How do we create a new game in the Cally’s Caves series that feels fresh and changes things up? The first 3 games in the series were very light on story, and although we were able to plant some seeds for future story ideas, we could take the plot for Cally’s Caves 4 anywhere. This dev diary will go over some of the decisions we’ve made to make Cally’s Caves 4 stand apart from our previous games.
All 3 Cally’s Caves games took place in “the Caves,” a place that started in Cally’s backyard and gave us a good amount of variety to work with. The story of Cally’s retaking of the Caves has now been told, and we want to take the environments in Cally’s Caves 4 in some new directions. Instead of taking place in one interconnected Cave system, Cally’s Caves 4 takes place all across the globe, in facilities owned by the Golden Skull Society (more on the G.S.S. later).
We are just wrapping up work on the android port of Cally’s Caves 3, which should be out soon. There is also an update coming out this week, which includes a whole new zone with new art, and it’s all about telling Bera’s Story! We will have some more dev diaries breaking down how things went with Cally’s Caves 3 real soon…
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.
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 →