orkitec 2019 - Do One's Duty and Learning to Fly
As you might have read in the orkitec 2018 summary at the very end of the year we had finalized a deal and sold Applanga to TransPerfect. Since I’m the CTO of Applanga before and after the acquisition that meant a lot of adjustments and integrations into new systems. Merging from a small startup into a large enterprise is not an easy thing and to some extent we’re still adjusting. But this blog is about orkitec where also big things had happened because I had entered a publishing agreement with HandyGames for my game ChessFinity.
Part of the deal with HandyGames was that they would polish the graphics for models and UI and what I had imagined for that was that they would just take and replace my existing graphics with better ones but they actually had a quite big UI overhaul in mind which turned out into much more work for me then anticipated. I think it was worth it in the end but at the time I was quite angry at times since I find UI work one of the most boring tasks in game development that exists.
Once the UI was in place there where also polished models for chesspieces and the world and since my one person prototyping setup with a bunch of copied together free assets from the unity assetstore wasn’t suited for work with a bunch of designers we also had to clean up the project structure. And whenever I say we it actually means me in the context of orkitec 😆.
ChessFinity is a free to play game where you can buy chess pieces with an a currency that you either earn through playing but you can also purchase it with in app purchases or by watching rewarded ads. In addition to that there are also intersticial ads between every second round of the game which can be disabled with a Disable Ads purchase. Additionally there are also online highscores through google play and gamecenter as well as achievements. Knitting all those cloudservices toghether cross platform for iOS and Android isn’t exactly super hard especially if you use some libraries but tis still pretty time consuming. For cross platform achievements and leaderboards as well as cloud savegames i used CloudOnce a free set of libraries which worked pretty well for my needs. For the Ads i used AdMob mainly for the reason that the integration seemed straight forward and that i could do BannerAds, rewarded ads and Interstitials for both platforms with it. We actually removed the banners before the final release since HandyGames had bad experiences with ratings and figured its not worth the potential negative effects. In app purchases have been done with Unitys own plugin which worked pretty well in the beginning but gave me some bad upgrading nightmares later on which made me disable updates for google dependencies at some point since i was not properly able to resolve the issues that came with later updates.
I also had quite some travel interruptions in 2019 in January i had to got to Barcelona for an internal conference and in march i went to
We had a hotel with seemingly very good aerial conditions. Watching the people fly a few meters over my cappuccino impressed me quite a bit and sparked the wish in me to be able todo the same. Little did I know…
Before going to vacations most features in the game where brought to a state that HandyGames could do a first round of proper testing so once i came back i had a ton of smaller and a few bigger bugs to fix. Distribution of poieces in ChessFinity is random but difficulty increases in higher stages and some things where pretty hard to test and even harder to bugfix so this step actually took more time then I had hoped since in on my machine my prior tests it worked perfectly 🙃 …
I also had a little conference and talking duty in Amsterdam in April.
ChessFinity has been finally released on the 7. July 2019. It took till then because of a lot of small reasons. we added localization into several languages, several smaller screens and GDPR compliant screens needed to be added and of course a the smalles bugs kind of took the longest to fix. It’s really as they say: After the first 90% of the project comes the second 90%.
The release went without any incidents and comments and feedback was also great so I am very happy how everything turned out in the end. The game even got featured for a bit. After a little pause I’ve also wen’t into a small extended agreement to build some slightly modified versions of the game for other stores but since these have not been publicly released yet I won’t talk about this in detail. Until the release I’ve worked on ChessFinity for 1 and half year in my spare time while a lot of other crazyness happened in my life as well in that time. It makes me super happy to have achieved that since at times it took a lot of me to stay motivated. I’m also super thankful for the support and understanding of my partner who needed to bear with sometimes limited couple time because I had to work on features or bugfixes and on top of that she also made me a super awesome birthday present so that i made my first “steps” in learning to fly. ❤️ I had a 1 day curse learning the basics of how get the glider up and a tandem flight at the end of the day and I hope I can continue with a full course in 2020.
P.S. I did not work on any other projects in 2019 but we made another vacation to one of my lifetime dream goals peru and it was breathtaking.