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TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogsJack B. Nimble - Released!
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Author Topic: Jack B. Nimble - Released!  (Read 12425 times)
SeanNoonan
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« on: July 27, 2014, 08:59:48 pm »

Jack B. Nimble

Jack B. Nimble is a fast-paced, reaction-heavy auto runner with a retro Game Boy aesthetic. It is currently only available on iOS, although a Steam version for PC and Mac is to follow (via Steam Greenlight).

iOS App Store | Steam Greenlight




Current status: Outside of a couple of PC specific tasks (estimated at ~4 days development) the game is complete and simply waiting on Steam Greenlight votes.


"Canabalt meets Castlevania on the Game Boy"

Jump in the shoes of Jack B. Nimble and master the whip in this cute, retro auto runner. Leap and dash across spooky hilltops, gothic cityscapes, dank dungeons and more! Whip candles to multiply your score, and use your environment to slow down and stay in control of the action; but watch out for obstacles that block your path! With a score system based on player accuracy and distance travelled, timing and skill are key to achieving a position atop the leaderboard. Are you nimble enough?




Back in 2013, there was a 10 day game jam that focussed on the aesthetics and limitations of the Nintendo Game Boy. That game jam was the #GBJAM. I entered and created Jack B. Nimble with audio support from my pal, Barry. A couple of months later, Jack B. Nimble was released for iOS. This is the story so far...



  • A high speed side-scrolling endless runner
  • Authentic retro Game Boy visuals
  • Single input control scheme - jump and whip!
  • 8 whip wielding characters to choose from
  • 6 levels to jump and dash through
  • Thumping chip tune soundtrack by Barry "Epoch" Topping
  • High score tables and achievements


Jack B. Nimble Soundtrack
Jack B. Nimble Twitter
Jack B. Nimble Facebook
Jack B. Nimble Tumblr
Jack B. Nimble Press Kit
Jack B. Nimble IndieDB page

Old/legacy links
Jack B. Nimble testing TIG thread
Jack B. Nimble GameJolt post jam version
Jack B. Nimble original game jam version
Jack B. Nimble bug database


If you want to follow progress more directly then follow @JackBNimbleGame, whereas if you want to get in touch with me about anything, I'm @SeanNoonan on Twitter.



Thanks for checking out my progress and hope you enjoy the eventual release! Beer!
« Last Edit: May 11, 2017, 03:37:41 am by SeanNoonan » Logged

Bobert
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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2014, 09:14:39 pm »

the big thing that concerns me about the visuals is that the distant platforms in the background are the same solid shade of green as the actual platforms you can land on. i'd recommend adding some dithering or something to the background objects to avoid cluttering the screen with things that look like platforms
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SeanNoonan
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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2014, 09:29:09 pm »

the big thing that concerns me about the visuals is that the distant platforms in the background are the same solid shade of green as the actual platforms you can land on. i'd recommend adding some dithering or something to the background objects to avoid cluttering the screen with things that look like platforms
I was hoping the scale change and white outline would be enough of a difference, but perhaps not. I tried dithering a couple of times with various background elements and found that (particularly at high speeds) the action/visuals became too noisy. However that was before, when the game looked more like this:


Maybe now that most screen elements have a more angular appearance, I could get away with it.
I will do some tests.
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SeanNoonan
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« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2014, 07:41:20 pm »

Super quick test (I am tired) but did you mean something like this?



Personally I feel it might be a little noisy at high speeds... what do you reckon?
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Ben H
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« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2014, 07:53:26 pm »

Personally I feel it might be a little noisy at high speeds... what do you reckon?

I agree that the background platforms, and the background in general, has too much contrast and is generally too strong. On slower speeds it's just about understandable but on high speeds it seems it'd be really easy to mis-judge a jump.

I think you could make the entire background only in two or three shades. Including the mountains and trees. The parallax motion should give the player enough to read what they are.

Also shouldn't mountains move slower than that? It seems like a painting on a wall rather than distant scenery. Making the clouds match the far, slower speed of the mountains would also give a greater sense of depth I think.

Also the thorns at the front are really distracting, for me at least. They're very dark and noisy and constantly moving. I see what you're trying to do, and it does give a sense of speed, but they're too big and too strong for my taste.

