Jeph Jacques's comics discussion forums

  • 25 Jan 2022, 02:42
  • Welcome, Guest
Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  
Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: I've been developing an iPhone game!  (Read 5643 times)

jhocking

  • Methuselah's mentor
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5,414
  • Corruption City USA
    • new|Arteest
I've been developing an iPhone game!
« on: 23 May 2010, 11:32 »

Just made a trailer to show off the prototype of the game I've been developing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_zfF5RM01M

Still not quite ready to post this on toucharcade and tweet about it, I want to improve the visuals a bit (draw the interface in particular) before trying to really expose this.

This is still early in development and the game is very much work-in-progress (most of the textures need to be repainted, etc.) Tell me what you think!

ADDITION: screenshot
« Last Edit: 01 Jun 2010, 04:44 by jhocking »
Logged

snalin

  • Vulcan 3-D Chess Master
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3,567
  • You may Baste me
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #1 on: 23 May 2010, 14:11 »

The basic gameplay model you are going for - switching between different characters with different skills to solve tasks - has been done before, but it's still fun, and done before is pretty much what the Iphone is about, right? It looks good, some of the gameplay elements will work brilliantly. I liked flying to get over holes and not slip on ice and being smart enough to read. As long as you can make all the characters having different skills make sense by giving all uses, and introducing a balanced number of stuff each of them can do, that'll be a big selling point.

Got some questions and feedback, though:

There was something about finding treasure. Is that going to be just for points or getting through the level, or are you introducing some RPG elements?

Will the dwarf have (as) many special abilities as the gnome and fairy, or will he just be a better fighter? I think it can be fun if you want to mix RPG and puzzle, but if you make one character better at puzzle, and one better at RPG-fighting, you're better off sticking to one character. I think the best option is for each of the characters to have strengths and weaknesses both in getting around (gaps/ice) and in fighting (different kinds of enemies). Or are you approaching this from another perspective?

Are you going to include a map or a mini-map feature? If the places the player explores are as big it looks like from the trailer, that'll be very helpful to avoid backtracking and confusion.

About that - avoid backtracking, or make it fun. And fun does not mean going through the same fights or puzzles again, it means doing something differently. A puzzle or timing puzzle that you have to do again, but backwards, thus making it a new experience, is pretty cool though.

I'm not familiar with the Iphone as a gaming platform, but is this game going to be completely based on touch screen? That might make it easy to get into, and with intuitive controls, probably a great game for a phone, but fighting might get a bit tedious if it consists of clicking on the enemy once and waiting until it goes down. Not a game breaker, but how have you planned the game controls?

That's all. It looks good, so please show more. I don't have an Iphone, so if something I've asked would be self-evident if I had one, please say so.
Logged
I am a cowboy / on a steel horse I ride
I am wanted / Dead or alive

jhocking

  • Methuselah's mentor
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5,414
  • Corruption City USA
    • new|Arteest
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #2 on: 23 May 2010, 15:01 »

wow that feedback was more detailed than I was expecting, thanks! Now to read through all your comments carefully.


ADDITION:
The basic gameplay model you are going for - switching between different characters with different skills to solve tasks - has been done before, but it's still fun, and done before is pretty much what the Iphone is about, right?

Not just the iPhone, games in general. New ideas are nice, but solid implementation is more important. I'm not pretending at all that I came up with the concept of multiple characters cooperating to solve puzzles; the game is openly a mashup of Zelda and Lost Vikings.

There was something about finding treasure. Is that going to be just for points or getting through the level, or are you introducing some RPG elements?

Good catch! I am planning to introduce some RPG elements, although probably not very in-depth. Players can spend money in towns between levels, buying stuff like stronger hammers or new spells.

Will the dwarf have (as) many special abilities as the gnome and fairy, or will he just be a better fighter?

hm, I should wait until the second prototype level is done before redoing the trailer. What I'm planning to develop next includes sliding block puzzles where the dwarf is the only one strong enough to push the blocks. This is definitely an area for me to pay attention to in play testing, because you're absolutely right that the dwarf could be just an annoying appendage if I don't do it right.

Are you going to include a map or a mini-map feature?

I hadn't thought of that, thanks!

I'm not familiar with the Iphone as a gaming platform, but is this game going to be completely based on touch screen? That might make it easy to get into, and with intuitive controls, probably a great game for a phone, but fighting might get a bit tedious if it consists of clicking on the enemy once and waiting until it goes down. Not a game breaker, but how have you planned the game controls?

