Train your brain and challenge yourself while having fun with A Clockwork Brain!
cocos2d for iPhone is a engine framework for building 2D games, demos, and other graphical/interactive applications. It is based on the cocos2d design: it uses the same concepts, but instead of using python it uses objective-c.
cocos2d for iPhone is:
cocos2d for iPhone supports: iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad and OS X
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First, apologies for any misspelling. We'll try to write this post the best we can.
We're Alberto and Dani, from Spain. It's been a month or so since we released Firemen Rush on the App Store and here we're again with a new free and universal minigame for iOS titled Bike Assault.
Those who have been following us since our RPG Maker period will surely recognize that Bike Assault is based on a minigame we did years ago for Resident Ibol, our abandoned Resident Evil 2 fan-game. In such minigame, created with RPG Maker 2003, you had to drive Claire's motorbike avoiding traffic during some time. Also, if you took a lot of yellow dudes (they're Chiyo-chichi from Azumanga Daioh) you got a gun as reward in order to start the game with some advantage.
Bike Assault offers similar gameplay as the said minigame, with some improvements adapted to touchscreen devices. You drive with a girl whose resemblance with Claire from Resident Evil is purely coincidental (insert a poker face here). She urgently needs money for their own necessities and the most logical solution is to rob an armored truck. Therefore, a high speed chase starts on the highway, and your goal is to shoot the back doors of the armored vehicle to open them and take all the money you can. You'll face some obstacles like other vehicles or oil stains. Also you can lose the game if you run out of fuel, though we have been kind enough to put some fuel barrels along the road. So, the game is to take more money than anyone. A metaphor, draw your own conclusions.
Oh, you move the motorbike tilting your device. We think it's the best way to move vehicles (cars, space ships, etc.) with a touchscreen device. It implies the player much more because the bike is in constant motion and you have to tilt and correct the position to stabilize it. The accelerometer is calibrated automatically each time you start a new game to ensure you have perfect control depending on the angle you're holding your device at that instant. Anyway, you can calibrate the accelerometer again by simply pausing and resuming the game.
Normally our minigame design consist of a simple idea outline (ex: drive and dodge vehicles) and then define some playable elements. There is something we consider very important: determine the conditions for losing the game. At first, Bike Assault was simply a driving and survival game (ex: drive till you run out of fuel). Then we added an arcade component by introducing the armored truck and the money (score). Initially, the armored truck moved just along the right of the screen and dropped money periodically. Finally, in order to add the action component, we allowed the armored truck to move along all the screen and we introduced the shooting system.
Here are some sublime and high quality sketches (not very different from what we would show in a Kickstarter campaign):
We love pixel art, it's that simple, and we would like our style to be our trademark. We suppose there will come a time when the visuals of our games will speak for us, and that's good. As a side note, you'll not find gore, extreme violence or anything unpleasant in our games. This can hardly occur because indie games (mechanics, plot, graphics, music) are reflections of the authors, and the truth is that we don't like that stuff. As an example, we like Resident Evil 2 because of its undisputed high quality game design, not because blood and zombies. Definitely, we think that those details of questionable taste don't make better games. From us, you can expect humor, sarcasm and irony, especially in these never-ending blog posts.
With that subject clarified, we could say that practically al graphics in this game are cool except the fucking pink caravan with a horrible color palette swap that Alberto doesn't wanna change arguing a crappy excuse: “that way girls will play the game”... Well, we put special emphasis on the hero and her bike, vehicles (we like the jeep the most) and background buildings. We also wanted to place a zepelling in the sky showing a controversial message, like the one appearing in Scarface, but there was no much space with all those buildings and the damned wonderful ads at the top of the screen. We haven't added (yet) the fire truck from Firemen Rush neither because it's a bit smaller than the vehicles used in Bike Assault. We like the idea of sharing references between our games, and even external ones and cameos from other indie developers (under consent), but we'll think about this in the future.
That's the sprite sheet of the game. We're trying to keep on the same visual style in the presentation of our minigames, menus and all that (dark background, retro logo, options, credits, fonts), in a clear homage to SNES and Mega Drive games.
This game is an universal app and works on any iOS device and any screen size. As we announced in previous blog posts, we're re-using a lot of code stuff done for Firemen Rush in order to speed up future development. Anyway, in each new project, our code base improves and we fix some bugs. We use cocos2d-iphone as render engine.
We don't want to fatigue you with technical verbiage, in fact, we don't consider ourself technical guys. Even so, we're going to comment a couple of details that have been a bit complex.
First one: the accelerometer calibration. Tedious mathematical concepts that luckily other developers had already investigated and kindly decided to share with the world. It was enough to understand the concepts, then adapt and implement them in our project. To be honest, we already implemented this accelerometer calibration system time ago in our “Shooter II” project using UIAccelerometer class. We have cleaned up the code and used CoreMotion instead.
The other problem: collision between vehicles. We don't use cocos2d built-in physics system (Chipmunk). In early stages, the collision system did strange things like vehicles teleporting as in a magic show. The main problem is that the armored truck moves freely along the screen and rammed other vehicles, causing a pileup, and we needed to avoid that situation with some common off-screen tricks. Games, when working, seems child's play but, oh, my friend, what a coding nightmare!
We use Logic Pro 9 for this matter and we like SNES music. We have used audio samples extracted from the game Macross: Scrambled Valkyrie, but this time we haven't made an homage but simply used some instruments we liked, i.e. the tracks we have composed bear no much resemblance with the original tracks. Specifically, we have used instruments from the songs Organic Base and Cave. As always, we try to recover the lost brightness of the low quality samples, and this time we tried to create space in the mix using generous panning and individual instrument EQ. We like the result, but the sound moves a little away from classic SNES sound, so we could call this "remastered SNES style music". We're not musicians nor composers, so working with a limited already picked set of instruments makes this task a lot easier.
Regarding sound effects, almost all of them have been synthesized using the EFM1 plugin, a FM synth, except the more complex ones (gun shot, bullet ricochet or slowdown) that are edited samples with "Public Domain" license downloaded from FreeSound. Well, we achieved some kind of acceptable gun shot by FM synthesis but it sounded a bit “sandy”, so we discarded that sample. The slowdown sound, by its characteristics (repetitive short loop), seems easy so synthesize, though we didn't achieve a good sound. Finally, the slowdown was created starting from an actual slowdown sound edited and transformed into a very short loop. Oh, and we recorded the voices obviously, even the girl scream when she falls from her bike. The wonders of pitch.
Firemen Rush was done in 20 days. For Bike Assault, we have no accurate development time numbers, but we suppose it's between 20-25 days. That's because, while Firemen Rush was in its programming stage, Bike Assault started its graphic stage, so both developments overlapped in time and we lost the count.
Our intention is to release a new minigame each month. Firemen Rush was uploaded March 5 and was approved March 13. Bike Assault was uploaded April 8 and was approved April 14. So, more or less, there is a month between both releases.
You know, download bike Assault and click the ads sometimes because we would like to buy a yatch and park it in our neighborhood supermarket parking.
We can reveal our next minigame because it will be a remake of our old mosquito minigame (Mosquito's Insomnia), though changing the gameplay for something more elaborated (well, not that much, we want to start new projects as soon as possible). This remake should be finished in about two weeks.
Thanks for reading!
Train your brain and challenge yourself while having fun with A Clockwork Brain!
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