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iPhone: Surf Prodigy v1.1 now available

08-05-2009, 01:20 AM
#1
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 88
Surf Prodigy v1.1 now available

Surf Prodigy update 1.1 is out adding extra credits for font authors, fixed a bug so you don't lose your upgrades from beach 6 when sponsored and fixed a bug where total barrel time was accumulating from the start of playing the game, rather than at the beginning of each surf session.

What is very cool is that apart from consistently staying around the low twenties in the Aussie app store it's now sitting at #93 in the US store.

Update 1.2 is almost ready to go up which removes the heavy compression on textures, making them appear crisper, persistence of game settings so when you want low graphics setting off it sticks and music on/off is remembered. I've enhanced the foam and spray effects for the surfer so he leaves a better wake, and tweaked the position of the surfer in the medium sized wave so he doesn't sit in then air above it when crouching.

Update 1.3 wil be feature based and I will reveal details soon.

Last edited by Psychopsam; 08-15-2009 at 12:10 PM.
08-15-2009, 12:13 PM
#2
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 88
Version 1.2 will also include aerial targets to collect. They will be an additional requirement to pass each level - but won't drive you back if you have unlocked beaches already. Some targets will provide temporary upgrades.

I've had some criticism about the control and the look of the waves so please feel free to elaborate on what you think could be improved as I'm am happy to make changes.

08-15-2009, 12:47 PM
#3
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 10,505
Looks pretty neat. Adding the pics as you didnt have them even in the earlier thread..
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08-15-2009, 08:37 PM
#4
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 88
Great thanks ImNoSuperman I really like the screenshot widget you've put in. How do you do that?
08-15-2009, 09:02 PM
#5
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 88
The other thing I'm changing is the first wave. As the user experience is what you see first up, the first wave, while it doesn't wipe you out as much, may make new users think the waves aren't barrelling. So I'm making the first one barrel, but not punish you.
08-17-2009, 09:14 AM
#6
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 126
Ya know, the first thing I did after getting an iPhone was an App Store search on "surfing". I never learned how to surf, so I didn't need any surf report apps. I still love it though and have been wanting a decent surfing game. That bobblehead one wasn't really my bag, so I moved on. I dunno how I missed this, maybe the "SP" logo threw me off? You should really change that to a simple screen shot of a surfer riding a tube.

The controls are decent, but something doesn't feel right. I dunno if I can put my finger on it. Maybe I just don't have enough hours put into it or maybe I'm getting too into it, but I find myself sometimes tilting the phone to the point where I can't even see the surfer any more! I think it must have something to do with the reverse angle you chose. It takes some getting used to. Like you said in the tutorial, "PRACTICE". Still, maybe it needs a little tweaking?

I look forward to the upgrades. When you say "aerial targets" do you mean having a "bullseye" above the lip of the wave that you would have to physically "collect" with the surfer? That would be an awesome idea and would give a player a lot more incentive during free modes. Maybe you could incorporate other time attack modes as well? I wanna say water hazards would be cool, like sharks or something, but that maight make things too silly.

The only complaints I would give at this early stage are trivial, but I figured I would mention them. First off, the characters, especially that blonde sponsor chick, I would change those if at all possible. I read elsewhere that you had to do the artwork yourself. I don't want to offend you, but is it at all possible to get friend to maybe do something for you? It just makes an otherwise serious looking game feel a bit amateurish. With a little more polish, this game could be wicked!

The other issue is battery drain. I played for two hours on a full charge last night and was down to 33%! I've only owned an iPhone since June. I've played a lot of different games, but have never experienced such a hit over a short period of time. Maybe most of the games I have played aren't as graphically intence, but if there is anything that can be done about that, I would definitely look into it.

I think my post may be coming off as too critical, but I really enjoyed playing this. It's a blast! Right after I turned it off I went directly to the DVD shelf and threw on Riding Giants. I think I'll do a little Super Session tonight. Man, if you could ever get the rights to incorporate real surfers into this it would truly be killer!

Thanks again for a great game. Can't wait to see where you take it!

Last edited by KSC; 08-17-2009 at 09:46 AM.
08-17-2009, 09:45 AM
#7
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 88
Thanks for the review KSC, and don't worry, it's great what you have mentioned. It should be known before it's out for too long that the game is a continual work in progress and I hope to refine it into a really great surfing game for the iphone.