The controls are one lunge attack each time you tap the enemy. I'm unsure how much fighting there will be in the finished game; currently I'm not planning to have much fighting because I really want to focus more on puzzle solving. Here again however is a great point for me to keep in mind when playtesting: do people want more fighting? do people find the fighting tedious?
« Last Edit: 23 May 2010, 15:37 by jhocking »
Logged

est

  • this is a test
  • Admin emeritus
  • Older than Moses
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4,294
  • V O L L E Y B A L L
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #3 on: 24 May 2010, 02:09 »

Apart from the things that snalin has said, perhaps take a look at the different ways that games like Solomon's Keep, Underworlds and Sword of Fargoal approach controls.  For a turn-based game "touch a spot on the screen" seems to work well enough (eg: SoF), but for real-time action-based stuff the virtual thumbpad control stick and action stick (SK)/contextual action button (UW) works better in my opinion.  Solomon's Keep also has a very good toggled area map overlay feature, with a button up the top-left to show/hide it. 

Oh hey, another control scheme that might work with your game is to make the selected character static and have your finger move the terrain underneath them, like you are sliding around a picture or scrolling a page with your finger.  It's a control scheme that iPhone users already know, so it's easy to get used to.  Then it's just a case of scrolling the terrain under the player (who is always centred on the screen) and tapping on things that you want to interact with.  I know that there is already a game out that uses this control method, but I can't remember what it is called.  Something about guiding a block through a maze.  It's getting pretty rave reviews for such a simple concept.

Anyway, if you want a playtester when you get to that level of sophistication please send me a PM or something and I'll be happy to play the hell out of it and let you know if/how I break it.
Logged

est

  • this is a test
  • Admin emeritus
  • Older than Moses
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4,294
  • V O L L E Y B A L L
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #4 on: 24 May 2010, 02:12 »

Also: I know it wasn't actually stated in the previous post, but hey, good work makin' an iPhone game.  I know you're still making it and everything, but if you can do it properly and at least make something that is fun to play then I'm sure people will see it & play it and perhaps buy it.
Logged

jhocking

  • Methuselah's mentor
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5,414
  • Corruption City USA
    • new|Arteest
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #5 on: 24 May 2010, 05:04 »

Thanks for the playtesting offer, I am likely to take you up on that, but probably not for a while.

Solomon's Keep

Coincidentally I just saw a trailer for Solomon's Keep last night, pretty close in appearance to what I have in mind.
« Last Edit: 24 May 2010, 05:38 by jhocking »
Logged

Catfish_Man

  • FIGHT YOU
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 387
    • Assorted Stuff
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #6 on: 24 May 2010, 08:11 »

On the off chance you run into any problems with/have any questions about things in Foundation, do feel free to ping me with questions. UIKit is outside my area though.
Logged

David_Dovey

  • Nearly grown up
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8,687
  • j'accuse!
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #7 on: 24 May 2010, 08:42 »

Lost Vikings.

Colour me interested!
Logged
It's a roasted cocoa bean, commonly found in vaginas.

jhocking

  • Methuselah's mentor
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5,414
  • Corruption City USA
    • new|Arteest
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #8 on: 24 May 2010, 12:43 »

On the off chance you run into any problems with/have any questions about things in Foundation, do feel free to ping me with questions. UIKit is outside my area though.

Do you have any expertise in handling iPhone background stuff like call interruptions? I'm gonna have to start learning about that stuff relatively soon. I have no interest in UIKit either, because I don't need default iPhone controls for my game.

Colour

I don't plan to localize the game for Australians, sorry.

Catfish_Man

  • FIGHT YOU
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 387
    • Assorted Stuff
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #9 on: 24 May 2010, 18:06 »

Nothing iPhone-specific really. I just threw that out there 'cause I work on Foundation/CF for my day job. It's always neat to get feedback from people actually using it :)
Logged

jhocking

  • Methuselah's mentor
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5,414
  • Corruption City USA
    • new|Arteest
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #10 on: 24 May 2010, 19:19 »

oh wait do you work for Apple on the SDK? Neat; the only place I use CoreFoundation is calling CFAbsoluteTimeGetCurrent() for the game timing, but I'm far from finished with everything in the code so who knows.

