Sunday, September 28, 2014

Skill Upgrades

Skill upgrades are coming...

Better start saving up on golden bugs to be able to purchase the skill upgrades. At the moment the following abilities are upgradable:

  • Shield
  • Power Dash
  • Glide
  • Dash

Different skills have different properties that can be improved. For example, the Shield power up has the properties of duration, and endurance. Duration tells how long the shield can stay up before it collapses on its own, while endurance tells the number of damage the shield can absorb before collapsing. The third property, strength, will be for offensive abilities which are not yet implemented in the game.

The current level cap of 7 will be increased to 10. Skill upgrades will unlock progressively starting at level 8. Once they are unlocked, you may purchase them using golden bugs.
-- LJ

To contact the author, just send your e-mail to

Sunday, September 21, 2014

SuperTiny Monkey is now Playable!

Super Tiny Monkey is now LIVE for OPEN BETA! You can download the Android app from Google Play Store

Meet the tiny monkey with super powers. Leap, dive, glide...survive!
Help our tiny monkey run from poachers. Leap from tree to tree and get as far away as possible. Be careful of spikes and don't fall off! Beat the highest score and tell your friends about it.

We GREATLY appreciate your feedback, suggestions, criticism. As long as it's about improving the game, we're all ears! We wish to hear from you.

To contact the author, just send your e-mail to

Friday, September 19, 2014

Super Tiny Monkey: Sidequests

Quests give the gamers a purpose. We believe that by adding quests to our game, you, our player, will enjoy the game more. Quests will give you something to work on, something to aim for -- in case topping the leaderboard isn't enough.
To be able to see your Quest Log, simply tap the PAUSE/HELP button. The Pause window will appear and from there you just tap the Quest Menu button. It's the one that looks like a book.

Second button from the left

The quests are optional missions any player can complete while playing the game. Each quest gives varying rewards, all in the form of EXP (Experience Points), Gold Bugs (Currency for use with power ups and upgrades), and Rainbow Butterflies (Special Currency). Completing quests is currently the only way to earn Rainbow Butterflies at the moment.

Quests have a Level requirement. At the start of the game, during level 1, there are only a handful of quests available to the player. As you gain more levels, you get to unlock more quests automatically. Your new quests will simply be added to the bottom of the Active quests list. You can view the currently locked quests, complete with their rewards. We think that by doing it this way it'll motivate the player to level up and keep on playing.

Likewise, completed quests are kept in a nice list for itself. From here you can review the quests you have completed. Quests are tied to the map you are in. Each map will have its own set of quests. Quests are not repeatable. Once completed, they will always stay completed.

Completed quests

During gameplay, when the player completes a quest, a notification will appear at the corner of the screen. This gives the player a hint that he/she has completed a quest. As more quests are completed the number indicator will simply increment. Pressing/Tapping this icon will bring up the Quest Log Menu.

Notification to your right
After a game session, you will be notified of each quest you have completed, and be awarded with EXP, Gold Bugs, and Rainbow Butterflies according the the description of your quest.

At the moment of this writing we already have 35 quests. We plan to add more, to reach 50 quests for each map.

-- LJ

To contact the author, just send your e-mail to

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tiny Monkey: Plot and Characters

Experiment BZ-1538 has escaped, and is on the run. The captors are now after it and are desperate to bring it back alive. On this article we're going to explore the story and characters behind Super Tiny Monkey.

Our hero belongs to a family of primates called Tarsiidae. He was captured in the wilds and became the 1538th subject for an experimental procedure that implants super natural abilities to trained animals. As a result of numerous experiments and medications, he has developed a more human-like awareness and thought process. This advancement gave him the wit enough to devise a plan to escape the laboratory. Being a very valuable experiment, he is now being chased relentlessly by his captors. He is experiment BZ-1538, nicknamed Goggles.

