Yesterday, Touch Arcade spent some time at ngmoco's headquarters having a look at a few of their upcoming games.  In our last post we gave a hands-on look at the company's upcoming 3D tower defense game Star Defense

Ngmoco producers Stephanie Morgan and Chris Plummer also gave us the chance to have a look at their upcoming virtual pet title Touch Pet Dogs as well as first-person shooter LiveFire. Like some of our readers, we weren't exactly sure what to make of Touch Pet Dogs from the pre-release information, but we found it to be a surprisingly deep and polished experience.

Touch Pet Dogs

touchpets_backyard_dog screenTouch Pet Dogs, created by Andrew Stern, the man behind Virtual Babyz, Dogz and Catz, is a virtual pet simulation that delivers perhaps the most "realistic" and involving experiences of any such title we've seen to date.  As the company describes it,

In Touch Pets Dogs, players adopt, nurture and play with their virtual puppies through one-on-one touch screen interaction or on play dates with other players’ dogs from around the world. The ambitious Touch Pets social network, embedded within the game, allows owners and dogs alike to build relationships with other players and their Touch Pets. Puppies’ social lives continue to evolve whether their owners are logged into the game or not, and the results are broadcast for the world to see on the Touch Pets social network dog feed.

The game starts off at a virtual pet shop where the player can choose a puppy of his or her liking.  The virtual puppy comes home from the pet shop knowing how to do very little.  It's just eat, sleep, and...well...poop, at first.  It's up to the new owner to teach the puppy how to chase a ball, catch a boomerang, and do other tricks like walking on two feet.  This is done by simply playing with the dog with various doggie toys (moving them around the screen with a finger) as well as using doggie treats in conjunction with training gestures for more complex tricks.

Aside from playing in the house and yard, there are five career tracks (or missions) that the virtual puppie can engage in: crime fighting, rescue operations, fashion diva, politician, and scientist.  Each of these missions have associated venues, and success in each is awarded by relevant doggie items, such as police hats, jackets, and the like.  The missions are actually more about successfully conducting warm-up play sessions and having learned the appropriate skills (chasing, catching, etc..) rather than performing the actual mission which simply returns a simple "success" or "failure" when attempted.

The game features a social networking side that's somewhat akin to a Twitter feed.  Whenever doggie makes a notable accomplishment, such as completing a mission successfuly, that accomplishment (and associated image) is posted to a global feed and can be seen by anyone online.  Players wanting to keep tabs on each others' accomplishments can share in a friend feed.  Another aspect of the game's social networking capabilities is the ability to engage in play dates with others' pets.  Some dogs may not enjoy each others' company...and some may fall in love.

What impressed us most about Touch Pets Dogs is the artificial intelligence driving the virtual pets.  The learning process is convincing and the dogs really do seem to have their own personality.  Anyone relating to the genre will have little trouble forming an emotional bond with the onscreen canine.

We captured a gameplay video of Plummer playing the latest build, walking us through some of the game's features.


[ Full HD version | Low Bandwidth version ]

LiveFire

livefiretechdemo031709jpgWe also had a chance to play more than a few rounds of LiveFire deathmatch. 

The demo builds on the 2G iPod touch showed an impressively high framerate with very smooth 3D animation in the 3-person game we played. 

While we played over the studio's WiFi networks, Plummer tells us that gameplay over the 3G networks is just as responsive, thanks to the heavy customizations ngmoco has made to the Quake 3 engine upon which the game is based.

The game's controls are modeled closely after those of Dropship; left and right thumbs control movement and view angle, not at a fixed point onscreen, but outward from an origina tap anywhere on the left and right sides of the screen.  It works well and feels comfortable. The game will focus on versions of online deathmatch play rather than single-player modes.

I think most telling is the fact that, even with this early build, we got lost in playing the game against each other -- well after the demo portion of our meeting with ngmoco was over.

We don't have an exact release date on either title, but Touch Pets Dogs is expected in the spring.

  • dannys95

    Wow. LiveFire looks impressive. It's proof that Portal is possible on iPhone (speaking of which; the gun in LiveFire looks like the one in Portal).

    By any chance is ngmoco demoing Rolando 2?

  • dannys95

    Wow. LiveFire looks impressive. It's proof that Portal is possible on iPhone (speaking of which; the gun in LiveFire looks like the one in Portal).

    By any chance is ngmoco demoing Rolando 2?

