iPad StarSmasher roadmap

Discussion in 'iPhone and iPad Games' started by johnbowers, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. johnbowers

    johnbowers Active Member

    Aug 1, 2008
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    Student/Undergraduate Researcher
    Florida
    I wanted to let you guys know the short term release road map for StarSmasher.

    1.0.2 released
    The inverted controls should now be available on the App Store via an update.

    1.0.3 in review:
    -A new class of grey asteroid that is virtually indestructible (with normal weapons).
    -More feedback when you are hit and/or you hit the minelayer.
    -New “pretty” menus which really help make the game look polished. (I'm attaching a screenshot)

    1.0.4 in development:
    I still haven’t quite figured out how to add a “story” but I’m working on it. I imagine the 1.0.3 update will be available on Thursday (hopefully) so I’m shooting for having some basic levels by then (its going to take a slight redesign of the game engine, I had really imagined a single level game when I designed it). I’m thinking about splitting it into a level-based mode and a “free fly” mode which will basically be the same as the 1.0.3 update.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. mavis

    mavis Well-Known Member

    Looks promising, and it's nice to be getting even more value out of our $2!! ;)

    I'm just installing 1.0.2 now; I'm anxious to put the inverted controls to use!
     
  3. tkphotograph

    tkphotograph Well-Known Member

    Jul 31, 2008
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    None

    I personally think that this version should be priced at $0.99. Then after when you come out with a story, and a polished menu you could vamp up the price as StarSmasher2.
     
  4. mavis

    mavis Well-Known Member

    This game shoudl be priced at $0.99 when Tetris costs 10x as much?! I mean, I'm all for lower prices, but I think this app is priced fairly ATM. Since we will get the updates for free (plus the enjoyment of being able to play the game in its current state in the meantime) I don't think requesting lower pricing for early adopters is, in this case, necessary. ;)
     
  5. MattB

    MattB Well-Known Member

    Jul 23, 2008
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    Web Designer
    Plant City, FL
    #5 MattB, Aug 5, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2008
    We can argue til we're blue in the face about prices, but it's simply too subjective. The market sets the price, and the developer's willingness to adjust the price up or down.

    My personal opinion about the price is that it is very reasonable, especially if the game gets updated and gets even better. I haven't tried this new update yet, because I had to restore my iPhone for the 3rd time (fingers crossed this 2.0.1 firmware fixes my problem.) But judging by the roadmap, I'd say this game is getting more promising all the time.

    StarSmasher is a game in a pretty new kind of genre for the iPhone. The developer has nothing to go on, except gut instinct and what he considers fun. Give it time, and we'll see more space shooters on the iPhone, I bet.
     
  6. arn

    arn Administrator
    Staff Member

    Apr 19, 2008
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    Star Smasher is doing quite well, up to #43 amongst all paid apps in App Store.

    Congrats!

    arn
     
  7. VeganTnT

    VeganTnT Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jul 19, 2008
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    Freelance Entertainment Analyst
    Orlando, FL
  8. nippyjun

    nippyjun Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2008
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    To the developer:

    I have purchased the game and have a suggestion.

    I believe that the incoming objects are too fast and too many. Even on easy mode (i actually havent' tried the harder modes to see if that affects speed) there are just too much objects on the screen moving towards you that you can't really appreciate what it going on. I think there should be half the objects and half the speed on the easy mode.

    I hope you coniser this and woudl like to see if others here agree.

    Thanks..
     
  9. johnbowers

    johnbowers Active Member

    Aug 1, 2008
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    Student/Undergraduate Researcher
    Florida
    For free-flight mode this isn't going to change. I've been playing on hard and its amazing how quickly you can adapt to the gameplay. If I play on easy now I feel like I'm just plodding along. Since some people really seem to like it as it is, I'm going to try not to mess with the free-flight mode anymore and just add new gameplay modes.

    This will probably change for the level based mode that I'm working on now. In fact, I've already reduced the number of active asteroids in the level based modes from 50 to 30, which does feel a lot easier to fly through.

    Thanks! I couldn't believe it. I've had a lot more response to the game than I was expecting. =D

    @VegantTnT, Thanks I hadn't seen that review yet. I'm trying to keep an eye on all the reviews so that I can continue to improve.

    Just for the record, when I released the game, I THOUGHT that it was done. I think when you've got your head down in the trenches coding on something you lose site of the big picture if you aren't careful. If you like what you've coded you start to imagine everyone will and you stop thinking about things that still aren't ready. This has been a major learning experience for me in many ways. Probably the most important thing I learned is this:

    BETA TEST BETA TEST BETA TEST BETA TEST.

