Well that took longer than I expected, but finally, we got a playable version of Sparrow in the Windows Phone Store! Currently, it is hidden from the store because we submitted it as an invite-only beta to hunt down the bugs that we couldn’t find. We are planning to end the beta and release publicly once we are sure that we fixed all the reported bugs and balanced the game.
If you have a Windows Phone (7 or 8) device and are interested in testing the game out, let me know. Here are some screenshots from the beta:
We did a major change with the levels. Instead of having separate missions (which was taking a lot of time to create), we decided to start with a survival mode and procedurally generate the enemy waves. As you play the survival mode, you progress by upgrading your aircraft, switching to the next, more powerful aircraft if you don’t lose all your lives, pick up new weapons etc.
I do not want this post to be the ‘post-mortem’, I’m planning to write that after we release, so I will conclude with a few words about the beta. We worked quite a lot during the mayday and Orthodox Easter holidays to finish the beta version and I thought that’s it, now I can take a break for a few days… Wrong! We had to submit updates and fix bugs that were reported several hours after the beta was released.
There are 20 testers that have played the game and we got some valuable feedback. There were some performance issues, which I believe we finally sorted out and the game should run OK on any device. We still have to decide whether we should switch some effects that we do using the Mercury Particle Engine to ordinary sprite sheet animations to increase performance.
After we release on the WP store, we are planning to finish the Windows 8 port using MonoGame, and then depending on the popularity we will either continue adding more content or move to a new project which might not be a game, but it will probably have some game elements :).
Until next time.