  • arn

    no, no rolando 2... and no secret exit info (despite our efforts :) )

    • dannys95

      haha. oh man! thanks for trying though. :)
      i am curious about the secret exit thing
      maybe its just that ngmoco is publishing stair dismount touch

  • arn

    no, no rolando 2... and no secret exit info (despite our efforts :) )

    • dannys95

      haha. oh man! thanks for trying though. :)
      i am curious about the secret exit thing
      maybe its just that ngmoco is publishing stair dismount touch

  • Aidan

    oh wow, I am sooooo going to get this. It is everything I've ever dreamed of!!!

  • Aidan

    oh wow, I am sooooo going to get this. It is everything I've ever dreamed of!!!

  • Castor Krieg

    LiveFire looks like a snorefest, it's obvious iPhone cannot handle FPS controls. Takes forever to aim at something, etc.

  • Castor Krieg

    LiveFire looks like a snorefest, it's obvious iPhone cannot handle FPS controls. Takes forever to aim at something, etc.

  • spiffyone

    "demo builds on the 2G iPod touch"?

    Great.

    I do hope ngmoco is intelligent enough to test the damned game on the 1st gen touch. Again, developers, it's the base model and should, by that fact alone, be the target model. If it runs 100% on the 1st gen touch it'll run 100% on all the devices. If it runs 100% on the 2nd gen touch, it may not run 100% on the 1st gen touch or both gens of iPhones. So test it on the 1st gen touch, not the 2nd gen. Jeez.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    @Castor: Well, I am one of those inverted-y-axis guys and that feature is not yet built into the game (it will be there at release). Even so, we had real fun with the game. I schooled Chris real horrorshow in the game. (Well...maybe "schooled" isn't quite the word...)

    It's a very playable game.

  • Aidan

    so i take it they will not release these until OS 3.0 comes out? dang it!

  • spiffyone

    "demo builds on the 2G iPod touch"?

    Great.

    I do hope ngmoco is intelligent enough to test the damned game on the 1st gen touch. Again, developers, it's the base model and should, by that fact alone, be the target model. If it runs 100% on the 1st gen touch it'll run 100% on all the devices. If it runs 100% on the 2nd gen touch, it may not run 100% on the 1st gen touch or both gens of iPhones. So test it on the 1st gen touch, not the 2nd gen. Jeez.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    @Castor: Well, I am one of those inverted-y-axis guys and that feature is not yet built into the game (it will be there at release). Even so, we had real fun with the game. I schooled Chris real horrorshow in the game. (Well...maybe "schooled" isn't quite the word...)

    It's a very playable game.

  • Aidan

    so i take it they will not release these until OS 3.0 comes out? dang it!

  • spiffyone

    And I still say, instead of trying for an FPS with free look, why not just make an action/adventure sort of game like Metroid Prime with user enabled lock on targeting? Or instead of slide free look enable a "joystick" for free look ala the "type 3" control method in BiA and have the accelerometer control forward and backward movement and strafing?

  • spiffyone

    And I still say, instead of trying for an FPS with free look, why not just make an action/adventure sort of game like Metroid Prime with user enabled lock on targeting? Or instead of slide free look enable a "joystick" for free look ala the "type 3" control method in BiA and have the accelerometer control forward and backward movement and strafing?

  • http://www.mapattack.co.uk Joseph

    wow fps ftw lol

  • http://www.mapattack.co.uk Joseph

    wow fps ftw lol

  • Stephen

    Just to let you know it's "Star Defense", not "Space Defense".

    Otherwise great previews on great games!!!
    I cant't wait! I'll probably end of buying Star Defense, LiveFire, and Touch Pets Dogs!

  • Stephen

    Just to let you know it's "Star Defense", not "Space Defense".

    Otherwise great previews on great games!!!
    I cant't wait! I'll probably end of buying Star Defense, LiveFire, and Touch Pets Dogs!

  • http://mrbass.org/iphone/bestgames mrbass

    Honestly when I heard about PetDogz for iphone I was probably the biggest skeptic and thought oh boy another rehash. Since the last couple of videos I gotta say this is looking awesome with some decent depth and looks great for its TARGET AUDIENCE. So yea you might see me playing it 5 mins and that's it who knows. But I'm not the TARGET AUDIENCE kids are and it definitely looks to have a great fun factor for kids. My daughter has 2 of the Nintendogs games which she played quite a bit of back in the day.

