Game Development Spotlight: Xylophone Master

Written By MrSun at 9:00 am - Monday, July 28th, 2008
Categories: AS3, Flash, Game Development, Spotlight

Xylophone MasterAs you may not have known, my latest flash game, Xylophone Master, has recently been released. It was my first attempt at a real feature-filled flash game, and it was quite a bittersweet success.

Let me first tell you about the actual game itself. It is a rhythm-based game where all 8 of he home row keys are used (A S D F J K L ;) . It sounds hard, but once you get used to it, it gets a lot easier. However, many of the users did not get used to it, and thought that even the easiest songs were too hard. Perhaps I didn’t follow my own advice.

Xylophone Master was the first game in which I used XML data, which was made a much easier process thanks to ActionScript 3.0. I used an XML document for all of the 50+ songs, and it helped ease the game-making process. The only other way I could have done it was with arrays, which could have gotten out of hand with all of the attributes that I needed. Xylophone Master was also the first game in which I really used sounds. Of course, it was a music/rhythm game, and I had to use a lot of sounds. I didn’t use pre-made music, like all of the other similar rhythm-based games, but I made it so a certain sound clip would dynamically play every time the user hit the right key. This made my game unique, but also made it run very unsmoothly on slower systems. Unfortunately, neither I nor my sponsor found out about this.

Xylophone Master had a bunch of other bugs too, all of which didn’t occur on my speedy development Mac. For some reason, the game would not load a second time for some people, but worked well the first time it loaded. I suspect that it had something to do with the Shared Objects that I implemented (it was the first time I’d ever used those). Another problem with it was that I created a background beat that would act as a sort of metronome for the user. However, this was dynamically created too, and with substantially larger files, causing the game to become even more choppy on slow systems. I discovered this earlier and made it an option to turn it off, but it obviously wasn’t visible enough.

The programming for this game really drove me nuts. I often found myself trying to fix either non-existent bugs or terribly confusing ones. Those issues really cost me a lot of development time, but ultimately I think they’ve made me a better programmer. I don’t have any of these issues in my current project which has a lot more complicated concepts ( and is being kept secret unless you have an account on Flash Game License).

The final point in my ramblings about my latest creation is probably what made all of my hardships worthwhile. This was my first sponsored game, and what a sponsorship it was… It was a primary license, my favorite, which put a hefty price tag on my game (see spotlight statistics below). Joel from Addicting Games really liked my game even in its very early stages of development, and put up the bid you see below very early. He, in fact, was the only one who offered to sponsor my game, so it was natural that I would accept his offer, and accept it I did. The 10 page contract and W9 form was well worth the money that I earned. I can thank Flash Game License for getting me the opportunity to get all of this money. Without that site, I would have gotten near as much, if any at all. I feel terrible however that I might not be able to pay their 10% optional commission fee. I’m getting paid by check while they accept only Paypal.

Well, that’s all I have to say about my experience making Xylophone Master. I hope it’s been interesting for you.

Spotlight Statistics
Category Score
Fun Level 3
Learning Experience 4
Revenue 5 [$2000]
Game Feedback 2
Overall Experience 3
Spotlight Score 17