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Old 05-04-2011, 02:11 PM
kode80 kode80 is offline
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Default 1-bit Ninja - imagine the original Gameboy had a SFX chip and touch controls worked!

Hi All,

I am pleased to announce my new game 1-bit Ninja, launching end of May 2011. This is something of a love song to my gaming past. tl:dr bullet points and video below - followed by a write up.

Cheers!


Ben (kode80)

Bullet Points:
* stylized engine: 1-bit animated sprites and tiles, blended with color, shading, 3D. Nostalgia with extra spice!
* designed around 2 buttons for precise, invisible control (see full write up below)
* lots of hand crafted levels all with multiple paths, secrets and collectables
* high scores and best times
* recorded replays, so you can show off how you achieved the above
* play at a casual pace or try ‘traditional’ mode, everyone’s invited!
* Coming to iPhone and iPod touch end of May 2011

Video:

Low bandwidth Version | Pop Up


Write up:
1-bit Ninja is one of those ideas that has been at the back of my mind for a while. Some of my favorite early gaming memories are of Game + Watch and Gameboy and I wanted to create a game that tipped its hat stylistically to this important aspect of my gaming past. This naturally merged with another desire of mine which was to design a traditional side scrolling platform game specifically for touch screen, with controls that didn’t suck.

Through scientific research (read: playing lots of Super Mario Bros, Canabalt and games with touch screen virtual controls), I concluded a few things. Firstly, touch screen controls do not intrinsically suck. Tapping/pressing a touch screen is no less responsive than physical buttons, however changing button presses without consciously looking at them is inaccurate and frustrating. Secondly, platform games can be distilled to just 3 buttons; back, forward and jump. Of those 3 buttons, 1 of them, the back button could be considered of lesser importance when the player’s goal is always to the right.

By giving the player just 2 buttons the need for inaccurate on-screen controls disappears, your left thumb is button A and your right thumb is button B. With this control scheme in mind levels can be designed that not only work within the restrictions but take advantage of them. Level elements such as springs and moving platforms can be used to redirect the player creating alternative routes and subtle puzzles all in the while keeping the essential parts of the genre - exploration and precise jumping.

With the control concept in place, I started to build and as I had been working on an iOS Minecraft engine I decided to merge elements of that. 1-bit Ninja’s levels appear 2D however at any time the player can drag the top of the screen revealing the world as 3D. The 3D element provides 2 advantages to gameplay; enabling the player to see further into the distance allowing them to decide their next move and revealing hidden paths that can’t be seen in the 2D view. I also think it also looks rather cool.

1-bit Ninja is almost complete and will be launching towards the end of May 2011, tell all your friends!
  #2  
Old 05-04-2011, 02:21 PM
NinthNinja NinthNinja is offline
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Very nice
  #3  
Old 05-04-2011, 02:38 PM
J-kid J-kid is offline
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absolutely wonderful looking game!
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Old 05-04-2011, 03:03 PM
drelbs drelbs is offline
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Wow that's trippy...

Seems you should make the objects 1 pixel deep (think Minecraft tools) else they'd disappear if you looked at them head on!

Also, the Game Boy had 2 bits of color depth not one...
  #5  
Old 05-04-2011, 03:23 PM
psj3809 psj3809 is offline
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Love the look of this, looks amazing. Still would like a back button though
  #6  
Old 05-04-2011, 03:26 PM
phattestfatty phattestfatty is offline
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looks nice! and I agree, there should be a button for going back. I still think a LOE control pad works best....
  #7  
Old 05-04-2011, 03:40 PM
ninjackid ninjackid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phattestfatty View Post
looks nice! and I agree, there should be a button for going back. I still think a LOE control pad works best....
I agree with this. Should be a < > and a ^ butttons like LoE.

Looks and sounds great otherwise!
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Old 05-04-2011, 04:18 PM
K76 K76 is offline
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This is beyond exciting. 8D
  #9  
Old 05-04-2011, 04:31 PM
kode80 kode80 is offline
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Thanks every one!

Quote:
Originally Posted by drelbs View Post
Wow that's trippy...

Seems you should make the objects 1 pixel deep (think Minecraft tools) else they'd disappear if you looked at them head on!

Also, the Game Boy had 2 bits of color depth not one...
When dragging in 3D, the camera can never look at that extreme of an angle so the sprites are always visible.

You are of course right about the Gameboy's 4 shades however I was going for an overall aesthetic that includes my love for Game + Watch as well. Also notice that the level is blended with the background colors at a lower opacity which itself gives an extra shade to the solid black/white of the sprites.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ninjackid View Post
Should be a < > and a ^ butttons like LoE..
Quote:
Originally Posted by psj3809 View Post
Love the look of this, looks amazing. Still would like a back button though
Quote:
Originally Posted by phattestfatty View Post
looks nice! and I agree, there should be a button for going back. I still think a LOE control pad works best....
Even using a simplified on-screen direction pad for left/right I find the accuracy just isn't there. Many times I find myself not moving my thumb enough by a small fraction resulting in the change of direction I was expecting not being registered. The same can be said for most buttons in general, every 50 times you press it you're are off and thus don't get the action you were expecting.
In some games this is passable and the minor errors are just something you grow used to. However for the kind of game I wanted to make a big part is the controls feeling like second nature - the last thing you want when you're making pixel perfect jumps like a champ, missing chasms and bouncing off badguys heads is for a button press not to register at exactly the point you expect it to. If you have to think about the controls for even a second - it's failed.

This does of course shape the game design itself but IMO it adds an interesting gameplay element as it introduces potential for new puzzles and strategy. Not all games can use this approach (LoE obviously features levels that scroll and require traversal in both directions) but for the type of gameplay I personally miss greatly - I think it works well!
  #10  
Old 05-04-2011, 05:56 PM
nikhsterboi nikhsterboi is offline
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Wow, wonderfully pleasing! Nice graphics, but the controls probably need some work; add some buttons.

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