★ TouchArcade needs your help. Click here to support us on Patreon.

iPhone: Wings Galaxy: Space Exploration

06-02-2009, 10:55 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: The Internet
Posts: 1,533
Wings Galaxy: Space Exploration

Wings Galaxy: Space Exploration

This just hit the app store. It looks like it could be a pretty good, but the gameplay seems somewhat elusive based on the screesnhots...anyone want to TOFTT? It is priced at $2.99

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the former." ~ Albert Einstein

Last edited by Fletch; 06-02-2009 at 11:00 PM.
06-02-2009, 11:02 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: us of a
Posts: 2,824
This at least looks more interesting than there flight simulator.

06-02-2009, 11:45 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,017
Is it just a space flight sim or would there be some shootings involved?

The Unofficial Touch Arcade's Captain Slow(TM)

“Honestly, I was never terribly good at games.” - Finch (PoI S2E16)
06-03-2009, 12:00 AM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 6,509
Judging by the info and title, I'm pretty sure it's a space version of their flight sim. This one actually has missions, which was what the other sim lacked. I'd TOFTT, but like I said in a bunch of other threads, me no dough When I do, I'll be all over this like Mario on a Goomba!
06-03-2009, 07:48 AM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 675

it's a fairly slow-paced 'game,' but not boring. Not yet at least, after 15 minutes of play. playing campaign. there's lots of pieces that are nice: flying on planets (controls could be a little better), landing at bases, jump drive. there's not very much 'glue.' main gameplay is mining, which consists of flying towards green-colored asteroids and reducing speed to 0 while trillium fills up. there's salvage missions that are OK, and the graphics are decent. but the spacey backgrounds are kind of annoying and strange, they don't turn with the asteroids/planet as much, it makes me feel like I'm in a box, and everything feels small and enclosed, including the asteroids that are like 2 feet from the planets.

The Bad:
1) Needs more 'glue:' more varied missions/unified mission type screen, maybe some kind of story that sets up a believable world, more varied solar systems. the campaign is very short, maybe 20 minutes.
2) it aches for combat/ship upgrades/etc.
3) solar systems are just planets surrounded by 100 asteroids or so
4) atmospheric entry to planet in-engine would be AWESOME even if it was auto-pilot, it really breaks up the experience now that you just kind of hit it and are presented with an option to land
5) everything feels small, even on planets, not big and expansive like Wings. in space its because the planets ARE small and everything is close together, on planets its because there's SOOO much 'pop', not just pop-in but pop of far-off hills etc. playing on iPod 2G with planet resolution set to HIGH and I'd rather have a lower framerate and less pop, its very distracting. I'm on this pretty water planet and hills are popping into and out of the water as I get nearer! it's kind of silly.
6) It MURDERS my battery

the Good
1) it's actually kind of fun
2) it might see updates in the future that address my issues
3) I want to keep playing
4) planet flying, landing, and space flying keep it varied some.

I'm not sure it's worth $3 as-is, but there's a lot of potential. the question is whether they'll update it with more content like they did Wings. mining on planets, a trading system, more solar systems/more varied ones, etc. would make this amazing.

Last edited by writingsama; 06-03-2009 at 08:09 AM.
06-03-2009, 09:21 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,017
I don't know but the developer has a track record to update, but sparse. I guess you should mail in your advise.

The Unofficial Touch Arcade's Captain Slow(TM)

“Honestly, I was never terribly good at games.” - Finch (PoI S2E16)
06-03-2009, 10:03 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: The Internet
Posts: 1,533
Thanks for those impressions writingsama. I think I'll hold off for now, but I shot the developers an email, so maybe one of 'em will show up here and give us some notice on any updates/comment on your constructive criticism.

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the former." ~ Albert Einstein
06-03-2009, 11:43 PM
Hello everyone, Bottle Rocket here. First off, thanks for taking a look at Wings Galaxy (and thanks writingsama for buying a copy). We've all worked very hard on this app. It takes a long time to get everything polished and I think you'll find a lot of polish in the app. We're not some huge hollywood sized game dev house. We're like you, normal people who freaking love the iPhone.

That said, Wings Galaxy is addictive and it is NOT a pixelated port of some game idea that died forever ago and someone decided they could make some money porting it to the iPhone. Wings Galaxy is also the kind of game you are likely to play completely, then not play for a while, then revisit over and over. In other words, you'll get your money's worth out of it. And hey, when did $2.99 become expensive for software. I paid more for that for my Chikfila sandwich that I scarfed down in 10 minutes today.

Wings Galaxy just came out yesterday, and based on how people respond to it (in other words, sales), we will of course continue to update it. With 3.0 coming, we will do updates, some free and some through the in-app commerce that Apple will finally be supporting. This is very important because it's really impossible for guys like us to pay our bills and put a lot of time into updates if there isn't some way we can pay for those updates. But, we made a major update to Wings Earth (and another out in a few days), so look for core updates to improve the engine that are free to everyone, then new missions and maybe even new "equipment" some of which there could be a charge for, but don't worry, it won't be much. We want people to enjoy Wings Galaxy (and Wings Earth, of course). So we'll try to never make our apps too expensive. Long story short, Bottle Rocket is here to stay and we will always work hard to be one of your favorite developers.

