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Development

Levels

JP McMullan

If there has even been a game that needs staged progression, this is it. Think about the Rubik's cube, most people never solve it.  Almost all who try never get close, it's that really hard game and I'm sure with enough perseverance you will get there... maybe.

Although Brick Block is immediately assumed to be the same thing, it really isn't from a difficulty point of view. Two colors with all 6 sides having the same color is dramatically easier than the Rubik's cube. I don't want to take anything away from what they made, it's clearly garnered a devoted following, and those who can appear to be magicians. I believe most of its success and prevalence came from the marvel of its construction, I still remember trying to pull one apart as a kid to see how it was possible, and again being confused by strings and wires. The more I look at it, the Rubik's cube is one game that you learn the moves and apply them over and over, other than variation, it is that one game.  It's really hard but it doesn't change.  At that point, it would feel empty, and without new challenges, ultimately it is one dimensional.

Very few people actually climb Mount Everest, I imagine that's what the Rubik's cube is like. Many more people enjoy a good hike and taking in the experience, that's more what I'm interested in.

This game is less about the construction and more about the experience of playing, learning and achieving what your mind could not before. 

 2 Colors

The first 6 levels are one move from solution, and they will have an intention overlay to show the player  how to drag. These will communicate how to play and the loop of success.

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3 Colors

A real surprise was tackling 3 colors once I had mastered 2 colors, it's not at all the same.  In a way I had to unlearn what I learnt previously to solve 2 colours. I think it's because I had attempted to solve one of the side colours as I would have for a 2 color brick block. As such it felt appropriate to go back to the "start" without the guidance levels.

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Game Center

JP McMullan

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This was worth doing.  As nice as it is to jump into a game, being able to target a friend or family member is great too, especially when you start playing the game early on.

After some testing, I'm not certain whether some of the faults are due to my code, Game Center sandbox environment or excessive concurrent testing and immediate retesting, however for the majority of time, all is well.  

I still have some scenarios that absolutely don't work such as receiving an invite that launches the game - looks like there is an attempt to interact with GC before authentication has occurred.  All of this will be worked out.

I actually don't use GC for in-game event transmission, just the matchmaking piece.  This means I do carry the cost to host networked games but that's ok.

As I support other platforms, this feature can be the native game social hub.  Next step is to finalise the menu controls and build a solid state machine to manage its animations.

First: Three colours solved

JP McMullan

Early in development, I encountered 3 colours, it was crazy hard.  It is a fantastic feeling solving a Brick Block, but I had to learn a new move to solve three colours.  Amazingly the symmetry speaks to you, well it did to me tonight.

For that, as a pure indulgence, here is my victory screen shot: