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[Android][IOS] Cutthroat Spades with Pirates!

Discussion in 'Made With Unity' started by Kailric, May 19, 2017.

  1. Kailric

    Kailric

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Posts:
    12
    Introducing Spades: Cutthroat Pirates, a unique story-driven twist on the popular spades game, with Pirates!

    If you would like to be added to the list of testers for Android or iOS for the new Leaderboards, Achievements, then drop us a line at support@skullwink.com.

    Google Play:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.strongtowerapps.cutthroatspades

    IOS
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cutthroat-spades/id1029168774?mt=8





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    Android Store Listing:

    Adventure on the high seas in this unique story-driven twist on the classic three-handed Spades card game. You've been pressed into service by pirates and must match wits with the crew before facing off against Captain Anderson of the Rose Marie to win your freedom.

    **For a limited time play through all 6 chapters for free**

    Features:
    ♠12 Unique Opponents with their own personalities, backgrounds, voices, and skill.
    ♠Featuring the extraordinary voice talent of John Varker and company.
    ♠Tournament-style play in which the goal is to be the first to reach a predetermined number of wins.
    ♠Play through 6 levels/chapters with a continuing story and alternate endings.
    ♠Sophisticated computer opponents/AI that do not cheat (with the exception of Crackers; he will rat you out).
    ♦At higher levels, opponents may gang up with another player to defeat the lead player, in true cutthroat style,
    ♦Or help a player to win if it keeps the tournament going.
    ♠Two opponent skill attributes.
    ♦Memory: how well a player remembers what has been played.
    ♦Strategy: how well a player uses the information he/she knows.
    ♠Compete for high scores on the Leaderboards in special tourneys.
    ♠22 Achievements to complete.
    ♠Finesse-Based Ads: the better you play, the fewer ads you see.
    ♠Or Purchase Remove Ads
    ♠Unlockable Custom Game mode: choose final score, tournament wins, opponents, and more.
    ♠Watch ads to help you recall what cards have been played.
    ♠Custom sound tracks that set the pirate mood, with more unlocked as you play.
    ♠This app was produced by a stay-at-home dad, so expect greatness, because stay-at-home dads rock!

    Story excerpt: You wonder about the name of the ship. When you ask Hamish he gives you a disquieted look and beckons you closer. “None of us know, at least not the whole story, but never ask the Cap'n. He's mor'n likely to bleed ya back and toss ya to the sharks.”
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    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017
    theANMATOR2b likes this.
  2. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2014
    Posts:
    6,507
    Hey Guys - I checked out your game. Production value is quite high. Very nice graphics, music, voice, instructions, and overall very enjoyable experience.

    A couple things you might want to consider.

    The smiley faces when the AI takes bags or trumps a suit get a little annoying/redundant after about 3 rounds. And the reactions by the AI are kind of repetitive. I know this is probably needed to allow rookie players to identify what has happened, but I think several excited sad reactions without the smiley faces would serve the same purpose, and provide a little variance, so the game doesn't get repetitive so fast.

    Commonly in 3 handed spades the total number of suits (and cards dealt) is kept to 13. This is because the players are so accustomed to bidding on a 13 suit deck. By adding in the total number of cards to match a complete deck minus one duce, (17) cards per hand, the bidding feels off and uncomfortable.
    Usually in 3 handed spaced all 2's are removed keeping the total number of suits available to earn (and total number of cards in the players hand) to 13 suits.

    This is a fundamental game change and one I think would be very tough to make. This would require a complete rewrite to the core mechanics of the single player game, and that would be a very hard decision to make.
    However with 4 handed spades, which appears you are working on at this, that system works with this core system, so how much of a rework would it really be? Probably quite a bit still.

    Just be prepared to get this type of feedback, and less people playing through the story mode because of this 'different' core game setup.

    I really appreciate the amount of options you've provided to the players. One additional options you could consider is to play with jokers. A lot of spades players do not even consider playing a game of spades without the jokers. And I didn't see any place where jokers could be added, increasing the trump (spades) count and reducing the low suit cards.
     
  3. Kailric

    Kailric

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Posts:
    12
    Thanks for the excellent feedback.

    On the smileys and repetitiveness: The smileys where added mostly as a place holder until we add in all the voice over text, which will take quite some time to get it all working correctly and proof read. But that is a planned addition as well. One thing we must consider is that many people will be playing with the volume off or so low you can’t really hear what’s being said. This is what the smileys do now, simply shows a players emotion concerning the play.

    We can make it so that if Character Voices are muted, the smileys are muted as well. Or perhaps add a new option to mute the smileys themselves, which is probably the best approach. Then once we have the voice over text in the app we can convert this to show/not show voice over subtitles.

    We plan to add more options for players to customize their games and research will be done to learn what options people like most. Even the Story Mode can be made customized in this fashion, to an extent. So that players can play through the story with their favorite rules.

    As such, the Cutthroat Engine is being built, from the ground up, as a general card playing engine. So, customizations and adding in new rules will not be very difficult at all. Different rules will add different strategies and make for more unique experiences.

    This version of three-handed spades was based on a version played, for many years, by the lead designer. There is a story detailing how this app came about and can be read as soon as the developer profile is approved by the Made With Unity team.

    Hmm, if all 2s are removed this will make for 16 cards for each player and 12 of each suit. That would not be much of a significant difference. One popular rule calls for a 52-card deck used with the last card set aside. That would add a different kind of planning as no one knows what card was left out.

