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Subject: Mosaic Mingle Dev
JohnsProgram
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4 years ago Posted on: 13 / Oct / 2013
Glad to report my game is done and up!

Although, I still got a few things to do:

*Implement Kongregate's API. This is to become eligible for many Kongregate's events. It should only take a few days to implement since I've got the idea for what stats to send.

*Submit to this year's IGF. That is IF I want to go ahead and enter. I'm still skeptical, but I have this week to decide.
 
<JohnsProgram>
Christmas Gift The Crystal Collection

JohnsProgram
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4 years ago Posted on: 14 / Oct / 2013
Here's my plan for version 1.0.1 K...

* Adding Kongregate's API and logo in the game. This is to get a bonus in ad revenue by mentioning them and taking advantage of their system. (K indicates their API has been implemented.)
* Add another screen to the instructions. Just to explain how you can restart the puzzle. (Forgotten to do that.)
* Some preparations for future version updates to the game or the game's saved data. This is to prevent losing saved data in case of version differences. In some cases, for example, you may have to lose your saved data when playing an obsolete version of the game. Although, you'll get a warning when that's about to happen.
* Some minor changes here and there.
 
<JohnsProgram>
Christmas Gift The Crystal Collection

JohnsProgram
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4 years ago Posted on: 15 / Oct / 2013
Glad to see "Mosaic Mingle" made the IndieGames.com blog with a "really awesome" note!
http://indiegames.com/2013/10/browser_pick_acoders_devs_logi.html
 
<JohnsProgram>
Christmas Gift The Crystal Collection

JohnsProgram
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4 years ago Posted on: 16 / Oct / 2013
Version 1.0.1 k should be ready later today. I'm implementing a saved data legacy check, as I like to call it, to warn the user that their saved data does not support the running version of the game and they will lose it if they continue. I don't know how Kongregate manage new updates or how quick they publish the update, but it's precautionary if the user played a later version of the game and then the earlier version.
Better safe then sorry I suppose. Although, the saved files are only generate according to what website the game was played in. So, it's possible that the data legacy check may not be used that often, but it's something to have during development on my account.

Meanwhile, I was just poking fun at drawing a mobile version of "Mosaic Mingle." When the time comes, I would like to enter the mobile app market with a mobile version (android to start) version of "Mosaic Mingle." The app would first be made for my own phone to get a foundation going, but it strikes me after looking at my phone's specs: MY PHONE'S FREAKING OLD. First, it's running Android 2.2. Second, the screen's 240x320 pixels. Third, it only has Flash Lite 1.0 and uses ActionScript 1.
With all of that, I don't know if my phone's worth building an app for. I mean, if I dare myself to experiment with some legacy code, it would be one hell of the time to get a least something that plays what I intended for it to play. After all the flash scripts I have used, I had never used ActionScript 1... and for good reason: it's obsolete! Obviously, it's time for a new phone.
Sadly, since I'm not working due to various reasons including socializing-problems, I'm not able to afford a decent phone anytime soon. On the plus side, I do get a share of Kongregate's revenue in which it'll go toward getting a better phone. And, since the game's new, it's eligible for Kongregate's top weekly and top monthly cash prizes. My game's in for this week, ending Oct 18th. While it doesn't look like it'll make 1st for $250, there is two $150 prizes for 2nd and 3rd. It's close for the time being. If the game makes it, it'll go toward getting a new phone for developing the game on Android. If not, I can still manage to get the phone with some budgeting. It's not that I'm broke, I'm just underpaid as I go though my cost of living. I'll put out some sacrifices here and there, but nothing extreme.
In regards, a mobile version of "Mosaic Mingle" would be great, but I need to get my hands on the devices in order to get it to work.
 
<JohnsProgram>
Christmas Gift The Crystal Collection

JohnsProgram
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4 years ago Posted on: 18 / Oct / 2013
I noticed some confusion from some players regarding how to unlock puzzles. I did drop a few hints by message boxes, but I figured they were too easy to forget and still ambiguous yet.
With version 1.0.1k, most of the unclear rules were presented in most parts of the game. Such as:

* I've added a small message under the total number of stars in the level selection screen. It reads "next at: *00" to let you know what your star total in that screen must be to unlock more levels. Hopefully that would clear things up and give the players an idea to what they have to do next instead of "blindly" getting more stars.

