Space Rescue Service – Beta is Out!

Beta is finally liberated. You can download it from:

Main features:

  • 6 different languages;
  • Music (Kevin MacLeod, from incompetech.com);
  • Sound effects (freesound.org);
  • Better ship handling;
  • One more training mission: exercise;
  • Better visual effects.

The game is licensed under the GNU General Public License, V3 (https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.en.html)

The source files can be found in section “files”, in the IndieDB page.

I’ll find a time to publish a better description and development details later.

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Space Rescue Service – An experience with Godot Game Engine.

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Intro

Programming games have been a personal interest for a long time. Since the end of the project “OhMyDroid!”, I’ve been considering change my focus to game design – games are far more popular than security apps.

Thousands of ideas have passed in my head and I have studied some game engines to implement them – namely: Stencyl Works, Unity, Game Salad, libGDX and Godot. Due to freedom and flexibility, libGDX and Godot were my favourite choices (despite my first published game was made with Stencyl works).

The game

Space Rescue Service is an arcade, single player, 2D game set in a sci-fi context.

As the player, you must use a small spaceship to reach escape capsules drifting in space and bring aboard the people they carry; then, bring those people to a medical space station located in the center of the scenario. The game finishes when there is no more human lives left to be rescued. You receive a score based on the quantity of lives rescued, the time you took and the amount of fuel consumed.

The game also stores your performance data and use it to check if you performed some of the “achievements”.

The engine

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Godot Engine got my attention for its simplicity and great flexibility. The built language, gdscript, is very simple to learn (if you already have programming skills) and the visual editor makes (almost) everything fast and easy.

In my opinion, the best of Godot Engine are:

  1. It’s Open Source
  2. You can export to Linux, Windows, HTML5, Android and Black Berry 10 without having to buy a premium version and with no revenue limitations.

However, you will find some difficulties: exporting the game is the main of them, since the “export” feature does not come working from the very beginning. After installing Godot Engine, you must search the internet for some “Export Templates”, necessary to properly export your game. See “Exporting projects” in the Godot 2.1 documentation for more information.

Publishing

As a first experience, I am publishing Space Rescue Service as a free game. The “Alpha Version” can be found at Indie DB. I have plans for publishing other versions in other websites (for more views and more feedback). All further versions of the game will remain free. I’m also looking forward to publish it’s code with a Creative Commons license.

Future

More ambitious plans are en route. I’m already designing a 3D sequel, a broader and funnier game. This time, maybe, I apply for a Steam Greenlight pass. Who knows…

Download the game

You can download the game here.

Luiz & Bruna – My first published game

This article is about something I did a long, long time ago…

Intro

Luiz & Bruna is a flash game made in Stencyl Works (old version, can’t remember which). It was my first published game, released in September 10, 2012, at Newgrounds website.

That project was a nerdy love declaration to my girlfriend (today, my wife).

This is the note I published along with the game:

Play as Luiz and Bruna in this short platformer game.
Push blocks, turn switches, shot targets, jump on platforms… Do everything you can to meet the love of your life.

Stay 2 seconds in front of a door to open it.
Each door takes to one chapter in the story of this couple.
Generally, a chapter ends when Luiz touches Bruna.
Unlock all the seven doors to know the secret ending…

Use arrows to control Bruna, the lovely girl.
Use ADWS to control Luiz, her passionate boyfriend.
Touch the on/off icons (a circle with a line) to interact with the levels.

This game was build to tell the world how much I love her, my Bruna.

Version 1.2:
– Progress bar on the doors.
– Improved elevator in the main menu.
– Improved level 4 – bugs solved.

Version 1.1:
– Friction issue solved.
– More instructions included.
– More colors included.
– Improved levels (all new level 2)
– One more level at the end!

The game engine

stencylworks.png

Stencyl Works is a very easy-to-use engine, good for those who have very little or no experience with programming at all. This is it’s main advantage: you don’t need programming skills, since the programming is all made with visual blocks. After planning your logic, all you have to do is drag and drop code blocks to give your actors some life.

The engine also have a built-in asset store, which is very, very handy, since you can download and immediately apply almost anything – from images to complete behaviours – you need to build a working game.

The cons, however, are the limitations on publishing. Back in 2012 there was no ways to export to mobile platforms (that was a planned feature) and the user could export only to “flash” in the free version. Other exporting alternatives required license purchases.

I recommend Stencyl Works for everyone who have no programming skills but would love to see some game idea made real – since it can fit into a flash game.

Publishing

Publishing flash games is extremely simple. All you need to do is sign in to a specialized website like Newgrounds or Kongregate and follow the steps to upload your game. Some of them even have revenue plans (which I haven’t applied for, because at that time they did not pay to people from my country).  When published my game, I chose Newgrounds for it’s popularity.

The game can be played here. Flash player plugin required.

 

The end of OhMyDroid! – What I have learned

In March, 2015, I got a notification from Google Play Support that my application, Oh My Droid!, had been removed from Google Play for failure to accept the latest version of the Developer Distribution Agreement.

Actually, I had stopped programming for Android and my developer account on Google Play have been left aside since then.

