Category: Game Dev

New Game: Board Rogue

I’ve started on my next game. At the moment it’s called Board Rogue, though that’s subject to change. I said the same thing about Squishy Bugs. Squishy Bugs was supposed to be the code-name for the project, like Helicopter Ninja and Space Fight before it. But Squishy Bugs stuck, and who knows if Board Rogue is going to get another name by the time it ships. The name is really growing on me.

So I’m feeling a little inspired by this article on open board game design. It basically boils down to don’t be afraid to openly share your game’s development because other people are too busy working on their own killer game and ideas area cheap. At least that’s what I got out of it. So without further ado, here’s a little glimpse into what Board Rogue is going to be about.

First, a couple definitions.

Board game
 A board game is a game that involves counters
 or pieces moved or placed on a pre-marked
 surface or "board", according to a set of rules.
 The roguelike is a sub-genre of role-playing
 video games, characterized by level
 randomization and permanent death.

So what is Board Rogue?

A board game, played on a single Android tablet, played by and passed between 1 to 6 players. Players take turns rolling dice to traverse the randomly generated dungeon in search of the big treasure at the end of the board.

There are currently only 4 types of “squares” that make up the board. Each square is a type of room. Either empty, monster, trap, or treasure.

Empty rooms are just that. Generally safe rooms that don’t help or hinder player progress.

Monster rooms are occupied by monsters. Landing in a monster room prompts you to fight with the monster. Killing the monster rewards the player with loot which may alter the player’s skills when used. It’s not in place yet but there will probably be an option to flee the fight if the battle is going poorly for you. Player death sends the player back to the board’s entrance. And they drop all of their loot on the floor of the monster’s room. The good news, the monster remains hurt so anyone else who comes across that monster square later will have an easier fight… unless the monster has regenerative abilities. Trolls typically regenerate when not in battle, so be aware!

Trap rooms mostly do bad things to players. They might cause the player to lose a turn, go back 2 squares, or take damage. If a trap kills you then you drop your loot and go back to the beginning of the board. Noticing a theme here?

Death is permanent. Your hero dies and you go back to the beginning of the board as a brand new hero with no special loot or skills.

Last, the treasure room. The game is points based, where the player with the highest score at the end of the game wins. Treasure counts toward your total points. A bar of gold might be worth 750 points. A small gem might be worth 100. But treasure rooms aren’t limited to jewellery and gems. Players might get lucky and find special armor or a weapon. Or an unset trap…

Unset traps are the game’s way of allowing a player to hinder other players. When a player is in an empty room, and they have an unset trap in their inventory, the player can trap that room. That room will remain a safe room for that player, for the duration of their hero’s life. The trap springs only for a hero that didn’t set the trap. In most cases this means all of the other players, but what if the trap’s hero dies? Then the trap is now hostile toward that player’s new hero as well.

So that’s the general outline of the game. Take your turn, pass the tablet to the next player, and so on. Collect as many points as you can before someone reaches the exit. Highest score wins the game.

Stay tuned for more Board Rogue tidbits as development continues. As usual you can follow along with the game’s development at the task tracker or discuss it at the WaggSoft Forums.

Find me as @kdnewton on Twitter and the WaggSoft Facebook page.

Squishy Bugs Beta

December 24 (12 hours or so from now) you can get your hands on the Squishy Bugs beta. I’m presently testing the beta making sure all of the features are in place and that everything is working. It has been a long time in the making. 1 year ago tomorrow I released the very first version of the game. It wasn’t pretty and I probably “shot myself in the foot” by releasing the game in such an early unfinished state. If I can find some screenshots I’ll edit this post and put them below this paragraph.

Early Title Screen Early Game

Shoot forward ~365 days, now I have no problem calling the game done. You’ll get to play the beta, I’ll continue testing for a few days after the beta release, then I’ll release version 1.0 on my birthday! I turn 29 on December 29.

Squishy Bugs Tweet

That image above is the “big feature” of this next update. You can now share your high scores to Twitter and Facebook directly from within the game. I wouldn’t call coding that feature “game development” but I think it’s a necessary addition to the game. There was a lot of programming external to the actual game that was required in making Squishy Bugs.

The biggest Squishy Bugs related project being the WaggSoft api and accompanying Squishy Bugs high score list. Developing those server side features was a lot of work but the bright side is those features will be used in my future games. I don’t need to code them again. They’re done, which will speed up development of my next game(s).

So please, if you have an Android device, give Squishy Bugs a try. It’s free. It’s ad-supported. I make pennies from it per month so I’m not getting rich off this. Tell your friends. When the beta and version 1 are released please make use of the Twitter and/or Facebook sharing feature at least once.

If you have any questions you can reach me on my personal Twitter or the WaggSoft Twitter. If you’re press, (kyle at) shoot me an email ( or check out the Squishy Bugs presskit(). There are also the WaggSoft Forums.

Happy holidays to you all! Thanks for playing.

-Kyle D. Newton

The Squishy Finish Line

The end is near! There’s some quote out there that sums it up and I wish I could link to it but my Google-Fu is not with me tonight. Paraphrasing:

The goal is not to add features but to remove as many as
possible while still retaining the essence of the game.

Something like that. I cut a few features that were already implemented, and axed a couple that I was planning to add but really didn’t contribute to the game. And I added a few features that I felt did contribute to the game.

What was cut? The “group drop” power ups. That includes the “color dropper” and the “icon dropper”. What do those do, you ask? Exactly. They were confusing while playing, even to me.

Color Dropper

When you activated this power up, any time the ball hit a tile all of the similarly colored tiles adjacent to it would fall as a group.

Read more »

Late Night Gaming Staycation

Took a little “vacation for the mind” this weekend. Didn’t work on Squishy Bugs, and for the most part stayed away from the real-work-that-pays-the-bills type work. I blame Google Play and the $0.25 sale that has been going on every day for the last 5 days. Dungeon Village by Kairosoft is the shining star in the bunch that I’ve really enjoyed. There was also a little effort in saving the universe in Mass Effect 2, and some Assassin’s Creed.

Getting back to the state of Squishy Bugs, it’s nearing completion. Just doing things like making the font bigger here, shrinking it there. Filling up empty space or making room where the font is too big or small. Making sure the font lines up… lots of little details.

Aside from the “social” aspect (Facebook and Twitter sharing) I’m calling the game feature complete. From here on it’s just an effort to make the game shiny (and add the social sharing buttons when the polishing is done).

One “big” thing to note, the high scores need to be reset. To get technical, it was too hard to link meta data to player’s high scores. Things like the elapsed time, or number of tiles squished, to name a couple. Perhaps not a huge requirement for a game like Squishy Bugs but I’m writing the server-side api (an optional feature of Squishy Bugs) to be forward-compatible with games that are not yet written. Basically, any/all games I create in the future. So it’s best to get that fixed up now before Squishy Bugs 1.0 is out the door.

EDIT: There’s also that Squishy Bugs tutorial I need to get around to finishing…

Squishy Bugs Alpha 7

Squishy Bugs alpha 7 has been submitted to the Google Play store.


  • Now possible to score in the millions of points.
  • Every powerup now contributes to the score multiplier.
  • Added some variety to the tile icons in the “Day” theme.
  • Powerups now spawn more frequently. The chance to appear gradually increases the longer a powerup hasn’t appeared.
  • Added various informative text so the player has a better idea of why the screen appears to have paused at times.


  • Fixed issue with music starting over again when navigating menus.
  • Fixed issue where some assets were being loaded too many times, consuming excess memory.

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