BZ-1538 "Goggles" Concept Art

Goggles is one of the few test subjects that reacted positively to the medication. He exhibited slow but steady development starting with his problem solving skills. Lab results show that aside from the discoloration of his fur to a more reddish hue, he is yet to manifest any form of physical mutation. It has been observed that he moves and navigates around differently than any ordinary primate of his kind. His capability for cognitive learning was duly noted, but no one was aware of the super powers he obtained -- until he broke free and escaped. Goggles was found to be able to produce a protective shield around himself that can absorb some damage before collapsing. He can also summon all the strengths and focus them on his feet to make a powerful kick that sends him almost flying across the air. It was theorized from there on that he will manifest more super natural abilities as he matures.

Enrico Alonzo, better known as the Poacher, was tasked by Dr. Zoo to capture BZ-1538 and bring it back alive. Rico assembles a handful of locals and chases Goggles through the forest. Rico is not very bright, as evidenced by his preference to use a simple sweep net against a super monkey.

Concept Art of Rico the Poacher

When Rico was tasked by Dr. Zoo to capture BZ-1538, he enlisted the help of the local poachers. These locals are remarkably good at climbing trees, so Rico had them hiding on the trees above, ready to swoop down on our unsuspecting hero.

Poacher on the tree

Evil genius Dr. Blight Zoo is the creator of BZ-1538. He is a brilliant engineer, chemist, and biologist, and considered to be a prodigy during his time. Shortly after completing his many accomplishments in various fields of science, he vanished without a trace. Little do people know, he has been spending over 40 years of his life trying to create a stable biochemical formula. With the formula he aims to unlock the full potential of all the living creatures. Over the course of his pursuit he has experimented with over a thousand subjects. Most of his subjects were not able to survive the procedure, and would reject the chemicals injected to their system. With the relative success of BZ-1538 along with a handful of other subjects, he feels he has come real close to success. Up to now he has kept a very low profile and is conducting his experiments in a secluded laboratory he built in the mountain ranges.

Concept Art of Dr. Zoo

Dr. Zoo is a man in his 60's, and is a vegetarian. He is extravagant, can be pompous at times, and a little impatient. It is unknown whether he's striving for the benefit of mankind or just himself.

Goggles was not the only one. There are other test subjects that also exhibited various levels of development both mentally and physically. There are also test subjects that have already undergone training and have become loyal to Dr. Zoo, even prior to BZ-1538's creation. At the time of BZ-1538's escape, a number of yet to be identified test subjects have also escaped. It is unclear if they planned their escape altogether or not. Stay tuned for updates as we reveal their identities!

-- LJ

To contact the author, just send your e-mail to

Monday, September 8, 2014

Where Are You Now, Oh Tiny Monkey?

I announced Tiny Monkey for release last month. Unfortunately, the promised date came and went, but no Tiny Monkey appeared at the Play Store. The game was not released and It wasn't because the goal wasn't reached -- it just felt rather unfinished.

All the features, which isn't saying much, that I planned for an August release was already there. The only thing left for us to do for the remaining two weeks was let other people sample our game. However, during the last leg of the weeks that I have been in "Gamedev Hermit" mode, this article, referred by my wife, caught my attention. It made me think twice about going through with the release.

Old screenshot of Tiny Monkey

I am fully aware that Tiny Monkey is just slightly differently dressed, but a clone nonetheless. The article does have a point, and I'm not oblivious to the fates of the multitude of clones of that game. Despite all that I managed to convince myself that Tiny Monkey can set itself apart from the rest of its kind. The important thing was that I had a simple goal, that goal was met, and it was good enough for me. It’s time to play test this with other people and go through with the release, or so I thought.

One sample player just kept on tapping the screen, and it made our Monkey jump and glide erratically. Sure they can reach past the 20 mark line, but it all felt random; like it was just some sort of fluke. Also watching the game being played like that was sort of painful. There was no grace; the sensation I was expecting from watching someone time their jump from one tree to the next was absent. That was when I first had the thought that maybe our game really isn't good enough for a release.

