3 features I really want to see for iPhone

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3 features I really want to see for iPhone

Postby matthornb » Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:15 am

Hi, I'm Matthew Hornbostel. I'm a college student and an aspiring 3d artist.

I'm interested in making an iPhone game with Adventure Maker and there are some features I really wish were in AM's iPhone export.

I'm thinking about making a game called Isola. Not now, but during the second half of 2009. It's set in a beautiful island that has a few secrets. :) A nice 3d-modelled world, reasonably large - about 3 million polygons worth of realistically modelled and textured environments, a few puzzles, and an entertaining story (one that's not controversial like the "Traveler's Enigma" story, simpler and less text-heavy, and inoffensive/family-friendly)

It's an iPhone adventure game concept. I've done a little bit of early design and 3d modelling for it but am not yet really committed to the project. I'm too busy with my college courses and some other projects I want to finish first.

I was so excited to see you make an iPhone export for AM. Great idea! Not only is this good for people who want to make a game for iPhone, but an iPhone game can also be embedded in a web page! This iPhone export, then, is effectively also a web export feature, that can export a game from AM that will run without any installation needed, on the internet, for both Mac and PC users!

If you want to have an HTML-type export that makes a full-screen web-embedded app, then you could and probably should use the iPhone export as the starting point. All you'd need to do would be to offer an additional screen size preset, 640x480 or 800x600, that in all other respects is the same as the iPhone export.

So, what I'm saying is: Your iPhone export is also a usable web export, and a Mac export. Which is why it's an important part of AM and it'd be worth spending time improving the functionality and feature set of your iPhone export to include additional AM features that currently can't be used in iPhone games.

I was thinking that there are three things that I'd REALLY REALLY like to see added to AM's iPhone feature list that would drastically improve the quality of my potential iPhone game (Isola) and the quality of any AM game made by any of your customers that is aimed at iPhone or web export. Granted, panoramas would be fantastic to have as an iphone-compatible feature of AM, as would many of your plugins, but I think I'm most concerned about these three:

#1) Save/Load. This is basic, fundamental, essential. It's almost a travesty that this functionality is not available for AM iPhone games.
If players can't save their progress when they solve a puzzle, then I may not include any puzzles in Isola at all, save for extremely easy ones, for fear of making players frustrated when they lose the progress they made. Without Save/Load, I'd only make Isola an explorable 3d world, not a game.

#2) Audio. It's such a crucial part of the gaming experience. Sound for iPhone games would make them so much more enjoyable and immersive.

#3) Basic Scripting. If there is some sort of scripting functionality in AM that works for iPhone, even if it's not quite as complete as the PC scripting tools, it'd be a big deal to me. It could be with the VBscript your AM users are used to using, but it could be something else if VBscript code in AM cannot be converted into a form that functions on an iPhone.
(Just so long as whatever scripting functions you make for iPhone are as well-documented and intuitive as your current VBscript system is)
Scripting allows for much more interesting and unique puzzles. If you have scripting, it makes it possible to implement inventory, hint guides, and other features as well.
I did this with "Traveler's Enigma." I used VBscript in AM to construct a custom-designed inventory system and also an interactive hint guide that adapts to the player's progress in the game, parceling out spendable "hint points" gradually over time for puzzles, depending on how long they've been playing. This encourages the player to try to solve at least some of the puzzles on their own in order to move through the game faster, but ensures that given enough time, anyone should be able to get past any puzzle. Even the toughest ones. (Unless there's a bug somewhere in the game I haven't discovered while playtesting it)

Anyway, I'd love to see those two features implemented for AM's iphone export. Save/Load, and Scripting. They'd contribute immensely to the quality of "Isola".

I'm going to have "Traveler's Enigma" finished within two months or so (after over 3 YEARS of work. It's a huge, huge game. Some parts of it date back to 2005, 2006, 2007...)
Also, I'll have my action video, "Duel 2030", finished about another month after that. Video of both projects appears on this promo page:
http://www.hmediasplash.hornbostelfamily.com

They're two of many personal art projects. All of what I've released in the past is currently available for free on the web; most of what I will release in the future will be free as well.

But I will probably make "Isola" a 99-cent sale item on igiki. There'll be a free demo, but the full thing will cost 99 cents.

I've noticed that Cyan is porting the original "Myst" to the iPhone.

Look:
http://gizmodo.com/5040316/iphones-myst ... hree-dudes
http://kotaku.com/5040298/myst-coming-to-the-iphone

They're going to price it at $9.99, which is expensive for an iPhone game.

So I can't help but think, if I make a similar-style adventure game with AM and price it at 99 cents, people may think it's a good value. It may be popular.

Isola would probably be a match for "Myst" on overall graphics quality. I don't have the staff or time the Myst team had, I'm just one artist who will be working on Isola for 2 or 3 months - but I have WAY better 3d tools and hardware than they did in 1993, which compensates.

Plus I have the sense to get a few of my 3d models, the ones that are normal real-world objects and not fantastic uniquely designed creations, off of turbosquid or other similar sites. That'd save some time. (Though it'd cost me a fair bit of money.)

"Traveler's Enigma" is almost as big area-wise as "Myst". And it'll be freeware. Some of it I made as much as 3 years ago, so the quality of the graphics isn't consistent, but it is a big game.

Isola, though, will be smaller - 30% of the size of the game "Myst", in the form of one island about twice the size of Myst Island in Myst.

It should look great visually. Nearly photoreal, even. The nice thing about the iPhone is it's half the resolution of a 640X480 game, on a tiny screen.

Because an iPhone game is not in high resolution, the world explored in an iPhone game would not be held up to as much scrutiny as if it were on a big screen. A 3d world that looks "CG" in 800X600 seems more real in 480X320 because all the tiny flaws in the modelling and texturing aren't as discernible. For an iPhone-displayed world, the finer details in the model don't need to be created at all. This will allow me to work faster.

One thing I'd like to do is make it have brief video transitions from frame to frame. Something Myst doesn't have. I can make those transitions GIFs, since that's what your iPhone export supports.

Animated transitions are normally really space-intensive but if the game is in iPhone resolution and the GIFs have moderate compression, why not?

I'm concerned about the three features above. I think they'd make a big difference in the viability and success of Isola.

Therefore, I pledge to reward you should you implement them.

For each of the above three features you implement for AM's iPhone export, I'll give you 15% of any cash Isola generates after it's released.

That cash will be given in the form of me purchasing additional copies of Adventure Maker.

So if you include all three - Save/Load functionality, Audio, and Scripting - as part of AM's iPhone-compatible feature set by Fall 2009, you'll get 45% of any money Isola generates.

I don't think it'll be a whole lot - the average iPhone app makes only around $200 in sales per month - and this one won't be on the main Apple Store, but hopefully people will like it and it'll be modestly successful.

This is a small added incentive for you. :)

Of course, it'd be worth expanding your AM iPhone feature set even without any incentive from me, for the reasons described above - the fact that your iPhone export can also be web-embedded and in its web-embedded form, can also be displayed on PCs and Macs connected to the internet, and is thus an important part of AM.

You know that. You've already demonstrated the immense convenience and cross-platform potential of AM's iPhone export with "The Closed Door" for iPhone.
I played it on my PC and on my Mac using various web browsers. It works on both OSs and of course, also works on iPhone. And no install was required. Superb! There's no other AM export setting that can reach that many systems.
Which is why developing your iPhone game creation features is so important! It's one of AM's key selling points.

Okay, just thought I'd talk to you about what features I want to see added to AM. Thanks for taking the time to read this (admittedly enormous) post.
matthornb
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Postby Mystery » Thu Feb 26, 2009 8:44 pm

Hi Matthew,

Sounds like a great game! :D I hope that you'll be able to finish it - I'd be happy to try the demo online (I don't have an iphone).
I completely agree that certain new features would be phantastic for the HTML and iPhone platforms!
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