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Ping

xplosion28

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  • Posts: 244
Ping is a remake of the old classic Pong.  The difference is you now control both paddles trying to keep the ball on the screen as long as possible.  The objective is to make the ball hit different collectibles to add to your score.  As your score increases new collectibles have a chance to appear, once you get far enough a second ball will appear.  As you play the ball will get faster, up to a maximum speed, which can be altered from the speed up and slow down collectible.

I have always been quite awful with anything related to art, so I decided to find a game I could stay relatively simple with.  With this simplicity I decided to add something I don't often see with mobile games, and that is customization.  I added a scene in which you will be able to change the color and design of the paddles, the color of the background and the trim, and soon to come color (and possibly design) of the collectibles.  So far the designs of the paddle are just basic I still have a lot to add, I'm still debating whether I should make the designs unlockable using in game currency or just allow full customization from the start.

This however does cause some issues which I need to address, such as choosing a black background and not being able to see the Title of the game on the title screen.  However a small if statement could address that. 

Another issue I found was not being able to find a nice spot for the pause icon in the main scene.  Most games put them in a corner however since this game will be made for mobile and the player will keep their fingers on the sides of the device they would likely hit it from time to time, getting quite annoying.   For now I just placed it inbetween the score and hiscore, and suggestions here would be great.

I'm debating whether to add more collectibles whether they should be to increase your score, or make the game more challenging but would like to hear other peoples thoughts on this.

Any suggestions in general would be much appreciated!

Right now I only have a flash version, which lets you get an idea for how the game would work, however the controls on flash are really wacky considering I wanted to include the mouse as that would be the closest thing to a touch screen.  Meaning the left paddle must be controlled with WS (so sorry about that)!  The game is going to be made only for mobile so I want have this issue once published.
http://www.stencyl.com/game/play/35244

Lastly I remember reading an article on Stencyl a while ago about the fonts causing some additional white lines after the text due to resizing problems.  However I can't find that post, so any help there would also be appreciated!  (The line after play on the title screen if my description was lacking)

colburt187

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Hey, I like the concept, simple but i can see how it would be fun on device. I also like the presentation, nice simple clean style, well done.

I didn't see the line after the text? but to get rid of that line, put the X and Y co ordinates of the text in a 'round' block. so you are rounding the value.

I found a little flaw while playing. I managed to get the ball moving perfectly between the paddles so i didn't have to touch the controls and the ball just traveled back and forwards collecting points.

I think I would not allow the pickups to drift of the screen, make them bounce of the screen and stay in play, I also didn't like they way they bounced quick of the paddles. I would just have them ignore the paddles and keep a constant speed as they float around the screen.

Im undecided about allowing all colours at the start or unlocking them. I don't think people would pay to unlock them but it could be a nice retention mechanic to motivate people to keep playing.

I also think it might be cool to have a randomizeation button to randomly pick the colours for you.

overall a fun little concept, look forward to texting it on mobile to see how it feels.

thechaosengine

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  • Posts: 327
Oh cool! I made a similar game once, was fun to do. Looking forward to see how Ping feels when played on mobile :)

xplosion28

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  • Posts: 244
Thanks for the feedback Colburt!  Yeah I made it so that when the ball hits the certain areas on the paddle it will be reflected a certain amount of degrees.  So hitting the paddle in the middle area would reflect it straight back, while hitting the top or bottom areas they would reflect it back upwards and downwards respectively.  As of right now there are only 5 sections of the paddle that reflect the ball back at 40, 20, 0, -20, -40 degrees, however adding more of these sections making each section smaller should help with that flaw you mentioned.  As well as being mobile it will probably be harder to keep the paddles in the exact same position unlike the mouse and keyboard (just a theory but will test it more when I get it set up to test on my devices).

Yeah I've been meaning to change the paddle hitting the pickup, just got caught up in making the customization system that I forgot to change it.  When I initially started making the game, the pickups didn't drift at all so I didn't have the need for anything else to hit the paddle besides the ball, which in turn caused that issue.

I think I will make all the customizations have to be unlocked through gaining points through the game, probably keep it relatively cheap so that the players don't get frustrated needing to play 10 games just to unlock a trim background color etc.

Out of curiosity what would you say your average score was playing each round (would help in deciding the cost for the customizations).

Weirdly enough thechaosengine I first thought about making the mechanic to do exactly what your game does when I started.  However as I went on I transitioned to controlling both paddles because I wanted to add a second ball to add a very high difficulty threshold, but not impossible like it would be if there were 2 balls in your game. xD

LIBERADO

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  • Posts: 2428
I'm still debating whether I should make the designs unlockable using in game currency or just allow full customization from the start.
Only some customization allowed at the start. And more customization options by using in game currency.

Another issue I found was not being able to find a nice spot for the pause icon in the main scene.  Most games put them in a corner however since this game will be made for mobile and the player will keep their fingers on the sides of the device they would likely hit it from time to time, getting quite annoying.   For now I just placed it inbetween the score and hiscore, and suggestions here would be great.
The pause icon is currently well placed since players will not tend to touch the center of the screen in your game.

I'm debating whether to add more collectibles whether they should be to increase your score, or make the game more challenging
Both things.

Lastly I remember reading an article on Stencyl a while ago about the fonts causing some additional white lines after the text due to resizing problems.  However I can't find that post, so any help there would also be appreciated!
To solve it, add 1px transparent stroke:
   
I'm spanish, excuse me for my bad English.
I'm not a private teacher. Please, post your questions in the public forum.

xplosion28

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  • Posts: 244
Thanks Liberado!  That was the fix I remember seeing about the text before, I'm guessing you were the one who answered it there too then:P

As for the pause button, if I had not mentioned it would you have noticed it in the game?  I figured some people may mistake it as a separator for the score and highscore, but if that's not the case then great.

