iPad Running With Ninjas - iPhone endless runner/shooter

Discussion in 'iPhone and iPad Games' started by Yum Cha Games, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. Yum Cha Games

    Yum Cha Games Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2012
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    indie game developer/contractor
    Australia
    #1 Yum Cha Games, Aug 14, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2012
    Greetings TouchArcadians!

    I am proud to introduce my first original game for iPhone and iPod Touch - Running with Ninjas!

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/running-with-ninjas/id550071892?ls=1&mt=8

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The game is basically an endless runner. Except instead of avoiding obstacles and collecting coins, you're avoiding ninja stars while throwing your own stars at other ninjas.

    There are a few different enemy types and bosses. There's also a unique summoning system executed by drawing patterns on the screen. Summon spells are obtained in scrolls, scrolls are earned by defeating bosses.

    Controls are easy, tilt the device like a steering wheel to move left/right. Jump with the left button, throw your stars with the right.

    The game will record your distance, score and highest combo (combos will also earn you score multipliers, so keep them up!).

    I hope you can enjoy this game! I spent a lot of time working on it pretty much by myself. It can get lonely, frustrating and very hard - especially if you have no prior experience doing this sort of thing. I've created music before, I've created graphics before, I've created 3D before, and I guess you could say I've done some limiting scripting before from making websites. But I've never tackled a full game before!

    Special thanks go out to my partner for the brush work and my friends for testing!

    FAQ (pre-emptive):
    Q: The game crashed on me!
    A: Please submit all bug reports via the game's App Store page or post in this thread. I will address all reports as soon as I possibly can.

    In your report, please be as specific as you can. Generally, most crashes would occur when X hit Y or similar. Sometimes it's hard to see what collision may have caused the crash with the abundance of enemies and stars on screen, so in those cases just tell me what enemies were around so I can get an idea of what the variables are. Thanks for your patience!

    Please accept my apologies in advanced if the game does not work correctly on your device (I'm fearing iPod Touches may be effected, as I do not own one to test with). I only have iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 to test with currently.

    Q: Why are there no coins to collect, or upgrades, or IAP?
    A: I didn't want to create yet another grind fest. I wanted the game to have good gameplay first and not just hook into the addiction of collection. There are still similar traditional gaming elements though, like beating high scores and earning scrolls.

    Q: Can you add more stages/enemies/bosses/summons, make X control config, add Game Center support...
    A: All additional content will be dependent on the game's success. I've got a few things planned already, but will only work on them if the game proves successful enough for me to justify spending time on it (I do have a day job, this currently isn't a full time gig for me).

    Q: Where's the iPad version?
    A: The main reason this isn't made is that I didn't feel tilting a large iPad would be as good as the iPhone. But also, I currently do not have an iPad to test on. When I do get one, I will consider adding iPad support.

    Q: Can I has free codes??
    A: Sure. Why not, hey?

    TAYA4J9PLPRM
    W46M7HK9L7LA
    AXWTA3REH3K9
    TLKJLXM97NHN
    HW9RLRKT6YPR
    NTYFYAYMYNYK
    XHKKXR7LXLAE
    NWEA4W9H74HE
    JH6NNARYKXKN
    X7A3WW7EMRFL

    First in best dressed. Post when you successfully grab a code so others know they're taken. I'll update this list as often as I can.

    If TA staff want some codes, please PM/email me and I'll provide them.

    Thanks! I hope you enjoy my game!
     
  2. Qwertz555

    Qwertz555 Well-Known Member

    May 22, 2010
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    Thanks for the last code X7A...
    Will write back after sleep and playing for a while.
     
  3. cabdog

    cabdog Well-Known Member

    Mar 14, 2011
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    Thanks! I snapped up NWEA4W9H74HE.

    Will post impressions later!
     
  4. AnarKitty

    AnarKitty Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2010
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    Minneapolis, USA
    Love the look of this, and was lucky enough to redeem HW9RLRKT6YPR just now. Thanks so much for sharing! :)
     
  5. Gwarmaxx

    Gwarmaxx Well-Known Member

    Feb 2, 2010
    3,796
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    NCC 1701
    JH6NNARYKXKN taken...

    thanks a lot!
     
