Minecart Runner

Feature_Graphic-1024x500About
Minecart Runner is an infinite runner, inspired by the minecart levels from Donkey Kong Country. There are 2 modes in the game, a Normal mode, where the cart is on rails and the player must jump over gaps and obstacles, collecting items along the way; and then Krazy Mode, which is procedurally generated, is quite difficult and has “crazy” physics (the cart spins around 360). Krazy mode is how MCR started out and wasn’t supposed to be in the game, but during prototyping quite a few people said that they would play a game like this, due to this early positive feedback the gameplay was kept it in as an additional mode.

For more information regarding Minecart Runner, please visit the dedicated website Enigma 23 Games – Minecart Runner

Game Design
Minecart Runner has two game modes, both with the same goals: reach as far as possible and collect as many items as possible. The two modes differ in the style of player movement, on the ‘Normal Mode’ the cart runs along rails which go up and down, along flat and have gaps. Normal also has different items to collect, diamonds which give 10 points, crystals (which require a row of diamonds to be collected in order to appear) give 100 points and crystals stuck in rock (requiring a pick axe) give 500 points.
‘Krazy Mode’ offers more difficulty, it’s not on rails, platforms have three different sizes and are randomly spawned at three points on the Y axis. Items to collect on this mode are diamonds only, which also spawn randomly at three different levels on the Y axis.

To add an incentive, leaderboards have been available in the game from the start, allowing players to compete against each other and challenge friends to reach the highest score/ farthest distance.

Coding
Gameplay – With Minecart Runner have two games modes there was essentially two lots of gameplay to code, however Krazy Mode has rather simple gameplay – continuously move right, tap once to jump, a second time whilst in the air to jump again, the cart can spin 360 and the platforms spawn at random intervals. Normal mode had most of the same mechanics, but with the added need to run along rails and not keep spinning. The rails were accomplished by using a spline to run along above the graphical rails, allowing the cart to move along, jump between rails and speed up/ slow down as needed.

UI – The UI was implemented much in the same way as Shh, Zombies, however this time using the new UI released with Unity 4.6 (MCR start off development on Unity 4.6 and upgraded to Unity 5 for final release).

Unity
Level Creation – Normal Mode has four sections, the start area and then three prefabbed areas that spawn in a random order after each other. The three prefabs are in a pool manager to lower the loading and destroying of assets during gameplay. Each prefab is reset when it is disabled, so that when it is spawned (and re-enabled) all the items are back in place for the player to collect again.

Multi-platform builds – Minecart Runner has been released on iOS and Android (both Google Play and Amazon).

Unity Plugins
UnityAds – Minecart Runner is a free game, with ad support. During development adverts were set to appear after three retries, however this became annoying to me so this was changed to five retries, which felt a much better experience.

Unity Analytics – I replaced Game Analytics with Unity’s own analytics service, which felt easier to implement and with a better dashboard to track metrics.

Achievements Service Manager (ASM) – Used to implement achievements for Game Center and Google Play again, as well as leaderboards for the two services.

Everyplay – Mobile video recording, allows players to share their gameplay on the Everyplay social network.