On to Ocracoke

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Screenshot of Ocracoke taken in Unity editor

The first version of our new game/research project, Taxi Dash, was released on the Nook and Amazon Appstore about a month ago.  Since then, we’ve put out one major update to the game to add a daily challenge. In our next update (coming later in June), we’ll add a new town (Ocracoke) and a new type of vehicle (boating) along with some other minor improvements.

When I first started planning this game, I asked my children (ages 5 & 7 at the time) what we should put in the game. “Fish!” they said. After questioning them a bit, I realized that they wanted an undersea experience, complete with mermaids, seahorses and sharks. For a number of reasons (and mainly for our research project), I ended up focusing the game on cab driving, where your main challenge is to find your way through a town, avoiding obstacles and enemy cars. But, I wanted to come back to the undersea idea, and our next update is a step in that direction.

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Tugboat screenshot taken in Unity editor

Ocracoke is an island town, based on the real-life town found in North Carolina. Like the other towns in Taxi Dash, Ocracoke was chosen as a location that had personal relevance to my family, and to let us introduce a new type of vehicle. In Ocracoke, you still drive around a land-based town in your normal cars, but there are two locations where you can switch from a car over to a boat. You pilot your boat in the same way that you do a car, but there will be new obstacles (mines, sharks) to deal with in the water!

With the addition of boats, there will be several new vehicles to choose from in Taxi Dash. As with cars, you can buy new boats, such as our speedboat) and select which boat you want to use in a race.  As you move between land and water, your vehicle will automatically switch (from car to boat, or vice versa).

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Speedboat screenshot taken in Unity editor

Besides the addition of boating, two other important changes will be included in the next version of Taxi Dash:

  • Power-ups Currently, you can hold on to one of each type power-up (like a speed boost. or an invincibility boost) to use at a later time. But, if you grab a second power-up of the same type, it will be used immediately. I’ve had some players mention that they would like to be able to hold on to more than one, and in the new version you will be able to hold as many power-ups (multiple speed boosts, for instance) during a run. At the end of the run, the unused power-ups will be removed.
  • Blocking A new blocking ability will be added to the store. By purchasing this upgrade, you will have a random chance of avoiding damage (if your run into spikes, ice, another car, etc.). Also, enemy cars will now be able to grab invincibility power-ups, and invincibility will stop you from being able to block.

We’re still wrapping up the new update and testing, but we plan to submit a new version to Barnes and Noble and Amazon next week. If things go smoothly, look for a new version to be out on both stores soon! And, in our next town (to be named), I hope that we can take our cabs underwater, with new vehicles (and maybe even a seahorse).