Dev Diary #24: Press Start to Begin

start screen 1

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.

Continue reading

Development Diary #17: Tile Systems for 2D Games

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.

Screenshot 2014-06-21 13.25.15

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.

Continue reading

Dev Diary #14: Releasing Upates for an iOS Game Using Gamemaker: Studio

icon1024x1024

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.

Screenshot 2014-11-04 13.49.00

Saves

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.

Continue reading

Happy One-Year Anniversary, Cally

Hey everyone,

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!

1240077_10201454757787664_156885427_n

Dev Diary #13: Cally’s Caves 2 Postmortem

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.

Downloads

Screenshot 2014-09-18 15.01.02

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

Cally’s Caves 2: The PlayPressers Trailer

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!