Titan Attacks mobile – Developer Diary #1

In case you didn’t hear the news, I’m porting Titan Attacks to mobile for Puppy Games. This is my first developer diary of probably quite a few…

It’s been a week since I agreed to do the project and I’ve been busy with quite a few things but have managed to make some progress as follows:

– First I played Titan Attacks a lot and made giant spreadsheet of all the game screens and game mechanics/enemies etc. with screenshots where applicable. Just the very act of noting things down about the game has helped me understand it a lot better including realising there are some things I need to ask Cas (the original developer) some questions about.

– I also made a list of various improvements and considerations for the mobile version. This list will likely grow as development moves forward.

– Had a chat to a Windows 8 evangelist about the possibility of getting the game on Windows 8. More on that in the future once I’ve actually tested Monkey’s Metro target (the Monkey language can export code for multiple target platforms, one of which is Windows 8 Metro).

– I downloaded a bunch of Space Invaders-style games to check out their control methods including the excellent Super Crossfire by Radiangames. I also showed a friend these games to see what he preferred.

Possible Control methods:

I’ve now decided on the follow control options:

1) Easy mode = Instaposition the ship + tap to fire with the same finger (default method on iPhone). This wouldn’t be a very good control method on iPad because it’s quite wide in landscape mode and you’d have to move your finger too much probably.

2) Slide mode = Slide in small zone and ship moves relative to this slide zone. Fire button on right. (default method on iPad) Also need an option to flip controls for left-handed players. I saw several variations of this ranging from a left/right joystick, to left/right joypad buttons to a slide bar and the slide bar felt the best to me and my friend. One possible thing I could do is offer players the ability to change the bar width, which is kinda equivalent to sensitivity.

3) Tilt more = Tilt device to move ship and tap anywhere to fire. I’m not sure this method is that practical but it’s quite good fun (and gimmicky) and some players seem to like it.

For all of the above, you’ll hold the button down to auto-fire. This might not be that great for Easy mode if you just want to move the ship somewhere and wait before firing but it’s a compromise that is balanced by super-easy positioning and firing.

Next Up

I’ll be prototyping those control methods and testing them out on people. I know that methods 2 and 3 will work fine with the game, but I don’t know how method 1 will feel yet. I’ll probably do this on the train to Birmingham tomorrow because I’m heading up there to meet some indie friends who can test out the controls if I get something running in time.

Stay tuned for more soon.

2 Responses to “Titan Attacks mobile – Developer Diary #1”

  1. Deammer Says:

    Holy crap, lucky you! PG’s games are so much fun, i’d love to get the chance to port one of them. I assume you’ll be using your Monkey framework? Can’t wait to read the devlogs. Possible public playtests?

  2. Grey Alien Games Says:

    Cool. Yeah their games are great so it’s nice to be able to port one. Yep using my Monkey framework, already made it better tonight. Stay tuned for more devlogs. Problem with iOS playtest is you can only add 100 devices to the apple provisioning profile. Therefore we’ll probably just get a select few to test – so keep an eye out for when we do that (won’t be for a couple of months yet) and see if you can get in there.