Misc. Blog 01 – Once upon a FooFoo

Day 67 aboard the S.S Junkfish

Rations: Low on water and chocolate biscuits
Temperature: Freezing, hot water bottle losing heat

Stephanie here! I’m one of the code monkeys aboard this gracious vessel. I am not being forced to write this blog. I love to write, honestly. (How many lights are there Steph? – Jaime)


Today I’m going to write about our last game, FooFoo, as well as some of the things we had to work around to get it onto the Samsung App Store so that you can all avoid them too.

So, FooFoo. What is it? Where did it come from? How did it come to be?

FooFoo started out as a simple idea for Samsung’s Student Developer Challenge 2012, where we had to make something that worked around Samsung’s S-Pen devices. The first round of the competition was a 24 hour code jam! (As always with free pizza and juice)!

Being a programmer I happily discovered how fun it is to work in Eclipse and how amazing the Android emulators are… OK ‘fun’ being a loose word to describe it. In 24 hours we managed to get a simple level editor working along with the S-Pen’s input. Not a lot when you think about it! The artists and audio dude did get some assets knocked out as well though.

The next deadline was due a couple of months after the code jam, and the lecturers had thought we had dropped out what with everybody having their honours work to do. On the code side Eclipse kept running out of memory when loading in our levels and we had hit a pretty big wall. However, by some splurge of willpower, we fixed that one bug and everything fell into place! We showed FooFoo to our lecturer just before we handed it in and he couldn’t believe where it came from!

Soon after we had gotten the news that we had made it to the final 15 with the final event being held in London! All I can say is thank you to Samsung for booking us a train down to London, I don’t think I could have handled a bus back up!

The finals were held in the BAFTA building where each team gave a presentation explaining their game, what it could do and its market potential while guest judges played the game. Watching the other teams present we were pretty much sure we weren’t going to place so when our name was read out as one of the prize winners we could not have been more surprised!

After the awards ceremony we did a little bit of patching up on the game (uni work had to happen!), with progress ramping up again in July so we could show it off at Dare Protoplay. This also happened as half the team took part in the main Dare to be Digital competition, so some of us were running double shifts! Thankfully both games went down really well :D!

Then, of course, we moved on to Maize. But we didn’t want to leave FooFoo unfinished, so Bean and I carried on the FooFoo legacy and managed to get 2 full worlds completed with multiple gameplay mechanics introduced.

Though getting the critter up on to the Samsung store was a battle and a half! We encountered some errors that will stop your app from being accepted or updated on the Samsung App store, things you probably never thought about! (We sure didn’t!)

Some things that we ran into when going through the approval process included:

  1. Samsung having camera devices that allow apps to be downloaded and installed onto them. These cameras use the zoom button to control their volume. If your app’s volume is not controlled by this zoom button (not just the usual android volume button) it will fail!

  2. Having your app crash when the back button is pressed. Surprisingly!

  3. A major one, but DO NOT LOSE YOUR KEYSTORE FILE! If you have created and built a project in Unity you will be given a default keystore file, this is used for when you want to update the store with an updated version of your app.

  4. On that note: make a back up of your keystore file. It’ll save you a lot of hassle!

  5. Also, check to see if your app crashes when the device is rotated. Our game didn’t have any rotation mechanics, so we overlooked testing this one ourselves.

When developing FooFoo we had encountered many trials and tribulations, but seeing the public (especially kids!) spend ages trying to solve each level really makes it all worth while!

You should all totally go and download it for free now! You can grab it here!

 

(ppsssstt: You can grab the soundtrack from here too: http://jaimecross.bandcamp.com/album/the-bunnyjazz-collection-foo-foo-ost – Jaime)

Cheery bye!

Steph

(P.S I saw a beautiful pug walking home from work, best day ever)