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  #1  
Old 05-07-2013, 04:48 PM
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iossif iossif is offline
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Default Expander - a game experiment [work in progress]

hello everyone!

i am currently working on a little experiment. after the last ludum dare i decided to pause my work on my current project at all civilized planets to finish my gamejam game for real. up until now i have always been kind of uncommunicative about new projects in public, this time i want to change that. for that i will post updates on the current state of the game often and collect your feedback and thoughts.

here is what happend so far:

the first version of the game was created in only a few hours and can be played here: http://www.randoom.net/expander/expander.html

the game mechanic itself is very simple: you can switch between two planes in order to dodge obstacles while you can expand your main character (block ). the bigger the character, the bigger the multiplier gets. but be careful, touching walls will take away a life.

if you are interested in the process of me creating this first version, watch this time lapse video on youtube:


Youtube link | Pop Up


since then a few things have changed. at first i experimented with the gameplay itself a bit. one result allowed the expanding of the main character for each side individually. it looked nice at first but the negative things unfortunately stacked up.
  • + it removes the forced symmetry from level parts
  • + it looked nice
  • - it added another control (3 instead of 2 now). this meant i had to get rid of the plane switch - 3 controls in this kind of game make everything too confusing.
  • - removing the jump made me lose the element of fear from imminent doom => the game suffered and i had to abandon this idea.

wedf2f2rgrg.jpg
this idea had to be removed

next i added camera transitions since i felt like the game needed a bit more dynamics. how i will use them in the end is not certain yet.

the last thing i added today were collectibles. the game did not communicate the need to stay close to the borders up until now. therefor i added items near the borders which raise the score multiplier. this should motivate the players to take risks.

here is a video of the current state of the game:


Youtube link | Pop Up


there are a lot of items on my todo list of course
graphics are not even started yet, music needs to be made/found, levels need to be made/balanced.

i hope you like my approach and hope for some valuable input! i will post updates as soon as there is something to report in this thread.

in case anyone is interested in testing the game in the early states: sign up on testflight, register your device and i will send you builds! to join my testflight team, use this link: http://tflig.ht/GDbTC6

you can also follow me on twitter - @iossif in case you want more detailed updates

i will stop the wall of text now, thanks for reading everything! <3
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  #2  
Old 05-15-2013, 02:19 PM
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iossif iossif is offline
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updates!

a few days have passed and the game is in a good shape. currently it runs on all ios devices from 3gs upwards and therefor does reasonable well on android as well.

we did spend some time working on the overall look and so far we are quite happy with the results after only one week of polishing. it is of course not 100% complete yet, but for an experiment after a gamejam is looks very nice.

gameplay wise there were no major changes. a few control schemes were tested but so far the original one [left side for scrolling to scale the character, right side to change planes] seems to be the best.
we also tested more camera positions and transitions and have a nice mix of those now as the game gets harder.

the rest of the time we spent on creating menus, implementing gamecenter and all those additional steps a game needs around its core.

this is what the game looks like at the moment:

Youtube link | Pop Up


the offer for testing the game still stands! sign up at http://tflig.ht/GDbTC6 to join our testers on testflight.

if you have any questions or comments about the game... feel free to post here or ask me on twitter any time. every feedback is welcome

thanks for reading, more updates will come soon!
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  #3  
Old 05-15-2013, 10:00 PM
copaeci copaeci is offline
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I like the idea about camera transition in first video.. Looks good.
Applied for beta

Question:
- Is this endless game?
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  #4  
Old 05-16-2013, 03:46 AM
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iossif iossif is offline
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yes, the game is endless in theory. it will get harder over time though. everytime you pass a green "door", the game speeds up a little, making it harder to get timings right.
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Old 05-17-2013, 03:52 PM
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iossif iossif is offline
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updates!

i wanted to do music/sounds and levels today but it turned out i managed to fix another big problem instead.

at yesterdays "user testing" (aka showing it to friends) i noticed that people had problems understanding the concept of the two planes. the colors on the level borders did not seem to be enough to tell the story.
when i looked into the problem, i of course watched previous versions and well... shadows are great to show heights of objects. the first version of the game had shadows but it was made for pc - for mobile devices this is much more tricky.
to put it into perspective... the game uses ~20 draw calls without shadows. that is ok to run in a 3gs device. when i enable real time shadows, suddenly i have ~170 draw calls... that even is a problem for high end mobile devices.
at first i tried to fake shadows by putting planes that look like shadows in the level. that was "ok" but did not feel right - also it made level design much harder.

after some thinking i remembered that unity3d has this nice feature called lightmapping. basically you calculate the shadows in the editor, store them into a texture and use this texture later instead of calculating the shadows dynamically (might be more complicated, but i think that sums it up). to save memory, i then resized the generated lightning textures since they look good enough even on half the resolution (in the end, it is just grey areas on the ground).
viola! now the game has shadows that do not cause draw calls and run on any device. great success

to show the shadows, i then built only a few new levels so the videos do not get boring for you

this is what the game looks like at the moment:

Youtube link | Pop Up
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  #6  
Old 05-22-2013, 03:40 AM
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iossif iossif is offline
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updates!

we worked hard to get as much work done as possible since the PAX submission deadline was two days ago.

a lot of polishing and level design was done as well as sounds, music and all those nice things.

as a result, here is our current gameplay trailer, including parts of the soundtrack! enjoy


Youtube link | Pop Up
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  #7  
Old 05-23-2013, 10:34 AM
copaeci copaeci is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iossif View Post
updates!

we worked hard to get as much work done as possible since the PAX submission deadline was two days ago.

a lot of polishing and level design was done as well as sounds, music and all those nice things.

as a result, here is our current gameplay trailer, including parts of the soundtrack! enjoy

YouTube: video
Do you still open for beta?
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  #8  
Old 05-23-2013, 10:35 AM
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iossif iossif is offline
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yes, we still accept testers. did you sign up at testflight already?
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  #9  
Old 05-23-2013, 10:36 AM
copaeci copaeci is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iossif View Post
yes, we still accept testers. did you sign up at testflight already?
Yes, I thought I've sign up for the beta since few days ago..
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  #10  
Old 05-23-2013, 10:37 AM
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iossif iossif is offline
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can you send me your testflight name via dm? i added all new people just yesterday. maybe something went wrong in the code signing process.
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