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!)
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:
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:
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!
Tyler and I recently participated in an episode of the Friends Electric Podcast that was posted earlier today. If you’re interested in hearing more about how we created Ramps, the story of how Backabit came to be, and some tidbits regarding what we’ve got in-store for the upcoming release of Ramps HD, this is an interview you won’t want to miss!
We’re also excited today as we’ve released an update to Ramps to the App Store to address several bugs we discovered related to version 1.1. In addition, Ramps 1.1.1 now supports multi-touch! Yep, we should have supported multi-touch from the very beginning, but we didn’t want to release this capability until we got it just right. Now, you can use as many fingers as you can fit on your iPhone or iPod Touch (the answer is five) to move your ramps around and send Superball flying into the air!
After several long months of crafting, polishing and fine-tuning, Ramps 1.1 is finally released into the wild. We couldn’t be more excited!
Once you update Ramps from the App Store, you’ll find 100 new levels containing 300 new challenges, nine achievements, two new leaderboards and six unlockable balls! We even have two new tracks from Essa… they’re riffs on his previous light world compositions and they sound amazing!
We’ve heard from some players that they wanted more challenging levels to conquer. Inspired by one of our favorite Super Meat Boy design elements, we decided to create alternate dark worlds to compliment the existing light worlds. These new versions of the 100 original levels contain new challenges and gameplay mechanics we think you’ll really dig!
We didn’t just add new content, though—we also added Superball!
Superball can grab some extra air time while becoming invulnerable to whatever baddies may stand in its way. This only lasts a short time, and can only be used once per ball, so make sure you use your Superball juice wisely. Transforming into Superball is easy: just tap and hold anywhere on the screen!
Doing a major update also gave us a chance to catch up on some housekeeping. We improved the usability of several aspects of the game. For example, when you are in a scrollable level, there’s now a GO! button that travels with you as you scroll, so you never have to scroll back to the dispenser to spawn a new ball. If that ball dies, you’ll snap right back to where you left off.
We also redesigned the help screens to be simpler and easier to scale. As we add even more cool stuff, it will be a lot easier for us to show you how it works, and quicker for you to get back to the action!
Oh yeah, one more thing…
Buried deep within Ramps, where only the most skilled players can find them (Hint: you’ve gotta complete everything), there are unlockable tributes to two of our favorite iOS games: The Incident and Wispin! The developers of these fine titles were gracious enough to give us permission to pay homage to their characters. We continue to admire and be inspired by their contributions to touch gaming.
We’re so excited about our new release and we really hope you enjoy all the new content. Soon, we’ll have another big announcement for you regarding our plans for a… ahem… larger screen.
And.. one more one more thing…
For just a few short days, we are offering Ramps on sale for just $.99! Now is a fantastic time to check it out!