What is SideSwype?
SideSwype is an elegant combination of 4-way block sliding and match-3 gameplay wrapped in a cool audio-visual package. Swype your finger across the screen to send the blocks sliding to one of the 4 sides of the grid. Match 3 or more in a row to destroy the blocks. Special 4 and 5 blocks appear on occasion, requiring larger matches and rewarding you with special Diamond and Bomb blocks in return.
Why another Puzzle Game?
I have a lot of simple puzzle games I want to make, on the scale of Slydris and CRUSH (and SideSwype), and this is the one I chose to do first. I’ll still be doing more arcade-action games, but puzzle games are pretty fun to make too. I hope to make at least 6 or more iOS/Android games before the year is done, though some of them will be ports (JoyJoy and Fluid).
Is it a Threes/2048 clone?
No. I was working on multiple puzzle game prototypes in early February (at night, while finishing up Powerpuff Girls on Steam). One of them wasn’t working, and I had seen Threes’ animated GIF trailer and thought I could try something like that. To make it “different” from Threes mechanically (aside from the whole match 3 thing), I made my swiping send the blocks all the way to the edge of the grid. The prototype worked well. This is what it looked like:
I’ve never played Threes (though I did watch the robot play), or 2048 (never watched video or played any variation of it), and I didn’t know 2048 used the same full-swipe mechanic until I read Asher and Greg’s Threes super-postmortem. Hearing about that was the low point of working on SideSwype. I’m not someone who wants to make a game that someone else has already made.
Why didn’t you hold the release until later?
I thought about it, but there were a few reasons I decided to forge on with the release: First, I was worried someone else would release a similar game before I released SideSwype. Combining 4-way sliding and match-3 mechanics is not exactly a difficult leap. Second, I released Bombcats last year, and it was still called an Angry Birds clone. Third, I feel confident that SideSwype is sufficiently different that it can stand on its own. Finally, I’m not exactly swimming in revenue, and Radiangames is still in danger of ending if things don’t go decently well in the next few months.
How come doing a circle pattern works so well?
Because you’re giving the blocks more chances to randomly match up. If you swipe in only 1 or 2 directions, the blocks don’t move as much (though you could still get a few hundred if you’re lucky). To get a really good score, you’ll need to pay attention to 4s and 5s (and Diamonds and Bombs) and use them to your advantage rather than using the same pattern over and over. Scoring over 1,000 is good, 2,000 is a really good game, and scoring above 4,000 is truly remarkable.
Why don’t leaderboards work on iOS?
Sometimes, GameCenter leaderboards aren’t visible during development (once you put the game in review, they show up). That happened with SideSwype, and I was not submitting the scores correctly. A fix was submitted Monday night, a few hours after the current version was approved, and should be out any day now.
Why no leaderboards on Google Play?
I really, REALLY tried to have them on release, but the Google Play plug-ins (I tried two multiple times) just wouldn’t work. The code in the game takes half an hour to write, and I spent 1.5 days trying to get either plug-in to work. Honestly I would rather have Amazon’s GameCircle (whose plug-in got worse in the last year, but still worked after 3 hours of messing with it) for leaderboards, so that more people are competing against each other. It’s also just a better system in nearly every way compared to Google Play. However, the Google Play Store won’t feature games that have GameCircle.
Eventually the Google Play version will have leaderboards, but I’m not sure if they’ll be GameCircle or Google Play leaderboards (and achievements).
Your other games are on sale?
Yes, Slydris, Inferno+, Ballistic SE, and Fireball SE are all on sale on iOS for $0.99 (down from $1.99) until tomorrow (Friday) night. This is the first time they’ve been on sale since last June, and probably the last time for a long while.
What is your next game? When is it coming?
It’ll probably be JoyJoy, and I’m hoping to have it out in May. After that, I’m not sure if I’ll do Fluid (which will be renamed somewhat) or another puzzle game.