Wings Galaxy 1.0 has 4 very different looking galaxies. As "writingsama" commented, yes they are very over-the-top. That's on purpose. If we made them 'realistic' they would have been called boring. Most of space is pretty boring. I think we did a good job jazzing the heck out of it. We'd rather see wild backdrops than bleak blackness. This is sci-fi, not the Discover Channel. ;-)

The purpose of the current galaxies is similar. There is a job that involves either gathering Trillium for jump drive fuel conversion, rescuing something, etc so you can move to the next. I don't want to give too much away.

One of the nice things about Wings Galaxy (this is what our beta testers said) is that it takes a little while to figure out what to do. Unless a friend just tells you what to do (some of which has been told to you if you read the above posts) then you extend your game play time by trying the wrong thing, having to go to a base more often to figure out how much Trillium you need, etc. In other words, there are ways to make mistakes and not play the game as efficiently as you could. Average time to complete the campaign is a little less than 1 hour. The fastest I have seen is 28 minutes on the first try (later tries are faster as you know what to do). But the cool thing is that our beta testers said they like to play the timed mission and explore mode even more than campaign (timed mode available after campaign is done). In other words, you play this game more than normal for some reason. I agree because I like Galaxy 2 and 4 the best because of the planet's surface. I like to test my skills at floating just barely above the surface and drop down into canyons. Each planet has variety and, except for 3, has deep regions you can test hovering down into. You can land on the surface without crashing, but it's really hard.

Don't ignore the soundtrack. It's a 100% custom built soundtrack by Atomicon. Professionally scored and recorded. 10 original tracks. We're thinking of releasing an album people like it so much.

A word about the popping. It's an iPhone. It has the brain of a T-Rex (no offense anyone). We MUST use levels of detail and draw ranges or you'd be crashing constantly. Even with all our work, it will still crash, but not very much. Really, Wings Galaxy is VERY stable BUT not perfect. BUT we put it in your hands to customize. Go into your Settings (and select Wings Galaxy) and change the draw range if you want lower frames per second and less drawing. You can also crank up the detail on the planet. Speaking of detail. there is FOUR times more pixel density on the planet textures than Wings Earth.

Oh, and while we're talking about Wings Earth (http://tinyurl.com/ovkqrc), we've just posted a Wings Earth 2.5 to Apple. Should take a few days to get approved. Free update! You're welcome. It's not a full point release but you'll get more settings, another audio track, better help, and the same 4 times greater planet surface detail. Also, you'll get iPhone 3.0 compatibility, which is one of the main reasons behind the update. And really, even 6 months after its first release, we're still told Wings Earth is the most "fun" flight sim. It might not be able to handle landings or IFR approach instructions, but what's the fun part of flying? Buzzing mountain tops at radically high speed you say? Then Wings is your app!

Thanks everyone. We really appreciate, and need, your support.

Keep the POSITIVE ideas coming our way. Please buy our apps so we can keep making them better and come out with new ones for you.

Here's the link if you want to check out Wings Earth. PLEASE help us with kind reviews if you like our work. It helps us out a lot and makes our jobs more fun: http://tinyurl.com/op2hnh
06-03-2009, 11:55 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 675
Guys, you have such a great generative engine, why do you not use it? Why limit the number of galaxies? You HAVE the procedural content generation in-place (seemingly). Why not add a random mode?


As for LOD, other games do it better on the iPhone. I for one have extensive embedded development, procedural generation, and some graphics experience. 58mb of RAM is more than enough to avoid the kind of LOD popping that Galaxy exhibits. You can squeeze a GREAT DEAL out of the iPhone if you know how. As I noted in my impressions I have it set to max detail. It runs flawlessly on my iTouch 2G.

Outer space is *not* boring. Here is an example:

The over-the-topness wasn't my main complaint, though. It was that the skybox didn't seem to rotate in sync with the solar system. It made it feel very small. Also the physical smallness of the planets that you just kind of bump into.

I mean don't feel bad. My main complaint is that there isn't enough. I want more. If I was complaining that it was too boring or frustrating then you'd really really have to worry :-P

And $3 is as compared to other $3 games, not an overpriced sandwich :-P

BTW I own and enjoy Wings Earth from time to time. I really want Galaxy to do well. If you're interested in some more serious procedural generation, PM me. I've been itching to develop a more-advanced-than-Elite full procedural story generation system for a space shooter/trader with economic simulation etc., but I'm disabled and can't do all of the work myself. I'd prefer to work on the content management and generation side, as opposed to gameplay engine etc.
06-04-2009, 12:42 AM
I understand better now what you're saying. And thanks for the great ideas. I'll pass them to the team as they're chomping at the bit to see how Wings Galaxy does. Please help us get the word out. One quick thing about the engine. The engine isn't generating the imagery. That's all custom drawn art (the galaxies, planet textures, etc). Oh, and please check Settings not just for detail, but also view distance. My preference is medium. Long range runs a little slow for my taste. Again, thanks very much for the input. We're listening!