iPad Official Orion's Belt Feedback Thread

Discussion in 'iPhone and iPad Games' started by Ztakk, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. Ztakk

    Ztakk Member

    Feb 25, 2009
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    #1 Ztakk, Feb 25, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2009
    Hi everyone,

    My company, Cellufun, recently released our first iPhone game. It's called Orion's Belt and is a top down space shooter. We're a small company that mainly does browser based mobile games, so this is all new to us. We've invested a ton of time and resources in this first game, which (I hope) should be immediately apparent when you see the game. It's really different than anything else out there--I promise. But we know it's not perfect and are happy to make as many fixes as we can to enhance the replay value of the game for you. (Replayability was a big focus for us, so we built in an arcade-style Skirmish mode that you can play over and over even after you finish the initial campaign.)

    So, all that said, if you've played the game please let us know what you think. If you hate it, that's okay--just let us know why and we'll try to fix it. If you love it, that's great too--we'll try to improve the features that you already like. There's a light version coming next week. Here's the link to the application on the App Store, where it's currently selling for $3.99:


    http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=304916556&mt=8

    And here's the game's opening sequence:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJ29WEvHReY

    edit: Added gameplay footage:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dolDgPM6BKY

    Thanks everyone!
    -Ztakk
     
  2. Donburns99

    Donburns99 Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2008
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    Really surprised there is zero interest in this game.
     
  3. nate@pdxine.com

    Dec 24, 2008
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    are there any galaxies on orions belt I should be aware of? Particulaly those that would be required to prevent war.
     
  4. arn

    arn Administrator
    Staff Member

    Apr 19, 2008
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    I think an actual gameplay video would do wonders for interest. I started playing it but got busy so never got into the meat of the game.

    arn
     
  5. Big Albie

    Big Albie Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2009
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    #5 Big Albie, Feb 26, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2009
    I've been playing Orion's Belt today, and I think in general, there's a good concept here. However, the controls need to be worked out.

    You can set your ship to move one of two ways:

    1) accelerometer to thrust w/buttons to turn
    2) acclerometer to rotate w/buttons to thrust

    You stop your ship by tapping it. I played Blue Attack to compare the controls, and in my opinion, if those were to be used with Orion's Belt, I think that solves the control issue.

    Before you can do battle, you have to pass several levels of training which is intended to make sure you understand the controls. Honestly, it can be frustrating you just want to jump into the game. And, the training are not easy either.

    If you fail a training mission three times, then you get an intel which is kind of a tip for how to pass the training mission. The interface itself has a radar, and you also have a variety of weapons (missiles, guided missiles, mines and countermeasures. The training missions test you on each one.

    The missions themselves can be frustrating because you have to be perfect more or less in order to progress. Then you get into the meat of the game.

    The meat of the game itself is not too bad. Again the controls just need to be more responsive. From your screen, there are buttons for launching the specific weapons and you have to keep in mind, you have limited ammo for each. This applies in the training missions as well, so in some cases, if you miss just one target, you have to start that mission over.

    I'm still working through the game, but the controls definitely need the most work. I think once that's figured out, then reduce the number of training missions. The intels themselves should really be part of the tutorial which is not bad in itself, but I would hate to be destroyed several times before I get a tip telling me how to get through a training. The tips themselves are really more for guidance.

    There's potential with Orion's Belt, but it needs some updates.
     
  6. Ztakk

    Ztakk Member

    Feb 25, 2009
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    Thanks very much for the feedback so far. I'll post a gameplay video later today, but in the meantime let me try to respond to some of your thoughts.

    "You stop your ship by tapping it. I played Blue Attack to compare the controls, and in my opinion, if those were to be used with Orion's Belt, I think that solves the control issue."

    In Blue Attack, your ship is always thrusting and always firing in the direction you're facing. This is the same autothrust mode that Spore used. You have to be able to stop the ship and maneuver more pecisely in OB than in Blue Attack. That mode just wouldn't work with Orion's Belt, although we did look at it.

    "Before you can do battle, you have to pass several levels of training which is intended to make sure you understand the controls. Honestly, it can be frustrating you just want to jump into the game. And, the training are not easy either."

    You're right that the tutrorial levels are meant to make sure you can handle the controls. You do unlock Skirmish mode (Arcade mode) after the first few tutorial levels, but if people feel the same way you do we could have that available from the start. Good idea!


    "The missions themselves can be frustrating because you have to be perfect more or less in order to progress."

    Good suggestion--we'll make the tutorial a bit easier by providing more missiles etc.

    "I'm still working through the game, but the controls definitely need the most work. I think once that's figured out, then reduce the number of training missions. The intels themselves should really be part of the tutorial which is not bad in itself, but I would hate to be destroyed several times before I get a tip telling me how to get through a training. The tips themselves are really more for guidance."

    We knew the controls would be a little tough. Once you master them, though, dogfighting in Skirmish mode becomes a blast. We tried a full accelerometer mode in which your turn and thrust with the accelerometer, but in a top down 360 degree near frictionless environment, it just doesn't work. You end up spinning round and round most of the time. Regarding the mission intel, we don't let people see it right away because some people want to tinker around and figure out what they need to do before they see hints. We could show the intel right away though if this is what people prefer.


    Thanks so much for the input. Please keep it coming!
     
  7. Big Albie

    Big Albie Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2009
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    San Francisco, California
    Thanks for the joining the forum and the feedback. Like I said, the game is pretty good, and there's a definitely a lot of levels and gameplay to go through. I think the tutorials are especially good and in my case, I think it may be good to include the intel info in there. My issue with the controls are subjective and this varies from player to player. I'm still getting used to them. On that note, a video will be helpful, and you may even want to consider doing separate videos for getting through different game scenarios. Not that you have to do that even right away, but I'm always looking for different strategies.
     
  8. BBagwell

    BBagwell Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2009
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    Charleston, SC
    I would like to see gameplay footage as well. Thanks!
     
  9. Ztakk

    Ztakk Member

    Feb 25, 2009
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  10. spiffyone

    spiffyone Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2008
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    I think the one complaint I have about the game is the controls, as Big Albie stated. However, I can see that Blue Attack!-style controls might not completely work with this type of game, as in Blue Attack!, as you've stated, the ship is always thrusting forward and always firing.

    There's another similar game, VOID, which currently has a "lite" version only (the dev is still apparently working on the full version)

    VOID lite link: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=301641126&mt=8

    That game has a different control scheme as well. At first I thought that perhaps your game should echo that game's control scheme, but there are issues that arise with that as it did the Blue Attack! idea. While in VOID you are not auto thrusting forward, you only have control of forward thrust and stop. Also, the game does not have the same Asteroids style camera set up that your game and Blue Attack! has; VOID lite's camera is centered/tethered onto the ship, and when you turn it is not the ship that turns in the environment but rather kind of the environment turning around the ship (so that "up" is always up, and left, down and right always left, down and right). So that really wouldn't work in your game without drastic changes in set up...and while I like VOID lite, I'd actually rather Asteroids-style camera/ship movement as your game employs, and backwards thrust as well (which is missing in VOID lite).

    So how to fix the controls? Really the controls are not that bad...it's just the "stop" that is the worst culprit. I find that the worst aspect of control in your game is the "touch the ship to come to a stop" idea. In that split second it takes to move a thumb to the ship and off of the thrust and weapons control areas of the screen, my ship can hurtle into an obstacle and be destroyed. So how about making it so that instead of pressing the ship to come to a stop one instead presses forward and backwards thrust (or left turn and right turn if using the other control method) at the same time in order to stop. The player's thumb is already hovering over the thrust/turn and weapons systems areas, and mostly the thrust/turn areas as they need be in constant control of their ship, so pressing both foward/back (or left/right turn) at the same time makes for more instantaneous control over stopping, which is much better than the method you now employ.
     
  11. Big Albie

    Big Albie Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2009
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    Good suggestion spiffyone, and I forgot about the controls in Void which are pretty good but not great for that type of game. The backward thrust idea would be natural too.
     
