Moving to Google+

See my Google+ profile. New stuff will be posted there from now on.

As to why, it's just easier to manage. No worries about updating software and making the site work with new browser technologies and mobile is someone elses job. :)


Chilijournal 1712

Since it's December the chili season 2018 has started, too! Half of them have already sprouted. There is a Bishop's Crown. Let's try this one again, the ones from last year were plain boring. But they are supposed to be pretty good. So this will be Bishop's Crown: take 2. Or the obvious problem is: only Demon's Crown will produce anything interesting.

Pumpkin Pepper. Not sure about these, but the fruits looked interesting. Like little pumpkins. Originally cultivated somewhere in the US. Of course, where else would you find pumpkin crazed folk. ;)

Why always so colorful? Why indeed, I found one that is called Snow White. The plant is normal of course, but all the chili peppers are white and won't turn into any other color even when ripe. Might be a problem to determine when they ripen, but it sounded fun.

Of course we need a few classics every year. So the good old Ghost Pepper is back. But there is no real guarantee it will be one. This one was from generation three seeds, so it might be Bell Pepper or something really dangerous. Which reminds me of the story I wrote for Chili Charger! What a perfect opportunity to try it! (No, I didn't plan to include a link into this post. It was pure coincidence!)

So I tried out facebook ads

One of the marketing platforms for Chili Charger we decided to use was facebook. Since I have never used it, my account is pretty empty. Turns out that is a major problem. But not so fast.

I created a brand page, uploaded an app icon, header and URLs to the play store. Created an ad account, added payment information... BooM! To protect me from them evil hackers my account was locked. Safety precaution. Of course.

But fear not, follow these easy instructions to regain access to your account. So I uploaded a picture of me as requested. That was on a Friday.

Saturday: no answer, account still being verified.

Sunday: no answer, investigation is ongoing.

Monday! I'll leave this one blank.

Tuesday: no answer, but if I now log in my submitted information does not need to verified anymore. Instead the account has been disabled. WTF? Still no answer whatsoever. Only remaining method now is to submit an appeal.

Wednesday is here. No answer, of course not. But when I randomly try to login, it suddenly works! Not a single answer via mail, nothing in the support inbox. No further information on why the whole account was disabled.

I have never, ever been treated worse by any other customer service. I mean, I was about to become a paying customer using their ad system. But apparently they don't need any more customers.

Bottom line if one wants to use facebook ads: create and account and wait half a year. During that time add random friends, but no more than 2 a week! Post a cat picture every Friday, write a blog about every rainy Sunday and add totally random musings every Tuesday. Maybe after that you will evade the automatic account disabling that probably consists of a chain of half a million conditions and nobody has a clue anymore how the code works.

Chili Charger Super Sale

Until 31.12.2017 Chili Charger will be 0,59€. The lowest price I can use in the play console. At least as a random nobody. Apparently if you are important enough you can use arbitrary prices in the store.

So this is the chance to get the full game for almost nothing!

We've also updated the game with achievements! Some of them are the "Congratulations, you clicked something! Awesome!" type, others are more like "Wow, that's dedication!". While some of them might suprise, and hopefully stop you, before you throw your device out of the window. It's called achievement for a reason!

Chili Charger play modes and mechanics

A closer look at the two different play modes and how they interact with the mechanics in Chili Charger.

Most technical feedback I received (and I complained about that myself!) was the tile turning mechanic. Kianga came up with the idea to make tiles turn into different directions depending on where you tapped. That works quite well, if you're on a large phone. On a 4-inch display or if your cat is playing, not so good.

Chili Charger tile turning example

But if you play a while it feels much more interesting than having the tile turn into one direction only. The later levels even make it somewhat mandatory to carefully plan your next steps or you might zap a chili. The alternative is having to tap the tiles 5 times if you want to turn it only 60° into one direction. Main issue is, how do you get players to try it out instead of raging that the tiles have a life of their own? Probably not by forcing them to accept one way (remember: I know what's fun!).

Chili Charger switch turn tiles both directions Chili Charger switch turn tiles clockwise only

So for the final release we added a button to the interface that toggles between two modes and defaults to both directions. Give the default a try though, it makes the puzzles much more interesting and will feel naturally after a while. It's also the only way to beat the challenge modes where you need to avoid needles turning of the tiles.

