Gem Attack is an online multiplayer action puzzle game that I created during my internship at PlayMesh during Summer of 2010. The basic premise is the same as that of Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo: stack like-colored blocks together on your playing field and then destroy them with Attack Cubes to send garbage to your opponent. However, the gameplay is a lot faster (sort of akin to HD Remix).
-14 unique characters, each with their own stats and special abilities.
-Refined gameplay and tight controls, balanced for novices and experts alike.
-Networked play in real-time versus opponents anywhere in the world.
-Single player matches versus an AI of adjustable difficulty, from brain-dead easy to almost-unfair difficult.
-Awesome soundtrack with different music representing each character.
-Fully animated battle sprites for every character that respond to your moves.
-FREE to download and play! (Most characters must be purchased for use in online play, but all can be unlocked for single-player mode)
Gem Attack was a solo project done almost entirely by myself. A lot of the menus and multiplayer server architecture were already tech that was in-place, but aside from that, all aspects of the actual gameplay, including controls, UI, game physics, character animations, logic, and client-server communication, were programmed by me, using the cocos2d framework in Objective-C. In addition, I was the driving force behind gameplay design and balance--I developed all of the character concepts and meticulously playtested until I was satisfied with gameplay balance and overall gameplay flow. To top things off, I composed all 15 songs of the soundtrack by myself, and also wrote up the extensive Gem Attack Guide that's accessible in-game. The artwork for the game was done by a combination of our in-house artist as well as outsourcing. The sound effects were done in-house as well, though I only did a few of them myself.
Total development time was roughly 3 months (the full length of my Summer internship), plus some additional time afterwards for polish and getting all of the music in (though I was also working on Valor during my internship).
The 15-song Gem Attack soundtrack was composed entirely by myself, and is available as an album on my Bandcamp site here.
As part of the game, I wrote up a full detailed game guide with LOTS of detailed game mechanics and strategy tips. It's accessible in-game from the settings menus, but I've also uploaded it on its own page here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: The music is really cool? Can I purchase the soundtrack?
A: Yes! I've released it as an album on my Bandcamp site here.
Q: Hey! I ran into a bug, can you please fix it?
A: Sorry! My internship at PlayMesh is over, so I'm not the one to talk to about that!
Q: How does the AI work?
A: It essentially goes through every possible piece placement it can make with the current piece, scores them based on several heuristics (will this move cause an attack, will it cause colors to match, etc.), and then randomly picks among the best moves. At easier difficulties the CPU not only moves more slowly but will also sometimes pick moves at random instead of using the heuristics.
Q: How come it never seems like anyone else is online to play with?
A: Probably because no one else is online to play with. =( It doesn't seem like anybody is really playing anymore these days, but I've tested it and network play =should= still work, so grab a friend and try.
Q: How does Gem Attack's gameplay differ from that of Puzzle Fighter?
A: The details are too numerous to list here, so I'll try to give more of a big picture answer. Compared to Puzzle Fighter's original incarnation (not HD Remix), Gem Attack plays much faster and feels like a more fluid game. The playfield size is not as tall because of UI limitations, and because of that attacks are generally not as large. Because of the faster play speed, garbage counters start at 7 (for most characters) instead of 5. In addition, digging through garbage (before it turns into normal gems) is much easier because of the faster drop speeds, so digging through garbage is actually a skill that is emphasized much more than in Puzzle Fighter. In addition, small attacks tend to be discouraged even more in Gem Attack than in Puzzle Fighter because of how the garbage scaling works out. Finally, the matchups in Gem Attack are much, much more diverse, since each character has their own attack and defense values as well as (usually) some sort of special ability. Some of the abilities are very unique--for example, Scarlet actually drops normal gems onto the opponent's field instead of garbage, but the pattern in which they are dropped is so chaotic that it ends up being even harder to clear than plain garbage would be!
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