Sand Gravity Machine - Android Release

edited in Projects
So I went back to one of my old prototypes made for one of the game-jams here. The idea is to have about 10 levels of similar structure as this first prototype level, it's targeted for Android devices, with a meta screen of some sort displaying the different levels. The game is intended to be very casual with the person enjoying a few minutes of each level enough to watch an interstitial ad that will be shown in-between levels. It's not made to be a thought provoking puzzle or a showpiece, my question being, is this enjoyable for 2 or 5 minutes on the level.

The game has been released on Google Play.


Here is the video of the play-through of the prototype, have a look at it if you don't have the time to download the prototype that's linked below it.

And the current meta screen.
Thanked by 2konman Jurgen


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    Hey @critic, very cool.

    I like your mechanic for placing conveyor belts and also using the right mouse click to drag the level up or down. I can't help but feel there should be some kind of limit to placing those conveyor belts. Maybe a pool of points that increase perhaps via successful sand gathering, as you go along, that can be use to place more of them?

    Those pacman figures are certainly endearing. Is there a point to them eating the fallen sand grains? Or is it a nostalgic addition :)

    This reminds me somehow of a game awhile back called the The incredible Machine.

    Would be interesting to see how placement of those belts work on a mobile device with swipe gestures.

    Nice prototype man.
    Thanked by 1critic
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    Thanks @konman, yeah some kind of limit is probably in order, it was suggested to make the screen scroll on it's own, but I like the idea of using points of some sort for the construction of the belts. The pacman figures are there to clean up the level, it's possible to build up little mountains that hurt performance if they are not there. @elyaradine also mentioned The Incredible Machine on Discord and I actually played that game a lot back in the day, however it wasn't the inspiration for the prototype. Will have to see what happens on mobile, I'm suspecting that the finger will block the placement visually and two fingers should be ok for scrolling.

    Thank you for taking the time to reply.
    Thanked by 1konman
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    Tried the prototype. It's fun and a bit frantic. I love building machines! (like in games like Factorio)

    I don't think I really want a hard limit on the conveyor belt building (like starting with 15 conveyor belts, like Incredible Machine). I feel like that approach is the easiest way to make this game have a challenge, but precisely because this approach is so easy there are a TON of puzzle games with a variation of the Incredible Machine puzzle. Unless I'm mistaken? Are players actually excited about one of these sorts of games these days? Is there a novel way of doing this that I'm missing?

    I think there's quite a few ways you can take it:

    1) Put a limit on conveyor belts at the beginning of the stage, and the objective to to get the sands to the end without running out of conveyor belts. This would be a sort of classic puzzle game, and it sort of feels like players would want to pause the game and then test it like Incredible Machine.

    2) Make the conveyor belts cost a resource, perhaps costing sand itself somehow. Trying to make the game work a bit like World Of Goo where maybe there is a finite amount of sand and you need to get some of it down to the giant pacman at the bottom. I think this might mean making the "sand" into something else that has other properties suitable to the puzzle (like the Goo in World of Goo).

    3) Make it a kind of action game where you need to keep ahead of the sand and try not waste too much of it. Where there is a finite amount of sand and you have to get at least some of it to the giant pacman at the bottom.

    4) I think there's also a way to make it an efficiency game. Like if the sand was coal. And the goal is to get 10 coal per minute into the furnace at the end, but coal is required to run the conveyor belts, so the problem is to build a machine that uses gravity and coal and conveyor belts (and furnaces and other tools) that is efficient enough to get coal to the bottom at a fast enough rate to beat the level. Of course this approach requires making a few other parts that can be put down (like furnaces that need to be attached to conveyor belts). ... or it might be possible for it to be difficult to get any coal at all to the end (and extra efficiency is for bonus goals).

    5) Or it could be an endless (or near endless game) where the goal is to get as deep as possible without wasting too much of the sand. Of course this means making the levels procedural, and presumably unlock new tools to get deeper (like unlocking building slingshots and better conveyors).

    Obviously you should also put little faces on the sand!!!!
    Thanked by 1critic
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    I worked a bit more on the game incorporating some of the ideas suggested.

    [-]Introduced belt restriction, each section of the puzzle has a predetermined belt count that can be used.
    [-]Introduced a limit to the sand grain amount and added a bucket with a visual representation of how much sand is left.
    [-]Introduced a sand amount goal that needs to get to the final pacman.
    [-]Added a limited undo feature, Android finger placement can be a bit tricky, it needs to be a bit forgiving.
    [-]Changed the name of the game to get more visibility on Google Play Store.
    [-]Android input is somewhat tricky, so spent a bit of time to make sure everything functions as it should, moved the end of the belt with an offset so that it's not obscured by the finger and put cool-down timers on moves so that two finger scrolling doesn't interfere with belt placement.

    This also allows me to introduce some monetizing videos that seem pretty natural and non invasive, a player can watch a video for more sand or more retries.

    If anyone is interested, there is an Alpha build up on Google Play, link is below and thanks for the feedback so far.
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    A quick update, I did a bit of work on the level/meta screen, each box is a level.

    Thanked by 2EvanGreenwood konman
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    The game has been released. Pretty happy with the way it turned out, it was one of those mini projects that started a long time ago during a game jam on these forums. Major thing for this project was to go through the implementation smoothly, no increase of scope and not many features needing heavy research. This is also the first game where I'm using interstitial ads with some bonus features that require the player to watch an ad.

    Thanks for the feedback, it nudged me in the right direction.

    Game is now available on Google Play.
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