Apr 7, 2017

Suzy Cube Update: April 7, 2017

#suzycube #gamedev #indiedev #madewithunity 

Aaand we're back! Sorry for the hiatus, folks. My wife and I were on a long overdue vacation. I know most of you were probably hoping for a nice meaty update upon my return but, alas, I updated my version of Unity to the latest (5.6) and with every major release comes dealing with new issues.

Always Something...

This jump to 5.6 hasn't actually been too bad, though I have had to rework some particle effects and had to re-bake the lighting in all of the game's levels to make them compatible with the reworked lighting system introduced in this version. This means that most of the work I did in Unity this week has been working toward getting the game back to its pre-5.6 state.

On the Horn

I also spent some time this week talking to potential publishing partners. A number of mobile publishers have shown interest in the game and I'm not too proud to admit that partnering up with a publisher could certainly help Suzy reach a wider audience while lightening my own workload. I'm still in the process of talking to various folks, so nothing to announce on this front, yet.

A Trip Back in Time

The rest of my week... mostly this morning, actually... has been spent continuing work on redesigning one of the first levels I designed for the game, Level 3-3.

I first posted about this level back in August of 2015. At the time, my intention was to tackle the level early as it would appear dab smack in the middle of the game and should be a good representation of an "average" Suzy Cube level. The level is fine, but I've always been annoyed by its slow pace and some of its areas could really use a major overhaul. I've learned so much since then and want to apply many of these lessons to what I feel is one of the game's current low points.

The waiting game
One big reason for the slow pace of this level are these rotators. The issue with them is that they force players to wait for them to rotate to the one angle which allows them to proceed. 

The major hook of the level is that the various elements are all timed to the music. This is why these rotators made sense, on paper anyway. What I've decided to try out are what I'm calling "Beat Blocks" (Yes.. I misunderstood someone talking about the "Beep" blocks in Super Mario 3D World). 

Beat Blocks appear and disappear to the beat of the music. In order to handle this reliably, I wrote a new script which allows me to enter the length of the music loop in seconds, the number of bars in the loop, and the number of beats in each bar. From this, I can calculate how long each block must stay solid and at what interval to change the state of each block. I've set them up in sets of three blocks each. Ear bar is four beats so the state switch happens on beats 1, 2 and 3 with the fourth beat acting as a break. The other important aspect to keeping things timed with the music is that the script can tell you the state of each block at any arbitrary time. So even if a set of Beat Blocks has been culled and inactive for the past minute, as soon as it's enabled, the blocks will all be in the exact state they need to be in at that point in the music.

Beep... beep... beep... ... boop... boop... boop!
Though they aren't that complex, there were some special considerations which were needed to avoid bugs and problems.

First off was to hide a trigger inside each block which disables collisions between Suzy and the block whenever she is inside it. This ensures the physics system doesn't have a fit if a block appears while she is inside.

The second was to offset the disabling of the collision to a few frames after the graphic of the block disappears.

Looney Tunes school of physics. 
This is the same trick I used when making the breakaway platforms and is meant to give the player an extra split second to react and jump once the platform disappear.

Well, as I said, it's a slim one! I hope next week's will be beefier but we'll have to see. It's the Semana Santa holiday weekend down here and I've still got more 5.6 bugs to look at. Hopefully I'll, at least, be able to make some more progress on the Level 3-3 redesign. It's good to be back in the saddle and I'll see you all next week.


  1. Hi i am a Apple fan when is going to be realse for the iOS platform I am waiting for the game from last year

  2. When is this game coming out I am waiting