That was intense!
This weekend I took a break from my work on Touch Towers to participate in the Techority 48 Hour Challenge, and I just put on the finishing touches and submitted my entry some minutes before midnight (all times in PST).
This development challenge is an annual event primarily for Corona SDK developers, and an opportunity to crank up the time crunch, and build a complete app in just one weekend! Although I think my Corona experience will really culminate with the release of my first app next month (fingers crossed!), this was one of the best learning experiences I’ve yet had in my admittedly short career as a developer.
At the stroke of midnight on Friday, we were presented with four themes (“bucket,” “water balloon,” “shoe” and “love”) of which we had to select at least two to incorporate into our game. My first inspiration was pretty much nothing at all, so I decided to go sleep on it straight away and see if I had better luck the next morning (what a story eh?).
What I came up with Saturday morning utilized the most obvious combination in the whole list. Buckets. Buckets that hold water balloons! I consider creativity one of my greatest personal strengths… but this was clearly not my finest moment.
Regardless, the clock was ticking deafeningly by eleven so I just went with it. The idea I had was a unique twist on the “Castle Defense” genre. You would have a fort to guard and the neighbors would come invading with their water balloons, and it’d be up to you to hold them off for as long as you can. It’s kind of depressing though because it’s one of those games where each wave just gets harder and harder and you know you’ll eventually lose, haha. I call it… Water Balloon Wars.
So, giant bouncing water balloons. I came up with the idea that you should have to “pinch-to-zoom” gesture to burst them open to kill them. Here’s one of the things I’m filing under learning experience – this ended up being a lot harder than I expected (also ended up being the most significant known bug in my final submission; I got it working mostly, but more on that later).
Around this point, my buddy Kimalia came online. He’s been making all the artwork for my other game, Touch Towers - and it looks simply incredible. Anyways he was bored and so he agreed to jump in and make the art alongside my programming over the weekend. This is awesome because whatever I would have ended up making was only going to look slightly better than the placeholders you’ve seen so far.
I tweeted that image Saturday night and then passed out. As you can see, we now had the bouncing “pinch-to-explode” balloons, and the guys throwing balloons at your fort. The guys can be picked up and thrown off screen to dispatch them, or you can call in the paper airplane strike as pictured above, which drops a water bomb that will create a huge, wet explosion to scrub any pesky neighbors in the vicinity clean!
A hilarious tactic for these guys is to use your Fruit Ninja skills to cut the balloons they toss right out of the air before they hit your fort. Then once you have a big group of the Throwers queued together, you can use multitouch with your other hand to bring in an Air Strike to clear them all out! I’m even planning a separate game mode based around this technique
At this point, I’m loving the water balloon theme because it allows me to incorporate what would otherwise seem like very violent actions but instead makes the game whimsical, funny and even relates to the fun experience of a water balloon fight that many people share. Especially when combined with the cartoony graphical style we decided on.
This next enemy addition is by far my favorite. These guys carry a huge bucket of water to dump right on your fort and do a ton of damage – if you let them. Shaking the device or tapping them repeatedly causes them to stumble and spill some of the water they’re carrying. When you’ve successfully emptied the bucket, it appears empty so you know they’re done.
And if you’re unlucky enough to send an Air Strike in the path of one of these guys, they’ll catch it in the bucket – protecting them and anyone nearby from all damage – and actually contributing water to their bucket, making them require more spills to disarm, and increasing the amount of damage they’ll do otherwise! They’re your’re worst nightmare at higher levels.
There’s a few more enemies to discover as well, but I’ll let you find those out for yourself!
The game still has a ways to go before it’s truly finished, but I’m thrilled with how it turned out in less than 36 hours from inception to submission! The difficulty ramps up too fast right now, and I still don’t have that pinch to explode gesture perfected. Once I get it finished up I’ll have to see about getting it on the App Store!
Lastly a big thank you to Peach Pellen for organizing the event. It was great fun and an excellent learning experience to boot. To my fellow competitors, good luck in the judging process tomorrow!
But I think this goes for most of us when I say I’m stoked enough just on what I’ve made, so win or lose, I’m mostly excited to see what awesome stuff everyone else has come up with in one crazy weekend.