Grumpy Daruma

Finally, after almost a year of messing around with the Stencyl 3.0 Beta, I have been able to publish my first bug-less Android game: Grumpy Daruma. You can download it right now for free https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=hcg.android.grumpydaruma, and if you wish to find out about Stencyl 3.0 and the long hard road I had to walk through to complete this crappy platformer disguised as a hipster-buddhist art-game thing, read on.

Let’s go way back… I started with this hobby of making short games about 3 years ago with the excellent Adventure Game Studio. I made a few smashingly unsuccessful games such as Better Living Through Chemistry (a daring exposé of the inner workings of Big Pharma), Fidelio’s Night Out (about the struggle of a recently married man with the relentless pangs of lust) and The Killing Machine (a Malthusian thriller). They are all free in my tumblr blog (http://handcraftedgames.tumblr.com/) in case you want to play them.

Then, for better or worse, I felt the itch to monetize my budding enterprise and thus decided to get into iOS development. I invested in a Mac Mini and an iPod Touch and began making iOS games with Gamesalad, a piece of software I thought was pretty awesome at the time. I wouldn’t use it now though. I see Gamesalad as “Duplo” and Stencyl as “Lego Technic” (especially if you know Haxe -which I don’t- and make your own custom blocks).

The whole iOS thing was a great learning experience (that means I made no money whatsoever), but after making three games (The Wine Cellar, The Apple Thief & Aural Attractors), I decided not to renew my iOS Developer Program membership for reasons explained in this article: Leaving the Apple Orchard (http://handcraftedgames.tumblr.com/post/54735395970/leaving-the-apple-orchard). A good read for anyone thinking about getting into iOS development.

Many things happened since then, Google opened the Play Store, it started selling the Nexus 4 & 7 with Jelly Bean and most important of all, Stencyl announced the switch to Haxe which would allow developers to export to many different platforms… “Design Once, Play Anywhere!” goes the tagline.

So, I thought everything had aligned well for me to try Android development. I payed the one time fee of $25 to become an Android Developer, got a Nexus 7 and got Stencyl Pro to have access to the Beta. I thought it made no sense starting a new project with Stencyl 2.

That was about a year ago. Grumpy Daruma was originally a sokoban game but I had too many technical issues. Then I changed the design to a platformer and suffered the infamous micro-freezes bugs which I believe has been one of the hardest bugs to squash. Stencyl 3.0 has really gone through many many changes this year. Seeing the small team working their asses off day and night to whip Stencyl 3.0 into shape is what kept me going. There were literally times when I was frustrated by a game-stopping bug that made me want to go back to “Duplo” (Gamesalad) only to find out the next day that Jon, Mike or somebody else from the team had fixed it in the latest build. I chose to simplify significantly the design to get better performance and finally released Grumpy Daruma.

So that’s it, I really believe in the vision of the guys behind Stencyl. They might be taking a lot longer than anyone expected to release the final version of Stencyl 3.0 but Haxe didn’t work exactly as they hoped it would and now they have recently had to switch from NME to Open FL, but they are getting there, and as of right now, the toolset is very stable and exporting to Flash and Android works great. HTML5 on the other hand is crap. I also had too many issues compiling to PC and Linux, nothing worked as well as in Flash and Android.

« Last Edit: September 06, 2013, 10:44:08 pm by handcraftedbymg »

Electramorhipism

  • Posts: 129
Well written article. Well at least I'm not worried about marketing to the ios market now. Thanks for sharing your experience. :)