What’s it about?
In Countryball Adventures you draw lines for your countryballs to roll on. Help them through the level, defeat enemies and collect gems to beat the high score of your friends. There are also ski jumping and time-trials modes for you to enjoy!
If you want to enjoy a newer and improved version head over to Emoji Balls.
- Google Play Services
The Development Story
Countryball Adventures is the first game I ever created and released. For my A-levels I needed to make a programming project, usually people developed websites but I wanted to make an interesting project and so I set out to create a game. I had a little bit of knowledge of C# and after searching for some game engines I decided to go with Unity. The core gameplay is inspired by Kirby and the Rainbow Curse and its predecessors and I think the line drawing mechanic really fits the touch input of mobile devices.
After working through the excellent Unity Tutorials I started to work on a prototype. I got the line drawing to work pretty fast, but it was really rough. You could only move in one direction, the lines were pretty jaggy and the ball wouldn’t really stick to the line. But after some time the basic line drawing worked pretty well. The next challenge was content and art. I stumbled upon some great tutorials on 2dgameartguru.com which really helped me create my first playable characters. But I felt like I needed some kind of theme and as the countryball comics were quite popular at the time I decided to also include those as my characters.
I then worked on the prominent survival gamemode. You navigate around the level and try to evade enemies, collect gems and not run out of ink and time. The main enemies are bombs which explode if you get near them. I created the bomb and explosion sprites and implementing the mechanic was actually pretty straightforward.
After finishing the work on the main gamemode I felt that the game lacked content and needed more variation. So I added two more gamemodes ski jumping and time-trial.
In ski jumping you have to jump as far as you can using a limited supply of ink. Time-trial is about finishing a predefined course as fast as possible.
When these modes were finished a big problem still persisted, the line drawing and movement was unreliable. You could now choose which direction the ball rolls by drawing a line in this direction. But when you drew a line facing left the ball would often roll right. This became apparent when I let my friends playtest the app. I only checked for the direction of touch once when the user started touching. The solution was pretty simple, I had to check multiple times over a small time interval to get the real overall draw direction.
The good things
I started and finished my first game, made something playable and released it on the PlayStore, I was and still am proud of that. I learned so much about Unity, creating games, C# and 2D art it was a great learning experience.
The bombs and collectables worked well and thankfully there were no game-breaking bugs. I managed to integrate Google Play Services with Achievement and Leaderboards into the game.
Things that didn’t work that well
The line drawing needed some improvements, it was not smooth enough and the ball would not roll smoothly sometimes. The overall speed of the gameplay was too slow, making it not as exciting as it could have been. As it was my first game the underlying code was not that good and extensible. I probably should have cut at least one gamemode and put more work into the most fun ones.
Finally, the UI and menu design could have used a rework to make it look more professional.