Here's a quick list of the current 1.2 progress.
- fixed wave height on wave 1.0 so you don't pop above it (DONE)
- crisp textures. (DONE)
- persistent settings - music on/off, low res on/off - remembers after restart so you don't have to change them again (DONE)
- upgrade surf/comp/free buttons (DONE)
- upgrade button resolution for options/stats/help/location (DONE)
- changed first wave to be 1.0 size to look better for first user experience (DONE)
- added better spray and foam from board (DONE)
- added aerial targets (IN PROGRESS)
- tweak control system to add stall, pump and glide better on wave ( IN PROGRESS)
- refine cartoon characters (IN PROGRESS) - maybe in 1.3
- add local musician track (IN PROGRESS) - maybe in 1.3
- new logo ( easy to change )

Yes the graphics will have to change. I will get better at art, so some of my stuff will stay, but my mate will supply some new sponsor character art soon.

Regarding the power drain -I have no idea - other than it's pretty heavy in rendering and textures - so I think if I cut the poly counts and texture sizes it might be better for battery performance - it will definitely be better for frame rates - I think the music drains power too because it needs the cpu to unpack the mp3???

Regarding the controls - over tilting the phone is something I wanted to avoid - I have a joystick in there turned off at the moment which when complete you will be able to use - it's just right now because of the poly count affecting frame rates on the 2nd gen iPhones it makes the joystick input laggy so I've locked it out for now. I think I am more interested in making a good control system, but I don't think it has to use accelerometer input just because the device is capable of it.

Yes the aerial targets will be floating power ups to collect - get them all for a bonus, but there will be a reduce number to get to unlock the next beach.

Regarding the time attack mode - there are lots of other things like that I will add, and this will happen from version 1.3

The problem with putting real pro surfers or sponsors in the game is that I have to give them some of the money right? I would prefer to put in local up coming surfers to promote them in the real world via the app, in exactly the same way as I will be using local musicians in the game to promote their music on the app store.

Stick around to see more great things coming for the game, and I really appreciate your honest feedback - it's just what I need (and the game needs) to make it better.

Last edited by Psychopsam; 08-17-2009 at 09:48 AM.
08-18-2009, 10:07 AM
#8
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psychopsam View Post

Here's a quick list of the current 1.2 progress....
That list looks like a great start! Wow, many of those things are were on my wants list as well. I have a few more things I'd like to see. I'll get to it in a minute.

Quote:
Yes the graphics will have to change. I will get better at art, so some of my stuff will stay, but my mate will supply some new sponsor character art soon.
Don't sweat it. They look fine. Gameplay is always the most important to me, I just brought it up as I know some dudes out there may judge books by their covers. You gotta get em' to beach if you want them to go in the water, right?

Quote:
Regarding the power drain -I have no idea - other than it's pretty heavy in rendering and textures - so I think if I cut the poly counts and texture sizes it might be better for battery performance - it will definitely be better for frame rates - I think the music drains power too because it needs the cpu to unpack the mp3???
Ah, that makes sense. It's funny, cause even though it taxes the battery I don't really get the same "warm" feeling from the phone like I do while using Pandora or doing lots of the other kind of surfing over 3G. Like I said, most of the games I have played are mainly prerendered, I guess, and not constantly changing.

Quote:
Regarding the controls - over tilting the phone is something I wanted to avoid - I have a joystick in there turned off at the moment which when complete you will be able to use - it's just right now because of the poly count affecting frame rates on the 2nd gen iPhones it makes the joystick input laggy so I've locked it out for now. I think I am more interested in making a good control system, but I don't think it has to use accelerometer input just because the device is capable of it.
Oh man, I wasn't even thinking about the use of a joystick! That could be exactly what this games needs. I know it would make for tighter carving. The accelerometer works just fine the majority of time, I just feel a player could get a lot more into it if they had complete control via a stick.

Quote:
Yes the aerial targets will be floating power ups to collect - get them all for a bonus, but there will be a reduce number to get to unlock the next beach.
Cool.

Quote:
The problem with putting real pro surfers or sponsors in the game is that I have to give them some of the money right? I would prefer to put in local up coming surfers to promote them in the real world via the app, in exactly the same way as I will be using local musicians in the game to promote their music on the app store.
Totally understandable. The guys I would wanna see featured in there are probably too old school for a modern surfing game, anyway.

I do have a few more suggestions. I don't wanna be a pain in the ass, but after beating the game last night there are some things I'd like to see to increase replay value.

1-I'm not really sure what the sponsor's role is here. The surfer makes his own cash, yet the sponsor is always putting up theirs to get you into the next competition. The problem is, there's nothing at stake if you don't qualify. You can just enter again using their cash! What I think you should do is eliminate that aspect altogether. Have the player make his own cash during free surf in order to use that for the next beach. That way if you lose, you'll have to go back and surf in order to get more cash to enter again. This will make playing the game much more enjoyable. The way it is now is similar to a racing game where you can keep hitting reset if you're not doing well enough. There's no fun in that.