I hope I wasn't too blunt. I like the GameBoy aesthetic otherwise Smiley
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SeanNoonan
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« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2014, 08:53:41 pm »

Personally I feel it might be a little noisy at high speeds... what do you reckon?

I agree that the background platforms, and the background in general, has too much contrast and is generally too strong. On slower speeds it's just about understandable but on high speeds it seems it'd be really easy to mis-judge a jump.
Hasn't been a problem from those I've had test so far, but then they were looking at a much larger version of the image - it might be more of a problem for those playing at a native size. I am starting to get attached to the idea of dithering at least the base of the background platforms, so there's at least some difference between them and the foreground ones... though not as heavy or as spread as in the above gif.

Quote
I think you could make the entire background only in two or three shades. Including the mountains and trees. The parallax motion should give the player enough to read what they are.
I think if I were to flat shade the background elements, the aesthetics would suffer too much... perhaps I'm choosing form over function here  Embarrassed

Quote
Also shouldn't mountains move slower than that? It seems like a painting on a wall rather than distant scenery. Making the clouds match the far, slower speed of the mountains would also give a greater sense of depth I think.
I did a couple of local tests changing this - specifically slowing the mountains and matching the furthest cloud layer. The first few tests gave me insta-motion sickness No No NO - something I've never really felt before outside of the Oculus Rift.
I did a couple more tests and found that I lost the sense of speed - the earlier versions were a lot more like this, but a couple of rounds of tester feedback resulted in what I have now. The worst thing I tried in my tests was placing a cloud layer behind the mountains - it just looked awful.

...while I was messing with it, I did update Jack's death animation. In game, it's one of those blink and you'll miss it things, but just in case he drops onto a platform after death, hear it is...


Quote
Also the thorns at the front are really distracting, for me at least. They're very dark and noisy and constantly moving. I see what you're trying to do, and it does give a sense of speed, but they're too big and too strong for my taste.
This is a complaint I've had from about 30% of people. That's high enough for me to include an option to toggle aesthetic foreground elements Wink

Anyway, thanks for the feedback, and glad you like what you see so far :D
« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 09:09:04 pm by SeanNoonan » Logged

SeanNoonan
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« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2014, 09:48:01 pm »

One step closer to hitting my personal content complete milestone... https://vine.co/v/MVzXYTr7xK7
Apologies for the angle, holding a phone to film and hitting keys quickly is hard  Screamy

I'm busy with the latest game boy game jam - I'll come back to this game next week Smiley

I also have a couple of more dithering tests based on the previous posts in this thread - lots still to do!
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SeanNoonan
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« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2014, 10:06:05 pm »

So things didn't turn out so well with my GBJam entry, however I plan to position it as a prototype for my next game!

...anyway, back to Jack. I managed to get a bunch of audio work done and get the game into a near content complete state. I'm a wee bit busy on Far Cry 4 to get done this month, but I plan for at least a mobile release of Jack B. Nimble for September.

I've put together a press kit and website so I can start to get the ball rolling on the PR front.

Expect images and/or gifs of updates soon!
« Last Edit: August 17, 2014, 10:15:39 pm by SeanNoonan » Logged

SeanNoonan
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« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2014, 10:24:16 pm »

Here's a quick August update!



I plan to get the game released next month on both the Windows 8 Store and iOS App Store. I'll look into Android at a later date (I really can't spare the cash to pick up an Android device right now).

I've taken some of the feedback previously left in the thread, so here are the results...



Feedback appreciated as always Smiley

Oh, and for those that "tumbl", I've started a tumblr of my pixel art efforts: http://sean-noonan.tumblr.com/
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SeanNoonan
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« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2014, 09:36:58 pm »

Warning big post complaining about Construct 2's awful iOS support:

Okay, so there's been a wee development on Jack B. Nimble for mobile. Construct 2 and iOS are not seeing eye to eye right now - I just cannot get the performance and quality that I want from the game on iOS platforms.

I'm looking into the various java ports that exist in order to get the game running natively, but they all suffer from different issues ranging from audio to performance to visuals.

I spent some time this evening porting to Ejecta but there's a lot of audio issues such as the music never stopping and seeming to always be in loop.
The performance seems low too, (bouncing between 45 and 60 fps) and with low performance comes a number of issues with collision, i.e. turning it off when fast collisions occur (usually death).
IMAGE: Falling through collision/9 patch blur
There's also a visual error where the edge pieces of a 9 patch object just don't display, and on top of that, the 9 patch has anti-aliasing (a strict no-no for Game Boy visuals).
IMAGE: Weird 9 patch blur and mushroom shape
Visually overall this method seems to give the best final image as it provides square pixels and no border issues (9 patch issues aside).

