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iPhone: Thinking about updating our game (Paper Airplane) - Feedback needed

02-04-2009, 12:23 PM
#1
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 33
Thinking about updating our game (Paper Airplane) - Feedback needed

Hi,
long story short: I still believe Paper Airplane has been underappreciated. It is a very simple game, I know. But it is all about the gameplay and in my obviously biased opinion it is one of the most satisfying casual game playing experience on the iPhone.

The fact is that since it came out I've got a lot of contradictory feedback about what people like and what they don't and I don't know in which direction I should go to update it. Of course, it's impossible to please everybody. It's always a matter of taste. But my fear his that there was a greter potential and that it hasn't been fully expressed.

I'm in the middle of a game developer's block because of this game.

Once me and my wife got the idea for the game, I started developing it in 2d (using sprites - static images) for the airplane (which wasn't even a 'paper plane' in the first prototypes) and the birds. But since I am a programmer by heart I soon switched to a 3d perspective (I was already using gl es - the opengl subset available on the iPhone) and started coding all the graphic elements by hand. I didn't use any kind of texture because it was more fun to program it this way.

At some point, I decided that I wanted to give some more depth apart from the gameplay and thought about making the clouds (and then the mountains) procedurally generated: they're sketched - they're not realistic graphically - but their shapes and colors are always different. Like real clouds vs a static sprite.

The 3d model of the airplane is hardcoded. The balloons are generated from an algorithm in 3d and the birds are in 3d too (these are just sketched too, four polygons, but in this way it was possible to animate the wings easily from the code). The balloons' strings are animated too.

A lot of extra work. But it's been worth since I enjoyed it.

Of course it's not easy to notice all these nuances since the gameplay is 2d and all the elements are rather tiny. Why didn't I make everything bigger? Simple: because it is more fun to play it in this way. You have more space to move. We knew that it would appear less appealing graphically, but we thought that the gameplay was more important for the player.

It all started from the satisfying experience of flying this little paper airplane by gently tilting the device. Once we tried the gameplay we got hooked and we built the game around this.

In the first versions you were only able to tilt left and right to control the plane. Then people from this forum (and some reviewer iirc) asked for the option to control the plane by tilting upward downward. Now, no matter how hard I try to explain to the people trying the game that the original setting is far better I can't convince them. Even if it seems unnatural to control the plane by tilting left and right (not clockwise counterclockwise, mind you, which is even worse) you have much more sensitivity and precision in this way. Once you've become accustomed it is far more pleasant.

As I said, this game is all about the gameplay: simple but effective. No levels, since we wanted it to be a relaxing experience. No powerups (does every game need them? does tetris have powerups?) but each balloon color gives a different score and the probability with which a balloon appears is directly related to the score value. Overall the gameplay has been carefully calibrated since the very first version.

This game has been ignored by almost all the iphone/itouch gaming websites/blog. But I'm not starting a rant. Again, the game is very very simple - and I wasn't expecting people raving crazily about how awesome it is - but it was done with love (and we're determined to keep working in this way). On one hand I applaud those making shovelware in a matter of hours. They're even supported by all the blogs, so probably they're doing it right. But seriously, it's really disheartening.

Anyway, I've spent my spare time in the last three months (we're not doing this fulltime obviously) working on an almost full featured custom 3d engine. I have had a lot of ideas and we already have a lot of other projects going on but I'm still uncomfortable about how this tiny little game has been received. And I'm willing to keep working on it to make it better.

Some have told me 'Please, don't ever change the retro style of the graphics', some keeps saying that they dislike it since it looks too pixelly. Some want powerups, a story mode, weapons to kill birds and a store to buy/upgrade them. Some think that even just a bit of added complexity would detract from the appeal of the game.

Some think it is already great. But almost everybody else says 'Change this and that and it will be a huge hit'.

So have you tried the game? What do you think it can be done to improve it? Do you like the graphics? Would you have preferred static images instead of the procedurally generated clouds if they were prettier and more in style with the main menu graphics?

Thanks in advance to you all for your time. Here are 5 promo codes if you don't own the game and you're curious:

TPPKHL9M4YAA
AYYJNHTXT3EJ
R4FJFRWJRH9T
JRFT9T69E9PR
WHLLMNPKYY64

Cheers,

-c.

p.s. Sorry for my poor english.

Last edited by lilasoft; 04-14-2011 at 08:31 AM.
02-04-2009, 12:35 PM
#2
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: somewhere
Posts: 1,823
thank you, i took one promo. soon post my views.

02-04-2009, 12:41 PM
#3
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 707
Me Too..

...i got TPPKHL9M4YAA - let you know soon. Thank you.
02-04-2009, 12:46 PM
#4
I already have Paper Airplane, and yes, it's simple but it does exactly as is intended. It takes dull minutes and turns them into gliding, balloon poping, bird dodging.... oops better get back to work... Minutes
02-04-2009, 12:50 PM
#5
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,363
I took the third code, thanks.

I actually do like the graphics. After playing for a while, I think that it can be pretty fun. It just that the things that I want to do with the accelerometer controls (in some cases), I can't really do them. Looks like I got to be very patient with them. Perhaps a touch control can be added on the side of the screen like those blockbuster games and control the plane that way as an option?

Edit: Wow, looks like the x axis controls are a lot easier than the y controls for me. I enjoy it a lot more now.

Last edited by darkhorse; 02-04-2009 at 01:10 PM.
02-04-2009, 12:50 PM
#6
Darn just missed it. All codes are gone
02-04-2009, 01:03 PM
#7
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: You need to stalk me?
Posts: 2,117
Send a message via AIM to superbad
lilasoft. the game is not bad. it's just that it gets burried in between UP THERE graphics and SPACE NINJA gameplay.

the problem is with the graphics and the calibration of the airplane itself. it goes straight up and down too much.

also, the balloon isnt rendered as it should be. The birds need to be a bit bigger because it looks like tiny dots.

the background though works flawlessly.

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02-04-2009, 01:04 PM
#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkhorse View Post
I took the third code, thanks.

I actually do like the graphics. After playing for a while, I think that it can be pretty fun. It just that the things that I want to do with the accelerometer controls (in some cases), I can't really do them. Looks like I got to be very patient with them. Perhaps a touch control can be added on the side of the screen like those blockbuster games and control the plane that way as an option?

That is a good idea Darkhorse. Maybe touch like Platapus, where your finger is "locked" just behind the plane.
02-04-2009, 01:10 PM
#9
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 4,176
senicivty option the controls are to sensitive

Sorry for my bad spelling
02-04-2009, 01:13 PM
#10
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: You need to stalk me?
Posts: 2,117
Send a message via AIM to superbad
Quote:
Originally Posted by yourofl10 View Post
senisivty option the controls are too sensitive

Sorry for my bad spelling
i agree with your. try implementing touch controls..

PLEASE Visit The APPera | Follow Me Superbad24 | Follow The APPera Tweets
LOST. Let Go. Move On. Zing!
**GO LAKERS **