The Future of Bit Blast

It’s 2013 now, and Bit Blast has been out on the App Store for almost 4 months. Sales have been steady, but nothing to yell about, and that’s fine! I’d like to thank everyone who’s supported the game by trying it out.

I’d also like to take this moment to clarify the state of Bit Blast and give an update of where development priorities lie. There’s been work done on a Ad supported free-to-play version, which will be released soon as a seperate stand alone app. Don’t worry though, if you’ve already purchased Bit Blast Pro, you wont be bothered by ads!

While “Bit Blast” will be a free version of “Bit Blast Pro”, the paid version will get a new update including the long awaited Classic mode. The incentive for free users will be to upgrade to the “Pro” version to get access to the additional game mode/s and to turn off ads. With the hope of reaching a greater audience (more players) by making the game free, which in the end will hopefully generate sales of the paid version, helping fund further games and game modes.

I’ve looked at supporting the iPhone 5’s screen resolution, but don’t see a demand for it, and nor do I have an iPhone 5 to test on. So I’d rather focus on making more game modes and provide more “fun” for players, then worry about supporting a subset of devices.

 

Stay tuned for more updates.

Happy 2013!

Charles

Posted in Blog

iPhone 5

With universal support already built into Bit Blast, it should be painless to release an update that makes use of the imminent iPhone 5’s announced features.

We expect (based on all the rumors) that the iPhone 5 will have a new screen resolution of 1136×640, which is not far from the existing 960×640 used by the iPhone 4 but is taller. What this means for Bit Blast is that we’ll be able to fit more bits in the vertical space before growing horizontally. This means ‘Levels Ups’ will occur twice vertically before occurring horizontal.

For you, the player, this means more bits to blast and creates opportunity for even longer chains at lower levels!

We’ll see what apple announces today, but in the meantime here’s a preview of what Bit Blast looks like at the new resolution.

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Build Process

I’m frequently asked what the build process/pipeline for Bit Blast is. I’ve gone through the pains of making my work accessible both from home and on the go as I like freedom to travel.
Quite frankly it took a few iterations and it’s still not perfect. I haven’t done much on the Android side but I don’t expect it to deviate much either. Here’s some info.

The build setup is as follows:
An Amazon EC2 instance is used for file sharing and as a Perforce server using the free 20 user license (Thanks Perforce!).
Create art assets in 3D/2D art tools of choice.
Import assets in native formats to Unity 3D Pro
Code in MonoDevelop using a mixture of C# and Javascript (aka Unity Script)
Submit changes to Perforce
If working from Windows, connect to build machine (currently a 2009 Mac Mini) via RealVNC, if using OS X connect to build machine using Remote Desktop
Sync to Perforce server
Open Unity Project
Hit Build and Run (once the XCode project has been setup)
If working locally I’ll have a test device plugged in
If working remotely I’ll archive and submit to TestFlight and download the package over the air to the test device.

That’s it, and it works great for me.

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The Music

The music in Bit Blast was an interesting endeavor.
Click play to start listening to it and continue reading this post.

Enlisting the help of Composer and artist John Tennant early in the process definitely allowed him to create an impact-full and suitable theme for the game.
We agreed early on that the music had to be dynamic and reactive to events occurring in the game.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of “Dynamic Music”, the music changes based on the events in the game.
To illustrate a simple example of this, we detect if the player starts getting into a “groove” where they’re blasting string after string of bits and are generally doing well, we then transition the music to a slightly more intense version with more layers and depth in instrumentation and beat. And the reverse for when the player is not doing so well. This can be most noticed when the timer in Arcade mode reaches 0:10 seconds, where the music then transforms into a more frantic escalating beat, sending players into a panicked frenzy to blast bits to generate more time.

Regardless of if you noticed the dynamic nature of the music, it’s hard to argue it isn’t an excellent and catchy melody, filled with trance-like and worldly characteristics, i’m very satisfied with how it turned out.

We’re toying with the potential of having additional unique tracks and dynamic hooks for each game mode in the future, this has a major impact on download file size however.
There’s still potential for it though, so stay tuned!

Check out John on Soundcloud, you can also connect with him on Twitter @JohnTennant.

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Game Modes

BitBlast has a few game modes in the works with a few planned surprises down the road.

The primary game mode, available on day 1 is “Arcade”, with 2 additional game modes planned for near term updates.

Arcade – This game mode challenges you to blast bits against the clock. New levels are reached by obtaining the point requirements for that wave. Each bit-blast rewards points and time proportionate to the size of the bit-blast. Keep the clock ticking by chaining together bigger and larger successive bit-blasts. Compare your score to your friends and the community using Apple’s Game Center leaderboards.

Classic- This game mode feels most familiar to players of a classic Russian block puzzle management game. Bits continuously fall onto the board at an increasing rate from level to level. Your goal is to prevent any column from filling up and reaching the top of the screen.

Puzzle- Clear the board of all the bits within the required blast count. Over 30 challenging and clever levels await your mastery.

 

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What is Bit Blast?

Bit Blast is an arcade puzzle game for iOS devices, such as your iPhone or iPad.

The goal of the game is to clear away bits from the screen by using your finger to swipe from one bit to any other adjacent bit of the same color.

Like so:

When you clear bits away, you collect points (Blue) and time (Green) which are represented at the top of your screen by handy counters and progress bars for quick assessment.

When your Score Bar fills up, you level up! :)

When your Time Bar is empty, the game is over. :(

Keep the Time Bar from reaching zero by chaining together longer swipes to get bigger bonuses, or by reaching the next level.

It’s fast paced, flashy and some would say addictive (in a good way), and will have you swipping bits away when you have some free time, like while riding the bus, or waiting in line, or before that movie starts. Anywhere, anytime is good because it’s quick and easy to pick up and play, that’s Bit Blast!

Posted in Blog, Gameplay