  6. Exact-Psience

    Exact-Psience Well-Known Member

    Jan 12, 2012
    22,667
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    The Work-At-Home Guy
    Philippines
    Got XHKKXR7LXLAE... Thanks
     
  7. MrAlbum

    MrAlbum Well-Known Member

    Feb 8, 2012
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    Student
    Alaska
    #7 MrAlbum, Aug 14, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2012
    The game looks interesting. I'll get a feel for it a little later and post impressions. ^_^
     
  8. pocketmego

    pocketmego Member

    May 30, 2012
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    I got code TLKJLXM97NHN will post review.
     
  9. pocketmego

    pocketmego Member

    May 30, 2012
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    #9 pocketmego, Aug 14, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2012
    This is a good solid game. But, NOT if you look at it as a runner. Because, that is not what it is. It could best be described as an endless Shmup.

    Which I find extremely refreshing. Back in the prehistorick days when I first started gaming there were quite a few games like this. Shooters that were not based on Spaceships, but played like they were. But using a different environment from spaceships and futristic warfare added a bit of freshness to the proceedings.

    So instead of running and dodging obstacles, your whole goal is to hold down that fire button and blast the hell out of whatever is in front of you. The jump button, I was confused about until I encountered the first "Boss" who seem to appear at certain points to break things up. He was big and with a turtle shell. He had huge shurikans that couldn't just be dodged, this is where the jump button came into play.

    This is a nice break from the big-standard runner and I applaud the developers attempt at originality. The power-up system of drawing symbols is a bit wonky and difficult pull off. This could really use a pause screen or a detailed tutorial to explain it better.

    But, all in all this is a solid purchase in my opinion!
     
  10. AceSox

    AceSox Well-Known Member

    Aug 14, 2012
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    Burger King D: fml
    NJ
    Grabbed AXWTA3REH3K9. Looks promising. I'll post my thoughts soon
     
  11. MrAlbum

    MrAlbum Well-Known Member

    Feb 8, 2012
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    Student
    Alaska
    Alright, I played for about 30 minutes. And I have some thoughts to share.

    I like the simplicity. Environments are simple and muted, which helps enemies (and their bright color-coding) stand out and make themselves aware to the player. Also, there has been a lot of love put into the animations and the framerate, which purrs like a kitten on my iPhone 4s. The action is thus laser-focused on the gameplay, which controls very tightly with one of the most interesting tilt controls I have yet encountered.

    You see, you control the left/right movement of your ninja via tilt. However, when you tilt one way, the in-game screen tilts in the opposite direction, to give the illusion that the game world is still straight vertical as you are tilting your iDevice. This helps tremendously with judging placement and distance, since your eyes don't have to readjust every time you tilt the screen. If the visual effect feels too different, you can always turn it off in the options menu (tilt is still the only control method, tho).

    There is a button to fire shurikens (an all-purpose attack) and a button to jump. You can also earn scrolls by beating the bosses, which hold power-ups and special attacks that you draw on the upper portion of the screen similar to how magic works in the Infinity Blade series. These scroll abilities require ki to activate, which drop from random enemies, I believe. However, I have a couple quibbles with how the scroll system is implemented.

    First off, the game is pretty fast, frenetic and chaotic. It doesn't slow down for anything. This makes drawing spell abilities on the upper portion of the screen very hard to pull off without getting hit by enemies and/or dying because a player often has to take their fingers off the screen to draw the scroll symbol. Also, the accuracy required is fairly strict; mess up one part of the symbol/draw it too small, and nothing happens.

    This makes scrolls a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't kind of a deal, because they hold the most powerful attacks and buffs of the game. But to use them effectively requires some trial and error and getting used to the high accuracy requirements. I like the idea of the scrolls, since it helps keep the screen from getting cluttered by power-ups and special attack items. It is the implementation of this system that makes things difficult.

    I would recommend the developer consider this idea for the scrolls: a third button in the top right corner that slows (not stops) gameplay for about two seconds or so; the specific timing can be fine-tuned. This would serve the purpose of allowing people to quickly draw the scroll symbols while worrying less about what will happen in that split-second's worth of distraction. To balance this button's function, if a player doesn't draw a symbol, then they would lose a set amount of their ki (maybe even all of it. This theoretical button could turn the game into the Matrix >_>). If they do draw a symbol, then they would spend the casting cost of the spell, and no more.

    This is just a suggestion, though, as a result of my brief time with the game.

    Overall, it's a small, simple, well-polished game with a couple interesting control ideas with varying levels of success. I am not sure if the game should be expanded to include a story (even Temple Run has a bare-bones plot XD), or if it should stay true to its arcade inspirations.