 

What I have got from that experience?

The search for a completely original idea is a waste of time.

When I started studying Java for Android, back in 2011, I had a wish to publish an original app – and I expected at the time that an original software would achieve some success in download rates – based mostly on its originality. Whenever I had an app idea, I researched on google play and I rejected my idea whenever I found a simmilar app or a “broader” one. I thought at the time that I would achieve no success by repeating other software’s features.

Well, if Rovio had used the same approach, the Angry Birds would never exist. The fact is: today, with more than two million applicatinos online, it will be almost impossible to think of something nobody ever imagined before. It doesn’t matter how original you think you are: you’re not.

If you want to create an app, stop worrying about having a completely original idea and start figuring out how to improve, reinvent, specialize, reuse or reshape an idea that is already out there. Remember: people accept better an idea when it’s already familiar to them.

OhMyDroid! was born from an idea I thought was original. I got so excited with it’s concept that I simply didn’t search for simmilar applications and started programming. When the app was almost complete I found out there was a lot of apps on line with the same – or better – features. That hit me to the ground. For my sake, however, OhMyDroid did have a differencial: it didn’t need an active internet connection to work, but was completely based in communication via SMS. That was good enough for me and I published the software.

Marketing does matter. A lot. Really.

In 2011, when Google Play was still called Android Market, there was already a lot of concurrency. I published OhMyDroid! and announced solely on my social networks. I imagined that the first days online would bring the app to some kind of “top of list” of recent apps. That, along with a cool name, would bring some attention to the software. Pure illusion. The complete version of OhMyDroid! reached the total of 4 downloads. Ever.

If you want publicity for your app, you must take it actively. Make use of every announcing mechanism and marketing technic you can get. The product doesn’t sell itself – the advertisement does it.

Lite apps can be a good help.

My download rates doubled (from 2 to 4 downloads. Amazing.) after I published “OhMyDroid! Lite”. This free, single-featured version achieved more than 100 downloads in total – extremely more successful than the full paid version, but still a shame.

Dead apps dont sell.

I already knew it, but it’s worth noticing. An app that is published and then forgotten by the dev team fades away from the public – even if it was in the “top ten” at launch time. There is too much activity in Google Play, news always coming. If your software is to be in the “trend toppics”, it must be constantly renewed with fixes and new features – of course, keeping coherence with the project’s scope. The “fire rate” of updates may vary, but the fact is: dead apps dont sell. Belive me, OhMyDroid! was a dead app.

Conclusion

At first, with the enormous failure of OhMyDroid!, i put the blame on the category. “Nobody cares with security!”. Actually, I still belive that security is a hard area for a beginner, but every area can be handled if you have patience, time and dedication. That, more than theme or amount of investiment, is what I belive is necessary to achieve some success with Android Apps on Google Play: pacience, time and dedication.

Notice: I said “I belive is necessary” and not “is actually necessary”… because I never really had any success on Google Play. But the experience was worthy.

 

Oh My Droid! Lite – no ads!

High-def image.

Avaliable on Google Play for free!

THIS SOFTWARE IS NOW DISCONTINUED

May 24th, 2012. Oh My Droid! Lite was first launched on Google Play (former Android Market).

This application contains two functions from the original version: the “broadcast allert SMS” and the “return device’s ID” function. Respectively, commands 1 and 4. The other commands (0,2 and 3) will answer with a link to the original version in the google play.

There is no ADs in Oh My Droid! Lite. The purpose of this application is to work as an invitation to buy the full version, which is paid (US$ 0,99). For this meaning, I added a button in the main menu. This button leads the user to the full version’s page on Google Play.

I didn’t add any restriction or any limit for the funcions contained in the Lite version. This application is really free (and ad-free!) and the user should not feel compelled to buy the full version.

In case of any doubts or issues about the lite or the full application, you can contact me.

Hope you enjoy.

OhMyDroid! – The First App

Large promo image

Avaliable on Android Market for US$ 0,99

THIS SOFTWARE IS NOW DISCONTINUED

This application is my first submission to Android Market and is avaliable here.

Following you can see the instructions provided by the application’s “How To Use” menu:

It is a great solution in cases of loss of android devices.
The command sent should follow the following syntax:

PASSWORD.COMMAND

Where PASSWORD is the password registered in the user application preferences and COMMAND is a number (0-3) representing the action to be performed by the device.
The default password is 654321. It is not recommended to stay with this password.
List of commands:

PASSWORD.0: get the location of the device according to the gps.
The response is a link to the location on the google maps.

PASSWORD.1: broadcast an alert through text messages to all the contacts, informing them about your loss. The message can be changed in the preferences screen.

PASSWORD.2: delete the records of contacts, calls and SMS.

PASSWORD.3: delete all files from SD memory card.

PASSWORD.4: return the device\’s ID (IMEI for GSM or MEID for CDMA phones). Useful for permanent phone blocking purposes (ask your phone service provider)

This application can omit (not to send) the result of a command if it is configured to do so or if the device does not get access to the SMS service for financial reasons. See the preferences.

CAUTION: this application does not recover lost passwords.

Some screenshots: