Monday, October 24, 2011

Browser version of Beast Squad is available!

If you want to play Beast Squad but don't have and iOS device or a couple of bucks to spend, never fear! You can now play it from the comfort of your own computer for free! This version has only 45 of the 60 levels, so if you enjoy it enough, why not pick up the iOS version as well? You can play the game on Newgrounds now, and I am prepping a version for Kongregate which will be out in another week or so.

Play Beast Squad now!

Friday, October 7, 2011

First review of Beast Squad

The site Pocketful of Megabytes has just reviewed Beast Squad and gave it a 4 out of 5 ! I could not be more happy about how the reviewer felt about the game, and his constructive criticisms will be very helpful for my future game projects.

Read the review here!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Beast Squad is now available for iOS!

Woohoo! Beast squad is now available on the iTunes app store for $1.99! It runs on iPhone 3GS and up, as well as iPod Touch 3rd gen and up, so if you own one of those devices, check it out! I hope there is not a law about using too many exclamation points in a single blog post! Oh well!

Get Beast Squad here:


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Beast Squad is approved!

Today, Beast squad was approved by Apple and will launch on Friday, September 30th for $1.99! I cannot tell you how excited I am, probably because of all the stress I'm feeling right now. I still have some work to do on the browser version that will launch on the same day (the iOS version will have 15 more levels, plus addition ones in later updates, so that's the best version to play of course). I'll be posting much more later, but I've got a crazy amount of things to do right now!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Trailer and Gameplay Demonstration Videos

Now you can finally see what Beast Squad is like in motion! Unfortunately, the video quality did not translate well onto Youtube. Just keep in mind that the game moves much smoother and looks a heck of a lot clearer than how either of these videos appear. Next time, I'll try to find a new way to record the gameplay, but this will have to do for now. Maybe I'll put the original Quicktime movies that I used up for download if there is enough interest, which look much better than these conversions.


Gameplay demonstration:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Check out these high-res iTunes screenshots

Here are the screenshots that will be on Beast Squad's iTunes app store page. Click on an image to view it in its actual size.

Beast Squad submitted to Apple for approval

Okay, it's official: today I finally submitted Beast Squad to Apple for approval. Assuming all goes well and I didn't make any stupid mistakes with the app certificates, I am hoping that they will get back to me within a week or so. If everything works out, I'm planning to release it on Friday, September 30th.

In the meantime, I need to send a bunch of emails and post some information on iOS gaming forums. I'm also going to get the browser version ready, and that's going to be a pain in the butt. Regardless, Beast Squad is so close to launching, and I couldn't be more excited!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Here, have a bunch of images while you wait

The trailer and the gameplay demonstration videos that I've been making are just about finished, and I'll post them here when they're done. While you're waiting, why not help yourself to some high-res images? Click on each to see it at full size.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Quick Status Update

It's been awhile since my last post, and I apologize, but I have been so busy that's been pretty tough to take time to write about what I've been up to. Now that college classes have started, along with Blue Band practice, I have a less than ideal amount of time to do anything anymore, but that hasn't stopped me from pushing ahead with development little by little. Here's what's going on:

First of all, the iOS version of Beast Squad is pretty much finished now. I've sent it to a few friends to try out; they seem to be enjoying it and have not run into any problems yet. Now I am working on creating a trailer and possibly a gameplay video with some commentary. I'm pretty new to this, so I'll be taking my time, but I hope to finish it soon enough.

Once those are done and no more bugs have been found, I'll be ready to submit to Apple for approval. Hopefully, this will all take place in the next couple of weeks. Now back to work!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How a Level of Beast Squad Works

Since I've only given a vague description on how the gameplay of Beast Squad works, I guess now would be as good time as any to do so. I'll use the first level of the game as an example to keep things simple.

Each level in the game is divided into two parts, which I will call the "setup" phase and the "action" phase. The first part is like a puzzle, where you plan out how you will complete the level, and the second requires quick reflexes in order to execute your plan and correct any mistakes. Let's look at a zoomed out view of Level 1-1:

The goal is to get your flying squirrel (yet to be named) from the left side of the stage to the right without colliding with any of the obstacles. In this case, you can see that the only thing standing in our way is the branch of thorns in the middle.

Since flying squirrels don't technically fly, when you start the action phase, it will quickly glide forward, but not fast enough to get through the gap before gravity pulls it too far down. Thus in setup mode, we need to place a floating trampoline (rocket-propelled if you must know) before we hit the thorns.

It is very common that the positions of the berries give hints as to where to place trampolines to get through a level. Here, we can just place a trampoline right below the second berry.

