The Pocket Blog
And here it is! The Pygmies dive into an underwater world of menace and treasure in Episode 48, “Call of Booty!”
The gods, pleased with Teela’s inventiveness, have granted the Pygmies a special pair of waterwings. You may have to select them in the menu, but they’re available and ready to use. Drop the waterwings on any Pygmy, and he’ll dive into the water.
In order to swim, tap on either side of the Pygmy in the direction you want him to go. To change course, hold the tap in the new direction. To tilt upward, you tap slowly; to tilt downward, you tap faster. On top of that, the Pygmy, at rest, will float towards the surface. Be sure to dodge the various oceanic hazards, which include mines that will turn you to stone, face-hugging jellyfish, and voracious oysters.
Once you’re in the water, you’ll notice a helpful inset map of the entire swimmable area. In the map, a piece of booty will appear as a blinking yellow dot. After you grab the first one, the second one will appear, and so on.
Oh, yes. There’s one little detail about that first piece of booty. Once you’ve claimed it, the game is on. Your breathing time is limited, and the jellyfish decide that they desperately want to get their tendrils on some Fresh Pygmy in order to plant their eggs inside you! When that happens, it’s not pretty!
- The jellyfish are fast but they can be confused by sudden movements in another direction. So try swerving to buy some time!
- The game area loops. If the treasure is behind you, you can shoot forward and catch up with it from the other side.
- Watch that green bar under the map! If it shrinks to nearly nothing… you’re running out of air!
With 20 pieces of booty, it’s a supreme test of your awesomeness if you can get ‘em all. Can you do it?
Last but not least… the Oyster God Idol beckons! If you active the Challenge of the Gods, Episode 48, you can collect this valuable piece of merchandise! Rise to the challenge and gain even more booty!
We’re very excited about this update, and we hope you will be too. By the way, the folks at TouchArcade have written up a nice piece about Episode 48 (Read it here), and don’t forget Dave’s State of the Island to see things from the programmer’s perspective!
Thanks to all our beachin’ Pocket God fans, and happy hunting!
As we’ve mentioned, Dave and Allan have been crazy-mad-busy working on several things at once. For starters, they’ve been doing some contract work with various other clients. For middlers, they’ve also been working on a brand spanking new game. But for enders, they’ve also been working on the newest and bluest Pocket God update.
Allan explains: “We knew it would take a while to finish the new game, plus the iOS was requiring we make some changes to our existing apps on the store. So instead of taking forever to release something new, we decided to make a whole new update to Pocket God.”
The new episode is titled Call of Booty (like pirates’ booty! Get it?) and involves our intrepid Pygmies diving underwater to gain valuable treasures… while avoiding some new and painful demises. Allan states: “We actually noodled around with several ideas before landing on this one. Dave had an idea for a swimming mechanic and I liked the idea of a treasure hunt. The waterwings are inspired by Teela’s waterwings in Issue 16 of the Pocket God comic!”
So enjoy the preview of Episode 48: Call of Booty, coming soon to an iOS near you!
Sorry this took so long! Life tends to heat up and send you tumbling sometimes. But here we are, with the next two stops on our trip around Memory Island.
Description: Sacrifice Pygmies to the sacred volcano!
An island in the middle of an endless ocean is very likely to have been created by volcanic activity. So why are waste perfectly good volcanic activity on just “creating an island”? Allan and Dave figured they should bring magma and mantle in on the fun of torturing Pygmies. Over to you, Allan:
Now we had committed to an update a week for a certain amount of time, so the updates had to be fairly simple. All we added was a volcano and the ability to flick the pygmies into the distance. They either hit the ocean or the volcano. Dave said he knew we were onto something the first time he plugged in the “smack!” sound I provided when you flicked the pygmy. You had to aim and put 3 pygmies into the volcano to make it erupt. Lava would then rain down and the pygmies would catch fire, scatter and jump into the ocean.
About this time, we decided to update the icon. All I did was alter the original, hastily adding the volcano and the fire. We were banging things out so quickly and keeping up our freelance work, so there were many things I look back on and cringe. But soon I would be creating a new one from scratch and the art would evolve as we shed our freelance to work on PG full time.
Oh, and in the screenshot you’ll notice I’d included a Moai statue, without knowing of its deeper historical and cultural significance. After being made aware of this, we took the opportunity to change the statue in an effort to begin building our own world and mythology.
Description: Shake the world of your Pygmies up by shaking your iOS device!
Making the most of the small, portable nature of iPhones and their ilk, it seemed to make sense that the little critters inside might be affected by all the jarring and jostling that takes place on a daily basis. The trouble was, even as a two-dimensional image, it still had to feel three-dimensional when you shook things up! Allan explains:
This was one of the update ideas we talked about before we even finished the first version of the app. It was also the functions I would describe when trying to explain the app concept of controlling the Pygmies inside your phone. I remember one friend who looked baffled about the whole Pocket God concept until I described “shaking the iPhone and causing an earthquake.”
Originally it was just shaking the app to make an earthquake, but Dave was the one who asked what would happen if you just held the phone upside-down, or even tilted it. It made sense that they would fall down and then get up, so I had to make a bunch of different pygmy states.
To further complicate it, we decided that they could fall face forward or backwards, so it got a little hairy in development. Because of this, it was the most complex interactivity we’d created in the early “update every week” phase.
So now that Pocket God has erupted and shaken up the world of apps, what would torrential new event would strike the Pygmiverse next? Would it be something people could sink their teeth into or would it make them go unconscious? Stay tuned, as we update “Pocket God … Revisited!” regularly on our way to a new and exciting development in the Pygmiverse!
So we’ve got some Pocket God action brewing behind the scenes. Both Allan and Dave are putting their heads together, then immediately separating their heads as having two heads touching makes it really hard to concentrate on anything. Allan’s got art things going and Dave’s got programming things going and the Pygmies have SOMETHING going, but what it is we don’t know yet.
So in preparation, we’re going to take a walk around Memory Island and examine past episodes. Allan will contribute his present-day thoughts on past updates as we go along. Join us on our trek through Pocket God history!
Description: Create new islanders and move them upward.
This is where it all began, back in the early days of 2009: little guys you can move around on an island, accompanied by goofy voices. The episode title was quite apt, as there weren’t many frills to this at the start. Allan elaborates:
One day Dave was helping me with installing memory on my laptop. Over lunch he asked me if I wanted to try to make a simple game with him. He had this idea based on a flash game we made where you were supposed to put little ones and zeroes in order, but we also made it so you could toss them around and they made funny little noises. He then said,”What if you had pygmies on an island that you could pick up and throw around?”
We started sketching ideas on a piece of printer paper, fleshing out the basic concept. We decided to keep it super simple and release it inside of a month. This was when apps came out that didn’t do a lot, such as faked drinking beer. I think all you could do is pick them up and throw them in the water. They would just walk around and stand.
I think that the episode title idea came up at the last minute (or maybe it was even after the first release) because we wanted to promise updates. Dave thought that would intrigue people. The title of this episode was a quote from an animated piece that came out after the internet bust called “Laid Off Land” by Odd Todd. Somewehere in the short, the narrator (Odd Todd) mused that before he was laid off that he would look around at these people just hanging around a coffee shop with “nowhere to go and nothing to do”…and now he’s one of those people. I always thought that was a funny line; so it’s the first thing that popped in my mind because at first there WAS nowhere to go and nothing to do in Pocket God.
Description: This update contained optimizations to make the app a smaller download.
So the question was… if they’ve got nowhere to go and nothing to do, where will we take them and what will they do? The answer was… nowhere and nothing. But nowhere was a lot faster, and nothing was a lot sleeker!
The first thing Dave noticed was that the game was way too big for the tiny amount of content…so he had to go in and optimize. Originally all the graphics were separate pieces, but generally games use “texture maps” where all the graphics are consolidated onto a single piece and the art is separated programatically.
There wasn’t really a significant art addition as far as I can remember.
So now with the app optimized and ready to roar, what would erupt next from the depths of Dave and Allan’s minds? And how would it shake up the world of Pocket God? Stay tuned, as we update “Pocket God … Revisited!” regularly on our way to a new and exciting development in the Pygmiverse!