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  Bee Aware!  (Read 5268 times)
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Offline beeaware
« Posted 2018-03-22 22:35:18 »



Bee Aware! is now for sale on Steam!

New DEMO available! (july 19, 2018)

or
https://bee-aware.itch.io/bee-aware

(devlog from march 10, 2018)

Hi there,

Two years ago I started learning Java. My idea was to return to the world of ICT (I used to work as a programmer, back in the early days of the internet, and was self-employed for a few years, developing software and websites), but I soon ditched the course I was following (boring, and way too theoretical) and started developing a game (Bee Aware!). My idea was to create a diverse, fun and slightly educational game for all ages about bees and the fact that they are endangered (which in turn will have serious consequences for humanity).

Anyway, I started with Java Swing, but felt limited after working with that for a few weeks, so I switched to JavaFX and had to rewrite what I had done so far. Now, Java may not be the first choice of many when it comes to game developing, however, I've grown to love JavaFX and can tell you it's excellent for 2D game development. To make a long story short, after many nights of figuring out JavaFX, and after many sighs from my wife and kids, Bee Aware! is now finished, and the demo is available.

The past weeks I was busy creating the achievements (67 of them) for the Steam platform, and putting together a demo for various indie sites. For the Steam build I only still need to implement cloud saving, and some stuff on the store page needs to be updated, and then the build and store will be complete (Steam doesn't make it easy though, there's a jungle of documents and api commands out there, and their interface is somewhat chaotic, but I'll get there).
I then still have to write part of the quizzes, but I'll save that for when all the technical stuff is done. Within a few weeks or so I hope to publish Bee Aware! on Steam.

Greetings from the Netherlands,
Danny.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/CF7iCEgrl78?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;start=" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/CF7iCEgrl78?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;start=</a>  <a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/KJpA04YfVBo?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;start=" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/KJpA04YfVBo?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;start=</a>  <a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/NXHuYIr-lIo?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;start=" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/NXHuYIr-lIo?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;start=</a>

You know you're getting old when you played Pong while it was still hot...
Offline SkyAphid
« Reply #1 - Posted 2018-03-25 01:47:15 »

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/m_4XY1nNzFA?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;start=" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/m_4XY1nNzFA?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;start=</a>

it just werks
Offline beeaware
« Reply #2 - Posted 2018-03-25 02:39:48 »

@SkyAphid Lol you were either stoned when you posted this, or when you made this  Grin

You know you're getting old when you played Pong while it was still hot...
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline beeaware
« Reply #3 - Posted 2018-03-25 02:49:54 »

@SkyAphid Anyway, you think you can post something serious, be it positive or negative? Constructive criticism is welcome, and though your video might be funny, it doesn't help much.

You know you're getting old when you played Pong while it was still hot...
Offline bmanmcfly
« Reply #4 - Posted 2018-03-25 02:58:57 »

Some stuff looks quite polished, good graphics, but other things seem like it might be stiff or unintuitive, but thats only based on the clip.

Keep it up, there are worse looking games on the appstore.

You got a good ranking, so that should stand for something.
Offline beeaware
« Reply #5 - Posted 2018-03-25 03:07:56 »

@bmanmcfly Thanks! The games are fun to play if your into casual gaming, and there's enough humor in the game to compensate for the fact that the graphics look a bit outdated (I'm outdated myself, so that fits  Grin). I'll just have to see what the game will do on Steam, don't expect much but one never knows. Gotta finish the quizzes this week (I write them myself, although I think coding is a lot easier than writing coherent quizzes). Anyway, if your into casual gaming, there's enough content to keep you busy for hours.

You know you're getting old when you played Pong while it was still hot...
Offline beeaware
« Reply #6 - Posted 2018-03-25 03:25:21 »

To clarify the gameplay a bit more, Bee Aware! is a hybrid game, consisting of a clicker game on the front, and seven minigames (and two hidden mini-minigames). The seven minigames are aimed at the casual gamer and consist of two arcade games, one quiz game (5 quizzes, with a total of 100 questions), a memory game, a jigsaw game with thirty images, and two puzzle games. The idea is to earn bags of biological pest control, to replace the pesticide in the clicker game. Most games have three difficulty levels, and some games are procedurally generated, so you always have a fresh board. BB, the big bee, acts as a host and talks it all together (well, he provides a bit of backstory and says a lot of nonsense). Hope it makes a bit more sense now Smiley

You know you're getting old when you played Pong while it was still hot...
Online philfrei
« Reply #7 - Posted 2018-03-25 21:38:07 »

Congratulations on getting this up and running!

I also prefer JavaFX to Swing.

Is everything "set" at this point? Are you still tinkering? Being a sound person, I have a couple ideas on possible refinements on the sound effects. For example, I wonder if it would be possible to take the bee swarm SFX and process it a little to be more stereo and less obviously a loop. I previously made a "slice-streamer" for myself that could possibly be adapted to work, by building on top of AudioCue. (The version I have runs on a less efficient one-frame-at-a-time audio engine.)

For my own tastes in music, I find the initial mixes that you picked most interesting when they are straight-up electronic, a la Terry Riley's "Rainbow in Curved Air" or parts of Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" work (really dating myself here), but they start to seem more generic to me, though still quite acceptable, when all the parts enter (drums, especially). If you are using cues from a royalty-free library, what you have makes good sense in terms of expense and effort involved. I could see where it would be difficult to budget original music.

May I ask what software you used to run your program as an executable? I started poking at Launch4J and have hit some snags trying to get it to work.

music and music apps: http://adonax.com
Offline SkyAphid
« Reply #8 - Posted 2018-03-25 22:39:58 »

@SkyAphid Anyway, you think you can post something serious, be it positive or negative? Constructive criticism is welcome, and though your video might be funny, it doesn't help much.

Oh sure! Sorry.

I think it looks pretty good - and it actually has pretty catchy music. It reminds of those 90s video games you'd play at school to learn stuff. But if I'm going to be entirely honest, I'm not sure how much of an audience there would be for this kind of game. But of course that's not a big deal, since we all make games for fun primarily.

What I'd try to do is maybe make the general gameplay a bit more exciting if possible. My only real complaint watching this is I'm not sure what the game is about. My impression was that it's a collection of minigames, but if you want to make it addicting, you need a way to tie them all together so that you're being shifted from minigame to minigame in a fluid way. Think Mario Party or something like that. Maybe you could make a central gameplay system where you get rewards from the minigames that all go towards one singular goal, like building your own bee farm. That could actually be pretty fun, especially if you use something like the Chao garden from Sonic Adventure 2 as inspiration.

Pretty much anything can be a lot of fun if you can take advantage of the brain's reward systems. An example is how games like Call of Duty back in the day were really simple, but had tons of "rewards" that triggered your pleasure centers because you were constantly winning new things. You could maybe try and do the same here by making the game more addictive in that sense.

Plus I agree with everything @philfrei said too. I'd definitely take his advice. He's a smart dude.

I hope that helps a bit. Good luck dude! Glad that video made you laugh. I thought you'd like it. Lol

it just werks
Offline beeaware
« Reply #9 - Posted 2018-03-26 12:39:31 »

@philfrei Thanks! Actually, Bee Aware! is finished. I'm not planning on changing anything anymore, at some point you have to draw the line (I've got other obligations as well, and I started working on my next game). About the music, I licensed a cd through Partners in Rhyme. The cd contains 8 songs, and some loopable versions, made by polish composer Jacek Dojwa, and cost me 95 euro's (royalty free). I think the music is quite ok, and suits the games fine (certainly for that price!). Lol Mike Oldfield (listened to his stuff on spotify this week, Crises, Five Miles Out), I guess when it comes to age and dates, we probably grew up at the same time then.
The executable is created from NetBeans (you will have to adjust your 'build.xml', if you want more info I'll gladly provide it), for the setup files I used Inno Setup 5, great software, comes with a wizard, and it's free. The only disadvantage is, it's purely for Windows as far as I can tell. I'm still planning a Linux and/or Mac distributable, but I want to test my game first (have yet to install Virtual Box).
Another tip: I decompiled my jar, and it's scary to see how much code is still readable (almost all of it, of what I checked). So I used an obfuscator to protect my code, it requires a bit of tinkering, but the next one works fine: ProGuard.
Anyway, have a nice day!

(edit) You asked for a wrapper to turn your jar into an executable, I must have misunderstood you when giving the above solution, which still leaves the jar exposed.
Unfortunately, I do not know any other exe wrappers.

