The Animal Trackers gameplay guide is now finished and has a hyperlinkable contents page to speed up access to the relevant sections. It is this page that is opened when you press the button at the bottom right of the screen…


So, now all that’s left to do is to revisit all the levels in ‘Easy’ mode and give them more generous time limits. This will allow a few wrong turns to be taken, yet still leave enough time to finish the levels.

I’ll also be making a few changes to the layout of some of the ‘Easy’ mode levels, where I feel that even with extra time, novice players may still struggle.




Trail guide

I’ve a feeling that by the time I’ve finished, Animal Trackers will probably have the most comprehensive help of any game in the App Store… It’s currently at 33 pages and counting, which is why I’ve needed to add a ‘contents’ page and button! lol

In the game, it’s important to know which way the tracks lead…

… but if you’re not too hot on your animal tracks, don’t worry, the gameplay guide is there to help…



In-game help

I’ve now implemented a simple interactive in-game help indicator for level 1 when the default control method (finger point) is being used.

This consists of an animated circle with attached text box that will guide the player around the level.

I’m hoping that this will encourage novice players to keep Foxy moving and avoid the start-stop-start-stop motion that will ultimately result in time running out in levels where the time limits are tighter.

Firstly, though, I’ve tweaked the loading screen for level 1 yet again, to reinforce the message of the in-game help…


… and now the in-game screenshots…



… and nearing the end of the level, the indicator and text box fade out leaving the player to continue on their own.



As you may know, there are three control methods in Animal Trackers: finger point, d-pad, and accelerometer tilt, with finger point being the default method unless you change it in the options.

Well, I recently had some feedback about the controls, where the player had said,


“I found it hard at first until I realised I have to flick the screen rather than tap it.”

I found this surpising, as with the finger point method, you have to neither flick it nor tap it. You just have to touch the screen where you want the tracker to head towards and then without lifting your finger, move it around the screen so that the tracker follows it.

So, once I’ve finished the pageable help / loading screens, I’ll be adding some instructions during level 1 gameplay to make the use of each control method clearer.

Edit: After some thought, I decided to add the instructions for just the default control method (finger-point), as I figured that anyone who knows how to (and wants to) change the controls to d-pad or tilt won’t need me to tell them how they work.




The Japanese have a word ‘kaizen’ which refers to the concept of ‘continual improvement’ and it’s one that resonates with me in the quest for quality.

As a result, I often work and rework my creations, rather like a sculptor chips away at a stone block, with each stroke bringing the piece closer to the desired end result.

Well, the other day, I posted an image of one of the loading screens that I’ve been implementing into v1.1 of Animal Trackers. At the time I was happy with it, as it performed its function and looked reasonably pleasing.

But, on later inspection, the text looked a little weak and I also had the problem that I needed to reuse each screen in the pageable help section that I’m creating.

So, I went back and reworked the layout and came up with this:

As you can see, I created a text box to help make the text stand out and added a couple of adornments to the right-hand side of the console which can house various objects.

Whilst loading, the progress bar now fills vertically on the console and is replaced with a flashing play button once the level is loaded.

And as a bonus, the screen can now also be used in the help section, accompanied by some navigation buttons:



I’m currently working on improving the loading screens for v1.1 so that the help is more noticeable.

V1.0.1 already has help on the loading screens, but on newer devices which can load levels very quickly, the help may come and go before you know it.

There is also help available for the current level if you pause the game and press the ‘?’ button on the slide out console, but it would be better if the loading screen stayed up long enough for players to study it.

So, I’ve now added a ‘Tap to continue’ message to the loading screen once a level has loaded, together with some text to help explain the image.

Below are a couple of examples:



Animal Trackers has three difficulty modes, ‘Easy’, ‘Medium’ and ‘Hard’.

‘Medium’ mode gives you enough time to follow the most efficient route to the quarry without taking any shortcuts, plus a few seconds leeway to give you a little breathing space.

However, ‘Hard’ mode isn’t called hard for nothing… lol

It gives you a time equal to that same most efficent ‘non-shortcut’ time, minus a couple of seconds or so, so you’ll need to find at least a couple of shortcuts to find the quarry in time.

And in version 1.0.1, apart from the first few levels, the time for ‘Easy’ mode is usually the time for ‘Medium’ mode plus an extra 20%.

However, this may still not be enough time for some players, so in version 1.1, I’ll be going over all 50 levels manually and allowing the player to follow some false trails and still have time left to find the quarry.

I’m pleased to anounce that there will now also be an ‘Explore!’ mode which will be implemented in version 1.1 with a count-up timer. Times will be displayable on both the stats page and on the individual level ‘eggs’ on the map page.

In each case, you’ll see a new button that will toggle between the original ‘count-down’ mode and the new ‘count-up’ (Explore!) mode.


Map in the original ‘count-down’ mode


Map in the new ‘count-up’ (Explore!) mode


You will also be awarded a blue star for your efforts, but no points, since I think it’s important to keep the challenge aspect of the game in tact.

‘Explore!’ mode for each level will become available after either the player has passed the level normally, or failed several times on easy mode. (In the screenshot above, level 3 has yet to have ‘Explore!’ mode unlocked.)

However, to allow toddlers to play immediately, I’ve included an override in the options that will make ‘Explore!’ mode available for any level that’s unlocked, without the need for several failures.

Finally, completing a level in ‘Explore!’ mode will unlock the next one, so there should be no excuses for everyone not reaching level 50 sooner or later. 🙂

I’ve also modified the unlocking algorithm, so that passing a level in ‘Easy’ mode, for instance, will not only unlock the next level in ‘Easy’ mode, but also in ‘Medium’ mode. Ditto for ‘Medium’ / ‘Hard’ modes.

This will allow you to come down a level of difficulty, say medium to easy, in order to pass the level, and then immediately move back up to medium for the next level.