The Jumpman Forever Level Editor & Level Sharing Community
I've mentioned the concept of a built-in community and level editor for Jumpman Forever, and I'm finally going to dive into it a bit.
First, let's talk about the level sharing community thing before we even get into the level editor it's self.
Part of the concept behind Jumpman Forever was to create a game that was easy to continue to expand over time. The engine we're using is pretty good with that, including supporting new platforms as they come out. We've picked our release platforms for the moment, but, as new platforms gain popularity, we hope to support them too. But, what about content?
A level editor is a good solution for ever-expanding content. The thing I've always had a problem with is how user-created content is dealt with: usually, it's something you have to go hunt down on an ad-filled forum or website, download 'em, figure out how to upload them, and hope they are compatible with the version you are currently playing. I remember digging through all the various download sites for Doom and Quake levels - not particularly fun, really. Then, make the whole experience cross-platform, and it gets even less fun :-(
So, the solution was going to have to be something that worked on all platforms, had an API that a user could create an account through, had an easy to deal with upload / download process for both mobile and desktop versions (and any future versions), and had community features.
Enter cloudPages.me. It's a cloud based file sharing platform with some rather unique features. It's currently under development, but, I know what the API looks like, and what features that are being built into it. Pretty much fits the bill perfectly.
Now, there's a reason I know cloudPages so well: cloudPages is one of my contract development customers. I've got the inside track on the API's, for instance, because I'm the one already writing them :-)
Not everything is ready for a full reveal yet, but, let me give you a rundown of how it's going to work:
You'll need a cloudPages.me account. No worries, it's a free account. You won't even have to leave the game to do it - signup is integrated right into apps that use it.
Once you're signed up through Jumpman Forever, for instance, you've now got a Jumpman Forever directory. When you save a level - poof - right in there it goes. By default, it's not shared - you decide when you want the community to have access to it.
When you think the level is ready for the real world to touch it, hit share to community.
Now, users can download the level and play it, rate it (and flag it as inappropriate, if necessary.)
For users who only want to download levels, it's pretty simple.
Create account inside the app. Hit browse Jumpman Forever Community - it brings up all the shared levels (which are sortable by various criteria). Hit download, and it automatically pops it into your local game files, no matter what platform you're on. All platforms have the same in-game interface, so it's easy to deal with!
As a developer, this is pretty handy: I can do integration on both sides of the app - creating the API, integrating it into Jumpman Forever, then going back to the API and fixing any bugs I find. I have, well, almost complete control of the situation :-)
Now, what about the level editor it's self?
Right now the plan is for it to be cross-platform also, and built into Jumpman Forever. There's an off chance that I may break it into a separate download for Jumpman Forever - that way it keeps the download size smaller for mobile users, and for folks who just aren't interested in doing level editing.
It's going to be available for all platforms that Jumpman Forever supports, though I'm a little twitchy about iPhone and Android phone support - the screen is so small, I'm afraid it's going to be way too hard to use effectively. Tablets, on the other hand, have a display large enough it should be a problem at all. In my mind, I expect most people who want to do levels will probably do it on the desktop version - but, I could be completely wrong on that!
The level editor will ship at the same time as the PC / Mac / iOS / Android version of Jumpman Forever, which puts it roughly 8 months after the end of the current Kickstarter. Attached below is the Press Release that's going out for it. Enjoy the dry, dusty flavor of a boring press release... ;-)
“Jumpman Forever” developer reveals community plan for classic C64 / Atari era game sequel
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WICHITA, Kansas (December 11, 2013) - Video game developer Midnight Ryder Technologies announced their plans to bring a cloud based file sharing community to Jumpman Forever to remove the hassles related to downloading 3rd party content and potential expansions. 3rd party content is expected to be created with the level editor being integrated into Jumpman Forever’s planned phase 2 release for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices. Phase 1 release is planned for the Ouya micro-console in late February 2014.
Jumpman Forever, an authorized sequel to the Commodore 64 / Atari 400/800 era classic game Jumpman, takes the player back to a different time in video games. Jumpman, which was somewhat ground breaking for it’s time, having shipped with 30 levels, was a platform game who’s gameplay centered around action based puzzles. Jumpman, and it’s sequel two years later, Jumpman Jr, saw releases on Commodore 64, Atari 400/800, Apple II, IBM PC, and ColecoVision, along with a modern re-release in 2010 on the Wii’s Virtual Library in the UK.
“The original Jumpman game, now over 30 years old, still has a following,” said lead Jumpman Forever developer Davis Ray Sickmon, Jr. “We want to encourage Jumpman Forever to have that sort of shelf life by giving people a way of creating their own content with the Jumpman Forever level editor, then give them a simple way to share or download levels without ever having to leave the game.”
Midnight Ryder Technologies has selected upcoming file sharing platform cloudPages.me - currently in beta - to handle the community file sharing features. Mr. Sickmon explained there were multiple reasons for the decision, including the fact that he’s a contract developer for cloudPages.me. “cloudPages.me was designed with a very different philosophy.” says Davis “It’s designed to be integrated into apps directly, or as a complete stand-alone package, it’s designed to be simple enough for grandma to use, and it’s designed with features that are attractive to both communities and individuals.”
Ryan Daggett, head of cloudPages.me, views the collaboration as a win-win for the company. “It’s not very common to have a situation like this. We get the benefit of one of our developers both writing the API, and being an API consumer at the same time, which can speed up development considerably. It also means we actually ship the features that a real product needs, not just the features we feel ‘sound cool.’”
Jumpman Forever is currently part of a Kickstarter campaign. More information can be found at www.JumpmanForever.com
cloudPages.me plans to have their first full release out in December, and plans to release API support for developers when Jumpman Forever ships. Beta access signup and information can be found at www.cloudPages.me
Midnight Ryder Technologies (www.MidnightRyder.com) began in 1999 with video game development and game development services for PC & Mac platforms, and later expanded to include other platforms including iOS, Android, and now adds Ouya to it’s supported platforms. Since 1999, Midnight Ryder Technologies has has eight self-published video game titles, including it’s most recent, RetroBreaker for iOS, Android, and Mac.
Davis Ray Sickmon, Jr
Midnight Ryder Technologies
2922 East Conamore
Wichita, Kansas, 67216
ph: (316) 290-9048