ELIMINATElogo_v5_highres_transWe first played Eliminate back at WWDC, and while there wasn't much to the game at that time, it was clear there was potential for something remarkable. This week we played what was one of the final builds of the game before its submission to Apple, and after my limited time with the game it's extremely difficult to find anything negative at all to say about the entire experience.

First off, in case you've managed to miss out on previous Eliminate (also previously known as LiveFire and KillTest) coverage, here's the basic premise of the game-- You are an employee of Arsenal Megacorp, a weapons manufacturer whose secret to success is that all their weaponry is tested on live humans.

As an employee in the company you compete in four player deathmatches with other employees either via 3G or WiFi. The premise of the game is extremely clever, and I really recommend reading the memos and watching the videos on the Eliminate web site.

ELIMINATE_ui_main

The controls work very similar to other first person shooters on the platform, with two virtual joysticks (though you can "touch anywhere") that handle your movement and aiming. Firing your weapon can either be done by tapping your left thumb on the screen, or enabling auto-fire in the game's options. With that turned on, any time there is an enemy in your crosshairs you will automatically fire. Flicking the left side of the screen causes your view to quickly spin around, allowing you to quickly and easily target things all around you.

Tapping the bottom of the screen jumps and tapping the top brings up the menu displaying the scoreboard. The controls took a little getting used to, and after I fiddled with the sensitivity options I felt right at home and was slaughtering other Arsenal Megacorp employees in no time.

Since Eliminate is an online multiplayer game, its bread and butter is in the matchmaking system. When I was playing, there were only 10 or so players online, so I wasn't able to see it in its full glory, but when the game goes live the matchmaking algorithm should make sure everyone is playing against players of equal skill. If you come across a match where you have one person who is destroying everyone, that person will rank up and play with a higher player pool in the next game.

tanker_usaIn-game credits serve as an experience point system as well as a monetary system to buy upgrades. While you're energized, each person you kill will drop credits. Credits can then be spent on different armor types that give your character small bonuses such as higher defenses, the ability to jump higher, swim faster, and other effects. Guns are also purchased using credits, and following that everything that you've purchased can also be individually upgraded.

Say you really like the plasma cannon, but can't handle its slow reload times. You can spend credits to make your gun reload faster, along with several other upgrades. This allows for nearly infinite customization between players, as while you may value reload speed on your guns with armor that allows you to move quickly, someone else might opt for armor that provides a higher defense at the cost of speed and they might focus on upgrading the raw damage output of their guns.

The energy system has caused quite a stir on our forums as users all speculated how it was going to work. The build I played was approaching the final version of the game that is set to be submitted to Apple for approval, but everything I saw and discussed came with the caveat of the fact that the whole system was still under development and none of it had been completely finalized yet.

In the current system, your energy bar consists of 20 power cells which is said to be enough for 3-4 games in which you can earn credits. When your energy is gone, you can continue to play but you won't be able to earn credits during those games. Energy is recharged once every 90 minutes for free, but if you want it sooner there are two options: The first of which is to simply buy more energy via an in-app microtransaction (pricing to be announced). Different energy packs will be available at different rates depending on the quantity you buy.

If, however, you're not interested in paying for energy (or waiting the 90 minutes), you can alternatively complete marketing offers in-game to earn additional energy. This method of payment system has seen great success in Facebook games, and I will be very interested to see how it does in Eliminate. The various offers you can complete range from completing a simple survey to signing up for a Discover card, and will change over time.

ngneil
Bam! Yep, that ngneil7.

The rationale for these systems of "payment" are to support the server infrastructure to host all the games into the future. So in order to keep everything online, players can optionally chip in to keep everything running. Of course, if you don't care about earning credits, there is nothing stopping you from playing all day long. Every 90 minutes you will be recharged and can earn more credits, but in the meantime you can keep joining online games and playing without receiving any benefit to your character level or arsenal.

