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Space Bot Alpha
Space Bot Alpha game updates, developer news and offers!
Space Bot Alpha game updates, developer news and offers!

Space Bot Alpha's posts

Top Space Engineer

Congrats to Hamish Currie who has gotten 3 stars on all 10 levels of Space Bot Alpha!  Nice work!

Currently I'm on holiday in the UK but as soon as I'm back work on the next 20 levels will continue and I hope to have those out by the end of February.

Thanks to all Space Engineers for playing Space Bot Alpha and a great 2015 to you all.  :-)

Update v1.1 is Out

This fixes a few bugs, that players have reported; and also improves game play in a couple of small ways.  The biggest improvement is that Alpha can now smoothly stop mid-wall-build, and back up.  This is great when you move out only to see the Alien Squid coming in from the side.  Now you can stop, back up; and if you keep backing up (with continued backup swipes) you can even re-attach to the side wall you left.

Also support for the iPhone 6 and 6+ has been improved, and corresondingly the Space Bot Alpha store listing is much better, with more screenshots and video.


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App Store Feature

Space Bot Alpha is in the limelight with a feature in this weeks App Store round up of top games.  Our hero gets a spot in the top 10 of paid strategy and puzzle games.

What's more important is that the feature appears in around 80 of the worlds geographic App Store's including USA, England and Europe, as well as Australia.  I'm pretty sure that is most if not all countries!

App Store Submission Done

Now we wait.  And go do some marketing.

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Website Looking Spiffy

With help from +Sean Warton got the website for our little hero all looking good.  Should be all setup so I can announce the App Store release when that happens.

It's also got some promotional videos that I'm hoping will garner some press attention.  Doing the indie promo thing, hey!

Go check it out and let me know what you think!

Releasing is a Bitch

Today I had my first run at getting the Space Bot Alpha release done.

A few trivial and irritating problems conspired to prevent this happening.  2.4GHz wireless on iPad2 test device failing utterly was a highlight.  You don't plug a blue cable into those.

We'll attack it afresh tomorrow.

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A Game of Lives

I had a great question from an awesome Space Bot Alpha Test Pilot: "I run out of lives quite a bit.  What can I do?"

There's no dumb questions.  If something was not obvious then I didn't do a good enough job.  :-)

Repair Kits Restore Lives

When you run out of lives you tap the Repair Kit button to use up one of your repair kits and regenerate a life.  The Repair Kit button should pulse with a blue glow on the score screen if you are out of lives, and have repair kits.  In Lab 2, you pick up a Repair Kit and it says "I can use this to get a new life".

Why are lives separate from Repair Kits?  Because it is sort of weird to have "Lives" lying around in crates to be picked up in the game.  

Also to be able to sell them in the store making Repair Kits works better as a commodity you can buy.  Then you use them to restore lives.  I make them available in game, players pick them up, get used to using them to refill their lives, and when they run out they should be thinking - "how do I get more - oh, wait, there's the store..."

What if I'm out of Lives AND Repair Kits?

So if you're out of lives AND out of Repair Kits then you can buy more in the store.  It'd be great if you wanted to try out the store just to check its working properly: just comment below and I'll PM you with the login details for the Smithsoft Test Store account.

Yes, its kind of a pain.  There's a few steps there.  But if you have the patience it'd be good to get your feedback on the store experience.

Where's the Store?

The store button is on the Launch screen (when the game first starts) and on the Score Screen (after completing a game) and its available in game by tapping the settings button (the cog wheel just under the score bar).


AND, if that wasn't enough, this weekend I have been working on one of the last features that was on my list to add before release:  waiting.

Waiting is a mechanic in some games where you try to avoid the problem of players dropping out by making it possible to come back and play the game after a waiting period.  If you run out of lives and repair kits at that point the time is recorded.  At a point in time X seconds after that point, a repair kit will automatically be regenerated.  At the moment X is 5 minutes.  There's a waiting screen you can leave open that shows how long before the Repair Kit is ready.

If you close the game, as the game is closing it will schedule a local notification which will post in the iOS notifications screen, with a badge on the app icon and with an audible sound.  The notification lets you know that a Repair Kit is ready & waiting to give Space Bot Alpha a new life, and tapping through will launch the game.

The waiting feature should be available in the next build!

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Final Screen - You be the Judge

I need some kind of screen to show after level 10.  It may be a placeholder for now, that gets improved later.

When players get past the last level, what should I put up on the screen?  I am planning to ship a pack of an extra 20 levels, but that is a few weeks away and I'll still need something after that anyway.

Any graphics have to be already done in game and be able to be compiled into a screen.  I don't have enough budget or time to do more graphics right now.  There are a few graphics - like this one below - which I didn't wind up using in the game, that I could make into a screen.  

But maybe there should just be a big "Congrats" message and that's it?  What do you think?
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Congratulations message, no graphics
Some kind of graphic, with no words
All of the above (more work!)
Summary info about scores, etc
Congratulations message, no graphics
Some kind of graphic, with no words
All of the above (more work!)

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Sharing is Awesome

OK, I can see now how compelling social sharing is.  I made this Twitter post from directly inside Space Bot Alpha!  

The game takes a screenshot (using Cocos2D's CCRenderTexture) just after the win condition is triggered, but before the win dialog is displayed, so  you can see all your top-skill moves

Then in the social sharing UI (built just yesterday) you can choose from that screenshot, a shot of the scores screen, or a "Space Bot postcard" to post to your favourite social network.

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Test Flight Sign Up Link

Got an iOS device?  Join up here to become a Space Bot Alpha test pilot.  I'll enrol your device and then make the latest Space Bot Alpha builds available.

Android builds will be coming in November.  Keep posted here!
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