That should be enough setting up to get us through the stage (this is the first level after all), so we can hit the "Go" button to begin the action phase. The squirrel will let go of the tree and glide, following the path of the berries, bounce off the trampoline, soar over the thorns, and make it to the tree on the right side.

During the action phase, you will have a single button available for you to access your beast's special ability. The squirrel's ability is to curl up into a ball in order to drop at a faster rate. This does not give you much more control over him, so it won't make up for a poor setup phase, but it just might get you out of a close call. Regardless, the only penalty for death is quickly starting over at the beginning of the level. All of your trampolines will still be intact for you to make slight adjustments and try again.

Since we used the minimum number of trampolines possible and collected every berry in the level, we even earned an A-rank. Throughout the game, you will be able to collect well over 1000 berries (1471 at my last count) as well as attempt to get an A-rank on each of the levels (60 levels in the initial release), as well as unlock a bunch of achievements for particularly skilled play.

Hopefully this made some sense, though I think a video would better convey the gameplay. Once I figure out how I'm going to do that, I'll post it for all to see. In the meantime, I need to get back to the programming and get this thing done.

Progress Update (7/26)

Okay, it's been exactly one month since my last post, but that's only because I've been working so hard to get this game done soon. I have accomplished so much in the past month, though, that it has gone by so fast; so here is a rundown of what is done and what I have yet to do.

First off, the good stuff. The actual gameplay itself is pretty much complete. I recently finished playing, replaying, and re-replaying (in some cases, add a few more "re"s) all of the levels to make sure that they are balanced and fair. When showing it to some family and friends, I was surprised by how challenging they found some of the levels, as I was afraid it would be the opposite. Nevertheless, it was usually easier to tone down the difficulty and remove some cheap deaths, but in a few cases, I just scrapped the levels and created new (better) ones.

I also added in some hints in the first couple of levels in order to put players on the same page. I was surprised by the elaborate setups some people created to complete a level, when a simple solution appeared so obvious to me. I guess that's why developers tend to test their games before releasing them, right? I'm glad I followed that approach.

Example of a hint in one of the earlier levels

Finally, I finished all of the graphics for the iOS version, as I needed a few smaller sprites and buttons for the smaller screen space.

Now the to-do list, which actually seems to be starting to get more manageable. A couple days ago, I decided it would be pretty cool to add a few achievements into the game, so I ended up devising 21 of them. I am almost finished implementing them into the game, but that also required setting up an achievements system, which actually went a lot smoother than I had imagined. I still have a little more work to go on them, but it should take little more than a day or so.

The achievement list in the game
The main issue now is to get the performance of the iOS version up to speed during the actual gameplay. I have a few ideas how to do this, so I'm not too worried about it, though it might take a decent amount of time.

I also need to figure out how to make a trailer for the game as well, but I can't see that being too difficult. I really wish I had any idea how to market a game, but I guess I'll learn as I go along.

Anyway, that's where I'm at right now. I can't wait until everyone gets to play it!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Story of Beast Squad

So what's the excuse for having animals flying around a bunch of thorns and other obstacles? Rather than me trying to explain such an intricate and well-thought-out subject (sarcasm!), here's how the story is told in the actual game (click the images to see them full-size):

Okay, so maybe it's not Pulitzer-caliber stuff, but who needs an excuse to have fun?

A New Game Draws Near: Beast Squad

Now that I finally got around to starting the website, it's time to show off the game that I have been working on since last October (all of the homework and studying in college has definitely slowed the development process).

Beast Squad is a single-player 2D game that will be available for iOS and Android devices later this summer, along with a modified browser version for those who want to give it a quick try. The objective of each level is to get your beast from the left side of the stage to the right while avoiding all of the obstacles (like thorny vines, projectile-spitting plants, and hovering spikes) in your way.

Simple enough? Of course not. Once your beast starts moving, you will only have a limited amount of control over it (depending on which beast you are using), so before that, you must strategically place trampolines throughout the stage. These tools will let you bounce around the obstacles standing between you and your goal.

Since the slightest touch with any of the obstacles will defeat your beast, the levels themselves are relatively small, which I found greatly reduces the frustration of death. The player will be able to quickly retry from the beginning of the level without any further punishment (i.e, there is no limited number of lives, and all of your trampolines stay right where you left them).

Of course, skilled players will be rewarded as well. After completing a level, the player will be given a rank of A, B, or C based on the number of trampolines used and the number of berries scattered around the stage that were collected. Fewer tools and more berries lead to better ranks. The player will also have the option to tweet the number of A-ranks and berries they collected to brag to their friends.

In the next few posts, I will explain the story behind the game as well as introduce the beasts you will be able to use.