  12. Ztakk

    Ztakk Member

    Feb 25, 2009
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    Your suggestion for stopping the ship is interesting. However, I don't think the iPhone would actually be able to recognize to simultaneous touches. I can check though.
     
  13. spiffyone

    spiffyone Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2008
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    Yes, it can recognize simultaneous touches. Apple actually made waves (many quite negative) over their patent for multi touch (which might mean Palm has to pay Apple a fee in order to have their Pre use a multi-touch touch screen input interface). Part of the patent, iirc, covers the reading of simultaneous touches.
     
  14. Ztakk

    Ztakk Member

    Feb 25, 2009
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    Yes, of course you're right on both counts. Just a brain fart on my part :eek:

    As to your solution for stopping the ship in OB, what you're suggesting is possible. However, we worry that one touch of both buttons simultaneously could create some problems with people accidentally stopping all the time when they're doing normal maneuvering. What about quickly double tapping those buttons with your thumbs? Would that be better?

     
  15. spiffyone

    spiffyone Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2008
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    Nah.

    TBQH, a quick double tap would still take too long for a game such as yours that requires very skillful maneuvering around objects. When I play I "ride" my fingers over the buttons (hover over the buttons).

    In your game this is almost necessary as holding the forward thrust button would lead to crashes. I find that periodic taps of the onscreen forward thrust button are best to move around without crashing and destroying the ship. As my thumbs are already hovering over those onscreen buttons, a quick simultaneous touch would be a split second quicker and easier than double tapping those buttons, and that split second, I find, is the difference between damaging the ship and not damaging it in your game.

    The other method you can employ is a slight "pause" when shifting from forward thrust to reverse thrusters. So that when pressing reverse thrust the ship first pauses (stops) and then goes into reverse. But, of course, that would change the physics of momentum in the game you have in place. Of course, more realistic physics are not always a good thing in games. I know it's en vogue now, for instance, to employ more realistic physics in platformers, but tbqh, Super Mario Bros. and Sonic didn't employ uber realistic physics and those games are still more playable than most platformers. So while having the momentum carry one into obstacles after disengaging forward thrust might be more realistic, and coming to a complete stop not realistic, it is by far more playable.
     
  16. Tinsel

    Tinsel Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2008
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    I appreciate the lite version, but as others have said, the controls break this game (as do the horrible training missions).

    The game shows nice polish elsewhere (graphics, cutscene, interface) but I erased the demo off of my phone after about 10 minutes. Just my 0.02.
     
  17. Chiller ONE

    Chiller ONE Well-Known Member

    Sep 20, 2008
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    QFT! I would buy this in an instant if it weren't for the horrible control scheme.
    :(
     
  18. Donburns99

    Donburns99 Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2008
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    Finally got to this game on my backlog tonight, it's a great game.

    Has a decent learning curve, but I still feel there are some problems.

    Calibraton is a necessity in a game like this. Sometimes I couldn't find a way to get my ship to stop thrusting. This was really annoying on the tutorial level where you had to dodge the field of mines. Having better control over the thrusts and even when not to thrust is something I hope to see in a future update. ^ ^
     
  19. Ztakk

    Ztakk Member

    Feb 25, 2009
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    Hi guys,
    Thanks as always for your feedback on this game. We're working on a pretty big update, and we're hoping many of your control concerns will be addressed. We're playing with a non-accelerometer mode that we like so far. You'd thrust, reverse and stop with one thumb and turn by rotating a wheel with the other. Right now we have the acceleration controls set so that when you double tap the middle of the acceleration controls the ship stops (no more double tapping the ship itself). Wondering what you think of this type of scheme (see image below). We've also moved the damage indicator to the radar screen so it's not covered by your thumbs.
     

    Attached Files:

  20. Chiller ONE

    Chiller ONE Well-Known Member

    Sep 20, 2008
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    This sounds awesome!
    If this fixes the control issues I'll purchase it instantly!
     

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