Launch of Website and Math Galactica


Dec 20 2020

Hello world

First blog, and I've got some really interesting stuff to share. Let's go over the website first, shall we?


I thought web development was cool, and I kinda wanted to get into it? Fast forward a couple of years, you can forget what I said earlier.

Anyways, I wanted to start my own website just to keep a collection of stuff I did/participate in, especially when it's publicly released. Also gives me a landing page for stuff posted elsewhere.

Honestly, not a lot of things can be said for this website. It is what it is.


I forgot how Cres came to be. I guess it was because I was trying to meme-ish while writing out my nickname playing Jackbox Party games. Also, it kinda sounds like Chris. Kinda.

Believe it or not, Cres was nowhere near what I thought my website logo would be. I'm thanking and blaming this specific individual at the same time for doing my logo. Thanks A, you lil sh-.

Math Galactica

Let me just preface this by saying everything I wrote is based on my experience and knowledge.

I have never intended nor thought of actually developing a game. Developing games indie-ly are, in my opinion, in a very weird position. On one side, it's cool to bring storytelling to a whole different level, but on the other side, there's a lot of aspects you have to think about especially in the development phase.

I'll have to admit, I was, and still am, scared of dealing with creation of models, skyboxes, physics, you name it. I guess Math Galactica sort of did a lot of that worry-lifting for me.

- Research

Ahh this is a fun one. At first I was pretty much against the idea of making something for education. Not because I don't like the idea of sharing knowledge, but more of what I see other people (or companies even) are doing. The app space is very competitive. That being said, having seen a lot of these educational apps on the App Store, I was kinda in an awe.

I told my team: "There's already so much educational stuff online, how are we supposed to compete against them? Not to mention, why wouldn't they just look stuff up online if they wanted to learn something specific?". But then again, I really had no idea what to make, so I decided to give it a try.

Research was uh, a roller coaster? After an estimated amount of desk research, we would think about what we could make, and how it would tackle things based on our at-that-time-research. Someone said "Game!". I laughed it off, saying there's no way I'm developing a game.

We did more research and eventually ended up on a problem we knew was huge. Kids + maths. At that point I had an idea of what kids are attracted to and stuff. We did more specific research. Lo and behold, we ended up on a game. Of course we did.

So the mission was simple. How do we elevate learning at home? How do make it more interesting, more inviting, and more fun?

- Development

I'm not going to talk a lot about the technical stuff, but I'll share as much of my experience as I can.

So I had about 1.5 - 2 months to work on this game (code). One thing I can say is we definitely struggled a lot. For me personally, it was so stressful. I had to plan the game out, decide on things that would start early and be permanent, and just so much. I was so frustrated and stresed. I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one in the team who felt stressed out.

We were pretty new to a lot of the things we did in this project. I was pretty new to a lot of the frameworks used in this game, our music producer had only started picking up on composing halfway through the project, and our designer (who actually did all the visual things you see btw) was, you guessed it, new to all of the things she did. I guess we did come out on top in the end. I think we are quite the team.

Seeing the progress we made throughout the hectic weeks were rewarding to say the least.

Before I go into the history of some aspects in the game, I'll show you this:

loading screen mock 1

That's correct, we had a main menu.

App Icon
alpha icon
haha alpha icon go brrrrr
final icon
Game is saved.


The characters really did go a long way. Started off with around 3 models, which, in the end, weren't used because we had a better idea. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the evolution of the characters.

mock ranger image
mock ranger image
mock ranger image
mock ranger image
mock pirate image
mock pirate image
mock pirate image
mock flad image

They're pretty self-explanatory, so I'll leave this at that.

Character Creation

Ahh yes, character creation. Fond memories. It's actually the first screen I developed. A couple of new functions introduced in iOS 14 actually helped immensely with this part. This part wasn't that bad, but there was a time where I had to change the looks of this screen. See for yourself:

character creation 1
space, empty stomach, empty mind.
character creation 2
Space lifts allows exchanging of rangers.
character creation 3
Thinking with Portals.

Games & Feedback

After a lengthy research process and developing the base of the game, we started to get into the gameplays. I'll be honest, I wasn't looking forward to this. But Earth still has to spin right? Below are some design history when it comes to the gameplays. You'll notice the differences, which I will get into afterwards.

