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Bringing a back Classic genere with a Control change
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2D Shooter in mobile, what could go wrong?
Hi everyone! First of all let me thank you for taking your time to read the story of Razor-X and I. 
 
The developer
I, like many other developers, took on the challenge of making a game entirely by my own means, however this is not the first time I do this, but this time I'm completely satisfied with the result.
 
Meet the Razor-X
Razor-X is an old fashioned 2D vertical Shoot'em up, with 3D Graphics. I decided to make the Razor-X because some day, back in 2014 while I was in the bathroom, I was playing with my phone and then I had the idea of a shooting game like those old school vertical shooters, and that taking advantage of the Touch Screen It would be possible to create really nice controls for the game. So I started with the development of Razor-X. 
 
The Story and the atmosphere
So after deciding the gameplay I started to think in the environment where the game would take place. So I decided to go with the most obvious environment a game like a shooter could have: the space. Then I just needed a reason for spaceships to start fighting in space, so again I went with the most common solution: humans fighting aliens.  While this may sound way too overused to some of you I can promise you that the plot is way more complicated than just "humans vs aliens", but since I'll elaborate it more in next games I can't really say more than this, sorry.
The Game Development process of a lone indie Dev
So now that the story and atmosphere was decided, I started with a basic prototype of the game, so first of all, since I'm not a Graphics Desingner I started considering my options to build the atmosphere that I wanted, so first I decided to use 3D Graphics with an orthographic camera, mostly to give it a better look but keeping the same gameplay mechanics as the old shooters, now having decided that I searched for art assets in the internet and the Asset Store and found the packages that I needed(full list at the end). So after some bit of testing with the prototype, I had to decide how the game would be structured; since the story already was about collecting data and parts of the Alien technology, I decided to use a game mechanic that I already liked from the Metal Slug series, the "mission" segmented game and recue prisioners, however, since it would be some what strange to "rescue" someone from a ship that exploded, I changed that to collecting "Stars", that will represent scrap pieces of the alien ships, and that at the end of the level they'll transform into points to reward the player. Since I am giving points to the player then it would be appropiate to keep track of the highest scores of the player and also add more mechanics that interacted with that score, so I added more pickup items and that the player had a limited number of "lives"  before that score resets back to 0. After that I started with the desing of the levels, the enemy spawn logic, the boss of the level logic, a how to play section and the Story section. It took me some time to decide and develop those things but mostly the development took so long because I had little time to work on it. That is the biggest challenge a single developer struggles with: a lot to do, but so little time to do it, mostly, if the developer isn't getting any revenue for it. Why am I not making any money with this? well due to the Google Play policies, if I wanted to I would be forced to post my address publicly and I don't really like that idea, also I didn't wanted to add Ads to it, mostly because I think most users find them annoying, and by the game mechanics there was nothing I could reward the player with to watch them, as for the DLC/IAP monetizing approach, while they also require me to add my address and I can't use them because of that, I don't like how the some companies in the Games Industry have been using them; while there are good DLC's, some companies, in my opinion have misused them and the IAP, more times than not, make the Game a Pay to win; so, since I disagree with both philosophies(or more like vices), I'm against those approaches, and don't plan to use them, unless I can deliver valuable DLC and/or offer an IAP that i'ts completely optional. Back on the remaining challenges, I'll just summarize my desicions with the topics I mentioned before, I solved the enemy spawns and the Boss logic by using mechanim; I went with the same approach for the how to play that I used in my previous game Colorful Tiles(Expect to see Tutorial box make a lot of appearances) and I did the Story section with the old but effective text box narrative. 
So now that I had a lot of things covered there were some aspects that the Razor-X was missing: The music and it's own Identity. While I could do the same as before and get the assets in the asset store I thought that considering all the effort put in the game It would be for the best if it had its own music and that the Razor-X had an Original model. For the music, while I had experience using LMMS I decided to go with Garageband, since I had bought a Macbook since then and I wanted to check what I could achieve with it. Surprisingly it was really easy to use and I was able to achieve the music quality that I wanted for Razor-X, however, as a side note and interesting side story, if you use an apple loop in your song, even though Apple has expressed that you're able to use them to compose songs for commercial work, Youtube will auto detect them as Copyrighted songs so you'll have to impugn the Copyright claim. Now that I had the Soundtracks for Razor-X, I needed to do the model of the actual Razor-X; I choose Blender as the best option to do 3D modeling, and while it is no easy task to learn Blender, a book(Building a Game with Unity and Blender) that I had bought helped me with the process. 
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The last touches, test process and adding more value to the game
Once everything was in place while doing my tests, I started to feel that the game was missing a lot of replay value, because once you had dealt with the arcade mode and it's five sectors, it was pretty much it. The players could try to beat their best scores and try to survive the entire arcade mode, but that would be it, no more challenges would be there for the player to beat. Then I decided to add two mor things to the game: An endless mode(named Nightmare) and Google Play Scores and Achievements. While I know there are a lot of players that prefer not to login with their Google Account, I thought it would be for the best to include it and give the players the option. The Nightmare mode was the best addition to Razor-X, mostly because since it is a hard mode and it also depends on scores it has a high replay value, or so I think. Also I decided to address the player in a different way to make the Nightmare mode even more special, but that was just a minimal touch that I thought that was fun to add. After that I just kept testing a little bit more, however since I don't own big Android tablets I couldn't test on them how the game looks so I'm just hoping for the best there.
 
Publishing and what comes next
Once I finally finished my testings I completed the forms in the Google Play Developers console page and created the images that they need and made a Video Trailer for the game which I posted on Youtube, posted the announcement of it in my blog. Then after finishing this long project, comes the part of what I learned from this one: 
  1. The biggest challenge for a single developer is to cover all the roles involved in the Game Development process.
  2. The ideas can come to you at any moment
  3. Testing your game is key to it's development, while it is better to get feedback from people not involved in the development you must be completely satisfied with it as well.
  4. Testing may help you to get that something that your game needs but you didn't knew it.
  5. The game's identity it's key for it's success, if you have an idea that you think has potential try to stick to it unless you get another one that you think is better.
  6. Even if you think a feature may not be used by players is better to add it, as long as it could add something valuable to your game.
  7. ALWAYS try to complete your projects, this is something that could also be the biggest challenge, a LOT of the developers struggle with. Even if you feel like the project doesn't has the potential it had when you started it, you'll get a lot of experience out of it. NOTHING is a wasted effort!
I would like to conclude this wall of Text(Sorry about that, I might have gotten carried away a little bit) THANKING the developers of the Assets I used in the Razor-X as well to the teams behind Unity, Blender, Paint.net and Garageband. Also to you for making it this far, it means A LOT to me!!  
If you're interested in contacting me because you want to hear about a technical detail or wanna discuss something else feel free to reach me at support@crimsonrgames.com
Don't forget to checkout http://www.crimsonrgames.com/
 
List of Assets that I used from the Asset Store:
BulletML for Unity
Cartoon FX Pack
NGUI
Pickup items Mega Pack
Pirate Starship Fleet Package
Pirate Starship Fleet Package 2
Sci-fi GUI SKIN
SciFi Enemies And veichles
Space Scene Construction Kit
Universal Sound Effects

Aldo Pedro Rangel Montiel
Developer - Programmer
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