Super Glyph Quest Dev Diary 10

In which we nearly kill ourselves but somehow manage to hang on through submission.


Much simpler, I'm sure you'll agree.
The Upgrades screen underwent a major re-design. Gone was the weird, swirly, three-arc monstrosity and in came the linear playing card thing. It was a bit of a punt, opting for a re-design this late in the day but the new screen is a lot nicer and easier to understand. It also makes more use of Leanne's neat card graphics.

Challenge Mode and Leaderboards

Game Center support - another scary prospect - wasn't anywhere near as scary as it could have been. Admittedly the implementation we've gone for in this version is very vanilla. You unlock Challenge Mode quite early in the game - after the Dragon Shrine and Great Traveller Mike - and this allows you to try an infinite runner version. Monsters get harder and harder and keep coming whilst you're not allowed to use any inventory items. You score points based on the amount of damage you inflict, so making good use of chains and reversals is key.

I had grand plans for the leaderboard stuff. Friends lists, next highest score target and the like. Real Geometry Wars 2  stuff, but we just didn't have the time. I'll probably come back to it for the next update though. Instead, we just make use of the fact that a single function call is all it takes to overlay Game Center's interface on top of your game.

Results Screen

Results. Like the name says, really.
Another screen that needed a light bit of fettling was the Results Screen. It has bee functional for ages, but it's all too easy to forget that you might need to polish it a bit. That's when it's good to have someone like Leanne there to constantly ask whether or not I'd made those changes to it that I said I would.

Now it does stuff like show you what materials you managed to gain on the quest. Actually, talking about Materials, there's another thing that got a bit tweaked.

The drop rate for Materials was changed so that it's pretty rare in normal gameplay (unless you spec in to the Upgrades that increase the drop rate) but if you go on an Adventure (rather than a Quest), the rate increases a lot. This means that it's a lot easier to grind for materials than before, or you can just mainline the story and side quests to progress as normal. Either way, you'll probably reach the end of the game with an abundance of Monster Bits.

Status Effects

In keeping with our penchant for last-minute changes, some of the Status Effects underwent some light fettling. In addition to the changes in damage model noted last time, we decided to completely re-work Blindness.

Basically, Leanne has never liked the Goblin Shaman with its Sight Steal attack. It's particularly brutal, especially if you don't happen to be paying attention. So now, Blindness only effects some of the glyphs on the board - the amount being decided by the attack strength itself. Couple that in with the fact that you can alleviate a glyph's status by using one of its neighbours and suddenly it's a lot easier to deal with. Therefore, its effects no longer have a time limit. This means that you'll either have to clear the glyph with its neighbours, use Eyedrops or take a punt on what you remember it was before you were blind.

We also added a Toxic effect. It's the same as Burn except it does Dark damage instead of Fire. Things like the Stink Toads will now cover your board in icky, toxic goop rather than just poisoning you outright.

There are more effects too - the ability to raise your attack or lower an opponent's defence, for example. It's all starting to get very Pokemon.


An honest-to-goodness screenshot from
the actual game. Featuring a spider and
some webs.
Remember last time I also mentioned that we wanted to be in submission before I went out to Malaysia on the 26th? Yeah, well, that didn't happen. All it meant was that, upon my return, an even more hideous daily routine was in store.

Previously, our day would look like this:

7-8am - Willow wakes up and needs attention from one of us to ensure she doesn't die or something.
12-2pm - Willow might nap, allowing mummy and daddy to get on with some work. Or eat. Or wash.
3-7pm - Willow is awake again and probably needs food or something.
7-9pm - Mummy and daddy are now allowed to feed themselves. Or do Willow's laundry. You know - whatever works.
9pm - 4am - Super Glyph Quest time.

Well, now the routine had shifted so that the 9pm - 4am slot extended out until maybe 10 or 11am, requiring some serious nap. Also, we really had to stagger the napping as Willow doesn't really respect the nap.