jhocking

  • Methuselah's mentor
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5,414
  • Corruption City USA
    • new|Arteest
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #11 on: 01 Jun 2010, 04:40 »

Just updated the video in the first post. The visuals are much higher quality, and I've added block pushing.

est

  • this is a test
  • Admin emeritus
  • Older than Moses
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4,294
  • V O L L E Y B A L L
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #12 on: 01 Jun 2010, 17:24 »

Good idea having another thing for the dwarf to specialise in, makes the workload between characters a bit more balanced.  I like the idea of block-pushing problems, and having say the wizard read instructions while the dwarf pushes a block to a certain spot then the pixie does something else, then ... (etc)

Hey one thing that Han asked me about this the other day - how are you handling moving the individual characters?  Is it always going to be a case of moving each of them individually, or can you trigger a thing where you move one and the other two (or whoever is nearby) tag along?  It might get annoying having to do three movement commands over and over unless each movement has a specific purpose.
Logged

jhocking

  • Methuselah's mentor
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5,414
  • Corruption City USA
    • new|Arteest
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #13 on: 01 Jun 2010, 18:16 »

That is a great suggestion I hadn't thought of. You would still only fully control one character (ie. attacks, reading text, etc.) but the other two could just walk beside you. I figure what I'll do is implement multiple character movement and then simply not tell my first playtesters to see if anyone requests it.

ADDITION: Thanks again for the suggestion! I added a button so the active character can tell nearby characters to follow them. Watching them move as a group is pretty cool.
« Last Edit: 03 Jun 2010, 09:43 by jhocking »
Logged

snalin

  • Vulcan 3-D Chess Master
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3,567
  • You may Baste me
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #14 on: 03 Jun 2010, 14:03 »

Since you have that feature, you should probably design puzzles to force players to separate the characters, since that's the whole point of having more than one. But I guess you've figured that out already.
Logged
I am a cowboy / on a steel horse I ride
I am wanted / Dead or alive

jhocking

  • Methuselah's mentor
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5,414
  • Corruption City USA
    • new|Arteest
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #15 on: 03 Jun 2010, 18:27 »

Oh yeah, I'm definitely making puzzles that branch out in multiple paths. Specifically, I have this written in my notes:
easy puzzles are linear sequences, harder puzzles involve splitting up the characters and elements in one part of level affecting distant parts

With the pixie in particular branching paths is pretty much forced anyway, since she can fly to areas the other characters can't reach. With the other two characters, I'll have to see how people use them during playtesting. The other two are pretty much interchangeable in their movement abilities, so I'm curious how that will turn out.

Also, this is making me curious if players these days simply have less tolerance for walking the same path with multiple characters. In Lost Vikings you had to move each character individually and it never seemed problematic, but then old games often expected players to tolerate a lot more tedium than games nowadays.
« Last Edit: 03 Jun 2010, 18:31 by jhocking »
Logged

est

  • this is a test
  • Admin emeritus
  • Older than Moses
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4,294
  • V O L L E Y B A L L
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #16 on: 04 Jun 2010, 00:00 »

Yeah, games have been dumbed down an awful lot in some ways, but in other ways they've become a lot more sophisticated due to building on past mechanics and uh, tropes, I guess?  Like Hannah will start playing a game and I'll see what you need to do because it's kind of a game cliche or something.  But because she hasn't played games for about a billion years she takes a little while to see the pattern.

Looking forward to mucking about with this, Joe.  Are you going to do some kind of movement-logging or something with the testers?
Logged

jhocking

  • Methuselah's mentor
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5,414
  • Corruption City USA
    • new|Arteest
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #17 on: 04 Jun 2010, 08:05 »

Looking forward to mucking about with this, Joe.  Are you going to do some kind of movement-logging or something with the testers?

eh, getting as technically complex as a movement-logger seems pointless to me. This isn't a psych experiment, where I want reams of data about every twitch of the player's eyes. I mostly playtest by sitting with the person and quietly observing while they play the game.

