Blog posted by Ste Pickford on Mon, 02 May 2011
Subject: Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint
We're right at the end of development Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint for iOS now, but amazingly we've only just added a Game Over screen!
Most of the work over the last few weeks has been changes and improvements to the UI, controls, and other forms of in-game feedback in response to the reactions of beta testers playing the game for the first time.
It's been a really, really useful process to go through - giving what we considered a pretty much finished game (barring a few bugs that we knew about and tidying up we were always planning to do) to people completely fresh to it, and listening to their reactions.
Those reactions have been almost completely positive, but it's thrown up loads and loads of little niggles that players have experienced, or bits of the game that weren't being communicated properly, that we were blind to as developers because we're so familiar with it. All the little changes we've come up with over these last few weeks have really improved the final product, and hopefully we've dodged a few '1 star reviews' on the App Store because of annoyances that we'd missed simply because we'd gotten used to them.
Anyway, the lack of a Game Over screen was because it was actually very rare that you die in the game. You can run out of lives in the main Classic game (which was handled properly), but generally you clear a table and earn a rank based on your final score. It's only in the last few weeks, as we've added three Endless game modes, that the lack of a proper Game Over screen has become apparent.
The Endless games keep pumping balls onto the table forever, so play more like Tetris or Drop 7, rather than the main Classic game which is about clearing set tables. We always planned to add at least one Endless mode, but only when we actually implemented it and started finding fault and fiddling with the rules did we come up with the ideas for three specific different modes, each of which has a totally different feel, and different end condition - hence the need for a generic Game Over screen to tie all these different possible endings together.
That's how it works when you design the game as you're developing it.
Well, it seemed appropriate that the very last graphic I drew was lettering saying Game Over, and I wish I could say it was the last graphic to be implemented in the game as well, but there's one more little set of Rank badges to go in, hopefully today.
We're really excited to be almost finished at last.