I’m usually an app guy, but I spent the last two months making a game that I launched this week. Long stort short: AVOID is a fun action/adventure/puzzle game and now available on the App Store.
Here’s a little bit about it and how it came to be…
Two summers ago I found myself with some time and decided to learn how to make games. After making some bad technology decisions, I made a small prototype for an iPhone game. 15 short levels of a physics-based geometric action game called AVOID. The core gameplay mechanic was direct manipulation of the hero (a simple blue dot). Players drag the dot around, navigating corridors and dodging enemies in an attempt to reach a goal. The sensation of your finger having to duck around corners and clumsily interact with the game world was something I found viscerally satisfying.
I got it to a playable state, showed it to friends and largely put it in a drawer when my day job picked up again. I had the occasional pang of wanting to turn it into something real, but largely didn’t think about it for a while.
Yada yada yada… it’s two years later and I find myself not having a day job anymore. I’m doing some freelancing work, rebinging on TV shows, and I needed a project. In early December 2016, I started fresh on AVOID. This time building it in the awesome Unity Engine. I watched a boatload of YouTube tutorials, rebuilt the core mechanics, and got to work turning the demo into a real game. I designed levels, implemented new mechanics, new gameplay modes, menus, settings, and tutorials, recorded sound effects and music, and designed logos. I made every part of this cow. This game. It’s me.
The audio especially was a stretch for me. I have negative musical talent, but sat down with a borrowed Omnichord (a Millenium falcon shaped electronic instrument) and a copy of Logic Pro X to create all the sound effects and music for the game. The songs are all short little loops that play under menus, and I don’t think I could play them again the same way if my life depended on it, but they turned out ok I think.
AVOID is now available on the App Store. At launch, AVOID features 3 gameplay modes…
- 51 levels of mazes, puzzles, and plenty of devilishly difficult action.
- Use dexterity, timing, and problem solving to get through them.
- Swing and shoot explosive stars.
- Wield a sword (well… nudge around a sword, you’re just a circle after all)
- Beat your high score by taking out endless waves of enemies.
- Two maps with nowhere to hide.
- Each is focused on mastering a weapon: star or sword.
- See how you rank against your friends and everyone else with Game Center leaderboards.
- A big playground featuring all of the in-game mechanics.
- You can’t die… just have fun with whatever part of the game is striking your fancy right then.
- Fun fact: Zen mode was added after my initial submission while waiting on App Review.
All this can be had for the low-low price of GET. Well, kinda…
I follow the trades on App Store economics, and thought a lot about the pricing model. AVOID is free-to-play and has a single $2 in-app purchase to unlock the full game. Each gameplay mode has it’s own interpretation of what “unlocked” means.
A majority of the campaign levels are available for free. The campaign is structured in crescendos of difficulty as each gameplay mechanic is explored. The earlier levels in each section are free. Larger and more difficult levels in each section require the full game unlock. If you like a challenge, then get the unlock. There’s even something like a boss fight at the end.
Survival in the free version has a life counter. Die 6 times and you gotta wait. You get a life back every two minutes, or watch an ad to refill your lives (ads are only ever shown at the players request). Unlock the game and never have to think about it - no ads, play as much as you want.
Zen requires the full game unlock. It’s the cherry on top of the full game unlock Sunday.
Go Play It
Did I mention that AVOID is now available on the App Store? Go download it and if you like it, purchase the full game unlock.