Across the Universe

Here’s an early prototype of a space flight game we would like to turn into a proper game someday. Plus, it’s also our Christmas and New Year postcard this year! So Happy 2017!

So far we are already able to turn the spaceship with a mouse, accelerate (W), brake (S), strafe left (A) and right (D), fly upwards (Space) and downwards (Left Ctrl) and roll left (Q) and right (E). Yup, it works like a FPS!  We can also shoot our lasers (Left mouse button) and a tractor beam (Right mouse button). We’ll add gamepad control at some point.

Behind the curtains we are also toying with an Entity Component System (ECS) architectural pattern on Unity, and so far we have a good feeling about it. Those gifts swarming around the Christmas tree are nothing but pure data!

Plenty of work ahead and surely lots of fun. And headaches. But that’s what game development is about: solving problems to create fun!

 

Tidying the house up!

2015 was quite an interesting year! We met new people and completed lots of game-related contract jobs, which is our main goal as freelancer game developers. We certainly grew up professionally, finally embracing Trello to organize projects and Toggl to track time. We are quite happy with our workflow now!

Unfortunately, we had not much time left for our own titles. We will try to set some working hours for our own games from now on.

Updating both Slider and Oddy Smog’s Misadventure on iOS and Android has been the first step towards a tidier house. iOS versions were lagging behind, never updated to 64b, which was required by Apply a while ago. This week the update process was completed!

Oddy Smog’s Misadventure now includes a new cog and some minor bug fixes. Choose your flavor! Here are the free versions for Android and iOS.

Slider has been revamped with a new Advanced Mode for seasoned players. When reaching 25.000 points this new mode allows them to play directly in the hardest difficulty, skipping early levels. Plus, it includes two new enemies that will make things more interesting. Get it here!

We also updated some backend code to improve how leaderboards are shown and created some tools for self cross-promotion.

And sure, we should publish Rejuice! on iOS and a remake of Sound Juggler at some point, but not now.

The house is tidy enough, let’s move forward!

Slider [iOS, Android]

Three seconds until the shell blows your hull. Six enemies on the Grid, some protected by shields, one charged with energy and about to blow up.

Two seconds. An item that increases the score multiplier appears. If the Pulse reaches the charged enemy the chain reaction will clear the grid, but you won’t survive this time. Quick, think!

One second. You set your path, a bit convoluted, but it will do, and your ship leaps forward, just a few milliseconds away from death. It slides through the Grid, through your enemies, through the powerup. Your score increases and you break your record.

More entities appear, one shoots a homing missile. Three seconds until it blows your hull…

Available for iOS and Android (free & paid versions)

Reducing required permissions in Android games (Unity3D)

Two days ago we released Slider for Android devices. First thing you do as soon as your game is available is downloading and installing it, and that’s when we found the following message.

Access to photos/media/files permission

Well, not exactly this one. Our game also asked for WiFi State but we didn’t capture that one.

Ok, WiFi State is not that disturbing. Online leaderboards and Chartboost, the service we use for showing ads, require Internet. Not WiFi, though, 3G is enough. But “This app has access to photos, media or files” is a certainly disturbing warning. With recent events involving photo leaks like The Fappening, users are increasingly more aware of privacy related security. Indeed, when we announced the game in Reddit some users complained about these permissions:

“Looks nice! Why does it need access to my media files and wifi information?”
“Not trying untill dis answered”

Phew!

Slider certainly doesn’t need to access your photos, media or files in any way! What was happening? Well, here’s the answer: Google’s permissions groups! In relation to Photos/Media/Files, Google says:

An app can use files or data stored on your device.
Photos/Media/Files access may include the ability to:

  • Read the contents of your USB storage (example: SD card)
  • Modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
  • Format external storage
  • Mount or unmount external storage

So, that’s it. We commented these two uses-permission lines in the Chartboost Android Manifest (according to their documentation they are just optional, not required)

<uses-permission android:name=”android.permission.ACCESS_WIFI_STATE” />
<uses-permission android:name=”android.permission.WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE” />

and also set ‘Write Access” to “Internal Only” in Unity3D’s PlayerSettings. No need to store anything anywhere, anyways.

And that’s it. This is what you get when you try to install Slider now: SLIDER, no permissions required

Way better!

Does your game or app require too many permissions? Take care, it certainly scares users away if they are not required for a good reason!