27 Jun

DragonScales 4: A solution for Level 9-6

Level 9-6 of DragonScales 4: Master Chambers demands a high level of dexterity with the game’s strategies. In the following, we present a possible solution.

1- First activate the top arrow (the one going upwards.) It’s essential not to activate the arrow going down (yet.)

2- Then play your scales in order to occupy the cells around the bomb strategically. We aim to activate the arrow going down and, in doing so, yield a combination to explode the bomb. In our example, notice that the two green scales (one of them having the bomb) will combine with the lone green scale we’ve placed at the bottom left. When the arrow is activated, a combination will be formed immediately, exploding the bomb.

3- That’s it for the hardest moves. Now it only remains to activate the other arrow to descend the bomb.

4- Explode the bomb.

5- Finally, activate the arrow and conquer the top red cross-scale.

Good luck!

23 Feb

DragonScales 3: Beating monsters and removing symbols

In DragonScales 3 you’ll have to destroy some special monsters by using the Sacred Axe. Specifically, all the levels of World 15 are full of such pesky creatures. Destroying them is easy, though. Pay attention to the scales you receive to play. Some of such scales will contain a little axe. Try to place the scale with the little axe in a cell of a column containing a monster. Then continue playing to form a combination which includes the scale with the axe. When such combination is formed, the Sacred Axe will appear to smash the monster (see Figure 1.)

Figure 1

Further on, in Level 16, you’ll find the traditional DragonScales symbols on the board. To remove them simply form combinations on the cells with the symbols (see Figure 2.)

Figure 2

Remember we’re available to help. You can reach us via our Facebook page or our Twitter account (@superikigames).

07 Dec

Our current projects: an update

A few months ago we published a list comprising the projects we were dealing with this year. As 2017 is closing down, let’s comment on the current status of each project:

  1. Revamping of DragonScales internal engine.
  2. 95% complete. Minor tweaks and optimizations remaining.

  3. Design of DragonScales 4.
  4. 50% complete. We have to design special levels, new battle mode, the new powers bar, and parts of the story.

  5. Design of a special version of DragonScales for advanced players.
  6. 80% complete. Most of the 150 levels of this game are already completed. We have still to work on the UI (skins, fonts, etc.), but for the most part the design and programming work is done.

  7. Localization of the original DragonScales into Japanese.
  8. 100% complete. The game was released a few weeks ago in Big Fish Games Japan: ドラゴンの鱗:ドラゴントレーナーの部屋

    DragonScales reached the TOP-10 of games in BFG JP!

  9. DragonScales 3 for Android (complete, but yet to be released.)
  10. 100% complete and released a few weeks ago via Immanitas.

  11. Production of a new build for The Rainbow Machine (German version.)
  12. 100% complete and released a few weeks ago in Big Fish Games Germany.

  13. A new build for NagiQ 2 which fixed a few issues (already live here on our site.)
  14. 100% complete and released a few weeks ago via Immanitas.

  15. Yet another build for NagiQ 2 suitable for localization (this localization of NagiQ 2 is currently a work in progress.)
  16. 50% complete. We created a full localization kit, but it still has to be localized by our partner.

Of course, this year we also released DragonScales 3 for Windows and Mac, via the major casual game publishers. We expect to have a strong 2018 start, with the release of the special version of DragonScales on Steam (we were approved this year on the now defunct Greenlight system), DragonScales 3 in German, French, and other languages, and of course, our main game for 2018: DragonScales 4.
Now, let’s go back to the grind. There’s still a lot of work to do before 2017 ends.

25 Sep

UTF-8 with BOM

When localizing DragonScales 3 we experienced a baffling issue with an internal tool whose purpose is simply to replace text in a group of files. Those UTF-8 encoded files contain messages loaded by the game from the very beginning. However, after running the tool, the game started crashing when reading such files. By using an old buddy, fc /B, we found out that our tool was “injecting” a few extra bytes at the start of the file: EF BB BF. In short, the tool was altering the encoding of files from UTF-8 to UTF-8 with BOM. That was the cause for the crashing, as our game expects the files to be UTF-8 encoded without BOM.

