Team Blocks released

Team Blocks: a classical blocks game with a multiplayer twist.

Totally unlike ourselves we managed to release this month’s app 4 days early. 4 days!!

After a rather complex setup with MrHyde, we decided to do something just a little simpler this time, which is why we choose to open up the box of classical arcade games and see if we could do a remake with a slightly different game play. Three weeks later Team Blocks was born, a multiplayer version of the classical game we all know and love where bricks fall down from above (not sure if we are allowed to mention the evil T word here …).

Anyways, if you thought that the original was hard, you have not tried Team Blocks. Once you get over the initial color flash (your blocks are blue, your fiends are yellow, and together you turn green) you’ll soon realize that each mistake is incredibly hard to get rid of later on (unless of course your name is Julia or Stefan and you just rock at the game. Highscore of over 1700?!? I still can’t believe it :D).

So long story short, Team Blocks is out, it’s awesome, download it and send us a game invite if you feel like challenging one of us!

Main menu<img src="/public/imgs/teamblocks/02.png" alt="Tutorial"</img>

Get it on Google Play

Dr. Jekyll vs. Mr. Hyde

If you can read this you’re seeing the result of our latest app. I’m writing this blog post whilst sitting in the back of a car on my way home from a trip to Prague.

We’re using github pages to host our blog, but we’ve always been a bit unhappy with the fact that there is no mobile client for such a setup. So we decided to create a client/server based service which allows one to write blog posts on the go, view previews in a dynamic “scratchpad” and finally publish the new content.

There will be a separate blog post explaining the details of our service as well as it’s setup, so keep your eyes open, it might be online by tomorrow!

Sorry we're late - BoxClub released!

Although we successfully finished in time we still missed to announce the release of our third app, Box Club.

Grab it while it’s hot!

Get it on Google Play

Sparring

So, another month comes to an end and we’re working on our third app, BoxClub.

Since March has been pretty packed with exams and we also wanted to enjoy some spare time, we’ve got a pretty tough schedule. Our last exam took place on March 23rd, leaving us with a time slot of only 10 days to come up with a cool game.

Our story starts on March, 24th…

Motion control

We met at the university to do some brainstorming, hoping to come up with something useful. Our initial requirements were quite simple: A motion-controlled boxing game in landscape mode, that’s it. Next, we decided on possible game motions. It should be possible to throw punches by rotating the phone around its x-axis.

Illustration of device axis (c) by Google under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5

Sounds good in theory, but it turned out that one almost drops his phone to the ground when fighting too hard. So let’s go for rotation around the z-axis, similar to a steering wheel. Aaaaah, much better!

Implementing rotation detection also went pretty well and so we soon printed our first motion-generated debug output. After we cleared this first hurdle we came up with the idea that it would be nice to dodge your opponents fists by really ducking under it.

That’s where the not so fun part about motion sensors began. Unfortunately the accelerometer was a bit inaccurate and also generated noisy data, which resulted in absolutely unusable motion estimates. It was not even possible to accurately generate a binary value ducked / not ducked, which caused a bit of a headache until we finally decided to dump the idea of literally ducking ourselfes under our opponents fists of steel.

Another thougt was to utilize the built-in light sensor such that one would’ve to pull the device towards the body in order to block an attack. But we didn’t spend much time on that one and went for the third idea, which now blocks an attack by swiping the screen. It’s accurate and won’t mess up the rotation measures.

Graphics

Ok, so we decided on how to control the game, but do you think a boxing game based on debug messages is any fun? - No!

We were in need of some decent graphics and a game layout - time to smear on a blackboard!

Blackboard smearings<img src="/public/imgs/boxclub/boxclub_blackboard_1.jpg" alt="Blackboard smearings"</img>

A layout was soon to be found, but our initial set of graphics was rather clumsy. Fortunately Philipp turned out to be quite a graphics guy and so he converted our edgy sketches into a beatiful image set.

Graphics in the making<img src="/public/imgs/boxclub/boxclub_screen_2.png" alt="Graphics in the making"</img>
Graphics in the making<img src="/public/imgs/boxclub/boxclub_screen_4.png" alt="Graphics in the making"</img>

And that’s how BoxClub looks like at the very moment:

BoxClub latest
BoxClub latest
BoxClub latest

BoxClub

Imagine a motion based game which could make you feel the tension and thrill inside a boxing ring.

You sneak up on your opponent, throwing some jabs, waiting for the perfect moment to place your feared uppercut. Once your opponent hit the ground you receive your championship belt and become the newest member in the hall of fame of boxing.

Well, that’s how it could be… But if you only want to enjoy some sparring rounds, without the need of getting your nose put back into the right place, you could play a round of BoxClub.

By utilizing the built-in sensors of a typical Android phone we try to recreate the movement of a boxer. You will be able to throw punches by rotating your phone, take cover by tilting it to the back and maybe even more.

Sounds fun? Definitely! So stay tuned for updates!