You know you're getting old when you played Pong while it was still hot...
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline beeaware
« Reply #10 - Posted 2018-03-26 13:03:52 »

@SkyAphid Thanks for the kind words! The games are tied together, only in a much simpler way (the frontgame is a clicker, where you spend your earned points). I do like the idea of building that bee farm, but it's too late to implement now. As for rewards, completing a continent will break the pesticide silo and make the bad, bad industrialists henchmen cry (industrialists never show their own face lol). And, there are 67 achievements (of which 8 are hidden) to get, and some may be quite tricky. I will have to see if it that works for people on Steam, it might be I sell only a few copies (or none lol).
I see your point when you say that it's not quite clear (from the videos) what the game is about, i'll have to think about that, and maybe come up with another video (your 'what could it bee' video makes more sense now lol).

I'm curious about Robot Farm, you got greenlit about a year ago (if I read that right), but I don't see a version in the store? I'm impressed that you got greenlit by the community (my game got swept up in the last batch, only about 14% of my voters wanted my game on Steam (still enough I guess)).

One last thing, what's with the medals? You and philfrei gave me one, but what's their purpose (apart from that illustrious hall of fame)?
Have a nice day!

You know you're getting old when you played Pong while it was still hot...
Offline SkyAphid
« Reply #11 - Posted 2018-03-26 16:12:27 »

snip

I'm curious about Robot Farm, you got greenlit about a year ago (if I read that right), but I don't see a version in the store? I'm impressed that you got greenlit by the community (my game got swept up in the last batch, only about 14% of my voters wanted my game on Steam (still enough I guess)).

One last thing, what's with the medals? You and philfrei gave me one, but what's their purpose (apart from that illustrious hall of fame)?
Have a nice day!


It's a long story about Robot Farm, it came down to personal problems you can read about here. We're still working on it though.

Medals have no purpose besides elongating your e-penis from what I understand lol

it just werks
Offline beeaware
« Reply #12 - Posted 2018-03-26 18:46:16 »

It's a long story about Robot Farm, it came down to personal problems you can read about here. We're still working on it though.

Medals have no purpose besides elongating your e-penis from what I understand lol

Read the story, shit man. Good to see that things are looking up for you! Good luck with developing!

(and yes, I already thought I felt something growing in my e-pants lol)

You know you're getting old when you played Pong while it was still hot...
Online philfrei
« Reply #13 - Posted 2018-03-27 20:53:21 »

I think my previous post suggestions were not very good. There was a lot I missed. For starters, you're posting in Showcase, not WIP.

Second, it makes no sense to "thicken" up the bee sound, since it is a single bee, not a swarm.

Third, the music is good. I happen to particularly like the opening sine-wave sort of sounds in the first cue and have notions of musical compositions being built with them--would like to hear more of that sort of thing. I let that prejudice short circuit my judgment. I don't know what I was thinking, mentioning "Tubular Bells" as this is mostly acoustic instruments and samples, not electronics, and yes, very dated, and not the right mood at all.

I don't know what I was thinking. Wish there was some way to edit the prior comment to appear less of a space cadet.

Anyway, the "appreciation" is genuine. You have accomplished a lot here and I wanted to register that I was impressed.
There's this thread on appreciation.

music and music apps: http://adonax.com
Offline beeaware
« Reply #14 - Posted 2018-03-27 22:53:02 »

@philfrei No need for apologies! And thanks again for the positive comments!  Smiley

You know you're getting old when you played Pong while it was still hot...
Offline beeaware
« Reply #15 - Posted 2018-07-29 21:00:12 »

Quote
For example, I wonder if it would be possible to take the bee swarm SFX and process it a little to be more stereo and less obviously a loop.

@philfrei Well, finally got around to this, and followed your advice (somewhat). Officially the sound should have been a beeswarm, yet it didn't quite sound like that. Thanks for pointing that out. I did however choose a simple solution: copied the original, used a different offset, and merged the copy with the original. Now it does sound like a beeswarm, and a bit less loopy  Smiley

You know you're getting old when you played Pong while it was still hot...
Offline beeaware
« Reply #16 - Posted 2018-08-31 18:09:37 »

Bee Aware! is now visible on Steam, and will go live (for sale) in about seven hours  Grin

You know you're getting old when you played Pong while it was still hot...
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