Hi, I'm Henry. In 2012 I quit my job as a programmer at BioWare to spend a year making my own indie games. This blog is about what happened next...

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The Last 10%

“The first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time. The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development time” — Tom Cargill, Bell Labs

Beta Testing!

Spaceteam 2.0 is getting close. My translators have started testing and if you would like to help test, dear reader, then you can sign up here:

Beta Test Sign-up: [CLOSED: I have enough testers for now, thanks!]

I’m using a service called HockeyApp which helps me distribute builds so don’t be alarmed if you see references to it after you sign up. You can report bugs here:

Bug Tracker: https://bitbucket.org/hengineer/spaceteamunity

There are a few outstanding features that I have yet to add:

  • Acknowledged Mode
  • Ship’s Cat
  • Admiral’s Challenge special achievements

…but I wanted to test the main game as early as possible.

New Features

I tried very hard not to add any new features during the rebuild but there were some things I basically got “for free” with Unity, and a few others that I decided were worth it.

  • Slightly nicer graphics
  • Multitouch (finally!)
  • A “Play Again” button
  • QR code scanning on Android
  • Dutch, Greek, Turkish, and soon Arabic translations (many thanks to my volunteers!)
  • Downloadable Content — Optional assets like ship skin upgrades can now be stored on a server and only downloaded when needed. Now that I know how to do this it’s going to be pretty useful for my future games.
  • Analytics — Will help me estimate how many people are playing and also record certain things that happen in the game, like highest level reached. I’m hoping I can use it to create automatic high score leaderboards for special events.
  • “FailCam” — An (optional) fun feature suggested on the forum where the game takes a photo of your face at the moment of failure. The photos are then displayed on the Game Over screen as a memento of your accomplishment.

FailCam in action

I’ve also had to make a few sacrifices:

  • The first release will be Wifi-only, I haven’t had time to add Bluetooth yet.
  • The game runs more slowly on older devices. I’m still hoping to make some optimizations but I think this is price I have to pay to keep up with technology.

The 10%, or what’s been keeping me busy

Just finishing all the little corners of the game has been a slog, and then some unexciting things that took longer than I thought. The details are boring, but for what it’s worth.

  • Japanese font + symbols. I made some trade-offs between build size and flexibility and ended up treating Japanese differently from all other languages.
  • System Dialogs/Alerts. None of the plugins I tried did what I wanted so I made my own using Unity’s UI system. This turned out to be much easier than I thought but I wasted a bunch of time playing with other systems.

More New Plugins I’ve Discovered

Lunar Mobile ConsoleVery useful. It shows a debugging log on the device itself so you can immediately see errors or warnings. It’s easier than attaching a remote log viewer (I’ve been using Editor Console Pro for this) but more importantly it allows external beta-testers (eg. you, maybe?) to send me the log output by email. Getting a log file manually from a user’s device is a huge pain otherwise.

Build Report ToolSimple and effective.

Preparing For Launch

I’m speaking on a panel at Casual Connect in San Francisco in mid-July so I’m using it as a self-imposed deadline. If all goes well then around that time I’ll be launching:

  • Spaceteam 2.0
  • A new website that unifies the game, the Admiral’s Club, my blog, and all the spin-off projects like the board game and Spaceteam ESL.
  • A new Patreon campaign. The Admiral’s Club will start accepting new members, so people who missed out on the Kickstarter will get another chance to join. Existing club members will have no pressure to subscribe, but I’ll talk more about this in a future blog post.

See you soon!