  • http://mrbass.org/iphone/bestgames mrbass

    Honestly when I heard about PetDogz for iphone I was probably the biggest skeptic and thought oh boy another rehash. Since the last couple of videos I gotta say this is looking awesome with some decent depth and looks great for its TARGET AUDIENCE. So yea you might see me playing it 5 mins and that's it who knows. But I'm not the TARGET AUDIENCE kids are and it definitely looks to have a great fun factor for kids. My daughter has 2 of the Nintendogs games which she played quite a bit of back in the day.

  • Kenneth

    How do you fire the gun????

    do you tap the gun???

    Please respond

    • jaytee

      also would like to know this. that video plays like utter crap on my computer, i don't have any idea what is going on.

      it's always seemed pretty obvious that the greatest level of control in an FPS would be through drop-ship style controls, but that leaves the problem of how to shoot! in wolfenstein, the inelegant solution is to have an extra button above your two "joysticks." i say inelegant only because not being able to turn and shoot would be a problem in any other fps—in wolfenstein the controls actually work really well due to the nature of its gameplay.

      i hope there's no accelerometer controls needed—too complex.

  • Kenneth

    How do you fire the gun????

    do you tap the gun???

    Please respond

    • jaytee

      also would like to know this. that video plays like utter crap on my computer, i don't have any idea what is going on.

      it's always seemed pretty obvious that the greatest level of control in an FPS would be through drop-ship style controls, but that leaves the problem of how to shoot! in wolfenstein, the inelegant solution is to have an extra button above your two "joysticks." i say inelegant only because not being able to turn and shoot would be a problem in any other fps—in wolfenstein the controls actually work really well due to the nature of its gameplay.

      i hope there's no accelerometer controls needed—too complex.

  • http://www.nocroc.com Hippieman

    I got to play Touch Pets at lunch with ngmoco;) and the game is just brilliant! It's smooth it makes perfect sense the moment you pick it up.

  • http://www.nocroc.com Hippieman

    I got to play Touch Pets at lunch with ngmoco;) and the game is just brilliant! It's smooth it makes perfect sense the moment you pick it up.

  • Candy

    Touch pets is an INSTANT buy for me the second it comes out. If anyone doesn't think it doesn't look adorable and has great play is crazy! j/k but seriously wow my little niece AND me is gonna enjoy that game for sure. :)

  • Candy

    Touch pets is an INSTANT buy for me the second it comes out. If anyone doesn't think it doesn't look adorable and has great play is crazy! j/k but seriously wow my little niece AND me is gonna enjoy that game for sure. :)

  • Aaron

    Another vote for Touch Pets. I loved Nintendogs on the DS and will love this for my 2G touch!

  • Aaron

    Another vote for Touch Pets. I loved Nintendogs on the DS and will love this for my 2G touch!

  • Triple Beam Dream

    I wonder who has to pick up the dog shit? Hopefully they incorporate some kind of bonus for that, I always hated that job as a kid. Both games look interesting.

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      The game offers a doggie poo bag that is used to contain the dog's poo.

      • Liam(aka The Game Reaper)

        That's hilarious!

  • http://TouchArcade Triple Beam Dream

    I wonder who has to pick up the dog shit? Hopefully they incorporate some kind of bonus for that, I always hated that job as a kid. Both games look interesting.

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      The game offers a doggie poo bag that is used to contain the dog's poo.

      • Liam(aka The Game Reaper)

        That's hilarious!

  • http://www.transapp.com transapp

    I will purchase LiveFire on ANY price!
    Screen is free of supid button graphics and the dropship controls are one of the most sophisticated on the iPhone. That's how an iPhone game has to look. Again they proof, that they love this device and really think and care about their apps.
    Thanks, ngmoco:)

    • http://mohammadfauzitaib.com along123

      yeah. I like de sound effects. Feels like u playing a pc game. But, playing dis on my iphone would be way cooool!

      Actually i prefer if they showed the control like in dropships. I'm not sure why I like seeing virtual control pads on de iphone games. Some, of them incorporated nicely on the game.

  • http://www.transapp.com transapp

    I will purchase LiveFire on ANY price!
    Screen is free of supid button graphics and the dropship controls are one of the most sophisticated on the iPhone. That's how an iPhone game has to look. Again they proof, that they love this device and really think and care about their apps.
    Thanks, ngmoco:)

    • http://mohammadfauzitaib.com along123

      yeah. I like de sound effects. Feels like u playing a pc game. But, playing dis on my iphone would be way cooool!

      Actually i prefer if they showed the control like in dropships. I'm not sure why I like seeing virtual control pads on de iphone games. Some, of them incorporated nicely on the game.

