Monthly Archives: March 2013
I imagine a common conundrum for many artists who work on one project for an extended period of time is looking back on past work that had been greenlit and seeing utter garbage. Then comes the troubling task of deciding whether to keep what is there and endure hours of eye twitching or remaking it and possibly wasting precious hours.
This issue is no stranger to the games industry and occurs across the board, be it AAA titles, indie companies and one-man projects. Fez, L.A. Noire and Spore are some of my favourite examples and extended development caused problems after release for these games regardless of how beautiful and fun they are.
So where is the sweet spot between time and quality?
So, Leigh posted his thoughts recently on the fact that our game, despite being primarily targeted at iPad, is not really an ‘iPad game’. It is in the sense that was it was built from the ground up for this platform – the interface went through three careful major iterations to make it as elegant, seamless and transparently simple as possible on a touch interface.
But it also *isn’t* in the sense that is is a full, solid premium game. These are my thoughts on that – consider it a friendly rebuttal, if you like, or at the very least an alternate perspective – why I feel he’s right… but why I feel that’s not a problem.
It wasn’t designed for in-app microtransactions, and even the budget/scale of the game is more like a mid-level indie game than a little iPad twitch-fest. This we’ve known from the start – but it wasn’t something that bothered me. Far from it – I considered it an opportunity – and a challenge. To illustrate this, I’ll tell a story.
One of the lingering things which has me somewhat perturbed as we rapidly approach final beta is the notion that our game isn’t the right fit for the platform. This was hammered home to an extent yesterday when discussing the difficulty level of See Through Studios’ game Unstoppabot at the iOS game’s launch drinks.
(Side note: everyone do make a point of checking out one of Sydney’s best indie developers’ latest works. It’s a unique game from designer Nick Kolan and is easy to pick up and play. And it’s free.)
Essentially, their game, which combines the frantic nature of an endless runner and the synapse-firing of a puzzler, has a tempestuous difficulty curve. Appearing distressingly easy at first, the game quickly ramps up. Not in speed, as you’d expect from an endless runner, but in the complexity of the puzzles. Truth be told, they’d be rather simple to get through if the screen weren’t constantly moving, and hence the challenge.
What Nick told me last night was that they found the game markedly too difficult when it came time to playtest. I, myself, am up to level 13. I’m told it’s level 14 where the game gets quite hard.