Devlog 5: Insanity’s Alpha Version Update


On February 16th, 2020,  I released my first game, Insanity, on itch.io as an alpha version for testing. I consider this as one of the most important milestones in my career as a game developer, as I never imagined that I would go this far. It was nice to see people downloading the game, giving it a try, and giving you feedback on how the game felt, or where things went wrong. It was such a great experience.

But where are we now with the game? What is the upcoming plan? I have been thinking a lot about this lately, and I have been a bit confused on whether to add some additional features to the game, or leave it as it is, and work on creating more levels and getting it ready for the release? Being indecisive is one of the things that you get to face when you do not have a proper scope document for your game; ironically speaking, I am starting a PMP exam prep course tomorrow, so this should help me in planning my next game better. I finally decided this quarrel in my head; I decided that I will not add any more features to the game, and I will start creating additional levels and challenges, and finally polish the game for release. I do not want to consume my brain by adding features and forget that I do have a deadline for releasing the game.

So what are the updates of Insanity so far? Here is a list of the most common issues that the testers reported in the alpha version:

  1. Interface issue: Almost all the bugs that the testers reported were related to this topic. The game’s menu has visual problems when it runs on other phones that have an aspect ratio that is not 16:9. It looks like the menu is going off the screen. I resolved this issue by downloading an asset from the asset store called Resolution Magic. This asset adjusts the camera’s orthographic size based on the aspect ratio of the display. What you do is that you define a canvas that you want to be visible, and the asset adjusts whatever is within that canvas according to the screen size.
Resolution Magic Canvas
The area in yellow is the canvas where all items within will be fitted with any screen’s aspect ratio.
  1. Coin Stacking: It seems that there was a bug that I oversaw when it comes to counting the collected coins. The correct behavior of the game should add the accumulated coins to the total count if and only if the player passes the level. It seems that in some cases, when the player dies, the coin counter does not reset, and the player accumulates the coins collected. I was able to fix this bug by taking a more in-depth look into the “PlayerPrefs” of the game; it should be working fine in the upcoming releases.
  2. I had a couple of comments on the controls of the game, and they are all divided into two significant opinions. Opinion #1: Keep the right and left arrows as they are as they provided more precision in character movement, especially in narrow areas. Opinion #2: Replace the two buttons with an on-screen joystick. Adding a joystick will allow the player not to remove their finger off the screen if they want to change direction. I think this is a valid opinion, but when I first started working on Insanity, I used an on-screen joystick, and somehow the controls did not feel right.

I am not quite sure which input method I should use, and I would love to see your opinions on this down in the comments, so feel free to share those ideas in the comments section, and let’s discuss this.

I received other suggestions with regards to Ad placement and a couple more on adding a timer functionality to each level so the users can speed run each level. While I think this idea is a great one, I think I will postpone it till the end of development. I will keep in mind when designing the levels that they need to be a speed run friendly to allow the players to speed run them fluidly, but I will keep the implementation of the timer and saving it to later in development.

I was also able to implement Insanity’s ultimate challenge, “Insanity Mode.” This mode is all about finishing the whole game in a single run. If the player dies, then you respawn back at level 1. I think if later I am to develop the speed run functionality in the game, then I would also include it in “Insanity Mode.” That way, the player can be challenged to finish the game in a single run, as fast as possible.

Insanity Mode
Insanity mode in action

So far, I think the game is looking good. I still need to work on many things and do many optimizations to the game, but that may be for a later time.

I really want to thank everyone who gave my game a try and submitted feedback or a bug report. The game is still on itch.io if you’re going to give it a try. You can download it by clicking here.

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