I've been tired before and I've had brutal crunches* before but nothing - nothing - was as utterly exhausting as this. The problem was that it wasn't a case of just slipping a deadline - you have a baby** to look after.

The End

After a couple of weeks of that particular hell, we did finish the game. There was a brief X-Code Archive Validation scare which, if you remember what happened before, was pretty terrifying, but this time around I think we were too tired to care. Of course, if it turns out that I've managed to upload a dodgy version again, I take it all back.

What happened was this: To tie in with the latest version of iOS, Apple had changed the rules on things like splash screens***. Now there have to be ones at the correct resolution for the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 has been the bane of our lives on these projects - all down to its ridiculous aspect ratio compared to the other devices we support. Well, the problem here was that the free version of Unity iOS doesn't allow you to change the splash screen and the version we had didn't support the required resolution.

I went so far as to try changing the splash screens in XCode itself, but clearly I'm not the first person to try that and it didn't fly.

So we had to update our version of the Unity editor. This, I have been told, is generally a bad thing to do in the middle of a project. So on the day of submission, it's probably Ill Advised at best.

Thankfully, it all went without a hitch and the IPA was duly verified.

Scheduling Concerns

What did this all mean for the schedule? Our Original Plan was to release in the first week of October but, as with so many of our Original Plans, this proved to be not what happened. This was obviously a concern for a number of reasons.

Firstly, we'd agreed a date with Apple as to when we would release. Thankfully, they were very considerate and even suggested a later date for us.

This is largely due to the second of our concerns, which is a bit of a biggie - It's really not a good time to be coming out about now.

Last time, we released Glyph Quest in the middle of January. This is a bit of a quiet time in the market, which meant that, in the absence of anything else, it did okay - even gaining Touch Arcade's Game Of The Week award, largely because of this.

This time, we'll be releasing right smack bang in the middle of one of the busiest times of the year. There's Halloween, Thanksgiving and then Christmas to contend with and all of the seasonal apps that are coming out to coincide with that little lot.

To top it all, Apple's recent iOS update means that the world and his wife are hurriedly updating their games to ensure everything still works. As well as flooding the app store with updates, this means that the time it takes to get through the review process has been extended as the backlog is quite immense.

Either way you look at it, this is suboptimal but we have no choice as the money has completely run out.



Now our focus is on the marketing side of things. Relevant websites have been notified of our existence and plans. The social media push has also begun.

This largely consists of bugging our friends that have characters in the game to swap out their normal avatars for these instead. This should hopefully create a spot of intrigue that will tie in nicely with the release and all. It also enables them to play the 'oh hey- I didn't realise you were in the game too' game.

Update: The marketing has a life of it's own now. Our friends have duly changed their avatars and it's causing quite a stir on certain Facebook profiles.

The Button

At the time of writing, I have just pushed the button. The idea is that you do it on the afternoon the day before it's supposed to hit the store - in our case, the day of the refresh****. In iTunesConnect, Super Glyph Quest's status has gone from 'Pending Developer Release' to 'Processing For App Store' to 'Ready For Sale'. It's very exciting indeed.

I guess it means it's out now, although I don't think it'll show up on any search just yet.

Update: Okay, it's out but you have to get a bit creative about how you find it. Of course, all that will change tomorrow when our feature***** kicks in. Also, looking at the forums and such, it appears that people have already 'got a bit creative' and started downloading it. Which is nice. This may work after all...

* The inflatable mattresses under the desks during Gene Wars were a particular lowlight.
** An actual, human, baby.
*** Or 'Launch Images', to give them their full Apple nomenclature. Deffo not splash screens - no sir.
**** Or 'Thursday' as people sometimes like to call it.
***** Assuming, of course, that we do get featured. Otherwise the wheels are about to come off this whole venture.


  1. If it isn't a hassle would there be an update at some point the future- near or far- where the bestiary also lists items dropped by certain creatures, some of it is hard to keep track of lol

    1. Good idea. Might need to do an update anyway, if that damn Kraken is still broken...


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