I wasn't able to test Eliminate over the 3G network, however I've been assured that they've done in-depth testing to offer a great gameplay experience both over WiFi and 3G. Game servers are also being distributed geographically, which should help keep ping times low regardless of where you're playing from.

plasmacannonThere has also been some discussion about the fact that Eliminate only feature four player deathmatches. As ngmoco explained, this was a conscience design decision that was made after weighing many factors such as what would work best between the screen real estate, hardware performance limitations, and still achieve a very fun experience. The maps are all designed for four players, and none of the games I played ever felt like something was lacking by only playing with four people. As a veteran of games like Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64, four players felt right at home for this kind of game.

ngmoco plans on listening to player feedback and has intentions to continue to support Eliminate through content updates. I also asked about additional game modes, which is also being discussed between the Eliminate development team. The initial decision to launch with only one deathmatch game mode was made so everyone would be playing in the same player pool. While they already have other game modes working internally, and are open to adding them to the game, they wanted to properly seed the initial launch to avoid fragmenting the community across deathmatch, team deathmatch, and other modes.

Even without the extra game modes, Eliminate is a ton of fun. I played through the five different maps both locally with bots and online -- including soundly defeating Ngmoco CEO Neil Young (see screenshot above). The maps are all small, but most have gimmicks to them like elevators, different water elements, and even walls that slide back and forth to squish you. All of the maps have a futuristic look to them, fitting in perfectly with the art style of the already released trailers.

RocketLRightWhenever you kill someone (or someone else kills someone) and you're energized, credits explode from their corpse. This is actually one of the elements to the game I enjoyed the most, as it is very easy to steal other people's credits from their kills. (Note: these are "bonus" kill credits and not actually deducted from the victim's personal stash.) When someone dies, all the nearby players run to grab the credits, and I actually found you can set up traps for other players by leaving uncollected credits around and hiding behind a corner waiting for them to come collect the seemingly unguarded credits.

In my time with the game, I was only able to buy one suit upgrade to increase my defenses along with one additional weapon, the plasma cannon, which is the Eliminate equivalent of a shotgun. The other items both were more expensive than I could afford, and also required you to be a higher player level to purchase. (Players rank up from levels 1 to 50 based on lifetime earnings.) I see tons of potential for customizing my weapon and armor load out, and I really can't wait to get the full version of the game to give this a try.

Playing multiplayer Eliminate is one of the most impressive gaming experiences I've had so far on the iPhone. I walked away from the experience amazed by how far the game had exceeded my expectations, and I look forward to sitting on a train playing in a four player deathmatch with people from all over the world using my phone.

  • ares

    What about voice chat? It was promised...does it have it?

  • Postalp

    EAGERLY anticipating this game!

  • Postalp

    The way the credits "esplode" from the kill and are open season to anyone to pick them up kinda worries me.

    I can see many opportunists finding a way to exploit this to steal large amounts of credits, I guess I'll have to wait and see.

    • Eli Hodapp

      That's kind of the point. When the credits drop, they're up for grabs. I was snatching other people's credits and had a few of mine snatched from people I had killed. It was a ton of fun.

      • Postalp

        Yeah, now that I think about it, I kinda like the twist.

      • Signatus

        Besides that, there's also the fact that you can just wait for the opportunistic bastards and kill them on the spot. Oh, sweet credit bait.. :)

    • http://eliminate.ngmoco.com Mary Jane Irwin

      You aren't "stealing" credits from other players. These are extra "bonus" credits that appear on the map when someone is killed. It won't impact an eliminated player's credit total.

      • arn

        clarified the article

  • Sambo110

    Damn, this sounds awesome. Can't wait until it comes out, I really want to play it.

  • Adams Immersive

    Joysticks? What about the swipe-anywhere controls we saw in earlier demos?

    That works SO much better than virtual joysticks (almost as good as a mouse) that I find it hard to believe they'd backtrack.

    • Eli Hodapp

      If you hide the directional pads in the options it works the same as it did before.

    • http://eliminate.ngmoco.com Mary Jane Irwin

      The joysticks are more a visual aid than anything. You can still Touch Anywhere to control Eliminate.

      • Adams Immersive

        Excellent! /quakeannouncer

  • http://hwww.pocketfullofapps.com Yourofl10

    Looks and sounds good like a good game.

  • http://eliminate.ngmoco.com chrisP (ngmoco)

    A point of clarification. Credits popping from victims is not a zero sum event. in other words, the victim doesn't lose any credits. rather, the death event creates "bonus" credits that can be scavenged. So its not impossible to scavenge the credits that popped from your own demise :). More likely, your killer will mop them up though...

    i think you'll like it. We jsut added this very detail to WTF in the game to make sure everyone understands what those bonus credits are about.

