Back in December of 2014, Picardy Third’s Ross Pinkstaff took part in Ludum Dare 31. During that game jam, he created a wonderful take on the music genre. Here is how Ross himself describes Beat Bop Delicious.
Do you know what those people working on the sound board are really doing? Neither do I, but I’m pretty sure this game is a spot on accurate simulation.
Beat Bop Delicious! is a frantic little button pushing, knob spinning, switch switching game.
When Ludum Dare ended, I spent some time playing the game and had a lot of fun with it. Of course we would all like to know where such a great idea for a game come from. Unfortunately, Ross has no idea.
I don’t quite know how to explain the ideas that pop out after the Ludum Dare theme is announced, but I wish I could bottle it. You brainstorm on a couple possibilities, but you never get the themes you’ve prepared for. Eventually, the pressure of time ticking and a blank code page starts popping ideas out.
Regardless of the idea’s true origins, the game was well received by the Ludum Dare community. The game was played by more people than his other Ludum Dare games, but he considers that to be based more on the fact this one was a web game while his others required people to download and install the games and third party libraries.
Ross didn’t drop the beat after Ludum Dare. Due to some encouraging comments from the Ludum Dare community, but mainly the encouragement from his wife and kids, he decided to expand the game and release it on iOS.
Ross used the HaxeFlixel framework which made the game a lot easier to port to mobile than some other game engines out there.
The basics of the gameplay were done in the first 48. So the bulk of the work was already done… Right? Ha!
I made a list of all the things that needed to happen for an iOS release… Running on iOS, Game center integration, IAP, ads and lots and lots of polish. With HaxeFlixel and Openfl this should be no problem. This is a multi platform project with a ton of extensions that cover all these bases. Just check the items off the list.
Of course not everything was smooth sailing. A new version of iOS and XCode was release earlier this year and Ross spent a lot of time dealing with bugs in HaxeFlixel’s implementation as it was trying to catch up.
Had I started this project today, all would have been really smooth, as HaxeFlixel/OpenGL is an amazing platform and community effort. My timing then however, was a little off, coming in behind a new iOS and Xcode release. I initially had a lot of issues building for iOS, and many of the extensions were broken by the updates as well. The community was extremely responsive, and many of the issues were taken care of quickly. Some of the others I was able to resolve after a bit of research/ hacking.
As for his general thoughts on HaxeFlixel and how it compares to other engines he has used, Ross had this to say.
It’s powerful and very easy to learn and use. It’s a little higher level than I’m used to, but as far as capable, cost effective game libraries go, it’s a great choice. Im planning on using it, or at least taking a step down and going with Openfl, for my next projects.
I’ve tried engines like unity, and they just do not fit with my workflow/programming style. I’m not saying HaxeFlixel is superior, or the better choice for everyone, just not the one for me.
With this iOS release, the game got a face lift with improves graphics, a new game mode, new controls, new music and a new name. When asked about the new name, Ross says it was out of respect for the name and IP of an existing game. Something more developers should take into account.
It was a little too close to another game that’s out there. For a 48 hour jam game.. You know.. Like whatever. But for an actual release, I feel it’s the respectful thing to do. Not only that, but if you’re not being overly cautious about all things IP, you’re doing it wrong.
The two modes of the game is Classic mode, which is pretty much what the Ludum Dare version is. The new mode is Jam mode which introduces new controls as well as randomization of the controls. But there is a surprising twist to Jam mode. In this mode, every now and then, the game switches to a brand new set of controls that keeps people on their toes. Something that Ross enjoys.
It was a balance decision. Some controls feel easier than others. It was a way to mix it up if you got a good initial “roll”. That, and I must admit I like the slight panic when I see someone experience it for the first time.
If you haven’t had a chance to play the game, you should certainly give it a go. It is free to play on the iPhone and the web version at the Ludum Dare link is still great if you don’t have one. But don’t worry. Ross has plans to bring Beat Bop Beat to Android as well as bring the new features to the web version. He will also be bringing new controls and game modes soon.
You can learn more about Beat Bop Beat and watch a gameplay trailer at Picardy Third’s website. Ross will also be at this weekend’s Super! BitCon with this and two of his other games available to play. So come and meet him and try out his games in person.
Follow Picardy Third on Twitter.