I've also used CocoonJS - this fairs slightly better in most areas as it's less buggy and performs pretty well on better hardware (60fps on iPhone5 and 45fps on iPad2) however if left idle on the scoreboard long enough, the frame rate will slowly drop to 5fps... only to jump back up to 60 when the hint screen appears (this has not happened on any other platform and I have no idea how to even begin debugging this)!
There are seemingly no audio issues, but 9 patch issues still exist (though less severe).
IMAGE: Varied pixel sizes/ratios
The thing that annoys me most about this solution is the lack of square pixels - it looks especially rough on the title and pause screens (Jack's eyes are different sizes depending on which direction he's looking).

I'm not sure what else I can do. I feel like I just gave Apple $113 just to find out that something doesn't work. I'll keep looking into it... I'm not giving up yet.
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EddCoast
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« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2014, 06:50:59 am »

yo good project
just one thing, try to make his body move more when walking, will make a world of a diference
alrighty  Coffee
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SeanNoonan
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« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2014, 08:39:25 am »

yo good project
just one thing, try to make his body move more when walking, will make a world of a diference
alrighty  Coffee
Oh my, I have just realised that I've never updated the sprite since the original game jam - thanks for the feedback. I'll update it tonight!
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SeanNoonan
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« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2014, 08:29:32 pm »



So I've responded to the feedback and updated the character sprite a fair bit - I guess the body twisting was what you were talking about?

I've also managed to fix a lot of my resolution issues with iOS. Right now I've got the game running on iPad 2 around 45-60fps and on iPhone 5 at a constant 60fps. I'm probably going to sacrifice rain and weather effects on the iPad 2 version in order to achieve a better frame rate (I could maybe provide an option to turn them back on for masochists...).

Next tasks are to clean up the hint screen by allowing players to cycle through them, add a disable vibration option and then Game Center support. There are a bunch of difficulty tweaks and some odd bugs to fix too, but it's look like a late September release is a real possibility Smiley

Here's a wee vine to show the progress so far with the game: https://vine.co/v/OzKeBadEEnJ
And some menu stuff: https://vine.co/v/Oz1XqnWK9FV



Wish me luck!
« Last Edit: September 08, 2014, 09:44:16 pm by SeanNoonan » Logged

SeanNoonan
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« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2014, 12:15:12 pm »

I'm compiling a version for the iOS app store today - I'll probably send out some versions to people for last minute testing Smiley

Here's some progress:


Here's a secret:
https://vine.co/v/Oaz5EihaveL

It's gonna be great to get this finished. With Watch_Dogs and Far Cry 4 done too, I'm gonna have a lot more time to start working on something new Smiley
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SeanNoonan
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« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2014, 10:41:11 pm »

Okay, it's game time... Wish me luck!

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SeanNoonan
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« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2014, 06:39:21 pm »

Started working on the Windows 8.1 Store version while I wait for approval from Apple.

I had to make a wee widescreen banner...


And in game there's a bit of border which sucks, but I will fix that in a future patch.


(Oh and it's black and white because I was "cursed" on that run)...
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SeanNoonan
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« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2014, 07:20:40 pm »



Windows 8 Store submission sure is fast (it's almost as if they aren't very busy...)!

You can get Jack B. Nimble for Windows 8.1 here: http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/app/jack-b-nimble/8e747132-8673-43c0-bec4-966b89614d76

Still waiting on iOS submission before I call this complete Wink
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SeanNoonan
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« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2014, 07:42:09 pm »

iOS submission complete!

If all goes to plan I will be releasing on Monday - wish me luck!

Here's an updated video:

« Last Edit: September 27, 2014, 10:37:37 pm by SeanNoonan » Logged

SeanNoonan
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« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2014, 06:34:39 pm »

It's out!!!

Jack B Nimble for iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=918891211&mt=8

I'd appreciate the help spreading the word - I'm new to this  Screamy
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« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2014, 06:38:49 pm »

gratz!  Grin

I will patiently wait for an android version  Panda
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