    Nor am I certain that what is here is enough to hold me for more than a couple hours' worth of play-time. Don't get me wrong, the game is fun! I just don't have much reason to play beyond a brief blast of arcade action, which doesn't have much staying power.

    I certainly hope that the game grows into something even more interesting. The core is pretty good, strange quirks notwithstanding. That's my $0.99 ^_^

    Sincerely,

    Mr. Album
     
  12. Yum Cha Games

    Yum Cha Games Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2012
    52
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    indie game developer/contractor
    Australia
    Wow, thanks to pocketmego and Mr Album for their thoughts! Can I ask how far you have gotten in the game? How many scrolls have you unlocked so far?

    Testing of the scrolls was tricky. On the one hand, I wanted something that was not too easy to pull off and that didn't clutter the screen with another button. But on the other hand, the accuracy required during frantic gameplay could be too tough for some.

    I like the idea of a "matrix" slow down button though. But again, really didn't want to have another button. I'll see if there's some way to incorporate the idea of slowing time.

    Generally speaking, the rewards for the scrolls are pretty high. If you've unlocked the 5th/6th scrolls, you'll see that those scrolls pretty much break the game (you will probably never die after unlocking them). So I really didn't want them to be too easy to pull off.

    For the tilting thing, I actually got the idea from a racing game (Real Racing, I think?). So I can't take full credit for that! I remember when I first saw it and though "Wow, this solves the issue of rotating your head to match your screen!". The option to turn it off was actually a debug option I put in early on to get better screen shots. I left it in the game in case anyone had a preference to tilting their heads too ;).
     
  13. pocketmego

    pocketmego Member

    May 30, 2012
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    I got just past the purple ninja and got wasted by Those yellow flying bomb throwers. I'm really digging it do far. But, a slow mode or pause function to scribble he symbols is probably a necessity. It's just way to hard to do when playing and holding your device to steer.

    Beyond that, you have an excellent game here, and I wish you all the success in the world!
     
  14. MrAlbum

    MrAlbum Well-Known Member

    Feb 8, 2012
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    Student
    Alaska
    I got about as far as pocketmego as well. I do plan to stick around and unlock some more scrolls before I move on to another game. Like I said, the core game IS good!

    Maybe the Matrix-style power could be the first scroll you pick up, and have it be one simple and quick vertical swipe? That would eliminate the need for a third button, and would make the ki usage more in-line with the existing mechanics.

    Knowing what you said, I can't wait to see the later scrolls ^_^

    Sincerely,

    Mr. Album
     
  15. Yum Cha Games

    Yum Cha Games Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2012
    52
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    indie game developer/contractor
    Australia
    Hmm, I like your suggestion actually. I'll see what I can do to implement it in the next update. Thanks!

    I should lower your expectations of the later scrolls though. They're not visually too spectacular, but their function is (imo) powerful.
     
  16. Yum Cha Games

    Yum Cha Games Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2012
    52
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    indie game developer/contractor
    Australia
    Thanks to your suggestion MrAlbum, I've included a new Scroll "Time Jutsu" which is automatically unlocked (adding it to the game's sequence of unlocks would change the game a bit too much at this point, so thought just giving it for free to everyone was easier). I've also fixed a few bugs that crept in the final hours of dev as I rushed to complete development. This update should be on the App Store in a week or so, dependent on Apple's review process (the initial submission took about 13 days, I believe updates are faster).

    Now, due to how the swiping is triggered I couldn't make the swipe a simple vertical direction. I had to make it a diagonal one instead. I think this still works.

    The cost is a bar of the Jutsu meter (one Kanji character). I could make it cost less, but I also wanted to give players an incentive to not use it (in fact, the last scroll cannot be used with this as that costs 5 bars).

    One problem I was having was making it obvious you've slowed time. Having a message on screen would clash with the next scroll you summon, as the main reason you'd use Time Jutsu is for easier execution of the next scroll. I could slow the music down, but that felt a little too jarring. Instead, the music is slightly muted (I don't have access to effects just yet), and I've added a heartbeat sound for the duration of the slowdown. Testing on Mac, this heartbeat is audible just fine. But I was finding it wasn't as obvious on my iPhone 4. I'd be interested to know how this works on other's devices. I think earphones would be fine, but really should get it optimised for the device's speaker.

    Other point of contention is the rate of slowing time and duration. These values are easily changable though, so if you guys think it's too short or not slow enough, let me know and I'll tweak it. This is one feature that I really haven't tested too much, so please accept early apologies from me if the implementation isn't perfect yet.

