Another one bites the dust

Tonight Abstract Puzzle got a slight refresh, removing some expired App Store links, as well as adding headers for “Forthcoming” games Puzzle Prison and ActionGo, and “Retired” games ActionChess and Oppo-Citrus that were removed from the app store last September.

I also added Root Down to the lineup, and changed some wording here and there.

Sadly, For The Win will be moving from “Mobile Board Games” to “Retired” sometime in the next month or so. I got the same email from Apple about it as I got for the other two games. I don’t have time to update it to support all the new screen sizes (and that app in particular would probably require some new graphics).

Promo Codes for Oppo-Citrus

I have some promo codes for my latest game, Oppo-Citrus that I’d like to give away to anyone who reads this.

Just leave a comment on this post, (and maybe double check to make sure your email is correct), and I’ll email you a promo code. If you’d rather not comment, that’s fine too, just send an email to promocodes [at] abstractpuzzle dot com, and I’ll reply with a code as soon as I get it.

UPDATE: promo codes are gone. Thanks.

Oppo-Citrus 1.1 release notes

Here are the things that changed in Oppo-Citrus 1.1. (Waiting for review with Apple.)

* new TAP control scheme – Tap instead of drag to place the bottom row. Hopefully this clears up the confusion about how to use the menu. Can be used in-game also.

* There is a now a music track!!! Access volume controls from the pause menu. (But it sounds great, thanks Tori!)

* New sound effects – sounds for level complete

* Fixed visual mismatch between level select screen graphics and actual levels for levels 3 and 4

* custom games – disabled mini pieces (too many bugs with it)
* custom games – disabled horizontal powerups when piece size is anything other than normal

* about screen – added “all apps” button

* Fixed a crashing bug with completing 200% on level 11. This also fixes the “all levels 200%” achievement. (Special thanks to @brackeen for reporting.)

My latest game, Oppo-Citrus

Hey, in case you haven’t already seen it, my latest game, Oppo-Citrus is now available. It’s got procedurally generated puzzles that are unique every time you play, with 11 different game modes (levels) of varying difficulty and gameplay. Each level has it’s own GameCenter leaderboard, and there are some achievements in there as well (more coming soon). It’s a take-your-time-style puzzle game, where you can think about what move you want to make as long as you want. I’ve been told it’s an unforgiving game. It can be really hard. Some game modes rely more on luck, but there are definitely ways to optimize your strategy. The game also keeps track of a lot of statistics for each level. Please consider giving it a shot, especially if you like my first game, ActionChess. Thanks for playing!

Oppo-Citrus v.0.8

Oppo-Citrus is live today in the app store.

I sort of forgot it was going to be released today, and the app description, which I’d fully intended to replace with something more descriptive, was simply the following:

Oppo-Citrus is a puzzle game with a catchy name!

Drag the row of fruit from the bottom into the middle of the gameboard, and try to make shapes of 4 or more of the same fruit. It’s that easy!


So what I’ve settled on (hopefully it’s beter) is the following:

Oppo-citrus is a puzzle game where you drag a row of fruit squares from the bottom of the screen onto a grid to make shapes of 4 or more of the same fruit. As the shapes are removed and points are scored, additional levels are unlocked. Each level introduces some new mechanic or combination of mechanics. See how high you can score on each level!

Play Oppo-Citrus and enjoy the following features:
– 11 unique levels of increasing difficulty and complexity
– hand-drawn pixel graphics for iPhone and iPhone 5
– stereo sound effects made entirely using the sounds of fruit
– GameCenter leaderboards and achievements
– Beat the 11th level to unlock the custom game mode, for unlimited replayablity!


Anyway, please consider giving Oppo-Citrus a try. I spent about six months making it (part-time), so I hope it’s worth at least a buck. And let me know if you have any problems or find any bugs. Thanks!

Oppo-Citrus is waiting for review!

I have been pretty radio-silent around here about Oppo-Citrus as well as the hundred other projects I have going right now. It’s hard to find time to blog when you can’t even find time to do all the coding that you have planned or on your plate.

So yeah, today I sent out a few trusted beta-testers what I’m considering the first “final” version of Oppo-Citrus. Then I fixed a bunch of bugs I found in it. Then I uploaded it to Apple. Here are the screen-shots I settled on using for iTunes:

The game has leaderboards for each of its 11 levels, as well as 10 “starter” achievements. (I hope to add about the same number of new achievements in an update in a week or two.) It’s not universal (boo!), but it does support the iPhone 5 screen ratio for those who have one (yay!).

