Post Mortem : Sweet Tooth Adventure

Hello! It’s been a while since I post something to my blog. In this opportunity I’d like to tell my technical story about Sweet Tooth Adventure, a mobile game I recently made.

Brief of the Apps

Sweet Tooth Adventure is a bubble shooter mobile game. The gameplay is pretty much like other bubble shooter game you’ve found. You control the cannon to shot everything above. When there are 3 or more bubbles with the same color, those bubbles will explode. The player wins after get the candy placed among the bubbles (which have to be exploded beforehand).

This game was an idea from Mr. Dicky Jiang, the artist for this game. He asked me to assist him to do programming stuff on this game.

Technical Difficulties

Bubble shooter game is a simple game. Everybody knows about it. So no amazingly-strange and new game mechanic should be research. The biggest research for this game was the circle packing of the balls.

Oh, we are using Unity for the game engine.

Circle packing.

Every bubble on a board should snapped smoothly each other. You can’t simply shoot the bubble and stop it when collide with other bubble. The result will be quirky hanging ball. Fortunately there are tons of bubble shooter example game (even an open sourced one!).

Quirky ball placement
You don’t want this

The kind of circle packing we want was triangular packing arrangement. This kind of packing is common in bubble shooter game.

After some readings and code, I can gather the idea to snap the ball was “find the snapped position and smoothly move it to that place.”

Well, but how we know the exact snapped position? There’s a great explanation of it from Feronato’s book by using pythagorean for this problem. By knowing the height and width of the ball, we can know where’s the row and column for the distance of each ball. To find the position I could simply divide the current position by distance and round it to nearest number (using ceil or floor). Here’s some explanation about it in diagram.

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 20.54.30

Flood Fill

The other thing I researched was the Flood fill. It’s an algorithm to fill specific area within boundaries. In this case, the boundaries were other ball. Fortunately I have ever use this algorithm for another problem. So it’s only a matter of “tweak” the code a bit for ball colors and specific use (such as bomb ball, rainbow ball, etc)

Editor

I realized we need some kind of editor for bubble placement, for the sake of game design comfort. After some time of difficulties in the making of the editor, I gave up. I asked Mr. Dicky to simply made the drawings for each level and I’ll manually wrote the array of the level. But Mr. Dicky encourage me to finish the editor, because, yeah, it’s actually almost done. I need some time to work on it, and the editor finally can be used for level creation.

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 21.45.25
Sweet Tooth Adventure’s level editor

I’m glad Unity is very easy to extends.

Team Management

These tools helped us to make the game:

  1. Facebook Messenger as the main communication.
  2. Trello for the cork board everything should be done.
  3. Dropbox for asset repository. Unfortunately Mr. Dicky’s storage was full, so we also use Google Drive.
  4. Bitbucket for private repository of Git. We used SourceTree to access the repository.

At first we learned to use the tools. After some moments later we could worked together smoothly.

Some points

  1. Do not use single branch of development, so the developer can make changes and push to repository without conflict too often.
  2. So many things learned if you make the game from scratch.
  3. …but of course it’s easier to buy game template and re-skin it.
  4. Make the content easily accessed and modify by the artist or game designer.

    Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 1.50.15 PM
    The “congratulation” words easily changed

And We are Done!

After about 6 month, we finally managed to get things done! Well.. not everything is done. Still some feature and bugs swarming around the game. We also need to improve the intuitiveness of the interaction.

And again, you can visit the game’s landing page here (Yay! Promo!). Expect the update from us. Apologize for any grammar mistake :p . Thanks for reading!