After a busy couple of months, we’ve just submitted a huge new content update for Cally’s Caves 3, “Melvin’s Prototype Factory.” The update should be out for iOS and Android next week.
This is the biggest update we’ve ever done for a game, and will include a bunch of new features:
Massive New Zone: We’ve added a whole new 34-level zone, with all-new art, a fully functional map and lots of Checkpoints.
New Weapons: 3 new weapons and their final forms can be found in the new Levels! Try using the power of the Slimes for your own benefit with the Slimegun, trap enemies and prevent them from hurting you with the Web Shooters, or use the Bow and Arrow from Cally’s Caves 2 to pepper enemies with arrows. All of the new weapons have 4 evolution tiers, and can be used throughout all of the other game modes.
New Enemies: Melvin has been creating bosses in his prototype lab for years, and to destroy him, you’ll have to defeat them all! 5 new enemy classes with unique behaviors mix up the combat and test your skills.
Beyond all of the new content, we will have a ton of bug fixes and optimizations including the following:
fixed issue where Final Bladegun isn’t being awarded for beating Survival Mode
fixed issue where Bera would sometimes transform into Cally in “Bera: the Long Way Home”
greatly reduced frequency of video ads
fixed missing Sniper Rifle issue – find it in level 101
fixed rating message in pause menu
fixed several small resolution bugs
several new tracks on the soundtrack
We are also happy to announce that the expansion is totally free and is not an in-app purchase or anything like that. We wanted to find a way to thank all the people that have downloaded and supported Cally’s Caves 3. We will have at least one more free expansion out before Christmas, and an announcement of our next project shortly after.
If someone who has never made a game before decides to try to create one, it seems like it’s going to be pretty simple. Then that person will have a day – deep into the dev cycle – where they discover a technical requirement they didn’t think about, pull their hair out, and have a nervous breakdown. When we were working on the original Cally’s Caves, there was a certain day when it dawned on us that we were going to have to account for all the different resolutions that iOS devices use. It had never occurred to us in the planning phase that we were going to have to make the game work on anything more than one resolution, and it set us back quite a bit while we implemented our strategy. Thinking back on those days, it seems like it could be a useful exercise to document how we handle the resolutions in specific detail. We do this in the hopes that some others may come across the article and find it useful when they are dealing with the same issue.
Schools of Thought
There are a number of different ways you could handle scaling to different resolutions while developing a game. Looking at GameMaker: Studio specifically, if you look at the tutorial on resolution scaling, it shows you a method of scaling that allows landscape and portrait mode. It’s an adaptable scaling method that is run during every single frame of the game. This is the first school of thought when it comes to resolution scaling on mobile devices: Continue reading →
This shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone reading this. If you finished the bonus levels in Cally’s Caves 2, or follow us on Twitter or Soundcloud, you probably know that we have been working on Cally’s Caves 3 for some time now. After the wonderful time we had with Cally’s Caves 2, we decided to put the puzzle game we were working on to the side and try to keep the ball rolling with the Cally franchise. So, what’s in store for Cally on her next adventure?
Cally’s Caves 3 is another chance for us to aspire to make the best platformer on iOS. We’ve taken a lot of the feedback we received from the first two games and are putting it to use while developing Cally’s Caves 3. The biggest change is that we are adding a new game plus mode, which will give players a lot more reasons to come back and keep playing. After finishing the campaign (124 levels or so), new game plus mode will open up. Another tier of weapon upgrades will open up, leading towards a god-tier final form for each weapon. Instead of just making new game plus be like the campaign again but harder, we are adding new enemies and weapon types into new game plus, and the one “true” story ending to the game will be at the end of the new game plus playthrough.
With the recent release of new iPhones and iOS 8, we found ourselves in the position where we had to update our iOS games. If we didn’t, our apps would crash on boot, and even if they did run, we wanted to make sure we custom laid everything out for the new iPhone screen sizes. We had wanted to release updates for Cally’s Caves and Cally’s Caves 2 for a long time, but held off because we weren’t 100% sure how to do it, and updating player save data was intimidating. Faced with the prospect of having our apps pulled, we buckled down and got our updates done. Our process was probably unconventional, but we thought we would share how we did our updates for iOS without losing players’ save games in the process. So, let’s begin.
The way we handled saving variables across play sessions in Cally’s Caves and Cally’s Caves 2 was the most basic way you can save things using Gamemaker: Studio. We created an .ini file and had the game save variables that we wanted to keep saved in the file. For example, say the player levels Cally up and increases her max hitpoints to four. We don’t want that player to come back for their next play session and have their max hitpoints be three, right? So after they level up, we open the .ini document in a line of code, save that variable (global.maxhp = 4), and then close the .ini document. The next time the player starts the game, the global.maxhp value is read from the .ini document, so they will start with 4 max HP. It’s a really simple system that you can find in the GM:S help.
Well it’s now been a year since the original Cally’s Caves was released, and sixteen months since we set out on this journey to make games. Thank you to every one of the 20,000 people that downloaded and played our little free game! If you’ve never checked it out, we have lots of dev logs on our experience making the game, and you can download Cally’s Caves here for free. Here’s to many more Cally-versaries!
Today’s Dev Diary is written by Yal, who is one of the two artists working on Cally’s Caves 2 (along with OHKO). She shares some of her experiences and insights into the process of creating art for a 2d platformer.
A guest article? Does that mean… there is a guest?! Um, well, yeah. Long story short: OHKO asked me whether I was interested in helping out doing some weapon graphics for Cally’s Caves 2. I said yes. Done, stop yawning. Now let’s change subject to the actual graphics! =]
Since a large majority of all AAA games released nowadays are FPS games, it’s only natural that they use guns. The problem is, most of them also try to be vaguely realistic, which in turn means all weapons are of the type “fires bullets in a straight line”. Now how fun is that? This also generally results in unbalanced weapons, since if all weapons fire in a straight line, why bother getting more than one? The answer is: because every new weapon is tons better than the previous one, so why bother keeping that anyway?
Contrast that with a game like Cave Story by Studio Pixel:
I’ve decided to write a weekly development diary about the process of making Cally’s Caves 2. I’m doing it mostly as a design tool to help me reflect upon decisions I’ve made while designing the game, with the hope that it will help me think about the ideas from another perspective and help me create the best game I possibly can. So it’s a personal tool, but if you read it and enjoy it, it certainly can’t hurt! To begin, here’s a bit of background:
In June 2013, having quit my day job, I decided to try and make a video game with my good friend Dave. The main barrier we faced in this venture was that neither of us had any experience in game design. Sure, I had programmed some little bits of software on my Commodore 64 as a kid, but nothing resembling a full game, and that was 20 years ago. Inspired by the likes of Tom Francis and Steve Gaynor, who both made amazing independent games (Gaynor had experience but left a big company to make a solo game, and Francis had no experience but kept his day job and learned how to do it at night), I enlisted Dave and we set out on the path. By October we had finished Cally’s Caves, and released it on the iOS Appstore. There’s no need to get into the thought process behind the design decisions we made here, but since its release we’ve had 7000 downloads and although we didn’t make any money, it was a personal success for us both – we proved to ourselves that we could ship a game.