    • Twazzock

      That's pretty cool, would hate it if it was more punishing and actually deducted credits from your character.

      I'll probably be buying this game, no questions asked. Looks great.

  • john doe

    no physical d-pad , no buy :(

    but the graphics are really great.

    • Oggy

      So you won't buy iPhone shooters without a hardware accessory?

      You're missing out...

    • JorboTron

      Why would you want a physical D-pad for a shooter? touch screen is better, if anything you want dual analogs with triggers.
      a physical controller is a nice thought but it would be far to big and clunky!
      stick with the touch for simplicity sake

      • john doe

        hey guys :)

        yes a physical d-ion pad is a must "for me", if it comes to first person shooters or fight games like blades of fury.

        don't get me wrong, i love my ipod touch, but a fps or a blades of fury without a pad or keyboard?

        be honest, it's not the real thing!

        maybe a silicone put-it-on-screen-d-pad would be a great solution in this case.

        cheerio

      • Shumby

        so I guess we wont be shooting John Doe...
        oh well, can't please everybody.

      • Sticktron

        No, if anything, you want a mouse and keyboard, so you can have instant-aim.

    • Adams Immersive

      Physical Xbox style controls (d-pad and/or sticks) are terrible for FPS gaming. You can learn to use anything, and still have fun, but here's how I'd rank FPS controls form worst to best:

      * iPhone virtual stick/D-pad

      * Xbox/Playstation controller

      * iPhone swipe-anywhere

      * Laptop touchpad + WASD

      * Mouse + WASD

      * Mouse + Xbox/Playstation controller (that's how I play: Logitech Rumplepad held in my left hand, mouse in my right--really comfortable)

      A console controller is fine for strafing but awful for the most important thing: aiming. That's why console shooters: come with training wheels. (A.k.a auto-aim.) No thanks: I'd rather do my OWN aiming than have an autopilot that tries to make up for bad controls.

      (A console controller with trackball might be pretty decent--I know some company showed one off years ago.)

      Anything but the first two options is acceptable to me. The first two provide indirect aiming. The rest provide DIRECT aiming. (The difference is the same as a trackpad vs. an awkward laptop thumbstick. There's no comparing the precision of the two styles for pointing. Which is what aiming is!)

      • Jaime

        I agree that Iphone swipe controls are extremely precise, I got not problem scoring headshots on "Sandstorm"

      • http://www.haiku-os.org Nutela

        I have Metroid Prime Hunters on the NDS, played it with touch aiming (thumb strap) and d-pad, it is awesome. It was not so accurate when played with a 'real' thumb though, but NDS has resistive touch ie. stylus control.

  • http://twitter.com/mactabulousapps MactabulousApps

    Any word on when it'll be released?
    :-/

  • kysr

    I am amazed how active ngmoco is responding to question within the comments. Seeing all the efforts in making the game really great, makes me wanting to buy the game even more...

    good job, well done!

    • http://www.stormchild.net Stormchild

      Yup, these guys are awesome. It's great to see the occasional developers who really care about what they do.

  • smd

    yeah I sure hope they put in swipe
    for looking like sandstorm, these are the
    best controls.

  • http://eliminate.ngmoco.com chrisP (ngmoco)

    Swipe for look - check.
    You can also flick the screen to "spin" your viewport for fast maneuvers. tweak the sensitivity slider to find the aiming/spin control that fits perfectly.

    -chris

  • GodSon

    Thanks for the in depth info Hodapp(and NGMOCO of course). It further seals my insta buy...Man I cant wait for Eliminate to drop. ^_^

    Has it now been submitted?

  • Shumby

    please hint at the starting price!

    I would hope it would start low to get a bunch of players online killing each other... nothing like a high pricepoint to keep you waiting for a match in the online servers.

    $2? $3?

    • Iwasnevergivenaname

      $2 or $3 for a game like this, It is at least worth anywhere from $5 to $10. Remember this is how they make a living. How can people who afford iPhones be so cheap!

      • Iwasnevergivenaname

        should be a question mark at the end, I most be more tired than I thought

      • Shumby

        listen I'm buying this game even if it's $10

        I just want to slaughter some people and not just hang around the server room waiting for a 4p match to be set up because nobody else bothered to buy this for $10.

        isn't that... what I said? get some sleep.