I discussed this with the team, and it turns out they did have the same experience. One feedback we got was that the controls are overwhelming and complicated. I stepped back for a bit to think about it. Were they really overwhelming? Tap to jump when you’re on a tree. Tap to glide when airborne. Swipe right when on a tree to kick. Swipe down when airborne to dive. Swipe up when airborne. I made sure that the information is accessible to players by putting a bouncing HELP button that brings up a multi page visual aid, but it seems that was not enough. Another proof of this was that I had to explain the controls each time I get a new person to play the game. We had to think of a way that can make the information even more accessible and visible to the player. We concluded that a progression system is needed.

Progression system implemented

With the progression system, our players will be slowly introduced to the different controls of the game. At level 1 all the player can do is tap on the screen so that our monkey can leap from tree to tree. Of course that would mean that the trees need to be evenly spaced and reachable with a single leap. This also means that obstacles need to be removed, to be introduced gradually. At level 2 the player will be taught how to perform a kick from tree to tree. On level 3 the player can swipe up to lift our monkey. This goes on up to level 7, where the player would have access to all abilities and super powers that our hero has.

The progression system gave the game a bit of a RPG flavor-- players will earn experience points based on the number of trees it passed by. The Stars awarded to the player also serve as multipliers to boost the experience. With enough experience points, the player will level up, and the process begins again. Excess Exp is carried over to the next level. When the level cap is reached, which will sit at 7 at the time of the beta release, players will stop earning Exp.

With the decision to add a progression system we had no choice but to push the release date to a few more weeks. The initial game was already ready early August, but with this we were aiming for a late August release. But wait a minute, it's already September. Why hasn't the game released yet?

A progression system gave the game a little of the much needed polish it requires. It also added replay value. Tiny Monkey has taken a step to evolution from being a clone into being a game of its own. It was a good feeling, but I was not satisfied. Since we already missed the first deadline, why not extend it a little more and push it back to the next month? Why should we still pin ourselves to an August release when we could do something more for just an additional month? We are not under pressure from anything aside from awaiting fans. "I'm sure they'll understand", I thought. I'm sure you'll understand.

Upon completing a side mission, a notification will appear

So here we are now adding missions. These are optional goals for the player. We believe this can increase the replay value of the game and give us more time while we work on additional content (e.g. new maps, new obstacles, power upgrades, etc.) Some missions are trivial activities that the player will probably complete unknowingly, while some will require skills and dexterity. They reward the player with golden bugs (ingame currency), Exp, and the rainbow butterfly-- a special currency. Once the interface is implemented and the missions are fully tested, we will publish a public beta release for both Android and iOS.

Quest rewards

While we're trying to deliver a more complete game, we're still a very small operation and we do all this work on the sideline. We're maintaining that balance between what we can achieve given our limited time and the quality of our product. In this regard, the game Tiny Monkey has officially changed its release date to "when it's ready". Apologies if you've been eagerly waiting for this. Hopefully you can wait just a little more!

-- LJ

To contact the author, just send your e-mail to

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Duende! Explained

Last week I told the story of how Duende! came to be, and I also introduced you to all the characters in the game. For this article I'm going to discuss the technical aspects of gameplay. I'm also going to give away some tips that could possibly help you in case you find yourself stuck.

The Whack-a-mole Concept

If there is ever a Whack-a-mole genre, Duende! definitely fits the bill. It has all the hallmarks of being a Whack-a-mole game: the popping up of targets, and the player's interaction with them by simply whacking, or in the case of a mobile device, tapping them. This is what all Whack-a-mole games essentially boil down to, and is explained to the player on level 1.

The goal in level 1 is to catch 10 Green duendes before your counter (that bar at the top of the screen) expires. As you've met them already, any of the three Green duende variation will count towards your goal. It is also okay to exceed 10 so you can boost your score.

Level 2 introduces one of the added flavors of Duende! to the Whack-a-mole concept: tapping some types of duendes more than once. Actually, there are only two types of duendes that require more than one tap to be captured, and they are the Blue and the Black ones. They both require a double tap.

On this level, the player is presented with two types of duendes: the Green and the Blue ones. The goal is to catch 10 Blue duendes, but it is okay to catch the Green ones also. You are not required to catch them in any sequence; as long as you capture a total of 10 Blue duendes by the end of the level, you're on the clear.

