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Last Minute Hero: Beta and Submission

September 23rd, 2010 by Shaun Milne

So I've not been doing the whole development blogging thing lately *slappy handy* But my first appstore game is complete and submitted to Apple for review. Hurrah! :) It was submitted about a week ago, so that means total development time from concept, prototype to production and public beta testing took 10 weeks and a day. It'll probably sit waiting for review for a while, not sure how long these things usually take on Apple's side.

So much development stuff has happened over the past month it's been hard to keep a note of it all, so I'll post the highlights.

First of all, we have a finished game, it's titled "Last Minute Hero". The aim of the game is to survive as long as possible with limited ammunition. You can't be killed in the game, but if you fall within the range of a spider attack (or hug) you'll be stunned for a short period of time. See, unlike other survival games, in Last Minute Hero, you will not survive. A Happy Nuke clean-up missile is on it's way, and you have 60 seconds to make the most of it! For every spider you take down, you delay the missile's progress, pushing the clock backwards. There are 4 unlockable weapons in this release, all designed to be used tactically against the spider horde. For example, freezing them with the laser rifle, will lower their defence against other weapons! An online leaderboard keeps track of your current best time ranked among all players in the world!

The beta testing was a huge success; I initially opened up a small amount of limited slots for testers to apply through iBetaTest.com, a really good free service that makes test management easier. The slots filled up within 20 minutes of me posting, I also had a few people contact me through the toucharcade.com forums who wished to participate also. The feedback was really varied; some people commented on the game speed, others on graphic improvement suggestions, while others on the difficulty curve. Overall, their impression of the game was positive, so this gave me a bit of confidence to make changes and polish the game before final submission to Apple.

Polish is a bit of an understatement; at some points I completely recreated some of the textures I felt did not really capture the style I imagined. I also added support for bloom lighting on opengl es 2.0 devices, which adds to the Tokyo/neon lighting vibe I was after. The results look pretty good. The graphical changes and the implementation of the changes suggested by all the beta testers, pushed the game back by two weeks from my 8 week deadline. I think it was well worth it though. A huge thanks to everyone who took part in the testing, I owe you all a cold beer.

All that's left to do is prepare some information to send out to certain blogs, update this webby with game information and wait for Apple to hit the big old acceptance button.

I've started prototyping for my next project as well, so we'll see what comes out of that. Will post up my favourites as they are done. :) I'm also working on Game Center support for Last Minute Hero, for the next update, as well as a new game mode with achievements.

I'll have an in-depth project retrospective posted soon as well, in the form of: "5 things done well, 5 things to do better".

Almost forgot to mention, the game features a tune by the very talented Sabrepulse, he makes music on the gameboy. It's awesome! It also fits the game perfectly, as I was playing the track almost constantly while developing the gameplay. Creates an added sense of urgency, when you spot you have 10 seconds remaining, and only a few rounds of your shotgun left!

 
 

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