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iPhone: GravSpace - inspired by 'Thrust' for commodore 64 and BBC micros

03-19-2010, 05:27 AM
#1
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 22
GravSpace - inspired by 'Thrust' for commodore 64 and BBC micros

Hi,
I would like to introduce you to my first ever iPhone game release, which is also my first ever game programming project (which was made available on iTunes this week).


GravSpace is a game inspired by the classic 80s game 'Thrust' for BBC micro, Commodore 64 etc.
It's is a one man project which I have developed whilst out of regular employment, all graphics/sound/original music/coding is developed by myself - a major effort for me over the last 4 months.


iTunes link

Game website

An example gameplay video

Gravspace is a game where you control a space-ship by rotation of the iPhone, meanwhile using thrust control to keep the ship from crashing into the ground or walls.
The aim of each level is to retrieve an energy pod buried at different depths beneath planet surfaces whilst avoiding being hit by enemy fire.
There are two weapons to return fire - a lazer beam, and a 'plasma explosion' which uses up fuel.
The ship also has a shield device which uses up fuel whilst it is enabled, and also serves as a tractor beam to pick up fuel and the energy pods.
GravSpace is a game of skill and patience which requires precise use of the controls to steer the ship through the caves where the force of gravity is always working against you, and where the limited fuel and health reserves mean careful management of thrust and shield are required.

There are 14 missions of increasing difficulty and depth with increasing numbers and variety of enemy defense positions - each mission/planet features a different space backdrop and colour scheme.
There are also 14 bonus 'retro graphics' missions with higher gravity and faster enemy fire, where the game elements have been re-drawn in a style reminiscent of 80s computer games.


The game is available on iTunes now, and requires an iPod Touch or iPhone with OS 2.2.1 or above.



A great place to learn iPhone game programming skills:

Also I would like to take the time to let any potential iPhone app developers know about an excellent web-blog I've been following - http://www.71squared.co.uk - which I found extremely useful for getting started in iPhone programming.
I also have been blogging about my game development at http://www.2d-cubed.com - where you'll find some really useful links for other resources to learn about programming games.

OK... thanks for reading,
I welcome any feedback.

Paul.


Last edited by HKPaul; 03-19-2010 at 06:26 AM.
03-19-2010, 06:53 AM
#2
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Germany
Posts: 68
instant buy. already downloading. if it's half a as good as the original "thrust" it will be a blast.

03-19-2010, 08:11 AM
#3
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,146
Going to give this one a shot. Impressions in a bit.
03-19-2010, 08:51 AM
#4
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 22
Looking forward to your feedback.

Thrust is one of my favourite ever games, and making this tribute to that game has been a bit of a labour of love for me.
The game is fairly tough to control at first, but keep at it and you will find that the controls become much easier and the game hopefully becomes quite addictive. Don't forget you can use the shield button to bounce away from walls/enemies - something intended to make the game a little more accessible.

BTW.. I am doing a promo (US app store codes) for the first people who check the promo out.. see the promos section in the forum.

Thanks,
Paul.

Last edited by HKPaul; 03-19-2010 at 08:54 AM. Reason: typo
03-19-2010, 09:25 AM
#5
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,146
Game Impressions

Not bad at all. If you are looking for "thrust-type" gameplay this is pretty much as you'd expect.

Clean, no-fuss menues and presentation, customizeable options (with one glaring omission - see below), controls work very well (with...one exception - see below), the game generally runs smoothly although I did experience just occasional framerate stutters.

I don't like the accelorometer control for aiming. I can live with it for flying around, but when you need to aim and shoot at a target while controlling your ship at the same time, for my money it just falls way short.

Now, it's all well and good if some people prefer it and they are well catered to here. I just don't see why there's not an option for touch control for rotating your ship. A virtual stick or wheel would do just fine. Can we please have that option added?

As it stands, so long as tilt-to-aim control is not an issue for you, I see no reason not to recommend this. Particularly as I notice it's now dropped to a buck.
03-19-2010, 09:54 AM
#6
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,206
It looks pretty decent, but that accelerometer control is the deal breaker for me. The accelerometer is woefully inadequate for precision aiming, and aiming is vital in this game. If there were rotation buttons on the left and the shield was a toggle or time-limited button I could go for it, but until then I'll have to pass.

[Relax with Galactic Chill] [Let me tell you a story.]
Currently working on: Music for Spirit Hunter Mineko
03-19-2010, 10:41 PM
#7
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 22
Feedback, updates and some tips/videos:

Thanks for your useful feedback.
I will be implementing some form of directional 'lazer' fire as a control option in a forthcoming game update based on the comments.

Note, that you can actually already fire in all directions at once - avoiding the need to rotate the ship ... use the 'plasma explosion' weapon (the button above the lazer button), however it uses up a little fuel - to make the game-play a little more challenging.

Video showing the non-directional 'Plazma Exlosion' weapon in use:


Yes, I agree, it's quite difficult to steer the ship to fire the 'lazer' weapon, but that's what made the original Thrust game fun to play in my opinion.
Maybe I'm just too much of a fan of the original game - I like a challenge

One game-play tip I have is that whilst firing you can hold the shield button, which will stop you from crashing.
Anyway, I will implement a directional 'lazer' fire in the next update - but I will give the option of playing in 'Classic'/'Hard' mode which will provide a score bonus.

Video showing using the 'Lazer':


I've dropped the price to $0.99 as a trial introductory offer.