Oblivio

Note: Since writing this page, I have since allowed my Apple Developer’s License to expire. Therefore, Oblivio is no longer available on the App Store.

How To Play:
Basically, the game is like Simon except instead of pushing buttons, you have to mimic lines that are drawn on the screen. Each time you successfully do so, the sequence gets longer. The game is broken up into six levels of difficulty, each with their own recorded high score and accumulative score. In order to unlock the next level you must accumulate enough total points in your highest level to fill up the graphic on the front page.

The Story:
This is the first game that I ever started working on the first one I ever got to market. Shortly after I began studying game design at George Mason, my taekwondo master and I decided that we could and should make a move on the Apple app-store. After brainstorming ideas, he came up with the idea of a simple memory game based on movements on the touch screen. Based on this, I came up with the name, Oblivio, which means “forgetfulness” in Latin.

At this point, I had no experience programming in any C-based languages whatsoever and only marginal experience programming in Java. Throughout the next six painfully frustrating months, I made great strides in basic programming and my own means of creating a record of gestures that a player could make and the game could recognize. Now that I look back on what I had created, it all seems very sloppy and haphazard.

By April, I had managed to create all the basic parts of the game, but still did not know enough about how to put it all together. It was around this time, that my taekwondo master and I had formed an LLC with another student capable of dealing with legalities. It seemed like everything rested on me to create a marketable product. Unfortunately this wouldn’t really happen for a little more than another year.

After an inescapable chain of exhausting school projects and an exhausting summer job, I found salvation in an insurance settlement that resulted from a car crash that messed up my back. Essentially, it gave me enough money so that I could avoid the next Summer job and focus entirely on getting Oblivio to market.

Anyone can see something through the first 92%. It’s those last crucial 8% that really set people apart. After almost two years, I finally managed to put the whole thing together and get it on the app store. Sometimes I feel like an idiot for how long it took me, but I try to remind myself just how self-taught I was throughout the process.

Programming difficulties aside, I also had some difficulties with the design process. Seeing as how I never really had anyone to bounce ideas off of, I pretty much had to rely on myself for determining which of my ideas weren’t horrible. As it is, I’m pretty sure I made the game way too hard.

UPDATE: I have since removed the game’s Challenge/Test method of advancing the player to the next level. Instead now all you have to do is accumulate enough total points at whatever pace you want.

Originally, each level of difficulty had hidden challenges. These ranged from “Score a 5 or higher three times” to “score a 10 or better between 3am and 4am.” The only way to see these challenges was to shake the device while looking at the game’s rules, where a subtle watermark said, “s h a k e”. Completing all the challenges would only unlock the Test-mode, which would require you to score anywhere between 10 and 35 depending on the test. If you failed a test, you couldn’t retry for 24 hours. If you failed it 3 times, you had to redo the challenges.

So basically… I needed to change all that so that it would be fun for humans to play. Truth be told, though, to this date, only 10 people have actually bought the full version.

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