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.

Icon Dropper

Similar to the color dropper, this power up causes all tiles with similar icons to fall as a group.

The power ups are very similar, both in look and behaviour. During a game, while tiles are falling all over the place, it is difficult to differentiate between one or the other. And on top of it, the powers stack so you could activate both and knock out half the tiles in one throw. I didn’t feel like they belonged in the game any more, so they were cut.

The other features that hadn’t yet made it into the game were just extra bits of information. I thought it might be handy to momentarily display the point-value of the tile you just squished, but again with everything happening on the screen throwing even more information at you could have been overwhelming. I’d also briefly played with the idea of displaying the number of balls thrown, tiles squished, duration of the session, etc. at the end of a game. And displaying lifetime totals on a separate screen in the menus.

Nice features, but unnecessary.

Which leaves the new features! First is the tutorial. It was lacking, and for the last few releases has displayed a “More pages coming soon” message on the last page. The tutorial is now done. It’s less interactive/animated than I’d have liked, but in an effort to get the game done the tutorial was finished in a just-as-informative manner.

Anchors now collide with the sides of the screen, much the same way that bouncy balls do. Where bouncy balls bounce off walls, anchors thunk into the wall and slightly bounce off. Falling anchors can still collide with tiles, too.

I also fixed a split-shot-bouncy-ball bug as well as a bouncy-ball wall-collision bug.

So what’s left in development? Next release will have all of the above, and improved/revised sound effects and music. I also want to make the standard balls splash apart when they collide with walls. And make broken tile pieces bounce off walls as well. Not much left before the next release goes out, though I expect the revised audio will probably add a few megabytes in download size.

The release after that is likely going to be the first beta release. It should only get 1 set of new features. Twitter sharing and Facebook sharing so you can brag to your friends about your high score in Squishy Bugs.

The end is near! Thanks for playing.

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