    But ah well, you live and learn. At least people seem to be fairly gracious about the fact that I'm pushing a lot of updates to address issues. The next update will take a little longer for two reasons: I want to make the levels worthwhile and its going to take some time (invertible controls=easy coding), and I had my undergraduate thesis defense yesterday and a final paper due today so I've been scrambling to get all of that done and haven't had time this week to work on SS.
     
  10. mikeadams

    mikeadams Member

    Jul 28, 2008
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    professional tattooist
    pittsburgh
    thanks for the updates. personally i like when we can discuss issues with the dev on a personal level. i like even more when the dev takes interest in this (like you have).

    im glad i purchased starsmasher and i play it every day.
     
  11. davidmdowning42

    davidmdowning42 Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2008
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    #11 davidmdowning42, Aug 12, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2008
    woo hoo

    Let me first say that this is a great game and well worth three measly dollars. With all the complaining, (here and in the app store reviews) you’d think that nobody remembered that they pay >$50 for DS games.

    That said, here are my suggestions:

    I agree with the “too much, too fast” poster. I don’t think you should change it for Free Flight mode- it makes perfect sense when the goal is just to stay alive as long as possible. But as you are designing your levels, think easier. Think episodic. Take Star Fox for instance, there are parts of the game that have asteroid fields and equally challenging obstacles, but they are only a small percentage of the actual game play. I would hope that there will be levels, or at least parts of levels with no asteroids at all. Levels where we just pay attention to flying and shooting bad guys. You know, like Star Fox.

    Some bad guys sorta hover into your view and chill for long enough for you to shoot them, while shooting back at you with slower, but more copious lazers/bombs for you to avoid.

    This way you have WAY more room to gradually increase the game’s difficulty. The bad guys get more copious. The bad guys get faster. The bad guys get harder to kill. The bad guys shoot more, faster, etc. A short asteroid field. A long asteroid field. A short dense asteroid field. An asteroid field with bad guys in it, etc. If you are starting from the current Free Flight difficulty level, then your game will get way too hard, way too fast.

    The Mine Layer is an excellent boss. Slight changes to his appearance and abilities at the end of each level should serve you well in this area.

    If there were less on the screen at once, this would be less necessary- but different sound effects for blowing up bad guys, as opposed to asteroids would be helpful. I often cannot tell if I blew up the Mine Layer if I get him while he’s far away, or behind an asteroid.

    Do you have to run into a power up? Or can you just shoot it? I think it would be best if both methods worked.

    Again, this is an excellent game that I am sure represents no small amount of work and talent. People that complain don’t understand what indy developers are. You’re not a company with a staff and a budget, you’re a regular guy with lots of other stuff to do. Hope your thesis defense went well. Like the previous poster said, it's super awesome that you are taking an interest in what your users are interested in, and talking to us. That doesn't happen with the big companies. And as long as they keep playing it safe with "casual" gaming titiles, guys like you are the only avenue gamers have to real arcade experiences on the iPhone. Thanks for writing this awesome game. Can’t wait to see what’s next.
     
  12. johnbowers

    johnbowers Active Member

    Aug 1, 2008
    28
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    Student/Undergraduate Researcher
    Florida
    Thanks David for the suggestions and support! I am trying to make some enemies that behave more in the vein you suggested. Oh yeah, and my thesis defense went great!

    I also completely rewrote the game engine this weekend and its now running at about 35 fps instead of the 28 fps in the current version (woohoo!) I'm pretty proud of this version because it is using some more advanced features of C (if you guys are interested) including function pointers and void pointers. Its going to enable me (hopefully) to more easily code new baddies.

    I agree that a lot of the people who are complaining seem to want something like the next freespace in a $3 game. They don't understand that games like StarFox 64 a team of people a year to develop with a large budget. I'm working on a budget of $0 in my spare time. Also coding 3D stuff is not nearly as easy as 2D. It just adds a whole new level of complication and speed concerns to everything which is why, I think, pretty much the only other 3D games you see in the app store (aside from Cube runner and the 3d breakout clone) are done by major players like Sega.

    That being said, I want to let everyone know that I am actively working on the next update, but it is going to take some time.

    Oh yeah, and I've got an idea for a game mode that we really haven't ever seen before--at least in a space shooter--that might be coming along down the road, but that's all I can say for now.

    Oh and arn, you might want to look into: http://www.iphonehacks.com/2008/07/app-crash-fix.html

    I'm starting to get a few reports of crashes in the game that I think might be related (since my development release version has really never crashed on me). Letting users know that some of the crashing issues have to do with Apple DRM problems and not the Apps themselves could really help us out and maybe push apple to fix it faster.
     

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