Steph Thirion is the brains behind Eliss, an independent game that we fell in love with at last year's GDC. Eliss was an excellent example of the sort of innovative gaming that becomes possible with the incredibly low barrier of entry that the App Store provides.

While Eliss was not a runaway success for Thirion, it performed well enough that he has been able to devote his full time to making more games. His latest project is called Faraway and last night, we sat down with Thirion who gave us a demo and explained the inspiration behind the game.

Thirion reveals the seed idea for Faraway was simply to create a game that involved drawing constellations. From this premise, he began testing and exploring various mechanisms to accomplish this. In the end, he was inspired by Canabalt, a game that uses the iPhone's screen as one single large button. Similarly in Faraway your only control is a single button.

Despite that fact, you actually have a lot of control in the game as demonstrated in the video (button presses are off-screen in this demo):

In Faraway, you control a comet by activating a gravitational pull by simply pressing a single button. Each time, it activates a gravitational pull to the nearest star. Using well timed presses, you can slingshot your comet into the right direction. The goal is to create as many complex constellations in the time allotted. Powerups include speed-ups as well as time-extenders. Creating large and looped constellations add to your high score (which will be recording on a global leaderboard). Once time runs out, you are treated with a panning view of the constellations you've created.

Thirion reports the game is very much still in progress and he's planning on performing significant user testing and balancing before release. I really enjoyed my brief time with the game even at this early stage. The single-button slingshot mechanic works really well and trying to precisely create a constellation remained a just-out-of-reach skill, so I'm looking forward to the final release to get a chance to play some more.

  • Florian

    Thanks for the post, but the youtube video is private, so we can not see it!

    • arn

      reload, it should be public now

  • Florian

    Thanks for the post, but the youtube video is private, so we can not see it!

    • arn

      reload, it should be public now

  • Wildthing

    Looks like a really pure minimalist game. All the better for its sense of environment.

    In the mean time have a look at 'Tractor Beam' if Faraway is your bag.

    There are similarities between them.

    • http://www.cheap-ralphlaurenpoloshirts.com big pony polo

      ya really pure minimalist game. All the better for its sense of environment

  • Wildthing

    Looks like a really pure minimalist game. All the better for its sense of environment.

    In the mean time have a look at 'Tractor Beam' if Faraway is your bag.

    There are similarities between them.

  • Zac

    I'm strongly reminded of PixelJunk Eden. The gameplay is obviously different but the type of grabby spinny, intersecting dots, etc. is just too much to avoid comparison.

    That's okay though because PixelJunk Eden is very super awesome, and this game might just beat it because it seems to lack the one thing that gets me nuts with PJE, which is accidentally falling back to the bottom of a huge level.

    If anyone has a PS3 and has not played PixelJunk Eden, you need to. Also try any of the other PJ games. I really wish they would hit up the iPhone, they could dominate in this kind of indie-art game genre.

  • Zac

    I'm strongly reminded of PixelJunk Eden. The gameplay is obviously different but the type of grabby spinny, intersecting dots, etc. is just too much to avoid comparison.

    That's okay though because PixelJunk Eden is very super awesome, and this game might just beat it because it seems to lack the one thing that gets me nuts with PJE, which is accidentally falling back to the bottom of a huge level.

    If anyone has a PS3 and has not played PixelJunk Eden, you need to. Also try any of the other PJ games. I really wish they would hit up the iPhone, they could dominate in this kind of indie-art game genre.

  • Luke

    What an imaginative concept and very easy for players of all backgrounds to get into. I hope the developer will incorporate some sort of challenging mechaic to the gameplay, rather than just rewarding your constellations.

  • Luke

    What an imaginative concept and very easy for players of all backgrounds to get into. I hope the developer will incorporate some sort of challenging mechaic to the gameplay, rather than just rewarding your constellations.

  • Lukeb

    Looks like the gravity gun in Meteor Blitz

  • Lukeb

    Looks like the gravity gun in Meteor Blitz

  • Martin Firm

    That looks brilliant. Simple, elegant, and fun. I'mo buy.

  • Martin Firm

    That looks brilliant. Simple, elegant, and fun. I'mo buy.

  • Jordan

    I love the look of the game. Also makes me look forward even more to the iPad.

  • Jordan

    I love the look of the game. Also makes me look forward even more to the iPad.

  • anthonyafterwit

    Zzzzzzz.

  • anthonyafterwit

    Zzzzzzz.

  • B34$T

    Love the simple graphics. I cannot wait to see more.

  • B34$T

    Love the simple graphics. I cannot wait to see more.

  • Dave

    ahhhhh...that has to be ahhhhhhh the worst audio commentary ahhhhhhhh of all ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh time.

    HOLY CRAP! I had stop watching it was so annoying.

    Here's a thought, Think about exactly what you will say BEFORE you record so we don't have to listen to ahhhhhhhh every three seconds.

    SHEESH!

  • Dave

    ahhhhh...that has to be ahhhhhhh the worst audio commentary ahhhhhhhh of all ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh time.

    HOLY CRAP! I had stop watching it was so annoying.

    Here's a thought, Think about exactly what you will say BEFORE you record so we don't have to listen to ahhhhhhhh every three seconds.

    SHEESH!

  • Mr. Gates

    One button ? How much thought goes into that?

  • Mr. Gates

    One button ? How much thought goes into that?

  • samthelion

    seems to be another great game. Way to go Thirion!

  • samthelion

    seems to be another great game. Way to go Thirion!

  • darwiniandude

    Awesome. Will buy. It seems like a familiar well loved 80's arcade game... that I've actually never played.

  • darwiniandude

    Awesome. Will buy. It seems like a familiar well loved 80's arcade game... that I've actually never played.

  • Frog

    Wow, this game really looks great! I can't wait to play this.

  • Frog

    Wow, this game really looks great! I can't wait to play this.

  • xiga

    Wow, what a simple idea but i really like the look of this.

    A couple suggestions:

    The music could get pretty annoying after a while. An option to turn it off or, better still, listen to our own music while playing, would be a welcome addition.

    When you enter one of the big circular constellation areas, it would be cool if a box appeared in the top corner of the screen with a diagram of the constellation you should be attempting to complete. This way, the game would reward you, rather than you just freestyling it all the time. There could be like 100 constellations to complete in the game, achievement style!

  • xiga

    Wow, what a simple idea but i really like the look of this.

    A couple suggestions:

    The music could get pretty annoying after a while. An option to turn it off or, better still, listen to our own music while playing, would be a welcome addition.

    When you enter one of the big circular constellation areas, it would be cool if a box appeared in the top corner of the screen with a diagram of the constellation you should be attempting to complete. This way, the game would reward you, rather than you just freestyling it all the time. There could be like 100 constellations to complete in the game, achievement style!

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    seems to be another wonderful game. thanks

  • http://www.stratejioyunlari.tk strateji oyunları

    seems to be another wonderful game. thanks

  • John

    When is this coming out? Any news?

  • John

    When is this coming out? Any news?

  • http://www.dunyaharikalari.com Dünya harikaları

    The video is very good

  • http://www.dunyaharikalari.com Dünya harikaları

    The video is very good

  • http://blog.finefin.com finefin

    I'm really waiting for this one!
    When is is coming? whaaaaa!

  • http://blog.finefin.com finefin

    I'm really waiting for this one!
    When is is coming? whaaaaa!

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    this game might just beat it because it seems to lack the one thing that gets me nuts with PJE