Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Progress Update

I don't have a subject today.  I'm just overdue for my monthly blog-post.  I'll try not to make this too rambling.

Item the first: final 20 levels complete! 
This ended up being a much more difficult task than I anticipated.  The final level set is a 6x6 grid, which turns out is exponentially harder to solve than a 5x5 grid.  It was too much for even my super speedy c++ solver.  For a while I thought I might have to give up and just spend a ton of time solving the levels myself.  But I started playing around with bit-packing to reduce the size of my level state arrays and got the solver running on the beefiest Amazon EC2 memory instance available (240 GB of ram!) and that was FINALLY enough to solve most of my levels.  My final level actually ate through all 240 GB over the span of 40 minutes and crashed the machine.  But I was at least able to verify that there was no shorter solution than the one I found.  I still plan to do a detailed writeup of my level solver later.

Item the second: PR and marketing.  
I had a chat with a PR guy, and he pretty much confirmed my suspicions; My game is fun and different, but not unique enough to make a PR push worth the money.  There are so many apps out there that review sites are really only interested in games that bring something completely unique to the table.  But then I was thinking, maybe instead of PR, I spend that money on a unique video?  Something to grab people's attention.  And then it came to me: live-action people in mouse and snake suits bumping into each other on the streets of New York.  It's exactly what my game needs.  A fun, quirky, weird hook that will hopefully get people talking.  It's going to require a bit more of an investment, but I think it will be worth it.

Item the third: wrapping up
So now the game is almost complete!  I just need to add some menus, a credit screen, and integrate the in app purchases.  Hopefully my next blog post tile will be "Submitted to Apple!"