    On Jokers: Yes, when 4 player comes around Jokers will be an option. I have seen many complaints about spades games not having Jokers, so we dare not make this an oversight. Jokers can be added to the three-handed version as well, perhaps. That would be a heavy hand but interesting play.

    Thanks again for feedback.
     
  4. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2014
    Posts:
    6,507
    Thats right - I remember discarding cards after they were dealt.
    I can't remember exactly - however the total number of suits should always be 13, never more or less.

    Glad to see you are setting up to add/remove optional play. Spades is a great game - and subtly different depending which side of the block you are playing on, and what day of the week it is. LOL With the exception of the books/suits should always be 13.

    Another rule we always played was Board - meaning as a team you could never bid lower than 4. That was board. If between the two players, you couldn't manage to get at least 4 books - you deserve to get set. :)
    However this rule doesn't flow with the nil rule, unless your partner can pull 4 alone.

    Anyway - cool game - I'll keep my eye on it. ;)
     
  5. Kailric

    Kailric

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Posts:
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    Ahh, so you are saying that each player has only 13 cards, from what you remembered? So, you'd need to remove 13 cards. Yeah, there are many house rules. I have never played with the Jokers, but a friend told me about them yesterday. Like, if you lead with the high joker everyone has to play their highest spade, or vice versa with the low joker. That would make some interesting play.

    I tell you though, when it comes to programming the AI, it helps greatly to know the game well. In many spades games it seems like the AI is programmed to follow the rules, but has no idea of the strategy. As we add new rules we plan to play many games with those rules to get a good grasp on the strategies you can use with those rules.

    I've heard of the "Board" rule you mentioned. That would make for some fun team play. If a partner goes nil the other player usually has close to a 4 bid. If not, it will surely make it challenging for that player to pull off his/her bid and cover the nil.

    Speaking of nils, once 4 player is functioning, programming the AI to cover a nil correctly will be top priority. We see many complaints about the AI not being able to cover a nil. Where I am from, going nil and covering a nil is one of the most exciting aspect of Spades. Right below going blind nil for the win :)
     
    theANMATOR2b likes this.
  6. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

    Joined:
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    Yes - I bet AI is super complicated! Makes me glad I'm an artist. LOL
    We never played nil in the Army. I was unceremoniously introduced to nil while playing on msn game platform, years later. My partner went nil and I led with the 2 of clubs making him have to take the book with his lowest club - LOL - a good learning experience - I'll never forget.
     
  7. Kailric

    Kailric

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Posts:
    12
    Heh, yeah, for most of us it takes a while to adapt to new rules. And failing is a great way to learn.

    And yes, programming the AI to think and strategize like a human is very complicated. I imagine that is why there are so many bad AIs out there.

    For Cutthroat, we worked with the AI extensively for long periods to make them understand the strategy behind the rules of the game. The AI has two attributes: one for memory and one for skill level. Memory helps an AI to remember what cards have been played. And the strategy level helps the AI to determine how it should bet/play under different circumstances.

    Currently, the AI is very competitive, but there is still room for improvement. Which we plan to improve on the AI and add a Hard difficulty at some point. After the first level, there is no more randomness involved in the play. The AI makes plays based on circumstances in the game using their memory and skill level.

    In a Cutthroat tourney, there are many more factors involved that the AI needs to be aware of as compared to a single game of partner spades. For instance, if an opponent is about to win a game do you then team with the other opponent to stop the lead player from winning? If so, you must decide if you are going to attempt to set that lead player or bag them out. Or another decision could be; do you help another player win a game in order to prevent an opponent from winning the tourney.

    And by the way, coming in the next update, we’ve added a new option to disable the smileys. Also, we could make it so that the more common said lines are not spoken as often. Or perhaps add an option for Lesser Chatter that does this.

    That’s awesome you were in the Army. Salute! I learned not long back that card games get played lots in the military. That’s good to know
     
    theANMATOR2b likes this.
  8. Kailric

    Kailric

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Posts:
    12
    Ahh, we just realized that users who downloaded the Unreleased version for Android cannot test the Leaderboards and Achievements yet because they have not been officially published. Android is different than iOS on this. So, the white listed testers will be testing the leaderboard/achievements over the next few days then we'll officially publish those so all can test them.

    If you would like to be added to the list of testers for Android or iOS then drop us a line at support@skullwink.com.
     
  9. Kailric

    Kailric

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Posts:
    12
    Greetings all, the new update for Android and iOS is near complete. There are two things to note about this update.
    1. To preserve your saved game on iOS, you must quit/save the game at the choosing dealer screen, then install the update.

    2. With this version, you can still play chapters 1 and 2 for free, but you will have to purchase “Continue Story” to unlock the next chapters. However, if you have already completed Chapter 2 you will be grandfathered in for free.

    So, if you want to progress through all 6 chapters for free, knock out those first two chapters. This should be pretty easy. Just don’t tell Mary Red I said that :p
     
  10. Kailric

    Kailric

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Posts:
    12
    Ahoy mates, we've had a few updates of late. Mainly a few tweaks and bug fixes. But, we are preparing for multiplayer. We have also created our first promotional video linked in OP. We've managed to get over 2k downloads on Android and iOS so we are really excited about that.

    Our developer site has been up a while and we wrote the story about how Cutthroat came to be which was featured on the front page of MadeWithUnity a few weeks in June. The link is here.

    Until next time, keep the wind in your sails, mates!