ready, which so far has been absolutely fine. However, it doesn't automatically target the latest flash player. I spent a lot of time faffing around in config XML files trying to point the IDE in the right direction and have not thus far had any luck.

I've just installed Flash Builder 4 to see how that goes, as it targets Flash Player 10 by default and should be a little easier to direct to the right versions. I'm hoping to have the touch interface code up and running by Monday to test it on an actual Android phone, at which point I can happily move on to the scaling and display voodoo required to make it not look like rubbish on the phone.

Kids, kidlets, cats and kittens: the lesson here is if someone tells you it's just a matter of adding some extra input and should be easy, the correct response is to suggest how about you add some extra input to THEIR MUM. Shit will invariably take longer than it looks like it should, especially with poorly-documented Adobe products.

I also have some messing around in Musagi to do, to clean up some of our music files and make them able to be looped seamlessly. See here for an explanation of how the Viking is making our .mp3s do this.

Plus there are, as always, bug fixes, user feedback to respond to, and a few little features here and there that will hopefully go in and give us a shot at that delicious US$5000 prize.

In the meantime, go play Up Down Ready! Give us good score if you like it. Maybe drop some Kreds in the tip jar if you REALLY like it.

- remember, the pointy end goes in the other man