Chili Charger game interface

Speaking of the challenge mode. That's what the star icon is for. Each level has a minimum number of turns it can be solved in. If you stay below or at that number you'll get the star icon on the level chooser screen. I found it interesting that many players where quite fixed onto the star where I only added it as an optional mechanic for the most dedicated. The 50 tile levels should be very hard to achieve the star, short of almost impossible combined with the chili haze. But it's called challenge mode for a reason!

Chili Charger release

Chili Charger banner

Get the game

With the initial idea to release it at the beginning of September... here we are instead, beginning of November. One does not simply create a game in a few months it seems. Even a rather "small" one can take forever. Waiting for external stuff to be finished, proofreading the story again and again, fixing shortcuts in levels, finding suitable music and sound effects (almost the hardest part), webpages, marketing material... don't forget a video! This one was done by Kianga and from what I heard... one does not simply capture in-game videos on Android either.

But, it's really done! Now all it needs is downloads and people actually buying the full version. The gameplay itself is fun, I hope. I will refrain from using the phrase "I know what's fun!". Well at least I like this kind of puzzle and since there are so many of them with questionable monetization we created this one. But there are none with chilies. And cats! Can't go wrong with cat content.

Which brings up the story. This is a new, too. And probably the most interesting part for me to see how others react to it. The first story chapter is mostly about Chuck, his cat Luzy and catching that chili thief. But the later chapters tell a story about Chuck's struggle to create honest games and what is wrong with todays gaming industry. Nah, no more spoilers! But if you're sick of modern games and microtransactions you might enjoy the story. But always remember: there is cat content!

To add a few credits here, since they are otherwise only visible in the game, we have that wonderful soundtrack by Joel Hunger. It's probably not very "puzzly", but it's so relaxing and I think fits that whole I'd-rather-have-a-slower-life-and-grow-chilies kind of attitude of Chuck quite well. We did have tracks that were mostly reggae in the initial version, but that was really cliche. Either way, I guess it'll be a love or hate kind of music choice. But you can mute it! ;)

And we have that lovely title artwork by Toraz the Nomad. The cat is so fluffy! There, more cat content. In fact, if you beat the game... no, no, no, I said no more spoilers.

Get it on Google Play

Chili Charger beta

Chili Charger example level

After what feels like a year Chili Charger is... finally!... almost complete. It now has a webpage! Chili Charger website

All that's now missing is the final artwork for the main screen and a bunch of sound effects and the press kit. Oh and the play store entry along with the beta promotion. Reminds me that I need to generate more promo codes for the beta testers aaaand I need to gather beta testers in the first place. Probably bugs here and there. And I must not forget to configure the in-app products in the developer console. Reminds me... yeah, come back next year!

Anyway, it's been a huge chunk of work. 144 levels and a story snippet for every level plus translating it into German. So it better be good!

Harry Dies level 2

Harry Dies screenshot

Level 2 will start with an intermediate level to connect world 1 with world 2. The lovely dodge-the-falling-logs waterfall leading to I-hate-it-that-I-cannot-collect-all-diamonds!

Chili Charger

Grow a tasty Trinidad Scorpion Chili Pepper!

Trinidad Scorpion Chili Pepper

And lots of other chilies! Chili Charger is another game, this time for Android phones and tablets, I'm working on. It's a puzzle game about growing chilies. What else would you grow in your garden?

More updates as it takes shape. ETA is probably early August. Yes, there will be real screenshots if it's a bit more polished. I won't post fake screenshots, even it this seems to be a viable business strategy these days. ;)

If you like puzzle games and want to become a tester, get in touch.

17.06 Chilis

After many hot days most chilies doubled in size. I guess the lemon drop more like tripled. And finally on the way to the first peppers! Lots of cayenne golden already, must be more like 10 waiting to turn yellow. The scotch bonnet has turned into a tree. Used a rather large pot. There are like 50 blossoms and many of them are turning into chili peppers now.

Together with chilies I planted cucumbers which are finally starting to grow and a butternut squash from a seed obtained from a fruit last year. This one is totally overgrowing the poor ghost pepper in the same pot. Everytime the ghost pepper grows by 1 cm the squash plant has grown by 10 cm. Looking at the size this thing grows to, pumpkins might not be the best thing to grow in pots on a balcony. :)

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