Cally’s Caves 4 development is proceeding at a furious pace, and we recently had a chance to revamp the way our start screen works. Our first game’s start screen was simply a logo on a black screen, and with each successive game in the Cally series, we want to improve every aspect of the game. In this dev diary, we will outline the method we used to create the Cally’s Caves 4 start screen.
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.
When we started working on Cally’s Caves 3, it was clear that we needed to improve our tile system to give the game a better, more detailed look. In our previous two games, we used a really simple tile system consisting of 3 tile types; a “path” block, a “fill” block and a “boulder” block. We used the boulders as our “walls,” and flipped the path block for our ceilings.
It was a very simple system, and it worked for us at the time. A couple of months into Cally’s Caves 3 development, however, our artist 0HK0 suggested using a much more complex system to give our game some more visual flair. The suggested tile system would have two types of walls: environment walls and background walls. The environment walls tile set consists of 16 block types, and the background walls have 9. This dev diary will outline exactly how our tile system works, in the hopes that others may find it useful.
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.
Sorry about the lack of posts lately. We have finally submitted Cally’s Caves 2 to Apple for review, so we are going to try and get back to posting regularly!
Testing a game on an iOS device seems like it should be a simple process, but we learned the hard way that minor details can complicate things at any time. In this dev diary, we will outline the steps of our testing process using Gamemaker: Studio, in the hopes that it may help some people overcome the same complications that we faced. This entry will be a bit technical and specific.
Note: We are using Gamemaker: Studio version 1.3.1344, and you will need access to a Mac.
1) Get your code ready for mobile.
We were developing a game that uses touch controls, but convenience necessitated being able to test on PC as well. This led to us having 2 control methods, and needing to switch between them. When we needed to export an .ipa file (the file type for iOS applications), we would need to disable the pc controls. We also based our resolution coding for iOS based off of the “display_get_size()” function, but when testing on windows we would use “window_get_size()” for everything to work properly. So, before you export your .ipa file, make sure you have everything ready for the mobile version. Continue reading