Starminer' Story - Part 3 - 2016

Marco Lopes bio photo By Marco Lopes Comment

Early and mid 2016

In early 2016, I didn’t really look at Starminer much. I was busy getting ready for fatherhood, and later dealing with the newly arrived baby.

Development phase 3

In November 2016, I decided that it was time I got the game ready to release. I picked it up again, started collecting ideas for the remaining levels. The initial intention was to release the game with 100 levels, but I managed about 110 ideas, and I’m still considering adding those 10 extra levels to the game. After that, I started integrating and balancing levels, and moving around those that felt like they were in the wrong place.

I also shortened the number of tutorial levels. Initially the idea was to have tutorials for almost everything, including for each new colour of orb. In the end I decided that once the player had been introduced to the concept, I could just introduce new colours and the players would figure out what was going on.

Meanwhile, I tried compiling Starminer for Android, successfully. I uploaded it to the Play Store in Alpha stage, and shared it with a few friends for testing, which resulted in implementing an alternative set of controls (which I’ll write about in a future post). The good news is that, this means I’m planning on releasing Starminer on Android, the bad news is that the Play Store has this arbitrary restriction on the application file size, of 100M. Because I’m using high resolution graphics, exported for several different resolutions (including the backgrounds for 100 levels), Starminer is over the size limit of the Play Store. Of course, there is a solution, which is having an external file that is downloaded when the player first opens the application, but this means extra work, and how to achieve this in Haxe/OpenFL, is not very well documented. Because of that, I’ll be releasing for iOS first, and only then will spend the time fixing platform specific peculiarities.

State of affairs

As of the time of the writing this post, I’m 60 levels into integrating and balancing levels, and I’ve been finishing the menus, options, help and credits screens. And this is how it looks like at the moment:

Because of the extended development period Starminer has gone through, there are some features I’d like to introduce some day, that will probably never make it into the game. The reason for this, is because I wrote the game in Haxe+OpenFL, and since I started, OpenFL broke backwards compatibility a few times. As a consequence of this, I can’t upgrade to a more recent version without some major code rewrites. Without the upgrade, and the consequent rewrites, I am unable to support achievements and leaderboards in the Play Store, or to release the game for the AppleTV. This second one is specially frustrating because 1920x1080 is one of the resolutions to which Starminer has native graphics for, which I expect would look amazing on a big screen, and because I would love to try playing it with a controller.