LIBERADO

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  • Posts: 2428
As for the pause button, if I had not mentioned it would you have noticed it in the game?  I figured some people may mistake it as a separator for the score and highscore,
In fact, it looks like a separator. You could place it at the bottom center of the screen, away from the scores.
I'm spanish, excuse me for my bad English.
I'm not a private teacher. Please, post your questions in the public forum.

xplosion28

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  • Posts: 244
Update
-The collectibles now bounce off of the edges and no longer collide with paddle. 
-I added a system in which you need to unlock all the customizations, however I kept the price of each item only 20 allowing the user to easily obtain the customizations they want.  In order to unlock the specified customization you need to click the lock (hopefully that is intuitive, if not I'll add a bit of text to help the users out there).
-A randomize button has been added, I got a bit lazy and it just cycles through all possible customizations rather than the ones owned.  (I have a weird bug with the particles that it makes when you click on the randomize button, the particles on the right seem to hit a invisible wall for no apparent reason, they don't have a collision box or any code to make them stop so confused by that).
-Added recoloring of the collectibles.
-Added a few new bar designs all of which actually have moving animations.  I'm curious what you guys think of them, and if they are better or worse then just a normal image as the design.

I haven't implemented it yet, but I was going to add a pause after you lose the match, and have an option to play again or watch a reward video for 40 points.

As for regular ads I figured I would make one appear every 5 matches that the player got over 10 points. 

xplosion28

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  • Posts: 244
I'm going through the process of selecting music, I personally have never made any music until just yesterday.  However I feel like it actually wasn't too bad of a loop using Garage Band.  Definitely a start, however then I got to looking at the size at my game (which is like miniature) so I decided to go look for Creative Common songs/loops which I may have found one.  Still looking into other things though.

I have a total of 20 bar designs, which I think will be good for the initial release.  Might do a few more if I'm feeling up for it, it's just I'm having a harder time making cool designs in such a small space using pixel art, but every once in a while I come up with some decent things (so will let it simmer for now).

I made a new pause button which I actually like more, and solves the separator issue.  Also added an animation for the customization buttons (menu and lose screen) that flashes when you have enough points for an upgrade.

Also added a small menu when you lose, that allows the player to either play again, go straight to the customization page, or watch a reward video for 40 points.  (Ads haven't been implemented yet)

To Do List
-I finally got my developer license and stencyl studio license so I need to start doing the certificates and profiles which will be a blast from what I've heard.
-Need to finalize everything related to music: background, hitting collectibles, and the ball hitting the paddle.
-Need to integrate ads, probably will use Admob for interstitial and Chartboost for reward videos.

Other than that it should be pretty close to release!  Currently I have a lot of drawing effects and tinting of actors for the customization so I'm really hoping it doesn't make a huge impact on the performance on iOS otherwise I will have to make quite a few additional sprites which would work and take up more space but that shouldn't be a problem just more of an annoyance.

xplosion28

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  • Posts: 244
Finally got the testing on my iOS Devices started, had some random problems that didn't allow me to export to my device, that suddenly just vanished.  On the bright side the performance is better than I expected, no frame rate drops due to the excessive drawing events and tinting.

One issue I do have is that your fingers partially cover up the paddle making it not quite as comfortable to play as I was expecting.  The only solutions I have so far is making the paddles a tad more centered allowing for your fingers to be behind the paddles.  This allows full movement control still but takes some of the playable screen away.  On the other hand I could add joysticks/buttons to control the paddles but that would limit the movement control of the paddles (set speed) but increase the playable screen and only take up the bottom portion of the screen.

Other than that I'm hoping to release the game this upcoming wednesday if everything else goes smoothly.

xplosion28

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  • Posts: 244
Finally back to finish and publish this game.  On the bright side, I went through all the code I previously did and was able to make it much more efficient and readable for future updates.  I fixed a few bugs and changed how the ball moved which in turn made the speed up and slow down power ups work better.  I added additional pick ups including double points (for a short duration) and one that spawns another ball.  Considering now it is very possible to have 2 or more balls on screen at once, I found it most enjoyable to allow the game to continue until all the balls left the screen.  This will make the high scores vary a lot more, rather then see a tremendous amount of people struggle right when the second ball appeared.  An information page was created allowing the player to see the objective of the game, and tap on each power up to see it's specific details.  The Remove Ad button on the title page now directs the player to another scene which displays the information about the song and developer of the game.  There are little Easter eggs where the player can tap the speed up or slow down icons to change the color of the particles on that scene. 

A few small aesthetic issues I want to fix include the lines produced after the text letters and whether or not to make the game images scale or just use scale to fit.  While right now it looks fine with the scale to fit model, it doesn't have that professional crisp look to the edges, so might try making the 4x scaled images to see the difference.  As of right now the game is only 2.6 MB with the majority of that being from the music, therefore making the 4x graphics wouldn't be a big issue on the size.

I'll try and post some pictures and video of the gameplay soon.

xplosion28

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  • Posts: 244
Some screenshots of the game:

xplosion28

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  • Posts: 244
Crazy how you think you are ready to publish and things continually pop up, prolonging the publish date.  Anyway after inspection the addition of the 4x image scaling was not necessary as it didn't make that big of a difference.  I added a couple of quality of life things, such as:
-Pausing the game when the game loses focus.
-Adding a list to each paddle, recording the Y values allowing the game to keep track if the paddles were moved.  Fixes the issue of getting the balls to move in the exact same locations between the paddles multiple times.
-Minor changes to the score/highscore panel to look better, and better fit larger numbers.

I may try some marketing ideas that I have and share the results once I publish the game.