I'm glad you're interested in helping me by testing the game! It probably won't be anytime soon though; early playtesting (and this is still early) is best done in person; testing where I send the game out to distant people helps most once the game is nearly done and the only questions are general ones like "does the game crash?" and "did you enjoy certain puzzles?" and "were any levels confusing?"
« Last Edit: 04 Jun 2010, 08:07 by jhocking »
Logged

est

  • this is a test
  • Admin emeritus
  • Older than Moses
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4,294
  • V O L L E Y B A L L
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #18 on: 04 Jun 2010, 09:03 »

boooooooooooooo
Logged

jhocking

  • Methuselah's mentor
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5,414
  • Corruption City USA
    • new|Arteest
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #19 on: 04 Jun 2010, 11:48 »

Sorry to disappoint. If you really want a copy of the current build just to test the controls for a couple minutes then email me, but it's really not intended to be played with just yet. The level is currently designed to show off features, not be any fun to play. For example, notice how in the video there's a key right in front of the locked door? Or the floorplate is right in front of the wall it opens?

est

  • this is a test
  • Admin emeritus
  • Older than Moses
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4,294
  • V O L L E Y B A L L
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #20 on: 04 Jun 2010, 18:55 »

That's ok Joe, I'm just being dumb.  Just excited for you is all.  Pretty envious, as I've been wanting to make a game for a while, but know I would have to put a fair bit of effort in, seeing as I theoretically know programming principles but don't have any programming experience.

ITT: est lives vicariously through Joe's efforts.
Logged

jhocking

  • Methuselah's mentor
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5,414
  • Corruption City USA
    • new|Arteest
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #21 on: 05 Jun 2010, 05:17 »

If you want to see the development process here's the worklog I've been keeping:
http://www.blitzmax.com/logs/userlog.php?log=1748&user=3087

est

  • this is a test
  • Admin emeritus
  • Older than Moses
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4,294
  • V O L L E Y B A L L
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #22 on: 05 Jun 2010, 20:14 »

One thing I didn't realise until just now when I looked at the worklog - the wizard shoots fire!  So are some things gonna be more susceptible to fire and some stronger that need to be attacked physically by the dwarf?

Another thing that the pixie could do is charm some weak-minded creatures.  Like, she blows them a kiss and they do stuff for you for a certain amount of time.  Would open up a whole bunch of other utility you could use in certain maps.
Logged

jhocking

  • Methuselah's mentor
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5,414
  • Corruption City USA
    • new|Arteest
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #23 on: 06 Jun 2010, 06:27 »

I have thought about a charm ability before, but I was imagining it as another spell for the wizard. The idea of giving the pixie a charm ability is very interesting; if playtesters don't think she gets used enough then I might give her a charm ability, but really I'm not too concerned about that since she can fly and nobody else can. I'm more concerned about giving the wizard enough things to do.

The trouble was I had a hard time imagining any reason to use a charmed creature rather than simply do whatever it is yourself. One reason would be to travel in very dangerous areas so you don't risk hurting one of your 3 characters, but that alone doesn't seem like enough reason. Your reference to weak-minded creatures however gave me another idea: maybe some levels will have small tunnels that only the bugs can go through. hm...


Oh as far as the magic blasts, I do plan to have a few enemies in the harder/later levels that are invulnerable to one kind of attack, but most enemies are going to be equally vulnerable to either. The choice of how to engage enemies will be based on more subtle differences (which I have to see if playtesters pick up on) like magic attacks take longer than physical attacks.
« Last Edit: 06 Jun 2010, 06:31 by jhocking »
Logged

jhocking

  • Methuselah's mentor
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5,414
  • Corruption City USA
    • new|Arteest
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #24 on: 22 Aug 2010, 16:58 »

I'm rather frustrated that, for various reasons, I've accomplished considerably less by now than I was initially hoping/planning. Still, I am still chugging away at this, and it's really coming together.



Some of those reasons were more or less out of my hands. I'm at the hardest point in development though, the gap between the fun work of implementing new features and the final sprint to the finish. Working on new features is easy to get motivated for, and when the finish is in sight it's easy to find the energy for those final steps, but right now I'm in the demoralizing grind of just churning out level after level over and over. I'm a bit embarrassed to say but while I'm in the grind I can have an entire week go by without ever feeling motivated enough to work on the game.

Johnny C

  • Awakened
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 10,039
  • i wanna be yr slide dog
    • I AM A WHORE FOR MY OWN MUSIC
Re: I've been developing an iPhone game!
« Reply #25 on: 22 Aug 2010, 17:35 »

well it looks like it's going to be a fun game so you should get motivated!!
Logged
[02:12] yuniorpocalypse: let's talk about girls
[02:12] Thug In Kitchen: nooo
Pages: [1]   Go Up