Asteroids Tossing
asteroid before image
asteroid after image

Fix Ship
fix ship before image
fix ship after image

fuel before image
fuel after image

Hack Alarm
hack before image
hack after image

Unlock Door
keys before image
keys after image

Treasure Room
box before image
box after image

We received quite a lot of feedback regarding our design, and as you can see above, there were a lot of different (slight and substantial) changes happening iteration to iteration. I'd like to personally thank Joel for all his feedback, as I've learn quite a lot from him. Here are some of the more important changes we've made:

  • Since we're designing a game for young children, it wasn't very obvious to us that these children might have no idea how to interact with a touchscreen the way we do. So laying out the how-tos were crucial to get right.
in-game instructions image

- Spatial context is so very important especially when it comes to games. To make a game complete, you'll need to have animations, especially when you're moving in 2D/3D space.

animation 1 image
animation 2 image
animation 3 image

- Aaaaaand the rest is history. I'm sure you'll be able to see the polished part of the game and not think about it. Just know that most of the things that you see and can interact with is the result of countless research and iterations.

Loading Screens

I actually wanted to do loading screens because, well, which game doesn't have a loading screen? And besides, you'll most probably see a few seconds delay in between navigation and game so it's the most sensible thing to do. Here's a mockup of what I wanted to do:

loading screen mock 1
loading screen mock 2
loading screen mock 3
loading screen mock 4

Pretty neat huh? Here's the thing though. We actually have an animation footage, which we didn't use, that would fit perfectly as a loading page. And we used that intead. So when you do play the game, you'll know which one I'm talking about.

TestFlight Testing

TestFlight has been quite the redeeming factor for me when it comes to the development phase. I get to see how people react to changes and new content, I get to share things I'm passionate about, and my personal favorite, I get to write "patch notes". If you've never been a part of my TestFlight beta releases, I like to overdo my notes. Instead of "test this, test that", I add in what's new, fixes, what's known to not work, what to test, all in a non-formal way. All this, in hopes of bringing joy and excitement with every update. I'd like to share a couple from Math Galactica's beta releases.

beta notes 1 image
beta notes 2 image

- App Store release

This has got to be the weirdest and most stupid thing to have happened in this whole project.

You know how you need to have screenshots for both the full screen and the home buttoned iPads? You don't? Ok, well, you need screenshots for both screen types. Depending on the kind of screenshots you're uploading, you might need to do extra work putting in the bezels. So we did that. And instead of properly making 2 sets of screenshots, I forgot about the home buttoned iPads, and merely added a single screenshot from our full screen iPad's collection to the other collection. I didn't put it there on purpose, I just wanted to see if it works and totally forgot about it.

So that one little maneuver didn't cause us 51 years, but it did take 2 whole days of stress, and more work. I'm not very smart sometimes.

- Things-I-can't-be-bothered-to-explain-so-enjoy-these-pictures


misc 1 image
misc 2 image
misc 3 image
misc 4 image
misc 5 image
misc 6 image
misc 7 image
Ok I can explain this gray space part.
misc 8 image

It's not my fault Apple sells "Space Gray" coloured stuff.

misc 9 image
misc 10 image

- Fun Facts!
  • Flad is actually short for Flying iPad :))
  • The rewards map has all of Team Orion's name initials. rewards map image

- FAQs
Q: Any plans for an iPhone release?

Our intentions with Math Galactica has been very clear even before we started development. We don't want to compromise on user experience, and there's a whole lot of reasons why an iPhone version of this existing game is a bad idea. But if you'd like to know, then:

  • From our research, there's a very good reason why you don't study on a notepad-sized textbook when you were in school. I'm sure you know how to connect the dots.
  • The big canvas of the iPad also gives us a couple of advantage, one being the ability to implement things we can't with the iPhone. Scratchpad is one of them.
  • Kids are ALL visuals. If it looks boring, it probably is.
  • I M M E R S I O N . This one came up from the start of research.
  • TL;DR, No.

Q: This game kinda looks like that one popular space game, what's that about?

Next question.

On a more serious note though, there's only so much you can think of when it comes to space, and we invested a lot of time to differentiate ourselves from anything available.

Q: Any future plans for the game?

Yeah, we got a couple.

  • We're planning to at least finish Virgo, and depending on popularity, we might just stop there. But at least Virgo.

  • More cosmetic items, more characters, more interesting story.

  • Game's going to stay free (at least that's what I personally would want).

Thanks for reading!
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