    On another note, my fear of submitting an update was completely unfounded. It's actually very easy (easier than the initial submission) and quite painless (opposed to initial submission).
     
  17. Qwertz555

    Qwertz555 Well-Known Member

    May 22, 2010
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    Yep, I get along with this.

    There's one thing i don't like: The jump comes an important tick to late
    after pushing the button. Can you fix that please ?

    Thank you again and wellcome to the forum dear Dev. You made a
    good start with your first ios game.
     
  18. Yum Cha Games

    Yum Cha Games Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2012
    52
    0
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    indie game developer/contractor
    Australia
    Thanks for your thoughts Qwertz555!

    Yes, I'm aware of the delay with jumping. It is unfortunately a by-product of the dev environment for the moment. I am looking for ways to improve it, but I'm not sure how successful I will be with my limited tools/abilities. I do want to fix it though, so I will keep trying. Thanks for you patience.
     
  19. pocketmego

    pocketmego Member

    May 30, 2012
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    Fantastic! I'll give it a play a bit later and let you know how it feels.



     
  20. syntheticvoid

    syntheticvoid Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2010
    14,258
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    Musician & Translator
    a[V-O-I-D]
    Running With Ninjas is an Endless 3rd Person On-Rails Shooter that puts you in control of a ninja running through the jungle and mountains while being attacked by, and attacking, other ninjas who are bound and determined to take you out. RWN contains one gameplay mode which has you defeating as many ninjas as you can before your health completely runs out. When you start out, you’ll only see 2 different enemies; Red and Green. Red enemies will throw Shurikens straight forward and once defeated, add to your special meter; displayed as writing under your health bar. Green enemies do not attack you, instead, once defeated, they will slightly refill your health bar. As you progress through the world, you’ll soon realize that these are not the only types of enemies. Bosses with strange turtle like shields on their backs, purple enemies that throw Shurikens directly at you, yellow enemies that toss bombs and more will all be after your head, and when all of these different types of enemies are on the screen at the same time, things can get a little hairy.

    Once you defeat a boss, a scroll appears. These scrolls, once collected, give your ninja special powers, and this is where the special meter comes into play. After you collect a scroll, a special power is unlocked. To use this special power, you’ll need to draw a shape in the middle of the screen. This does take some getting use to, and I still think that buttons up the sides of the screen, or easier swipe gestures, like just swiping left to right, or up and down would have been a better fit, especially since the gestures are a little hard to remember, and can take more than a second or two to pull off, that is, if you can pull it off correctly. Each special power requires a certain amount of power from your special gauge. Once you have enough power, you can draw a certain symbol on the screen, and POW, enemies are in for some trouble.

    The controls are fairly simple; you’re given a button for jumping, and a button for throwing your own Shuriken. Moving left and right is controlled by tilting your device. Normally, I don’t think I would have checked out a 3rd Person On-Rails Shooter that was tilt controlled, but the controls in Running With Ninjas fit the game extremely well. Also making it feel even better is the great camera control. When you tilt your device, your character moves, but so does the environment. This makes it a lot easier to focus on the gameplay, and not worry so much about where your character is located in the gameplay area. However, if you’re not comfortable with the tilting environment, you can always turn this option off in the settings menu, making the environment stay level as you tilt. I have experienced some issues with the controls, like an occasionally unresponsive jump button, some jitteriness while moving in the air, sometimes resulting in taking damage when I should have avoided a bomb, and some slight sticking of the character while on the edges of the gameplay area. However, these were all occasional, and not game-breaking by any means.

    The graphics are pretty minimal, with very little details in the environments and characters, however, this does help to make the bright enemies stick out like a sore thumb, making it easier to focus on them while running at full speed through the environments. The animations are well done, with nice enemy appearance and death animations, cool looking special powers, and nice running animations also add to the feel and polish of the game.

    With only one gameplay mode, and some needed tweaks that could make the gameplay a little smoother, not everyone is going to jump on the Running With Ninjas bandwagon. However, if you’re a fan of the genre, and willing to take a chance on a game that has some very solid core gameplay mechanics, for $0.99, you just might be very surprised. In the near future, Justin Hogie has said that GameCenter leaderboards and achievements, as well as possibly another gameplay mode that would revolve around preset challenges and levels, along with some additions to the enemies, stages, and special power scrolls. Hopefully RWN sells well and gets enough attention that these things can be added, because right now, Running With Ninjas shows an extreme amount of promise, and provides some great endless gameplay.
     

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