      • NA

        Shumby you need to calm down. That is what you said and that is what he or she put down. You never once said in your original statement that you were willing to pay ten dollars for it. You implied that you only wanted to pay $2 or $3. Take a chill pill ;)

    • Mr. Apple

      Shumby the game is worth more than 2 or 3 dollars. Don't get mad at that other guy, it's not his fault that you weren't clear on what you were talking about. Maybe you should get some sllep as well.

      • Jaime

        I would spend $20 for this game if I could get it now

      • Shumby

        alright, yeah. I'm cheap.
        I may also be cranky...

        but I still think I'm right. a low price will invite an exponentially larger crowd that I can shoot in the face. this game sounds like one of those free MMORPGs that everyone buys "respect points" for. They're all over the app store and drive me freaking nuts. the point of those games is to start cheap (or free) and get people suckered into "micropurchases". that makes sense. But I guarantee that if those free MMORPGs were $5 they would have failed miserably. Eliminate will fail if they put the price too high.

        hope that was clear enough that I don't get "cheap" and "chill" comments...

  • str1f3

    I just want this game badly.

  • http://touchreviews.tk Qasim

    Woot! SOoooooo excited. This is also great:

    "Every 90 minutes you will be recharged and can earn more credits, but in the meantime you can keep joining online games and playing without receiving any benefit to your character level or arsenal."

    Lol.. This game is gonna revolutionize the App Store!

    • Jaime

      yeah 90 minutes isnt bad at all, I thought it was gonna be 24 hours! This will actually keep me from playing too much, and doing more studying lol

  • GameGuru

    when will this and touchpets be released? Please can you answer us so we can start counting down the days like we are doing to fifa 10 right now? Thanks for the answer in advance.

    Willy

    • http://eliminate.ngmoco.com Mary Jane Irwin

      We're in the process of finishing the game. We're really really close to submitting our games to Apple -- then the games are in their hands.

  • TGR

    I think Hodapp loves it 'cause it has his name in it.

  • Jack

    I'm not really a fan of the way this game works. With the marketing surveys to play more, or pay to play more. I'd rather just have a good $10 FPS with full online play...

  • ShadowsFall

    Please make the firing button left handed D:... I'm left handed myself and i'll get pretty annoyed trying to train mostly on my left hand. So yeah, confusing...

    • Tim Omernick

      Hi, lead engineer on Eliminate here... yes you can swap the left/right sense of the controls in the Options screen. I'm also left handed :)

  • Genius

    I LIVE FOR THIS GAME

  • Mr. Apple

    Will any of the maps be outside or are they all inside?

    • Tim Omernick

      Hi, the first set of maps all take place inside the Arsenal HQ testing facility (indoors). Once the game comes out, if you guys download and play it, we'll be listening intently for feedback and ideas for updates!

  • Jaime

    I have really been paying attention to this game, and I was extremely excited on October 1st thinking that the countdown on ngmoco's website was for the games' release (im sad that it wasn't). I need this game like a crackhead needs ice.

  • http://www.windows7hack.com/ Jonathan

    LOL in the video "just press the WTF button"

    BUT IT MEANS "WHERE TO FIND" LAMO

  • Ronaldo9

    I hope it's not 10 dollars and I can't wait any more plzz release it soon

  • antonioj

    Again, does it have voice chat?

    • http://eliminate.ngmoco.com Mary Jane Irwin

      No voice chat. There is text chat in the friends lobby.

      • Henrik

        Is it something you plan on adding later on?
        It's not a required feature, but it'd be pretty cool to be able to taunt your fellow "employees".

      • Syferus

        And also a fantastic way to lag a feeble iPhone/iPod Touch's connection.

      • Henrik

        They could make it available via WiFi only.
        If Gameloft can deliver voice chat with N.O.V.A., I'm sure these guys can do it with Eliminate. But even if they don't, I'll still buy it.

      • Syferus

        Splitting it by wi-fi makes little sense as it's based on the assumption a wi-fi connection - at more or elsewhere - will be stronger and faster than a 3G one. Wi-fi fully dependent on the source connection which can obviously vary wildly.

