Unveiling my uber-secrect Android game : GrandMasterPixel

For the last few months I’ve been spending some time developing a game for the Android mobile platform. Up until now, I’ve just eluded to it as my ‘uber-secret Android project’, but it’s time to let the cat out of the proverbial bag.

Introducing …. (drum roll please) … GrandMasterPixel !

GrandMasterPixel is essentially a low-res pixelart competition, with light combat RPG elements.

GrandMasterPixel Arena screenshot (Android emulator)

GrandMasterPixel Arena screenshot (Android emulator)

The basic gameplay is as follows:

  • Draw a pic. Make it look good. Submit the pic to the Arena – this costs ‘submission credits’.
  • Judge some battles in the Arena between other artists pics by touching the one you think should win – judging one battle costs one ‘judging token’, and earns you one ‘submission credit’.
  • ‘Judging credits’ recharge over time, so if you run out, just come back later.
  • Pics have ‘hitpoints’. Losing a battle loses the pic hitpoints – when the pics hitpoints reach zero, that pic is dead and can no longer battle.
  • Artists (that’s you) begin with only limited colors in their palette. You earn more colors based on (a) the number of pics you have submitted (‘leveling up’) and (b) how successful your pics have been in battle (eg, ‘achievements’ earned based on the number of wins before dying).
GrandMasterPixel drawing mode screenshot

GrandMasterPixel drawing mode screenshot - me drawing an 8-bit Mario-like guy, with blue skin since that's all the colours I have at this level.

The idea behind this system is that players need to use all their creativity to make interesting pics, even with limited colors. Credits to submit new pics are only earned by judging, and judging is rate limited – this means players should be encouraged put some effort into each pic they submit, since submissions are a somewhat limited resource. In the current design, only half the colors are accessible based on number of submissions (eg, quantity) – the other half can only be earned by submitting pics that are successful in battle (‘quality’, as subjectively judged by other players).

I think some interesting dynamics may emerge here, but I’d rather not speculate too much before letting a bunch of players loose with the game.

Check it out and give me some feedback on FriendFeed, or tweet me @OMGWTFGAMES ! Download a time-limited alpha version of GrandMasterPixel for Android with this link. Or scan the QR code below with the Barcode Scanner app using your phone. In order to install it, you will need to allow applications from “Unknown sources” under the Settings->Applications menu.

GrandMasterPixel direct download QR code

There are still lots of features left to implement to make it more game-y, and a few bugs to swat, but I’ve spent a surprising amount of time developing and polishing this little game so far already, so I thought it was time to put something out there and get some feedback.

In future posts I may detail some of the lessons I’ve learned about developing Android applications, social games on Google App Engine and some general game design issues I’ve come up against in this project.

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