What’s this BOM, anyway? Simply put, it’s just a sequence of bytes (EF BB BF) used to signal readers about the file being UTF-8 encoded. It seems such mark might be useful in some specific contexts, with some specific programs. Not our case, so we had to remove the BOM with a little batch script like this:

for /r ".\DE\scenes" %%i in (*.*) do (
  copy %%i .\tmp.txt /Y
  sed -i '1s/^\xEF\xBB\xBF//' .\tmp.txt
  attrib -R .\tmp.txt
  move /Y .\tmp.txt %%i
)

In this snippet we remove the BOM via sed. Files are those under a fictitious directory, .\DE\scenes. Those copies and attribs help to circumvent some problems with permissions of files created by our sed version on Windows.

06 Sep

A strategy for Level 13-7 of DragonScales 3

The key for level 13-7 of DragonScales 3 is to form a way to access the pink scale on the left side at the bottom. Our approach starts by removing the rocks surrounding the central arrow, identified in Figure 1. Remember: to remove rocks just form combinations in adjacent cells.

Figure 1

After removing the rocks, activate the arrow (Figure 2.)

Figure 2

Now focus on the 2 adjacent arrows, on the top row (Figure 3). Activate one of them.

Figure 3

The next step is to activate the bomb to break the block (Figures 4 and 5).

Figure 4

Figure 5

Finally, activate the arrow to lower the column and get access to the pink scale (Figure 6.)

Figure 6

All that remains is capturing the cross pink scales and getting 80 scales of any color.

31 Aug

Extracting text from PSD files

Typically, we need to translate hundreds of strings when localizing our games. Most strings are text messages which the game loads from some database or simple text file. However, we often have to handle localization of several PNG images, such as the one below.

AWESOME! message in DragonScales

Such PNG images are exported from PSD files which must obviously contain at least one Text Layer. To speed up the localization process we have a little Photoshop script which opens the PSD files and extracts all the text we have to translate. PSD files are grouped in directories corresponding to the tileset they belong to. For instance, this would be a typical directory structure for the DragonScales games:

images/
    board/
        awesome.psd, great.psd, ...
    cards
        youwin.psd, sorry.psd, ...
    ending
        congratulations.psd, ...
    levelselect
        clickhere.psd, ...
    mainmenu
        welcome.psd, ...
    etc

A simplified but functional version of the script we use is this:

#target photoshop

var target = "/C/projects/ds/images";
var toLocalize = new Array();
var totalProcessed = 0;
var warningsFiles = new Array();

function log(msg) {
	$.writeln(msg);
}

function processPSDFolder(dir) {
	var files = dir.getFiles("*.psd");
    log("===============================================");
    log(dir + " -> "+ files.length);
    log("===============================================");
	for (var i = 0; i < files.length; i++) {
    	var doc = app.open(files[i]);
    	log("  file: " + files[i]);
        totalProcessed++;
        if ( doc.artLayers.length == 0 ) {
            log("   -> WARNING: ZERO TEXT LAYERS? THEY SHOULD NOT BE IN GROUPS.");
            warningsFiles.push(files[i]);
        }
    	for (var j = 0; j < doc.artLayers.length; j++) {
        	var lyr = doc.artLayers[j];
        	if (lyr.kind == LayerKind.TEXT) {
            	var lyr = doc.artLayers[j];
            	log("   ->" + lyr.textItem.contents);
            	toLocalize.push(lyr.textItem.contents);
        	}
     	}
    	doc.close(SaveOptions.DONOTSAVECHANGES);
	}
}

function saveStrings() {
	var out = new File(target + "/strings.txt");
	out.open("w");
	for (var i = 0; i < toLocalize.length; i++) {
		var str = toLocalize[i];
		out.writeln(str);
	}
 	out.close();
}

var root = Folder(target).getFiles();
for ( var i = 0; i < root.length; i++ ) {
	var fileFoldObj = root[i];
	if ( fileFoldObj instanceof File ) {         
        // Discard files at this level
	} else {
         processPSDFolder( Folder(fileFoldObj) );
	}
}
saveStrings();
log("Total PSDs processed: " + totalProcessed);
log("Warnings: " + warningsFiles.length);
for ( var i = 0; i < warningsFiles.length; i++ ) {
	log(" " + warningsFiles[i]);
}

Observations:

  • target is the path to your directory structure holding the PSD files.
  • The strings to be translated will we written to file strings.txt under your target directory.
  • This script looks for text layers on the top level of the PSD. It can be easily extended to inspect layers in groups, though.
  • We use warnings to be notified about files not containing Text Layers. These might be files requiring special exporting and extra formatting, and therefore we’ll have to handle such files exceptionally.
17 Aug