If you want to keep the sponsor, then maybe they should threaten to drop you if you underperform. One warning, then they split and you have to put up your own loot in order to enter and perhaps get responsored.

2-Speaking of which, last night after beating the last beach, I replayed a few levels for fun and a red-haired sponsor just showed up outta the blue! No explaination that the game was "continuing" or anything. Then, she gave out "new" moves that I had previously unlocked after winning a certain comp???

3-Gear upgrades: Again, the sponsor shouldn't be giving you free gear. You should have to buy it yourself. That would totally encourage more surfing. Make a Surf Shop, man! How rad would that be if you could use you cash to buy new boards and suits?! Maybe you could have a "gallery" of sorts where you can view all the boards you collected as well. You wouldn't have to apply graphics to the "in game" boards, but that would be way cool if you could see what you're surfing on, ya know? Give the game a little character.

4-Get at least one beach in there with some reef or rock action.

5-More moves and surf terms: I was wondering if maybe you could award points for style? When your surfing in this game, as I'm sure you already know, it's possible to do real life tricks by "accident". In otherwords maybe there is a way for the game to reconize frontsides and fakies and score accordingly?

Like I said, I don't wanna impose my opinion. I think you're doing a great job without my 2 cents. I'm sure most of those things have been addressed by others, I just thought I'd speak my mind in case they hadn't.
08-18-2009, 10:18 AM
#9
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 88
Just a quick reply to say thanks for your valued input - it's late here so I will come back tomorrow and reply in greater length. I think your ideas for the sponsors are good and definitely give me some ideas for changes. I'll report back tomorrow with some more info.
08-22-2009, 12:09 AM
#10
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by KSC View Post
Don't sweat it. They look fine. Gameplay is always the most important to me, I just brought it up as I know some dudes out there may judge books by their covers. You gotta get em' to beach if you want them to go in the water, right?
I really wish I could release a lite version so people can try it but I can't think of a way to do this without providing a valuable surfing experience that essentially you could just keep playing to enjoy riding the wave for free - so no sales


Quote:
Originally Posted by KSC View Post
Oh man, I wasn't even thinking about the use of a joystick! That could be exactly what this games needs. I know it would make for tighter carving. The accelerometer works just fine the majority of time, I just feel a player could get a lot more into it if they had complete control via a stick.
I'm going to tweak the exist accelerometer so it's looser at the bottom and tighter at the top - should allow for more subtle turning. I've also been playing a few big surfing games to see what they do so I will be reviewing my control code to be similar - because this is what people expect. I have two types of joysticks, analogue and digital - I like digital (on/off - turn or not) but having 3 control schemes with a sensitivity setting in the options should help people find the control system that works for them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KSC View Post
I do have a few more suggestions. I don't wanna be a pain in the ass, but after beating the game last night there are some things I'd like to see to increase replay value.

1-I'm not really sure what the sponsor's role is here. ...The problem is, there's nothing at stake if you don't qualify. You can just enter again using their cash! What I think you should do is eliminate that aspect altogether. Have the player make his own cash during free surf in order to use that for the next beach. ... If you want to keep the sponsor, then maybe they should threaten to drop you if you underperform. One warning, then they split and you have to put up your own loot in order to enter and perhaps get responsored.
I like this model - I will implement something like this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KSC View Post
2-Speaking of which, last night after beating the last beach, I replayed a few levels for fun and a red-haired sponsor just showed up outta the blue!
Sounds like a bug - can you PM me with the reproducable steps please? So I can repro it myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KSC View Post
3-Gear upgrades: Again, the sponsor shouldn't be giving you free gear. You should have to buy it yourself. That would totally encourage more surfing. Make a Surf Shop, man!
First off, the player needs an avatar and hi-score (to be put in version 1.3) IRL sponsors give surfer free stuff all the time - that's where I got the model from. Gives me a few ideas though - I'll see what I can do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KSC View Post
4-Get at least one beach in there with some reef or rock action.
Obstacles are on the cards already - it will be in a future release.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KSC View Post
5-More moves and surf terms: I was wondering if maybe you could award points for style? When your surfing in this game, as I'm sure you already know, it's possible to do real life tricks by "accident". In otherwords maybe there is a way for the game to reconize frontsides and fakies and score accordingly?
I'm changing the control system so you can have your own style. Right now it's all canned, such as 'press this button to do a rail grab' - I'm gonna change it so that a button does a grab, but you can do a roundhouse as well to create a new combo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KSC View Post
Like I said, I don't wanna impose my opinion. I think you're doing a great job without my 2 cents. I'm sure most of those things have been addressed by others, I just thought I'd speak my mind in case they hadn't.
It's nice to have critical, considerate feedback - thank you. It's much better than random negative throw away comments - that doesn't help.