Author Archives: Tyler Sticka, Page 2

Reinventing Ramps at 52 Mobile Apps

52 Mobile Apps (a year-long mobile app article marathon) published a guest post today by yours truly: Reinventing Ramps: From Flash Curiosity to iOS Success.

The article talks about the design realizations I had between creating the original Flash game and the new iOS title. Here’s a short excerpt:

I didn’t want Ramps for iPhone to feel hermetically sealed. I wanted it to feel friendly, approachable and alive.

So I gave the ball a face.

When the ball was inanimate, only the player’s pride was at stake. The introduction of another personality, however subtle, elicits their empathy. The ball’s well-being is in his or her hands.

Read the rest over at 52 Mobile Apps!

Inspiration

As I continue pumping out design for Tim to breath to life, it helps to take moments to absorb all the beauty and wonder produced by the indie game community for quick hits of marvelous inspiration.

Here’s a fine example. Fez is a platformer currently in the home stretch of development by Polytron and featured prominently in the upcoming Indie Game: The Movie documentary (of which I am a Kickstarter supporter).

The game looks charming, evocative and just plain stunning. I’m a big fan of similar perspective shifts in Super Paper Mario, but this looks even more engaging and atmospheric.

Since Fez isn’t out yet, I was relieved to receive my copy of the Super Meat Boy Ultra Edition in the mail, signed by Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes. I bought a wired Xbox 360 controller just to enjoy playing in my office between stretches of Ramps tomfoolery. My last great 2-D platforming experience was New Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo DS, so it’s been thrilling to routinely lose myself in such a merciless-yet-rewarding adventure.

If you’re a fan of Meat Boy, you’ll dig League of Evil for iPhone and iPod Touch. It’s the only virtual button platformer I’ve been able to play for any length of time. Seriously, how did Ravenous Games make the controls so responsive? A bargain at $1.99! Get it, play it, love it.

Speaking of touch platformers, I took 1-bit Ninja for a spin as well. I love the Game Boy aesthetic and the 3-D rotation feature. I applaud them for exploring a new and radical way to streamline touch controls without relying on the aforementioned virtual buttons. That said, I cannot seem to find my zen with the forward-only movement. Is it just my expectation of platformers in general that’s betraying my ability to control this game with confidence?

What games are inspiring you? (Besides Ramps, of course!)

Classic Ramps Experiments

I was digging through some of my old files from college and stumbled upon my earliest experiments with ball and ramp physics in Flash.

These were created on August 25 and 26 respectively back in 2006 as part of a homework assignment for Dan Chapman’s Interactive Motion Scripting course at the Art Institute of Portland. We were working through chapters 9 and 10 of the ActionScript 2 edition of Keith Peters’ Foundation ActionScript Animation.

The first draft of my homework used assets directly from the examples in the book. You could click, drag and “let go” of the balls to throw them, but there was no interaction with the randomly generated ramps (referred to simply as “lines” in my original script).

It wasn’t long before I added drag events to the ramps, which resulted in this:

This content requires Adobe Flash player.

At this point I became a little frustrated with the white and red, so I created the style that would define the look of Ramps Classic. I also took a stab at ramp rotation, though only on the rightmost point:

This content requires Adobe Flash player.

It’s fun to look back to the beginnings of this fun project. It shows me the value (and fun) of building things just for the heck of it.

It also makes me very, very glad to have a collaborator now. Physics are hard to troubleshoot by yourself!

GO! How Two Guys Made a Successful iPhone Game and Lived to Tell the Tale

Thanks to everyone who came to see our presentation at WebVisions today! Our slide deck is embedded below.

We’ll be sure to post any video, photos, reactions, etc. later if they’re available. If you have feedback for us or questions you didn’t get answered, let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

Ramps is a finalist in the mobile category of the WebVisionary Awards, but we have some stiff competition! If you’re in Portland, we hope to see you there.

Seriously, though…

We hope you enjoyed our little April Fools Joke. If you’ve never heard of the Nokia N-Gage, please take a moment to educate yourself.

Do rest assured that we have been keeping busy on Ramps 1.1. What we’re sharing here is a peek (the smallest possible) at a major new addition.

All we can tell you is… a mysterious portal has appeared!

Stay tuned.