More than year has passed since the release of Return of Dr. Destructo, my remake of ZX Spectrum arcade Island of Dr. Destructo. Soon, the work began on the mobile version of the game, but I only finished it now. Go ahead, and give it a try if you own an Android phone or tablet!
What’s new since the desktop release (besides the necessary adaptations to make the game playable on mobiles):
1) Planes now have super-weapons, including powerful bomb, bullet spray, mines and the ability to freeze enemies.
2) 5 new planes! Each with its own look, speed, turn rate and super-weapon
3) Tutorial to make things smoother for new players. Hopefully, this will do away with the confusion some players felt about the goal of the game.
I also have some further plans for this game, but I’m not ready to announce them yet, as I want to see if there is any interest in it first. Google Play no longer gives you any organic traffic, as the new games do not appear anywhere in the store, so I’ll have to fight tooth and nail for every player.
In this post, I would like to tell a few stories about the process of development of Return of Dr. Destructo and share some views on game architecture and cross-platform development
I often use the same trick for self-motivation when working on a pet project: a file called Progress.txt, where I write daily what I have accomplished. Combined with oft-cited advice for writers, that you should add at least a line to your work every day, it does wonders. During the first, the most active period of development, I really worked on the game daily, with only a few exceptions for the holiday abroad and other things like that. Such a file makes for an interesting reading a month, or a year later. Or after the game’s release, as is the case. So, let’s scan through it together and see if there is anything interesting there. I’ll try to only pick entries that have some story behind them. Also, there will be pictures 🙂
So, I’ve been promoting Return of Dr. Destructo for more than a week now, and the initial surge of interest is already beginning to fade. Time to gather some statistics!
Downloads is the most important part of statistics for me, because it shows how much people played my game. Let’s look at breakdowns by platform and by site:
|Linux (32+64 bit):||64|
So, a total of 169 downloads. Not too bad for a relatively undistinguished free game, but nothing to write home about, either.
|Direct downloads from site:||88|
Direct downloads came from many sources where I posted links, but in terms of single best site to get players, IndieDB seems to be the best so far. Most of IndieDB downloads came on the first few days, and tapered off quickly after that, but there was a surge of about 30 downloads after the news of game release got posted in IndieDB Facebook group.
After more than three years of development, the final version of Return of Dr. Destructo is here! I don’t have much else to say right now, so just watch the trailer and download builds for Windows, Linux and MacOS X.
The full set of downloads are available at game’s site, but here are some quick links!
Windows (installer) [zxstudio.org] (portable version available on site)
Linux 32-bit (zip) [zxstudio.org] (RPM and DEB available on site)
Linux 64-bit (zip) [zxstudio.org] (RPM and DEB available on site)
MacOS X 10.9+ (dmg) [zxstudio.org] (portable version available on site)
So I missed a whole week this time. But I have an excuse, or even a pair of them! First, I’ve been working on the new menus’ UI all this time, and now it’s nearly finished, though a few rough spots remain here and there, mainly due to gamepad support being somewhat inconsistent. The new controls menu with support for gamepad and (in future) touch controls also took some time to get right.
Another excuse is, Wasteland 2 came out. And it’s good. No, it’s not astonishing, and it probably will never achieve such cult status as Fallout did, but it’s quite enjoyable once you get past the brutality of first-levels combat, and so I spend some of my free time playing it instead of coding.
Here’s a screenshot of the new menu UI. It’s quite similar to mock-ups that I posted before, no big surprises here, but it’s an actual, in-game screenshot, just to document progress I’m making.
I missed the Monday with a weekly update, didn’t I? Also, most of the rest of the week. Not that I’m really on a tight schedule here, since I guess I have about two regular readers. But it’ a slippery slope, which ends with only writing to this blog two times a year, and I’m hoping to avoid it. So, here’s the latest news.
We’ve made some more progress on UI, and now have a final variant. I’m now waiting for Oleg to create a texture atlas out of it, so I can finally begin programming.
Since there wasn’t much to do on coding front last week, I concentrated on two thing: making Return of Dr Destructo easier to compile and checking out a new feature of Emscripten called Asyncify.
In this weekly update, I would like to talk about game’s difficulty, options and UI.
The modern notion is that game’s options should be as simple as possible. It is even preferable if a game has no options at all, which is often the case for browser and mobile games. While I see some validity in this point of view, I simply can’t embrace it. For me, exploring various menus, ways of tweaking a game, was always a pleasant part of experience, especially when it comes to difficulty options.
I’m not doing anything spectacular here, but I guess I have an excuse to show you some more updated graphics of the game. So I’m gonna go ahead and do just that.
So, Return of Dr. Destructo has been in development for three years already. I first started coding sky drawing routine somewhere around August of 2012. I’m still missing a few pieces of the new art, and mobile versions are not ready, and the new UI broke some screens, because a lot of stuff was hard-coded to save time.
So, for the last week I got back to writing code for this game and fixing things. There isn’t much to report just yet, but you can check out an updated version of High Score screen: