Devlog TeaPuzzle#4 Release

Hello, this will be the last video about the Tea Puzzle project, at least for a while because I just put my game on the Google Play Store, and it is available for everyone now. The link to the game is in the description. If in the future I will decide to add new things to it, for sure I will make a video about this.

Teleport

I created a new mechanic in the game - Teleport, which as a teleport does help characters in quick travels. This allows me to make a new type of riddle, where a player has to guess and then remember where each teleport leads. Another advance of this is the availability to make diversified maps using higher grounds levels.

Of course, it was not made without problems. To make teleport work I have to add functionality from towers so characters can go inside teleports and functionality from the camera so the user can move to the next destination in a smooth way.

Maybe it does not sound difficult, but when you are mixing some abilities of different objects you quickly can meet one of the greatest developers’ enemies - Coupling. This is the smart one. He is very good at hiding and in the first phases is not dangerous, till the time comes. He will attack later and will bind your hands, and you will not be able to progress anymore until you’ll remove him from the project.

So, better safe than sorry, prophylactically I added an interface that manages individual modules and controls their communication.

Levels

I spent some time on map creation, and now I have 15 levels ready, which is as much as I planned in the first stage. This was actually quite a monotonous work but an important one. As it turned out later I had to reduce light mass data size, because the unreal engine itself is not the lightest one, and I exceeded the 150MB size limit in google play. So I had to add in each map a Lightmass Importance Volume component which was very helpful and significantly reduced the end game size. It is still about 120MB, but the limit is fulfilled.

Tutorial

At some point, I realized most of the mechanics are quite intuitive, but the mechanics of the camera were not that much. Because it requires the usage of two fingers to slide on the screen to rotate the camera. Additionally, this mechanic is so important, since without it, you can’t pass any level except the first one. So I decided to make a really quick tutorial, which actually is just a simple image that will be displayed when the player opens the first level. I hope this will be enough.

Sounds

There is also some changes in sounds. I added few missing sounds like for level finish and lose. Additionally, I added easy “fade in” and “fade out” to each of the background music, so there is no longer a hard cut of sound during the transition between levels.

Play Store

To add my game to the Play Store I had to create a Play Console account which cost me 25 bucks. Using this console is hard for me, and I feel a bit lost there. It took me a while to do some basic things, but the real problem was to have ads turned on.

From the Unreal side, it looks quite simple, but the problem is with configuration. I couldn’t find any fresh tutorials to do it. As far as I understand, I need an account in Play Console, Ads, AdMob, and then I need to connect them all together. So the config was quite complex and this is why I was suspending it for so long.

But after that challenge, it is finally working. I was even able to test ads without publishing the app to Play Store, by using the testing stages that Play Console offers.

Tests

After the first game tests by my friends, it turned out that the game was quite hard. To complete all 15 levels it took them about 2h, which is actually double of I was thinking it would take. I think it is a good thing but at the same time, I’m a bit worried that some players will be churned by difficulty level. I hope I am wrong.

Windows

Due to the fact that I’m using the Unreal engine, I considered actually making the Windows version of the game and putting it on Steam. Probably it won’t take much effort from me, and it would expand the potential players’ group. Of course, better would be putting the game in the Apple Store. But for now, I do have not any iPhone available to test how it works on Apple devices, so I suspend that step into the indefinite future.

Unreal engine update

During the development process, there was an Unreal Engine update, so I switch from version Early Access 2 to the newest version which is Preview 2. That was a fantastic move because it resolved some of my problems e.g. in the Early Access version I have some weird bugs with the Vulkan emulator on desktop and on mobile devices. I also had some random crashes which are gone after the update.

Of course, it was not without problems, the first one was an issue with lighting. It looked like global illumination was turned off at some point in the camera. The reason for that was the Unreal team added for mobile rendering Float Precision Mode which by default was set to a lightweight value and tweaking it fixed my problem. The second one was about building applications, but that one was way easier for me to find and resolve. So, after resolving these 2 bugs, I have a build without the ills of the previous version, and I am really happy about it because the other bugs seem really harder to resolve than updating of engine version.

Summary

That’s all for this video and this project. I am really happy about it is already finished. It was hard work for four months, and I am so proud I managed to complete it. It was mostly a pilot project, so I learned a lot, and now I have some fundaments for the next more advanced challenges. Thanks for watching and stay tuned for next project!


Tags: TeaPuzzle