I’m hoping yet tonight to submit a new version of ActionChess for review also. I’ll write another post if I can finish that.

Music for Oppo-Citrus

I have spent probably about a day of the last 2 & 1/2 weeks playing around with Pure Data and its iOS counterpart, libpd. After some digging and asking around, I think this is the best way to synthesize music on the iPhone. (By that, I mean generate music “from nothing”, rather than just play mp3s and stuff like that.) I now feel I know enough to be dangerous, but also have reached the point — inevitable in every learning endeavor — where I’ve realized and feel a bit overwhelmed by how very much there is yet to learn. Pure Data (and it’s closed-source predecessor Max) is one of those programs that is so open-ended that you could probably spend your entire life working in it. It’s not so much the program that is overwhelming though. It’s the realization that ultimately what I’m doing is making music. Even if I want to cheat in every possible way, it still comes down to composition. I am composing music. Pure Data is just like any other musical instrument (although possibly the most complex one I have ever encountered), and I’m just not sure whether my compositions are worthy of inclusion in a game.

So I’m going to look for a musician for Oppo-Citrus. One who can work for peanuts, or better yet, virtual peanuts, because that’s what I can afford to give them. Ideally, I’m looking to turn a grid of numbers into a looping sound mosaic. But more importantly, a mosaic that doesn’t completely suck.

I actually came here to write a post about having registered my LLC officially with the state. The name of my new company is Abstract Puzzle, and I’m sure you’ll read more about it in the near future. It’s already got it’s own facebook page, and if you’re reading this, and you haven’t already, it’s be super great if you could go over there and like it.

But then I started listening to my old friend John Keston’s music on SoundCloud, and felt inspired to write about my libpd “research”. Music is incredibly inspirational, and I’ve been reprimanded in iTunes reviews (well, maybe only one) for not including some in ActionChess. My reasoning was always that it’s also incredibly subjective, and one person’s mozart is another person’s … well, mozart. Anyway, music can be as abrasive as it is immersive. I really like the idea of creating a truly unique and interesting sound experience though, and I think if done correctly, that might be worth the extra effort.

Announcing Oppo-Citrus

You already saw the logo in my last post, but here it is again for posterity. Cool, huh?

I realized I was procrastinating this post, partly because I don’t know what to write here. I mean, this should be a teaser, so I don’t want to give away all the details, but I also want to be honest about giving an insight into the work I’m doing, both technically, and from a game design perspective.

There was another reason for not writing, a personal one that I normally wouldn’t go into here, but since I said I was going to have this post done a couple of days ago, I figure I should at least mention the real reason it’s later. The short of it is that I haven’t gotten anything done the last couple of days because my 2-year old daughter has been sick. The doctor thinks it might be whooping-cough, which despite having the silliest sounding name of any child’s illness, is actually fairly serious, and can lead to death in very small children. (Fortunately, she’s beyond that age, but it hasn’t been easy, and the most frustrating symptom is coughing until she vomits or gets very short of breath.) Anyway, it’s been a rough first week as an indie. I keep reminding myself that this is at least part of why I wanted to do this. I have the freedom to drop everything now and take care of her as needed. Yes, I might be delaying a product launch by a couple of days, and maybe I won’t make as much money in that time or whatever, but those are tradeoffs I get to make now.

Moving on… Lets start with the basic premise.

game_screenHere’s the current mockup of the game screen for Oppo-Citrus. The first idea I had for this is still intact: you drag a bar of colored squares into the column above, trying to position it such that you make a shape with four (or more) of the same color. You get points for every unique tetris shape. Right now, you get 1 point for the first one, 2 for the second, 3 for the third, etc. I thought about making additional shapes a multiplier, but since it’s fairly random right now, it seemed like that might be too rewarding. There is skill to it, don’t get me wrong, but a lot depends on getting the right combinations of colors.

The red shape and faded red squares around it are because this screenshot is mid-animation of removing the shapes made from placement of that top row from the gameboard.

As you can see, this first level is just two colors (lemons and limes), and as you might imagine, it’s actually fairly easy to make shapes. The real question is whether you can make enough shapes before filling up the board to progress onto the next level. That half-filled yellow bar below the row at the bottom is the level progress indicator. As you make shapes, it fills up, and eventually you get a screen that asks whether you would like to continue on to the next level or keep playing this one for points. I’ll leave what happens on subsequent levels up for a future post or posts, but in addition to the obvious (adding more colors), I have lots of ideas for powerups and additional game mechanics that actually change the game pretty radically while sticking with the original premise.