* I added a few more message boxes to remind the players a few things. One is to remind the players to try the challenge round when they had only tried the first five puzzles in the normal round. I realized many players rather stick with the same round instead of switching between two different rounds.
The others appear when new levels were unlocked explaining how many stars you need to get next to unlock them. That is to get the player's attention, but there's already a small message mentioned in the first bullet.

*I got Kongregate's API working fully. It took me a bit to get it working as it should as I had a minor problem with it. Apparently, I shouldn't store the object in a class variable. I won't go into details about the coding. I got the problem resolved and the API is working as I intended to work.
Just to explain, Kongregate's API is used for submitting game stats for the purpose of keeping hi scores and potential to create badges. Not to mention getting a little bonus with the ad revenue. I wonder how Kongregate select games to develop badges? I suppose the ratings have something to do with it.

I understand the concept of unlocking levels is confusing and perhaps unnecessary. Some may argue there's no point of unlocking levels or having to replay the same puzzle in two different rounds. Consider it a risk that I took. Originally, I didn't want to have all of the puzzles unlocked. I wanted to have a few puzzles at a time so the players grew accustomed to the game's mechanics.

While I am still keeping my original ideas in the game currently, I might do some changes in later versions if there's a big demand. I'll keep you posted when I got plans.

The game is barely a week old, so it's still too early for me to judge what went right and wrong. I'll be fishing for comments where ever my game's located.
 
<JohnsProgram>
Christmas Gift The Crystal Collection

JohnsProgram
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4 years ago Posted on: 18 / Oct / 2013
Also wanted to clearly about my vision for developing the game on my smartphone. Regardless of my phone's version of FlashLite is too outdated, there should be other mobile programming languages other than that. Would have been nice to stick with Flash, but not on my current phone. :p
Just a reminder: my vision is not a done-deal. I got no plans to actually make a mobile version of "Mosaic Mingle." I can only make plans when the demand for it is reasonable and the game is generally acceptable to most players.
 
<JohnsProgram>
Christmas Gift The Crystal Collection

JohnsProgram
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4 years ago Posted on: 18 / Oct / 2013
The next update would most likely involve control improvements. I can understand that there is too much clicking, which I'm beginning to have some problems myself.
I've been suggested on other control methods including using both the keyboard and the mouse. One idea I have in mind is to hold down the mouse button and any green cursors that is overlapped by the mouse pointer will get triggered instead of clicking them. Then I wonder: is holding down the mouse button just as bad as clicking?
I could do two things: try it out on the next release, or survey the players and go by popular opinion.
 
<JohnsProgram>
Christmas Gift The Crystal Collection

JohnsProgram
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4 years ago Posted on: 25 / Oct / 2013
My IGF entry is official: http://www.igf.com/php-bin/entry2014.php?id=1909
It's a gamble, but I always wanted to participate.

I'm working on a new version of Mosaic Mingle with includes the following:

* Better controlling.
Some people said clicking the mouse (button up & down) to place tiles leaves them sore. So, I have solution to change the current mouse control and implement additional controls. Such ideas include clicking at the "arrow boxes", and using the keyboard to shoot tiles while using the mouse pointer to aim. These controls are planned to be all-in-one, so no need to go to options to change the control schemes around!

* A relaxed rule.
I'm considering to lower the threshold for getting the number of stars to unlock puzzles low enough to players who don't want to play the challenge round.
The original idea was to have players try puzzles in both rounds -- normal and challenge -- to throw in a bit of variation. Although there is already some hints as of version 1.0.1K to get X amount of stars to unlock more puzzles, I'm realizing that is not practical. The idea in general is fine, but not for this game because (to my understanding) players want to be free to choose what round they play.
For example: in "Mario's Picross," it lets you start with every puzzle unlocked per course. The only thing that's locked are the courses. (It's been too long since I played that game, so I don't know exactly how it unlocks stuff.)

* Some other fixes and improvements.
Various stuff.
 
