Flutter Unicorn

The Project

Year Developed: 2020-2022

Project Type: Android Mobile Game

Languages Used: Java

The Background

Flappy Bird is a simple side-scrolling tapping game whereby you guide a bird like character through obstacles that appear at the top and bottom of the screen. Each tap will increase the height the bird flies at, but gravity quickly pulls the bird downwards, meaning you have to time your “flaps” right to get a high score. This game was available as a course on Udemy.

The Brief

A project on Udemy to create a “Flappy Bird” style game caught our eye, so we thought we’d try our hand at it and see what we could do to improve on it. The course taught how to create an infinite scrolling game that ended when you crashed into an obstacle. We decided to improve on it in a number of ways:

  • Two difficulty modes – “Easy” and “Hard”, with easy mode having a “life counter” giving you more chances should you hit an obstacle
  • Have a level system where reaching a certain score moves you on to the next level, increasing the difficulty
  • Integrate with Google Play Games to show leaderboards and achievements.
  • Code a hidden “level select” screen that younger gamers could access

The Development

After following the tutorial on Udemy we got to work in creating the assets for the various levels. Levels were named after each of my children with different parallax scrolling background images and foreground obstacle images used for each level. A lives counter was added to the “Easy” mode, which would refill at the end of each level. A “Hi-Score” string was stored locally for each game mode, with the hi-score achieved on “Hard” mode being sent to Google Play Games to rank players worldwide.

We wanted to make sure that this game was suitable for children – and can be playable on devices offline – so no internet connection is required. If the device is offline it will not use Google Play Games and the option to view leaderboards and achievements will be hidden.

The Design

We wanted to make a game that looked great – and sounded great. The infinite-scrolling paralax backgrounds were sourced from third parties as was the looping music. The foreground obstacles were drawn in-house using Photoshop. We wanted the screens to be clear and easy to read, with big buttons for little fingers!