What we have been working on

Since the launch of DragonScales 3 in May we’ve been very busy handling all the distribution process, replying to customer emails, attending the accounting side, etc. In short, we’ve been handling the business part of IKIGames. However, we also started tackling the design of our next title: DragonScales 4. Yet more, we’ve also worked on a few subtasks mostly related to updating several games of ours. Specifically, this is what we’ve been addressing:

  1. Revamping of DragonScales internal engine.
  2. Design of DragonScales 4.
  3. Design of a special version of DragonScales for advanced players.
  4. Localization of the original DragonScales into Japanese.
  5. DragonScales 3 for Android (complete, but yet to be released.)
  6. Production of a new build for The Rainbow Machine (German version.)
  7. A new build for NagiQ 2 which fixed a few issues (already live here on our site.)
  8. Yet another build for NagiQ 2 suitable for localization (this localization of NagiQ 2 is currently a work in progress.)

The original DragonScales in Japanese!

In the next weeks we’ll keep working on the first 3 tasks.

30 May

Solution for Level 9-8 of DragonScales 3

Generally, we like to include 2 or 3 tricky levels in our DragonScales games. It’s the case for the “Moon Bar” level in DragonScales 1 or Level 3-12 in DragonScales 2. In DragonScales 3: Eternal Prophecy of Darkness we also have a few demanding boards. Level 9-8, for instance.

Image 1

There are two tricky scales in Level 9-8 (see Image 1.) For both scales the key is to setup the required scales beforehand in order to form the match/combination exactly when the arrows are activated. To remove scale Tricky 1, first we have to place golden scales in the near tiles. When the two arrows are activated we should have already placed the golden scales we need, and the combination is done after the last of the two bottom-left arrows is activated.

Image 2

For instance, in Image 2, we have already managed to place two regular golden scales near to the goal golden scale we want to remove (Tricky 1.) Images 3 to 8 only show a few of our plays to activate the arrows. But the important thing is that the 2 golden scales are already in the right place.

Image 3

Image 4

Image 5

Image 6

Image 7

Image 8

Regarding the scale labeled in Image 1 as Tricky 2: we have to follow a similar procedure. See Image 9. Just manage to place golden scales in the proper tiles, and then keep playing to activate the remaining arrow. See Images 9 to 11.

Image 9

Image 10

Image 11

It’s fairly simple once you’ve figured the order in which scales should be removed. You’ll also need a bit of good luck with the scales you’ll get to play! 🙂

P.S. You might be interested in the solution of Level 13-7, also a tricky level of DragonScales 3.

02 May

DragonScales 3’s page is now active!

Hello everybody! The web page for our new game DragonScales 3: Eternal Prophecy of Darkness is already live! You can read a description of the game including its features, take a look at a few screenshots and the trailer, and of course, purchase the game. For the time being, DragonScales 3: Eternal Prophecy of Darkness is available for Windows and Mac. Here’s the link to the game’s new site: DragonScales 3: Eternal Prophecy of Darkness. We hope you like it!

21 Feb

DragonScales 3: Eternal Prophecy of Darkness

After several months of hard work, the new installment in the DragonScales series is finally completed. DragonScales 3: Eternal Prophecy of Darkness is the DragonScales game with the most gameplay variety ever! DragonScales 3 showcases a totally new story arc, with more than 150 new levels and a novel Gravity game mode, besides the classic DragonScales mode with some fun and challenging twists.

Lady Siniestra, Specktr, Archmage Cedric and Xeroz. A new adventure begins!

Lady Siniestra, Specktr, Archmage Cedric and Xeroz. A new adventure begins!

With DragonScales 3: Eternal Prophecy of Darkness DragonScales allows players to win badges and collect stars, for enhanced replay value. Some stars are secret, and you’ll have to find them out! There are other alluring challenges for advanced DragonScales players, albeit the game also offers an enjoyable experience for players looking for relaxed play sessions. Furthermore, DragonScales 3 introduces a new array of magical powers. For example, Improved Prescience allows you to select a tailored set of scales to play! And with the new Confusion power you can completely change the position of all the scales on the board!

New falling mode with skulls!

New falling mode with skulls!

The game is being prepared for distribution through several channels, so stay tunned! 🙂