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.
We’ve got some dev diaries coming up, but we’ve been busy working on the Android version of Cally’s Caves 3. It’s finally out now, and available to download here: Cally’s Caves 3 on Google Play.
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.
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!
Well, it has now been about 75 days since we released Cally’s Caves 2, and we figured it was about time to write an article about our experience since the game came out. If you missed it, we got an awesome PlayPressers Trailer, and some attention from some media. It was all wonderful, but this article is about the stats so let’s just get right into it.
We currently have 131,000 free downloads after two and a half months. It was way more than we expected to get, and our team feels incredibly lucky to have reached that many people. To many game developers, 131,000 is nothing, especially considering that Cally’s Caves 2 is free game. To us, however, it has far exceeded our highest hopes. When we first started working on Cally 2, we set a lofty goal of getting a hundred thousand downloads to try and grow our name and build an audience. It was the kind of goal you set because you know it’s so high you’ll never hit it, but the act of aiming for it will make your product better in the end. The fact that we actually reached and exceeded it is a dream come true. Continue reading
Recently, a guy by the name of Tyler Williams contacted us about doing a fan trailer for Cally’s Caves 2. Tyler is the creator of PlayPressers.com, a trailer-making service for aspiring game developers. Needless to say, we were totally blown away by Tyler’s trailer (it was much better than the official trailer we made for Cally’s Caves 2). Check out the trailer below, and be sure to check out PlayPressers.com to see more of Tyler’s amazing work!
We were just going through our archives, and we found the original design document we made back in October 2013. How much did we stick to the original design? The text of the document is as follows:
Cally’s Caves 2
General Plot Synopsis
Intro – told in a series of slide animations
After saving her parents, life returns to normal for young Cally. One day, as she is browsing Facebook on her phone, she gets a Snapchat from Dr. Herbert showing her parents have been kidnapped AGAIN. Knowing what she has to do, Cally sets out into her backyard, ready to journey into the caves once more.
Wow, we didn’t ever think this could happen to a couple dudes who make games in their bedroom offices. We got a 4/5 star review from Toucharcade.com, the biggest mobile gaming site in the world! We are feeling pretty lucky right now, you can read the review here: Toucharcade Review
So our game has been available for 9 days now, and things are going pretty well. We thought we’d post a bunch of links to the various videos and articles that have popped up since release (and hopefully we will do a blog post on how we approached marketing shortly).
We got talked about on the Toucharcade Podcast.
And mentioned in their weekly release article:
We got talked about on Neogaf 😀
And an awesome review from Appadvice!
Here is a sweet review from SentralGamer.