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UNDO - Blueprint new feature #3

Blog posted by Ste Pickford on Mon, 13 Feb 2012
Subject: Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint

Ste Pickford

Here's another little demo of one of the new features coming in Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint version 2.0 - UNDO! We're really excited about this feature, it's our favourite of all the things we've been adding.

Players will now have the ability to UNDO any shot.

If you take a shot and it goes wrong, wiping your Tariff or losing a Life, the little Max Preview worm at the bottom will pop up with a speech bubble asking if you want to UNDO the shot. Select UNDO and the shot is completely rewound (with a nice new paper strip effect), restoring any lost Tariff or Lives, and putting all the balls back where they were before you took the shot.

You aren't limited to UNDOing bad shots either. You can select UNDO from the in-game menu after any shot*. This is a really powerful feature as it allows players to take really risky, potentially high scoring shots, with unlikely combinations of Buzzes and Bounces, by trial and error. Some pretty incredible scores are possible now thanks to UNDO.

Because the UNDO feature is so powerful we put a limit on the number of times it could be used. You can only UNDO a shot when you have UNDOllars available, which are now shown at the top right of the in-game panel. All players start off with 4 UNDOllars, and additional UNDOllars are awarded for every 1 million points scored across all game modes (in other words every increase of 1 million to the Grand Tally). Existing players who have already racked up a Grand Tally of several million points in version 1.0 will be retrospectively awarded UNDOllars for each 1 million points the first time they run the game after downloading the update to version 2.0. In addition, we've added the ability to purchase extra UNDOllars within the game at any time.

* You cannot UNDO the very first shot in a game (obviously), and you can't UNDO the last shot which successfully clears the table in the Classic Game (you can undo the last shot if it leads to GAME OVER due to running out of lives).

You can only UNDO a single shot at the moment - you can't keep UNDOing and UNDOing back to the start of the game.

We hope you like this feature. We love it. It feels like it really finishes off the game.

 

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Comments

being able to buy undo dollars is a complete rip off which i thought you 2 where totally against , not becoming one of the big boys and staying a small company . i like to hear your views on this if its not for greed.

 

Ste Pickford

We're adding the UNDOllars, along with quite a bit of extra content, with the aim of improving the game for existing players, and hopefully attracting new customers and generating more sales.

Hopefully it's clear that the UNDOllars are a fun extra, that players can buy if they want, but which players absolutely aren't required to buy in order to succeed at the game. We've not constructed a game around buying consumables to progress, or anything like that.

Greed seems a bit harsh. What we've been doing over the last few months is scratching our heads and trying to work out how we can tweak and improve the game in such a way that we might be able to earn a living from making games like this, which we're not doing at the moment.

 

As long as it doesn't start nagging you with what you are missing. One of the things that annoys me about the fantastic Forza 4 is that it dangles stuff in front of you that is DLC despite having forked out 40 quid on the game.

Ultimately you might be better off getting some more games out there. The handheld gaming industry seems alot like the 8 bit budget era. With a low amount of revenue per sale, you need volume. Almost like the old Codemasters model of quick to produce appealing games often based around the same engine.

Not that I'm trying to teach my grandmother to suck eggs. But I'm not sure if an undo function will generate that much cash. Could be wrong.

 

Ste Pickford

We are working on a couple of new games, but we've never been the fastest of developers. With Blueprint we've just been trying to get the game to a stage that we're completely happy with it.

We're not necessarily looking at UNDOllars themselves as a massive money spinner (which is why I described them above as a fun extra), but I think they, along with UNDO (and the extra content, and the prototypes), are one more feature that we hope will contribute to getting the game and the balance just right.

 

Would an Android version of MB be feasible? Thereby opening yourselves up to an even wider market and therefore more sales? Seems to be the platform is somewhat lacking in games which is a shame as there seems to be lots of phones and tablets out there.

 

Ste Pickford

We'd like MB:B out on Android at some point, but there are a couple of reasons we've not rushed into it. In the first place everything we hear is that the platform is a pain to develop for, both in terms of development environment, and fragmentation (supporting so many different devices and OS versions and screen resolutions etc.). For relatively slow devs like us getting an Android version out wouldn't be a quick job. Everything we hear about Android sales is that they're a lot lower than iOS sales, so all in all it feels like converting MB:B to Android is perhaps not as good a use of our time as improving this iOS game, or making a new iOS game.

Secondly, before the current version of MB:B, with the new features and content, we didn't really feel like the game was properly finished, so it didn't seem right to start converting a game we were still designing and developing.

 

Like the idea, not so keen on selling Undollars, which means that to some extent, you can buy your way to the top of the leaderboard.

 

Bad call guys, undo bucks mean the leaderboards have lost ALL legitimacy!

If you want to save any face here how about something as simple as...

1) Never being able to use more than 3 UNDOS in a game.

2) Each session the player is given 1 UNDO that, even if not used, can't be carried over to future sessions.

Money bags (or even hard won from insane scores) can still twist space and time with up to 2 UNDOS to the 1 automatically provided (any UNDOS used after the freebie are taken from your stash).

 

JPickford

It really isn't as dramatic as all that. The nature of the game means there's really no way to buy your way up the leaderboards. It's about knowing which shots to take (and planning ahead) and no amount of undo's will give you that. So yeah, the Undollars will lead to higher scores but in the main that'll be because you can now recover from small mistake or perhaps take the occasional riskier shot.

We've been playtesting them for a while and they really add to the game, particularly on the harder tables. Having a few Undollars in the bank gives you a bit of confidence to tackle the tougher situations with more flamboyant shots.

They feel like a key feature that's been missing all along.

 

Too bad GC has that 25 leaderboard hard limit or I'd dare you guys to include "UNDO Free" leaderboards" as well and see what kind of differences this new feature leads to score wise. Being able to buy lives/undos/retakes in iOS games is nothing new and evidently is a neat little way for devs to make a few extra well earned bucks but, grrrr, I HATE consumable IAPs!

 

Here is my cynical question, then, "If a truly harmless little addition that shouldn't make too huge a difference in scores nor a ploy to nickel and dime leaderboard junkies, why are they a consumable IAP?" Why not simply have some flat price to unlock unlimited UNDOs? As it stands it almost feels like you guys are saying there should be a limit to how much we allow this but if you're willing to pay us a small fee for each use we'll gladly look the other way". ;-P

 

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