        That's not to mention the fact you'd be irreconcilably splitting the user-base for the sake of voice chat on a phone/iPod (which still has not in-built voice functionality). I can't imagine many people finding it appealing to have their phones spouting abuse out at the world or having the ability to shout at their phones.

        Given that, some company will do it just because it kinda works. Sounds about right for Gameloft.

      • ares

        That completely SUCKS

        It´s NOVA then

  • http://Jonathandbloom.com Jonathan Bloom

    Wow! This game is now an instant buy for me! Everything I hear makes me even more excited!

    I would like to see voice chat, but that can be later.

    Will you be adding a level editor like say an employee sandbox?

  • Jaime

    I'm already sick of people complaining about "no d-pad" on the iphone. It's the way it is, either adapt or stop playing games on your iphone and telling everyone how much you need a dpad

    • beetle004

      always hated d-pad.touch controls for fps(if implemented correctly) work better than psp/ps3 controls.Sure for sports games they suck but for fps it does work.And ya it will never be as good as a keyboard and mouse but it's better than say ps3/360 controls.Maybe turning around is harder but aiming works better using touch controls compared to d pad.

  • beetle004

    Will this game work in asia...india to be exact? I don't wanna spend 10 bucks and then find out this game is laggy for lack of server support in the region!! other than that i seee no other reason not to purchase this game even if it comes out with 10 bucks.

  • http://www.kotodama.net/blog Zak

    Yeah, I live in Japan. Will it work for me?

    (BTW, why does Gameloft hate Japan? It appears to be the only country in the world without Dungeon Hunter.)

    • Tim Omernick

      I'm currently at a hotel in Shimbashi, Tokyo. I just played against some ngmoco people in San Francisco (WiFi -- my iPhone does not work here) and it played reasonably well! You're going to get a bit more lag in Japan than in the US or Europe -- hopefully that will improve with time as people play the game and we add more data centers.

      おやすみなさい。

  • Eli

    wow ive said this the last 3 front page posts regarding this game and ill say it again

    im sick of hearing about this game!

    release it already. ive been hearing shit for months now. ZZZZZZ

    we heard about MC : SD like a week before it came out, and that game will likely surpass this anyways.

    • Tim Omernick

      Good, original games take time to create and polish. The game is basically done and will be submitted soon.

      I hope that when it comes out you will see that it is not at all in the same category as MC! Nothing quite like this has been done on iPhone...

  • http://jespersunivers.dk/ Plast2

    Am I understanding this correctly; There will be no human vs. AI play in it, at all?

    • kysr

      it actually states in the article that you can play against bots... so you understand incorrectly.

  • Micah

    This game is gonna be awesome.

  • Sebastian Savage

    How much cellular network data (3G) will "ELIMINATE" use for 1 match?

    • Mew2468

      That's useful information. Also, does it lag much on a 1st Generation iPod Touch?

  • TKO

    Hmmm.. I wasn't too worried about online shooters before .. but this just looks so darned cool. (The gameplay, controls, upgrades ..all sounds totally like it's gonna take my cash on launch-day.) :D

    Just wondering: for us hermits who don't often go for online, is there any plan for bots at any point? I always liked being able to train up against bots on the original Unreal Tournament. Maybe the 3G doesn't have the horsepower to do it, but the 3GS might, yeah? ;)

    • Tim Omernick

      Yes, there is an offline bot mode and they are actually pretty fun to play against! Not nearly as fun as real people though -- hope to see you online!

  • Hyrage

    Play more, get a stronger character? For a competitive game, it sounds like a bad concept.

  • Ashley

    Can we get some bluetooth multiplayer for touch owners not near a Wi-Fi hotspot!

  • Abe

    Hyrage your really a dumb ass

  • Martin

    hey, i hve some questions for you:

    1. How much will it really cost?
    2. are you gonna update it an make new maps, wepons, etc. later?
    3. will it be an option for increasing your max energy?
    4. will it be as awesome as it looks?

  • Gary

    ngmoco!! when are you gonna submit the game to apple? ive been watching this game since the first glimpse of livefire!! cant wait till it comes out!! future updates i think should include bluetooth multiplayer!! that would be awesome!! pls post a comment when you submit to apple!! thx and congratulations with all ur top notch games!! best game developers for the iphone no doubt!!

  • jeremyBABY

    i heard that it is aleady out for canada
    why not australia or the rest of the world

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