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Archive | January, 2013

A few questions about Dope Runner answered

I want to answer two questions I’ve been asked about Dope Runner, my upcoming Android game. First of all, will the app be free or paid? There will be a free version, wich will only allow you to play on small maps and will have a small ad in the main screen. The full version will give you access to all map sizes and will be ad-free. I haven’t decided on the price yet, but it won’t cost much.

Second, people have asked me if the game will support multiplayer. It won’t, and here are a few reasons why. Multiplayer programming isn’t easy, and I do this all by myself. I simply don’t have the time to learn all this. When not done properly, it could ruin the game. This is especially true on a mobile device, where you’re on a potentially slow wireless network. Getting this to work without too much lag requires a professional team of programmers and a good server infrastructure.

Another reason why I won’t add multiplayer support is because this doesn’t work well for location based games. When I launch the game, it won’t have thousands of players overnight. Or ever at all. So what are the odds of two players being near each other? Imagine playing an MMO and never seeing other players. It’s the same with location based games, or even worse. Not only would it require a large player base, it would require players that are near each other! I decided not to waste any time on multiplayer and try to create a good single-player experience.

Dope Runner milestone 3 reached!

It has taken a while, but I have reached the third milestone in Dope Runner. Things are starting to look very good now! After this one there’s one more major milestone, followed by the finishing touches, and then the game can be released.

So what new features have been added? In the previous version, you could only buy drugs from dealers. Prices fluctuated, and from time to time prices peaked or crashed. In this version, drug labs and farms have been added. From time to time, they will have a supply of drugs for sale at much lower prices, so huge profits can be made. The supply doesn’t last long, however, so you have to be fast!

Notifications now work properly. You’ll receive notifications of price peaks and crashes, and of new supplies in labs and farms. There was already a text notification in the app itself, but now you’ll also receive on through the notification bar when the app is running in the background. I’m thinking about getting rid of the in-app notification text, because it has become more or less obsolete.

Speaking of running in the background, this was a major obstacle for me to overcome. It’s the first time I used services, and it was a bit complicated to get it working as I wanted. I also had to implement a wake lock, because the app needs to keep running even when the screen is turned off.

So what will the next milestone introduce? Cops! From time to time, they will try to arrest you. To fight back, you’ll be able to buy guns. If you get shot, you’ll have to visit a doctor. Also, burglars may visit your safe house! It will make the game quite challenging, and it’s the last major feature to be added.

One more thing I’m gonna add is a settings screen. In my main menu, I’ve included an Instructions-button. This will be replaced by a Settings-button, and the instructions will be published on this website. When I started I didn’t think a settings screen would be necessary, but I changed my mind. For example, the GPS update interval. A short interval is more accurate but consumes more energy. I tried to find a good balance between accuracy and battery life, but it’s best to let the player decide.

Here are a few screenshots:

dope_runner_12 dope_runner_13 dope_runner_14