iOS Release Date & Final Testing

The development of the enhanced edition of The Tower of Egbert is nearing its end and I’ve finally set a release date for the new iOS version. It’s the 10th of October!

I’m also happy to announce that I’ve released a final beta version that is only waiting to be tested by you (free of charge, although the final game will have a price tag). What’s in it for me? Mainly, I’d absolutely love to see some of your creations, and show them to others before the release! Also I would like to get some feedback on the difficulty. What’s in it for you? Well, I operate on the premise that my game is hopefully enjoyable 🙂

If you are interested in taking part in the test, or show/look at some towers, or simply want to talk about the game, please join my new Discord community for the game: https://discord.gg/nHfJWeP

Now, a few details on changes I made for this new release:

  • Beginning: The game got a lot easier to start into. So if you had troubles building something stable and nice before you should be good to go now.
  • Challenge variations: At the same time there’s a lot more going on in the levels for those who seek a challenge.
  • Collecting crystals: You don’t have to collect crystals anymore to complete a level but they are still there: you can use them to remove roofs and other obstacles or to buy flying blocks (there’s absolutely NO in-game-buying with real money). Also, they get you into the highscore lists – it’s up to you how big of a challenge you want.
  • Obstacles: There are obstacles to build around.
  • Number of blocks: They are all limited now. Don’t worry – I’m already working on the new creative game mode where all blocks will be completely unlimited.
  • Deco & color: Completely unlimited.

I know these are probably some challenging changes for those who loved the game as it was (thank you for doing so!). Still, I would be happy if you give the new version a fair chance! I also liked the game just as it was but changes were necessary (as described in posts before) and I actually enjoy the game a lot more now, and I hope you will, in the end, too.

I hope to welcome you soon in the Discord community!

Egbert is taking a short vacation

While I’m making progress on the new and enhanced version of The Tower of Egbert, I decided to allow the old version a little break and temporarily remove it from the Google Play Store. The main reason for that are some changes in privacy regulations for citizens and companies located in the European Union (and beyond). You might have already heard of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into effect on the 25th of May and aims at restricting the collection and distribution of personal information. Since I’m using a lot of third party SDKs for things like showing ads and in-app purchases and since it’s no easy task to ensure that all of them are in compliance with the new regulation I decided to play it safe and remove the game from the store (especially since the fines for non-compliance are quite substantial). It simply wouldn’t make any sense to invest a lot of time and effort into updating the outdated version that is currently available on the Play Store instead of spending it on the new one.

As before, if you want to ask or comment something feel free to do so in the forum.

PS: You’ll still be able to play the version you downloaded from the Play Store even after the 25th of May.

What I’m up to now

As mentioned in the last entry, I’ve started working on an iOS port of “The Tower of Egbert”. As I’ve also mentioned, I’ll be able to change some things while porting the game. So what does that actually mean?

During the last months I’ve been able to collect lots and lots of feedback from players of the game. I’ve received written suggestions, anonymous data from the game itself, and personal feedback at the events I attended to present the game. The most important observation I made is that it seems to be quite hard for players to get into the game. Once the basic game mechanics and rules are understood they spend a lot of time building stuff and seem to enjoy the game but many players drop out before that happens. To cut a long story short, for this reason I decided to make the initial phase of the game a lot easier but also to do a little overhaul of the UI and the gameplay itself. For those of you that like it the way it is: don’t worry I won’t change the core building mechanics and ideally the game should become more accessible for everyone 🙂

To make things a little more concrete, a few of the most important gameplay changes to come are:

  • Shorter countdown during the initial phase and more large blocks to use
  • New removable forbidden zones and more variation in the height of levels to spice up the gameplay a little (fear not, I’ll make sure that it won’t get even more difficult)
  • You won’t need crystals to activate the level-line anymore but you can use collected crystals for removing already built roofs and forbidden zones as well as to buy flying blocks (you can buy/remove all things with a dotted outline shown in the screenshot below)
  • Decoration items will be unlocked depending on the level you reach and not the points anymore

From the feedback I received so far on these changes I have high hopes that they will actually improve the game quite a bit, which is a good thing since a more accessible game leads to more players and hopefully a little more financial resources that would allow me to continue working on the game beyond the iOS port.
This brings me to my last point for this post. What about the features that you (and I) are actually looking forward to, namely a free building mode and the third world? Well, first, let me apologize that they are not already in the game; it has been a while since I announced them. While I would really love to get started on new content right away, now that I have the means for continuing the development of the game, I think that it’s a lot more important to get the foundation right. The iOS launch is a big chance on making “The Tower of Egbert” more successful and ensure further development. In the long run this should hopefully pay off for the game. Nonetheless I would love to include either the free building mode or the new world in the iOS release already but I will have to check if this makes any sense later on.

That’s it for now. Feel free to tell me what you think of this approach in general or the changes I mentioned above in particular (maybe it’s best to make use of the forum for this)!

PS: In the screenshot you can see my first take on implementing the forbidden zones and new possibilities for buying/removing stuff with crystals in the Unity editor.

What I’ve been up to

I know I haven’t been too enthusiastic about sharing what I’m currently working on in the past but I’m set on changing that fact in the future – we’ll see how this goes. So let’s start with an entry about what I’ve been up to lately.

After releasing my second game “The Tower of Egbert” about two years ago and after the initial maintenance work had been done, I mainly focused on some projects that haven’t been related to game development but rather to the field of neuroevolution (machine learning). If some of you are interested in what that might be, or if you want to see a video of some little creatures learning to run, have a look at this video.

For those of you that are more interested in what is happening on the game development side of things I have some very good news. As of last November I’ve finished all other endeavors and I’ve made game development my full-time job. More precisely I’ve made the further development of “The Tower of Egbert” my full-time job for the next few months.
As some of you might know from previous announcements of mine, I always wanted to bring the game to iOS at some point. Luckily I’ll not only be able to do a simple 1:1 port of the game to iOS but, thanks to some funding from the Vienna Business Agency, I’ll be in the position to even improve the game in the process of doing the porting. This means that not only Apple users will finally be able to play the game in a few months but that also all Android players will benefit from this.
I will share some more detailed information on how I will continue from here on out soon.

For now, let me wrap up this post with proving to you that I’ve already picked up working on the game again with showing you some impressions from the “Play Austria”, a games fair in Vienna, and the “Pocket Gamer Connects” conference in London 🙂

Collage Fairs
(some photos by Matthias Rauch)

First Tower Challenge

This challenge has expired. But don’t worry, you’ll get another chance on winning stuff in the future!
 
Magnet1  Magnet2
 
Whoever uploads a picture of his or her tower here has a chance to win 1 out of 5 keys for the “Unlock Worlds” package in the game – it doesn’t matter how your tower looks, don’t be shy!
 
Also there will be one single tower that will be displayed permanently in the Hall of Fame. Additionally the winner can choose between a key for the premium version of the game (ads away, unlimited deco, and all worlds unlocked) and a letter with 36 handmade magnetic blocks that can be used on magnetic surfaces (I use them as fridge magnets as you can see on the photos).
 
This first challenge will stop some time after the first tower has been uploaded. I will announce the exact date here once this has happened.
 
Have fun!