News Scribble Surfer Devlog #2: Half a Game Exists
This is post 2/3 in the Scribble Surfer Devlogs series. Click here to see the rest.
Half a game exists
I’m finally back with another update for my game Scribble Surfer Scramble. If you haven’t read the first devlog you should read that one here before continuing with this one. While I haven’t been able to work on it as much as I’d like to, between being busy with other projects, work, and struggling to find the motivation, I do have some interesting things to share! Since the last devlog, I have gotten around to syncing obstacles and adding interfaces/menus, a lobby system and authentication. Towards the end of this devlog I also will explain my plans for early access.
The first order of business is generating the course and getting all the obstacles synchronized across the network connection. The game server randomly generates a course at a fixed length for the players to run through. Each obstacle type has a different offset requiring the next obstacle to generate a minimum distance away. Coins have a very small offset, allowing them to spawn close to danger often making them a challenge to pick up. In contrast, the missile launchers have a large offset which gives the players plenty of room to go around their detection radius. The information for most of the obstacles only has to be sent once, after they are generated. The missile object must be handled a little differently though, as it continuously moves following the player that got a little too close to a launcher. For these it works similar to how players are synchronized, where the information is sent at a rapid rate. While obstacles still need to slow down those who collide with them, it’s a very good start. With all this, I have also included a leading list, where it shows who is in the lead along with where you are at.
If you have played pretty much any game before, you have probably noticed the vast majority of them have title screens, which mine has lacked up until this point. The first image above was an earlier version that I have made, but I then realized it was awfully bland and boring to look at. The second screenshot was taken after I revamped it to be more colorful and inviting, and after adding more options. I also had to make it feel responsive. The buttons respond on hover, along with most of the elements being animated, even including the Scribble Surfer Scramble logo. This new interface style has also been applied to other parts of the game such as the lobby list, lobby menu, and login form, all of which you can see in the sections below.
My initial plan for the online functionality was originally much simpler. It would have had a master server that automatically determined the best game server for a user and have them join it. However, after the success of a few certain games that have lobby systems, I thought it would be better if I made my own as well. It would make playing with friends much easier and would make the game more socially focused, while also being encouraging to invite others. After clicking the “lobbies” button the player is presented a list of all the available online lobbies. They are given the options of either joining an existing one or to create their own. If they choose to create one they are allowed to choose a name, maximum player count and if it is private with password or public, allowing anyone to join. Along with all this, my original plan did somewhat make it in as a “quick play” button, allowing players to jump straight into an available public lobby.
After I added lobbies, I decided that it was finally time to get the authentication working. The player can either join lobbies as a guest, or login into their Ezcha account. If they choose to login they will be able to save coins, win awards for their profile, share their win count on the leaderboard and have the option to customize their character. Usernames are displayed in-game above the characters along with chat messages sent while waiting for the game to start. It was a pain to implement, as it works differently than the existing system made for the site. This new system handles authentication in a more suitable way for games and while only providing the information it requires.
Early access information
Now that lobbies and authentication is working, I hope to get an early access version for those who have donated to the site soon. This will hopefully help provide funding for server costs and prevent me from being overwhelmed by players. While you have probably figured out my version of “soon” usually isn’t actually so soon, there isn’t much left to do to get the game ready for the elite members to try early. All that is left is a few bugs I need to iron out, a few small features, and a simple website to host it. The early access will only be available through the web version, and not Android to make things a bit easier for me. This will also be a good opportunity for elite members to report bugs and earn the “bug squasher” award for their profiles.
Since all of that is out of the way, I’m going to focus on the cosmetics and the in-game shop for them. This is the last major feature that needs to be added before release. Like I’ve previously mentioned there are some bugs that need to be corrected as well, and some polish on a few things wouldn’t hurt. I’d also like to add more obstacles and I’m open to any ideas for them. If you have any suggestions make sure to leave a comment below, as I’ll be reading all of them!