On Combos and Chains

On level 3 the player is introduced to the concept of combos. Combos are a set combination of duende captures. Some combos are strict and require you to capture the duendes in exact sequence, while most allow for wildcards. Be aware that the combo meter does expire; you can't hold on to that sequence forever! The timer on the combo meter varies per level. Fortunately, you won't have to guess these combos. You can find the Combopedia at the level selection screen. It details the combo rewards and requirements.

Combos are primarily for boosting your score, although some have special effects on the game (e.g. Time Warp, Double Points, etc.). Most quests also requires the player to complete combos multiple times.

Performing consecutive combos will form a Combo Chain, or simply Chain. This concept is introduced in level 6 of the game. Combo chains will break when the player takes damage, or receives a penalty. It can also break after some seconds of inactivity, which varies between levels. If you have a quest to make a long chain, but unfortunately there’s no possible combo to make, just keep on catching duendes. The chain will not break since there is an activity. With enough luck a good combination will be on its way.

Slicing Like a Ninja

Another added flavor to the game is the concept of defense. Red and Black duendes will throw a projectile at you, specifically a crumpled paper. Players can destroy these projectiles by swiping on them, much like in the popular game Fruit Ninja-- ours is less flashy though. Destroying projectiles doesn’t reward the player with anything; it just prolongs survival. When the player is hit by these projectiles, 1 Heart is lost. The player will have a fixed number of 3 Hearts at the beginning of each level. When the Heart count reaches zero, that’s a Game Over for the player. Sometimes keeping a certain number of Hearts is also part of the quest.

Fortunately, lost Hearts can be recovered by catching White duendes. It is also possible to restore 1 or all Hearts by performing combos such as Orange Juice, Lemonade, and Citrus Platter. Unfortunately, this means that healing is heavily dependent on how the level is set up, so if the level doesn’t give you these types of duendes your best weapon is your reflex and persistence.

The Angry Bird Riders

One of the most annoying obstacles in the game are the bird riders. This can be any duende riding on a bird. Birds appear from the edges of the screen and fly to their predetermined position. Some birds fly fast, some fly slowly. It is possible to catch them midflight, but it is often difficult. Catching birds also disposes of the rider, but that will only give you points for the bird. Also you are not considered to have captured the rider.

There are two types of birds: the normal ones and the armored ones. The normal ones require only one tap to catch, while armored ones need two. Birds vary in size, but in most cases, they will be blocking your view. Eliminate them as soon as possible, especially if you don’t really need the rider. Bird riders will start appearing on level 21.

The Hermit

The concept of the Hermit is similar to Red and Black duendes, only applied to the other side. Instead of attacking you, Hermits will cast a zap spell to random duendes, including itself, to take them back to their home dimension. There’s really no other way to beat Hermits aside from capturing them first or preempt them by denying their target. Hermits will start appearing on level 31.

The Cat and that Cymbal

Starting on level 41 the player is introduced to a new game mechanic: the Don’t Wake the Cat. Aside from completing the quests, the player must keep the cat asleep at all costs. If the cat ever wakes up, it’s an instant Game Over for the player. The Cymbalist duende will make noise to disturb the cat. You can either capture the Cymbalist before it makes its noise, or you can stroke the cat on its body to calm it. The cat can be disturbed three times before it fully wakes up, so the player has some time to calm it back to slumber.

You will hear a cymbal sound when Cymbalists do their thing. Also, when you stroke the cat you will hear a purring sound. You will also have a visual cue to how close the cat is from waking up by looking at its ears; two ears folded means it’s fully asleep. When disturbed once, one ear will stand up. Another ear will stand up when disturbed again. On the third noise it will open its eyes and jump at the player!

Here is a video of a Cat level in action:

While we have plans to expand the game to have more levels, 50 seems enough for the time being. We’re continuously tweaking and balancing the game, because we want as many people to enjoy them as possible. If you have any feedback or comment, regarding the game or this article, let us know!

You can download Duende! from the Play Store:
Duende! on Google Play Store

-- LJ

To contact the author, just send your e-mail to

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