Game Design Game Development Geek / Technical

Toytles: Leaf Raking Progress Report – Yard-Coverage-Based Dialogue

Here’s this week’s progress report for new updates to Toytles: Leaf Raking, my family-friendly leaf-raking business simulation available for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.

Get it at the Toytles: Leaf Raking page.

In the previous sprint report, I fixed defects I introduced due to the new screen transitions, and I started working on new dialogue.

Sprint 22: Time-based dialogue

  • Story progression when finishing a yard (unique monthly client dialogue w/ difference between clear/uncleared yards

I did 9.75 hours of game development last week, which is almost double my average but quite a bit less than I was hoping to be able to put in considering I took a few days off from the day job. Then again, it was a holiday weekend, and I ended up running errands and doing things around the house. Oh, and someone was digging outside and cut the phone line to our house, and so we’ve been without Internet since the day before Thanksgiving. Someone should come out today, but I don’t know how big of a job it will be to replace the buried phone line or how long we’ll be without Internet access.

Most of the time was spent writing new dialogue for each of the neighbors. It was fun discovering what makes each of the game’s neighbors tick. And I know the new dialogue is just able to hint at their complex lives.

When the dialogue I planned to write was finished, and I was playing the game and testing things out, I found that in practice it was actually much more difficult to talk to the neighbors after you’ve raked their yards due to not being able to visit them after 7:00pm.

On the one hand, it means that I probably do not need to worry about adding too much more new dialogue because it will be unlikely to be seen by players. On the other hand, perhaps there are things I can do to allow the player to have an easier time to do things in-game as well as visit with neighbors if I either had the player’s character return from school a bit earlier or allow visits with neighbors later, or perhaps both.

My niece suggested 8:00pm instead of 7:00pm for the latest time you can visit a neighbor, and she also suggested that 3:00pm is too late to return from school. I’ll need to experiment to see what extra time in a day does to the game’s economy.

In the meantime, I found that once I started testing the game on an iPhone, the game crashed quite frequently. It turned out that during the new transitions, on my main development machine and on Android nothing would go wrong somehow, but on iOS it turned out that a deleted object was being used when it shouldn’t, which indicates that it was probably also being used and waiting to blow up on someone’s Android phone or tablet. So I fixed the issue, and now it is better across both platforms.

I thought there was another crash bug, and I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out if there was another place where I was using deleted memory. In the end, it turned out to be a weird issue with Xcode’s debugger, and if I ran the game on its own, it worked just fine.

So expect a new release of Toytles: Leaf Raking soon.

Thanks for reading!

Toytles: Leaf Raking Player's Guide

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