Social network system - part 2

Hello kids,
Oh my dear! Nearly one week without any new post on my blog! Finalizing the game takes me so much time, that I’ve completely forgot to write some fresh news here. But don’t worry, I’m fine and Gelex is really close to finish. It could be like two weeks or little bit more and it’s gonna be done.

I would like to continue with the topic about “social network systems”. As I’ve already said, they are fine, quite easy to implement (as far as I know) and they offer a lot of functions. But these positive information you can find easily on their web sites. What you can’t find so easily is – what’s wrong with these systems. Like:

- Visual customization – you must stay with the design and visual style they have done, even if it’s completely different from visual style of your game

- They don’t guarantee you anything – now it’s free, but if they decide to change it, you can’t do anything about it. Or if they decide to put advertisement into it. Or if they go bankrupt or something and close this service. Part of your game simply depends on somebody else and you can’t really control it.

- Too much functions – when I’ve seen OpenFeint for the first time as a user (in game StickWars) I was so confused. I just wanted to put my high score online! It’s like – you wanna buy small car for shopping and going around the city, and they give you spaceship :) I don’t need that.

- Useless functions that make it even more confusing – like that chat function. It has no reason for that game (StickWars) and it was kind of confusing (at least for me) to enter a room and find other people to chat with.

For me all these negative things I’ve mentioned are just small problems. Sometimes you can even avoid or solve them. In some systems the visual style can be changed, if they put advertisement into the system, you can switch and implement another one; some systems offer you possibility to make them as simple as possible with just one function. So, there is a way, how to deal with all these problems. But there is one thing that I really hate; it is in all social networking systems and you can’t avoid it anyhow.

It is registration process and the need of making some account. For example: you as a user play you favorite game and you’ve just made a huge score and wanna impress the world with it. So you click “submit” button to put it online. But hey, there is a login screen! You don’t have any account like that, so you spend next five, ten, maybe even more minutes registering – filling all those forms, confirming that the email you’ve entered is valid (so you probably need to turn on you computer and check the email), waiting for activation and so on. Just because you simply wanted to put your score online.

Maybe it’s a banal thing, but for me it really matters. I don’t want to bother players. If I’m playing a game I wanna have fun, not to be bothered. Like in the game Flight Control. I really love it and I admire authors. There is online system that is exactly what I’m talking about. You wanna put your score online? No problem, just click submit, enter your name/nick and it is done. In few seconds! And if you want to control your score from PC, to have an icon and other features, you can register and make account. But only if you want, if not – the system can deal with it anyway.

But for my bad their online system is not for public. So I had to invent my own system. It’s already implemented in Gelex and it’s working great – that means the way I wanted :) Next time I will write more about it and what features it brings to players. Thank you for reading.

Bye bye,
Granny Marie


Social network system - part 1

Hello kids,
Few people asked me if I'm going to implement some "online social network system" into Gelex. And I was like: "What is it? I don't know what you mean?" So I started searching the web for some information about that and after a while I've realized what these systems are, that they are mainly for handling online score and…. that I'm NOT going to use anyone of them. And here is story why.

There are quite a few social network systems (or frameworks), which can be implemented into your application. Some of them are free, some open source and some are just commercial and you must pay for using them. Right now many iPhone games use OpenFeint, Scoreloop or Plus+ system.

The main purpose of social network system (which I’ve found) is to handle online high score. You can compare your results with other people all around the world. These systems are closely connected with facebook or twitter and (for example) you can compare your score with your facebook friends, which played that game too. You can also send some kind of challenge to your friend. That means that you send them invitation to play that game and that invitation includes your highest score and he/she must beat it.

Social network systems usually offer much more - like chat system, where people can talk to each other online. But this functionality is not really useful for the game. At least for games I've been playing.

Overall I think it is quite good thing to have system like that in your app. But I’ve decided to create my own high score online system with features that fit exactly a needs of Gelex.

Next time I will write more about reasons why I have decided for my own system and how the system works. That’s all for now.

Granny Marie


Creating main menu

Hello kids,
Today I've got lots to write about and some pictures to show you, so let's move straight to the topic which is main menu of Gelex.

Firstly I wanna remind you one of my last article, where I was writing about the story. I've showed you some sketches of the physicist. Here you can see new visual look of him. He still doesn't have a name, but this picture is final. There will be some sort of "introduction animation", in which he will be playing the main role. You will see whole his laboratory and part of this room will create perfect place for main menu screen.

I've already drawn whole laboratory, but for today I will show you just the main menu screen. Here it is:

From the picture you probably get idea how the menu looks like. But let me describe few more things:
- the flip chart is the place where you will see all these menu items, but it's quite small. So there will be some kind of "zoom trick" when situation needs it.
- name Gelex will be animated in some bouncy jelly way :)
- physicist will be little bit animated - he is alive not a statue :) - and he will be pointing at the place where you touch the screen
- there will be some Gelex bricks and they will be interactive - you can grab them, move them, throw them away :)

As you can see some of the menu parts are useless for the menu purpose - like the physicist's pointing or Gelex bricks. But I hope people will like that there is more than just few simple menu items which start the main game or setup some options.

Ok dears, thank you very much for your support and if you want, write me some name sugestions for the physicist.

 Granny Marie