Tag Archive: finalArt


Man the timeline is getting tight! I’m going to be hitting up E3 this year, so I have a flight booked for 6am Monday morning. At the same time, Elusive Ninja was approved early this morning (for anyone keeping track, I submitted it Friday at 9:30pm last week, so that makes it about 7 days exactly! Awesome work, Apple!!). It feels awesome to have the game in “Ready For Sale” status, but I still have lots of work to do! I’m filling in the Bonus Features content for the next day or so, so I’m basically working 24/7 to get it done by Sunday, when I can finally launch the game!


Elusive Ninja: The Shadowy Thief

June 5, 2011

Here’s an updated trailer, if you dig how the game looks please link this around and help me make enough money to cover development costs and get to make more games (and get hammered at Moxie’s while scarfing down a delicious honey-garlic steak haha) Here’s a short URL link you can use: http://bit.ly/kdG1Ym

So I figured at E3 I should probably try to promote my game in some way. I mean if word-of-mouth advertising is the way to go these days, where better to try to stir up word-of-mouth than an entire convention full of gamers? I was joking around with a friend and said I should drop business cards in people’s SWAG Bags when they aren’t looking like a true ninja, and that joke kind of spiralled into this:

The QR code will take you to the App Store where you can buy the game. I like it because it’s kind of mysterious like, oooo, what’s this cool black card with the weird design and the ninja? I figured I better throw on the Bulletproof Outlaws URL for the people who can’t figure out what a QR code reader is…I actually didn’t know myself until this week haha

Whew! I’m pooped! Got the Game Design Document commentary written up, tomorrow I gotta’ do a quick video, fill in some of the FAQ, and write up the post-mortem! Gonna’ be a busy couple days! I don’t even know when I’m going to get a chance to spread the video around and E-Mail reviewers and stuff!

- Quickdraw

Whew! It took a few days worth of editing footage and timing stuff to music and adding effects and sounds and all sorts of fun stuff but finally the official trailer for Elusive Ninja is done! I’m going to be posting this all over the place and hoping it gets some positive attention! I wanted to make sure it included a little of the Bonus Feature stuff (which I’ll be making in the next few days before heading off to LA for E3), because I put a lot of work into documenting the progress of the game and Bulletproof Outlaws in general and I want to make sure the people who are interested in that kind of thing (the way I was back when I was a young’un) know that there’s a bunch of it…and ideally it’ll draw some more people in to follow the progress of my next game when I start that up! Anyway, here’s the trailer! Link it around!

Elusive Ninja: The Shadowy Thief:

I don’t when exactly the game will get approved, I’m just waiting to hear from Apple but I’m hoping it’ll be available just in time for E3 in the next few days! Exciting times!

- Quickdraw

This update is a couple days worth of work in one and it has good news and bad news. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: We had to kill the Retina version. :( The way we did the animations turned out not to translate nicely to the pixel/point stuff Cocos2d uses. It looks like the animations line up right if we use the Retina art with the regular iPhone animation files, but then the menu and general “touching stuff” system gets all shot. It’s fixable, but it’d take a while and Derek has other projects to move onto and this project has gone on way longer than it was supposed to. I’m not super bothered by the lack of a Retina version because the art is hand-drawn so the lines are anti-aliased as it is, which means it looks good on an iPhone 4 anyway…the art is cel-shaded so there’s not a lot of need for the Retina resolution with cel-shading since everything is flat-shaded with big areas of one flat color, versus a game that uses photographs or heavily painted artwork. So visually, it’s not a big deal, though a bit of a bummer! On the plus side now that we know what happened with it, in future games I’ll be able to have a Retina version for sure! The other good part is that it chops the iPhone version down to well under the 20MB 3G transfer limit which means users won’t need to be near Wi-Fi to download it.

It also means the iPad version is officially the HD version:

I’ll throw an HD on the title and market it that way since the art is huge for the iPad version (well over the 20MB limit, but I figure people use their iPhones on the go so you want to be under 20MB there, but most people’s iPads are used at home where they’ll have Wi-Fi). So it’s not the worst thing ever in the long-run!

