Gyrocade has released a futuristic 3D take on the classic game of Pong with a distinctive Tron feel through the iTunes App Store.  Vector Pong uses the iPhone's accelerometer to control the player's paddle, enabling him/her to serve, deflect, and spike a puck down a 3D corridor against a computer opponent or another (human) player thanks to WiFi-enable network play.

The game features three levels of difficulty, but even at the "Easy" setting the game is quite hard and the "Pro" level is apparently designed for robots.  However, due to the fluid gameplay and pleasant retro-future feel of this title, I feel compelled to keep at it in hopes of eventually getting a few consecutive victorious matches under my belt.  An "Easier" setting would be welcome, though.

Vector Pong has a feel reminsicent of the 80s classic Shufflepuck Cafe (which, incidentally, exists for the jailbroken iPhone as remake tuxPuck) and provides the player with the same satisfying sense of "WHACK!" with each successful deflection of an incoming volley.  Despite the game's difficulty, it's a lot of fun and seems well priced at $1.99.

Game Details

Name: Vector Pong
Developer: Gyrocade
App Store Link: Buy
Price: $1.99
Compatibility: iPhone and iPod Touch

TouchArcade Rating

  • http://www.lockergnome.com/digged Matt McCarty

    I have talked to the developer and he is working on a new update for the game. From what he has told me we should be expecting some big updates to the game.

  • arn

    the game looks very nice. The 3d perspective is a nice touch.

    arn

  • Rich

    I gave this a download after reading this post; it's a great game! It's funny really; the simpler a game is, the better it seems to be. Cube runner and this are by far my favourites.

    It takes some getting used to controlling using the accelerometer (but then again, all games have so far), especially when you need to move the paddle a large distance in a small space of time.

  • Gregz0r

    A good looking game, with a cool retro feel, but it suffers from the same problem that afflicts Super Monkey Ball: You can only play it by holding the device horizontal.
    I like to play games sitting back in a chair, but so far, there's no way to calibrate the center position of the accelerometer.

  • http://www.gyrocade.com Bill Powers

    No longer, with the release of 1.2, Vector Pong offers a calibration tool which allows you to play from just about any viewing angle.

  • http://www.lockergnome.com/digged Matt McCarty

    That's awesome Bill. I can't wait to play with the new controls.

  • Jeff

    I'm in Canada and don't see the 1.2 update in the store. There seems to be no way I can get this. Also I am getting no sound effects like in the video. Is that also only in 1.2?

  • http://www.gregparkerproductions.blogspot.com Greg Parker

    @ Jeff--I had a similar problem with no sound...to fix it, all u have to do is go to your general settngs and put sound effects to come out thru both outputs (speaker & headphone)....that will solve the problem...obviously the makers of the game only put sound output in the sound effects portion, and not the overall volume control..

  • http://www.gyrocade.com Bill Powers

    Thanks, guys. I will look into a remedy for this.

  • Daniel Zilber

    Very cool. Incidentally, a similar flash game "Curveball" has been around for years...

    http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/curveball

    Can't wait to try this one.

  • http://www.gyrocade.com Bill Powers

    My original inspiration to make a Pong game comes from a Shockwave game,
    http://www.liquid.se/pong/

    I think it may actually predate Curveball. I created my own Flash version in 2003 that wasn't very well known, because I never published it on any major sites. It had converging walls, and a lot of features that will hopefully make it into 3-D Vector Pong. Its an evolving work, that will hopefully have some lasting power.

    On a side note, v 1.2 is right around the corner, and its an update I think everyone will be very pleased with. So stay tuned.

  • jim

    Gregz0r,

    Just to point out that these games don't let you calibrate the setting for the dead-zone because it can only work when held horizontally. Its just a fact that accelerometers have to be used in this manner. Think about it, they detect accelerations, so unless you are vigourously shaking it they dont detect it at all. As such to offer the kind of control that these games use in two dimensions it has to rely on the acceleration from gravity, which is only pulling downwards. This is why the phone has to be flat as tilting it left/right, and up/down will all be able to be detected as the amount of gravity inline with the device changes as you tilt. If you however hold the phone vertically as if you were lying in bed then up/down tilt will still pick up changes in gravity affecting the phone but left and right tilt is now perpendicular to gravity, and as such its NOT detectable.

    Explained simply, held flat its just like moving a ball on a tray by tilting it in all directions. Holding it vertically however and you can change the speed that something would fall down the phone by making it more or less steep but gravity will do nothing for something that can only move horizontally.

  • http://www.gyrocade.com Bill Powers

    I've found a way around this. (Sort of.) With the release of 1.2, different viewing angles are possible. Issues still arise when the screen is at 90 degrees, so I do a check and prohibit calibration within a certain range. Classic case of gimbal lock and I'm not sure if there is an all-encompassing solution.

    Still, the accelerometer is a great input device, and I want to keep using it in future games.

  • jim

    Bill.

    You can get some success with different angles but it looks to me like the accelerometer input quality is best when its held relatively flat.

    I had a quick play with the version i'd downloaded and like the idea. I've written a similar app a long time ago, wasn't that successful with that one.

    A few points, if you're interested.

    i) i find the FOV makes it very hard to know exactly that i'm going to hit or miss the ball as its around halfway from reaching me. Have you experimented with a narrower FOV to see if this helps? Perhaps more feedback about the current velocity of the ball could also help, some kind of effect projecting ahead of the ball showing where its heading.

    ii) I find the controls taking time to move the paddle makes it quite hard to judge where i should be holding the phone to make the paddle reach the ball, it also restricts the speed you can move, which after a number of bounces means its very very difficult to get into position even if you know exactly where its going to end up when it reaches you. It feels to me like it'd would work better for me if the tilt directly mapped to the position of the paddle, rather than the paddle taking time to get to where you're telling it to go. You'll know then that if you hold the phone at a particular angle the paddle will go to the same location every time, as such muscle memory will kick in and you'll feel more capable of making the paddle be in the right place at the right time. This will require a big increase in sensitivity, but that'll help with the final point anyway.

    iii) I find the amount of tilt needed makes it hard to sometimes see the screen with it turned roughly the maximum amount.

    Good stuff though. Congrats on getting a game in the store.