Fans of stunt skateboard titles are in for a treat.  Fuel Games, who brought us the simplistic Spinner, will soon be releasing Vans SK8 Pool Service for the iPhone and iPod touch.

Vans SK8 Pool Service is a skateboard game entirely set in a drained pool in an abandoned California back yard that features Vans sponsored riders Bucky Lasek and Omar Hassan.

The setting for the game is an abandoned California backyard with an empty pool that's yours for the taking. The sun is setting, the weather is perfect, no cops in sight! We went over countless rounds of revisions on this element of the game to make sure the mood is just right.

Fuel discusses the thought process that went into implementing the best control system at length in their developer blog.

Last time I wrote about the various ways we let the player move around the pool environment. While that is the most fundamental aspect of playing the game, it's something that should just work without the players having to think about it. In contrast performing tricks should not only work but should "feel" right as you do them, and should be fun to do. Again we tried several different things and ideas, and the screenshot above shows part of what we finalized on.

One of the exciting, and challenging aspects of an iPhone is that there's no buttons available for the player to press. While we could put artificial buttons on the screen that feels artificial. It doesn't make sense for the platform and we feel should be avoided wherever possible.

Without buttons we still have fingers and accelerometer input which we can key off of, thus our first test was the simplest. When the player was in the air you would tap to perform a trick. This actually worked incredibly well, with just one problem: you lose a lot of player control. We could either give the players just one trick to perform (boring) or we could automatically choose a trick based on where they are in the pool or something (also boring). We needed a way to let the player have more control over what move they could do.

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Ultimately we settled on a system where the user swipes their finger while in the air to perform a trick. This means our swipes are much simpler than the previous method (simply swipe up, down, left or right to perform a trick) but the system is a lot of fun to play and provides the right balance of immediate gratification for user input. We also still have harder moves that involve swiping two fingers at a time, for instance swiping one finger up while swiping another finger right.

Fans of the genre will be happy to hear that the game support grinds as well.

After we got the air tricks sorted out we tried out grinds, and based on our initial tests with air tricks we found the grinds to be very straightforward. When you want to grind you simply press and hold two fingers on the screen when going up the side of the pool. When you reach the lip you'll start to grind and you'll need to tilt the iPhone left and right to maintain balance and bailing.

See an early developer video to get a feel for the overall gamplay.  According to Fuel, the game has evolved notably since this video was taken.

The game is being discussed in a lengthy thread in our forums and most readers who commented are eagerly awaiting the title.  Stay tuned for a closer look when the game makes its App Store debut.

  • Anduril_ukr

    hmmm, looks interesting. used to be a fan of the original tony hawks.

  • Anduril_ukr

    hmmm, looks interesting. used to be a fan of the original tony hawks.

  • http://KRAPPS.com KRAPPS

    Looks very cool ... love the old school Dogtown feel to the setting

  • http://KRAPPS.com KRAPPS

    Looks very cool ... love the old school Dogtown feel to the setting

  • mike

    this game would f-ing rule, except the controls on the PS2 version are hard enough... for all intents and purposes the iPod touch doesn't really have buttons, and relying on tilt to direct the onscreen skater, this is going to be mad.

    To be honest, I still haven't gotten past the first 'world' in Monkey Ball, so I'm never going to put down money for something that has potentially shit controls.
    Lets see a Lite version, and if the controls are decent, then i'll get it.

    Remember. Skating around a circular bowl is ok, but, Tony Hawk was NOT about that. That was skating around a freaking city.... you HAVE to have good control or you'll rip your hair out.

  • mike

    this game would f-ing rule, except the controls on the PS2 version are hard enough... for all intents and purposes the iPod touch doesn't really have buttons, and relying on tilt to direct the onscreen skater, this is going to be mad.

    To be honest, I still haven't gotten past the first 'world' in Monkey Ball, so I'm never going to put down money for something that has potentially shit controls.
    Lets see a Lite version, and if the controls are decent, then i'll get it.

    Remember. Skating around a circular bowl is ok, but, Tony Hawk was NOT about that. That was skating around a freaking city.... you HAVE to have good control or you'll rip your hair out.

  • http://www.sleestak.net bobcat

    Hey I know that Pool!

    that's the Pink Motel, you old skating farts will remember it from the legendary Powell-Peralta video "The Search For Animal Chin"... yabble dabble!

    anyway, i'll stick with Skate2 on XB360. Nice try Vans, please spend this kind of money making your shoes worth a shit again - nothing is worse than having your crappily made in china by 2 fingered children Half-Cabs blow apart the day you buy them.

  • http://www.sleestak.net bobcat

    Hey I know that Pool!

    that's the Pink Motel, you old skating farts will remember it from the legendary Powell-Peralta video "The Search For Animal Chin"... yabble dabble!

    anyway, i'll stick with Skate2 on XB360. Nice try Vans, please spend this kind of money making your shoes worth a shit again - nothing is worse than having your crappily made in china by 2 fingered children Half-Cabs blow apart the day you buy them.

  • WiseWeasel

    Seriously, this game does not look all that good. An inspired input method for skateboarding would be to overlay a transparent skateboard over the bottom of the screen and control it ala Touchgrind, while you can see the player going through the course in a 3rd person view in the rest of the screen. Tilt to steer, and use intuitive physics to make the board do jumps and flips and such. This video just makes the game seem overly simplistic and boring.

  • WiseWeasel

    Seriously, this game does not look all that good. An inspired input method for skateboarding would be to overlay a transparent skateboard over the bottom of the screen and control it ala Touchgrind, while you can see the player going through the course in a 3rd person view in the rest of the screen. Tilt to steer, and use intuitive physics to make the board do jumps and flips and such. This video just makes the game seem overly simplistic and boring.

  • Pingback: Bald: Vans SK8 Pool Service (Video) | Touch-Mania

  • IslandSteez

    Wise Weasel you're douchebag. Have you even skated a pool in your life, or do you just in the physics lab all day!?

  • IslandSteez

    Wise Weasel you're douchebag. Have you even skated a pool in your life, or do you just in the physics lab all day!?