The good news is Derek is officially off the project (aside from going over the final source and helping me submit it to Apple in a bit). He’s moved on to work on Burrito Bison for Juicy Beast, which should be awesome! I’ve got the final source and I’m using my epically weak programming “skills” to tighten the controls and tweak the gameplay and add a little polish. The Macbook I bought way back at the start was bought specifically for this purpose because I figured I’d run into this situation, where I’d want to tinker with the source a bit…it’ll speed up testing and it means Derek doesn’t have to worry about the project. I’m basically taking the source, vanishing for a week, then bringing it back to him with it all balanced out and polished up. I don’t actually know how to use a Mac, or XCode, or how to program in C or C++ or C# or whatever this is, so I am pretty much completely winging this with good ol’ trial and error haha I change some numbers, or cut and paste some code, run it, see what changes, then change some more numbers, or un-cut and paste the code, until it works. It’s not fast, but it works, eventually. Google + tutorials are a massive help too.

The game is looking good, and I’m pretty psyched to get it out there! I’m hoping to get TestFlight going when I wake up later, then have some friends testing it through the week as I polish up some of the animations and create all the external stuff, then hopefully submit it on Monday. I’m playing this part by ear because I have no idea how long a lot of this is going to take…Making the ninja change to his idle animation when he bumps into the edge of the screen took me like 6 hours to figure out…but I added multi-touch support on the first attempt. So like, jeeze, who knows haha

- Quickdraw

Today was messing with image reduction. We’re running into some issues with the iPad version which we suspect might be memory issues because the art for the iPad is epically huge and the iPad isn’t really a super powerful machine compared to, like, an iPhone 3G. So I popped a look into the \Art\ directory and holy crap, the art totals 15.7megs! There’s a 20 meg theoretical limit on iOS games, so that doesn’t leave much room for anything else in the game.

I remembered back when I worked in the game industry on old mobile phones (before Smartphones existed, we’re talking Nokia S40s and stuff), we had a handful of programs that would reduce .PNG files. PNGcrush, OptiPNG, Smush.it, PNGGauntlet, there’s a bunch of free programs that’ll squish .PNG files down. Unfortunately most of them don’t seem to allow drag & drop of multiple .PNG files, which means either doing each file individually or making a .BAT file that goes through a directory blah blah blah too much effort haha PNGGauntlet, thankfully, allows multiple image files to be dragged & dropped in it, nice and simple and effortless.

The end result is the \Art\ directory going from 15.7 megs down to 13.1 megs, woohoo! That’s still not fantastically awesome, but considering how art-intensive the game is, I don’t think it’ll get much smaller than that. Some of the reduced files it spits out tend to be kind of strange looking:

Which from back in the pixel art days I know means some of the files with low variation of colors are being converted to a .GIF style 256 (or less) Indexed color mode. So the weird stuff in the background, when viewed in a program that supports the alpha stuff disappears so it ends up being displayed like so:

But the end result is that there’s essentially one big “invisible pixel color”, which obliterates the dozens of different opacity levels you get in a normal RGB color mode…in plain-speak Indexed results in pixely “aliased” outside edges instead of smooth anti-aliased ones.

The place I used to work actually had a fantastic program from Nintendo for GBA/DS development called Optpix Image Studio that had security key-dongles you had to plug in to use it and they were like $2000 a key or something insane. But that program was AMAZING…you could reduce .PNG files with anti-aliasing and control exactly how many levels of opacity go into the anti-aliasing and stuff. It’s a phenomenal program, but I’m pretty sure you can only get it through Nintendo by developing on one of their systems, so us normal peasant-folk have to make do with the free programs haha

- Quickdraw

We’ve had to cut/tweak a few superfluous features but nothing too severe. Derek’s got another project lined up and this one went way past when it was supposed to due to our problems with the animation tool for the first few weeks of development…so we want to get this thing wrapped up and completely off his plate as soon as possible. It’s getting pretty close, all the menus are linking to eachother correctly and the game starts up and Derek solved some massive loadtime issues by switching to TBXML for parsing the huge animation .xml files. There was a point where we had a 20 second load-time before you even saw the main menu haha Now it’s down to a reasonable few seconds like any other game.

But just because waiting sucks, I threw together a Loading screen that also doubles as a Tutorial screen:

It’s not pretty, but it gets the job done haha And I figure the Deflect ability will change from a swipe upward to tapping anywhere on the top 1/4 of the screen. That way you can keep moving the ninja with your finger and just fire off the Deflect ability instantly when you need to…plus if you’re left-handed or holding the device strangely, you can still reach an area to tap that’ll activate it.

- Quickdraw

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