  • http://iphone-game-reviews.com Vikram @ iPhone Game Reviews

    Darn! When is this thing going to release? I can't wait!

  • http://iphone-game-reviews.com Vikram @ iPhone Game Reviews

    Darn! When is this thing going to release? I can't wait!

  • Selina

    I'm also looking forward to Touch Pet Dogs - my daughter and I loved Nintendogs!

  • http://karen@cullen.myzen.co.uk Selina

    I'm also looking forward to Touch Pet Dogs - my daughter and I loved Nintendogs!

  • Liam(aka The Game Reaper)

    Steviet's dream has come true.

  • Liam(aka The Game Reaper)

    Steviet's dream has come true.

  • http://mohammadfauzitaib.com along123

    also, are they going to release free version for the pc too? hehehe!

  • http://mohammadfauzitaib.com along123

    also, are they going to release free version for the pc too? hehehe!

  • http://youtube.com/smoof7returns Vince

    Looks awesome!

    If this had the control scheme of Hill Billy, it would be even better, but this scheme is also MUCH better than the standard FPS scheme now (tilt to aim, d-pad to walk). Ugh, I hate that one.

    I just really hope its not like 10 bucks or something stupid. Everyone would lose interest....

  • http://youtube.com/smoof7returns Vince

    Looks awesome!

    If this had the control scheme of Hill Billy, it would be even better, but this scheme is also MUCH better than the standard FPS scheme now (tilt to aim, d-pad to walk). Ugh, I hate that one.

    I just really hope its not like 10 bucks or something stupid. Everyone would lose interest....

  • http://www.gulhayat.net chat

    chat, sohbet

  • http://www.gulhayat.net chat

    chat, sohbet

  • angel

    what is the release date of touch pets i will buy that and where is toki tori i thought it was suppose too be out by now does anyone know what is going on with that game

  • angel

    what is the release date of touch pets i will buy that and where is toki tori i thought it was suppose too be out by now does anyone know what is going on with that game

  • tarik

    hey it looks cool but when can i bu touch pets and liefire

  • http://yahoo tarik

    hey it looks cool but when can i bu touch pets and liefire

  • Kenny

    well i think there should be an FPS with the touch to look control like terminator salvation and band of brothers. It worked great for metroid prime hunters for the ds. but there is no shooter with that control i wonder why???

  • Kenny

    well i think there should be an FPS with the touch to look control like terminator salvation and band of brothers. It worked great for metroid prime hunters for the ds. but there is no shooter with that control i wonder why???

  • prissy says:

    when will touch pets be released been dates posted on ing but nothing even saying it has been sent too apple for approval why ??

  • http://toucharcade prissy says:

    when will touch pets be released been dates posted on ing but nothing even saying it has been sent too apple for approval why ??

  • PRISSY

    STILL LOOKING FOR TOUCHPETS

  • http://toucharcade PRISSY

    STILL LOOKING FOR TOUCHPETS

  • PRISSY

    Please give us a month for touchpets.are you guys going too release it or not. This is the best game i have seen here in awhile no blood and guts and looks like we may not see it you guys keep putting it off. Please help

  • http://toucharcade PRISSY

    Please give us a month for touchpets.are you guys going too release it or not. This is the best game i have seen here in awhile no blood and guts and looks like we may not see it you guys keep putting it off. Please help

  • http://www.oyunclub.net ben 10 oyun

    thanks for all admin
    owe you gratitude..

  • http://www.oyunclub.net ben 10 oyun

    thanks for all admin
    owe you gratitude..

  • http://www.sikisclub.gen.tr sikiş

    thanks for all admin
    information is the most beautiful treasures

  • http://www.sikisclub.gen.tr sikiş

    thanks for all admin
    information is the most beautiful treasures

  • http://www.konyachatsohbet.org konya chat

    Steviet's dream has come true

  • http://www.konyachatsohbet.org konya chat

    Steviet's dream has come true

  • dariong8

    Is it a tap to shoot game? I'm hoping it's like Archetype where you just have to aim and it shoots automatically. That really helps out with the aiming and shooting controls that iTouch FPS games have trouble with. It just makes it so much easier to continually shoot at and follow your target.

  • dariong8

    Is it a tap to shoot game? I'm hoping it's like Archetype where you just have to aim and it shoots automatically. That really helps out with the aiming and shooting controls that iTouch FPS games have trouble with. It just makes it so much easier to continually shoot at and follow your target.