<JohnsProgram>
Christmas Gift The Crystal Collection

JohnsProgram
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4 years ago Posted on: 01 / Nov / 2013
Version 2.0k is up! Here are some in-depth specs of the latest release:

*After hearing many confusion and/or frustration of unlocking puzzles in previous versions, I decided to reduce the threshold of stars considerably so players are not obligated to play challenge round. So, every 10 stars will unlock 5 more puzzles rather than every 16 stars -- which required you to play 3 puzzles fully in challenge round.
It was upon realization that players rather want to choose what round to play in rather than have the game to throw in a few "challenging" bits to mix things up. For example in most Picross games, there are two modes: one with hints and alerts, and one with no hints or alerts. Since the latter is more challenging than the former, it was best separated for the player to choose for itself.
I'll keep that into consideration, especially if I choose to develop a sequel later on.

* I had different ideas for setting up control at the puzzle board, but ended up with just one. Although, it's a handy one. Before, you had to click each time you want to place a tile. But now, you can just hold down the mouse button and go to any cursor you want to place the tile. This might be very handy for pulling quicker solves.
I did say there was other ideas to add to the controls and mentioned a few of them in the plan in my earliest posts.
One idea was to allow players to click on the four arrows to place the blocks. I tried it out, but it doesn't quite fit the gameplay. The main issue is the clicking, again. Many players didn't like the clicking to place one tile at a time. It does have some good points though. It better presents where the tiles are to go. But regardless, it is best to just let it be and stick with the usual control.
Another idea was a mouse and keyboard combination. You would use the mouse to point a cursor to place a tile and hitting a key will shoot a tile to there. I have rejected that idea because the idea in general is too vague. How should the keyboard shoot a tile? With WASD that shoots to a specific direction? No. That's unnecessary since the current control picks the shortest path for you. So, how about one key? I guess, but would it be useful? Since one mouse is all it takes for controlling, it isn't worth my time to add that feature.

This may be my last version I'll put to "Mosaic Mingle" as it has enough stuff as a starter. Any new stuff would go toward the sequel to feature improvements, new modes, and more stuff. I still have ambitions for this game, just needs more tweaking. We'll have to wait and see how the second iteration would hold up!
 
<JohnsProgram>
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t0nad0
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4 years ago Posted on: 05 / Nov / 2013
Why not just do it on mouse down rather than on mouse up? You still need to be over the tile you want to select.

PS: Love the game btw, almost finished it on kong (and voted you 5 stars!)
 
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JohnsProgram
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4 years ago Posted on: 06 / Nov / 2013
That was what I've done. Before, I was using MouseClick, which requires you to press the mouse button up and down. Now, it's replaced with MouseDown.

Thanks for the vote!
 
<JohnsProgram>
Christmas Gift The Crystal Collection

JohnsProgram
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4 years ago Posted on: 20 / Nov / 2013
As of one month after the game's release, there were some promising responses, but most were either neutral or negative.
At Kongregate, it has over 2,500 plays and a rating of 3.30 average. Not bad for a start. I've seen (illegal) copies of the game with an average score of 3 out of 5. I could somehow see why the score is like that and I hope to find out more on the player's reaction to "Mosaic Mingle."

I must admit, the game is not perfect! That's pretty much the challenge of initial releases: how to present the new game play properly. While I could have released a beta version, I feared I wouldn't get enough responses because it is a puzzle game. So, I have went backwards and released the game, followed by updates to take care of some of the flaws. I got responses, acknowledged them, and update the game to address the most popular responses.

By this point, I will be creating a postmortem of "Mosaic Mingle" to explain what went right, what went wrong, the feature of the franchise, and the lessons I've learned. I'll give you an idea to some of the things mentioned in my report:
* Find a better way to save records rather than the current way with the undoings and time.
* Don't force players to play a mode they do not want to play.
* Make undoing more welcome and not too much of a necessity to finish puzzles.

But before I start with that report, I will be asking players at some message boards to explain what they think of this game. Did they like it? Why or why not? What would you like to see changed? And so on. This should help make my points more clearer and be aware on the ones I might have missed.

I wanted to mention that I'm still optimistic on the franchise. I'm hopeful that this game would make it off the ground and become more admirable. BUT, there's more to be done and I want to carefully figure out new things to add or change to the game's sequel.
 
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