Month: May 2014

Oggipital Pro Tip #9

Pro Tip #9

Still in the “High Scoring” category, this one’s pretty precise. If you like to climb the leaderboards, please leave those small buggers alone!

Cut each Kisau Veela twice to maximize your points at Level Up.

In line with the previous tip, this one gives a hint about the state you want the game to be in, when you slice that final poor Kisau Veela just before leveling up. You see, and ancient tale tells us the size of the Kisau Veelas at Level Up time has something to do with gaining a lot of points.

Oggipital Pro Tip #8

Pro Tip #8

But don’t get too excited with the previous tip, there’s a limit to everything fun! One more for the “High Scoring” category.

Don’t cut the Kisau Veelas more than twice. They won’t like it. Neither will your score.

Not very original, but then you cut the Kisau Veelas, they split and diminish in size. To keep the game from being only a Veela-popping slicing-frenzy, there is a limit to how many times you can cut them. Two, to be exact. Cut them a third time, and poof, gone, to never return. You can try it if you don’t believe it, but say good-bye to your high score!

Oggipital Pro Tip #7

Pro Tip #7

One more in the category “High Scoring”, heed this advice!

Cut several Kisau Veelas in the same go for bonus points.

Well, you knew this already, right? Very good cuts are marked by multiplier bubbles, and your score is digging it. Some high scoring theories even say that you should chase these large multipliers and forget all about collecting Kisau Veelas. I wouldn’t know about that.

Oggipital Pro Tip #6

Pro Tip #6

This is one of the reasons you’d like to throw your iPhone into the wall, but it’s a rule of the game. Sorry.

Squash the Oggiput immediately when he’s on field. You cannot make a cut nor a miss at that time.

Plain and simple. If you made a mistake, take care of it immediately. Give the Oggiput a good accurate pinch and it’s gone! But continue quickly to look for that all important next cut, it has to happen quite soon. Remember tip #1? The timer does not reset when squashing an Oggiput.

Oggipital Pro Tip #5

Pro Tip #5

In category “Do’s and Don’ts, Mostly Don’ts”, there are a few sudden death situations looming in the game. This is one of them.

You cannot cut an Oggiput. He is too tough for that – tougher than a Game Over.

The Oggiput has been described as one grumpy bug-like creature, who comes in and messes with your game. You can think of him as the penalty of making a mistake in Oggipital – when you do an illegal move, like miss all Kisau Veelas, or cut vertically (i.e. your cut hits another border than both the vertical borders of the playfield), an Oggiput jumps into the field. He does not end or destroy the game, but he certainly wreaks havoc: he bumps into the Kisau Veelas, and when so, the Kisau Veela changes its type. Hence your Kisau Veela collecting gets messed up, unless you quickly squash the Oggiput.

All this can happen three times before Game Over – the Oggiput represents your “lives” in the game. Originally I planned the game to be a one-shot game, where the first mistake would end it. This would have taken the game more towards the “hard but simple” category, but after a few weeks of playtesting and with some other game mechanic tunings, I decided there is room for the “lives” feature. The “Level Up” feature was one of the driving choices – initially the game was planned to be just one level. As in play it perfect and get a score, or die and retry.

Anyway. When you make a mistake, the rule of the game is that you need to redeem the situation immediately. Alas, you need to squash the Oggiput before the time runs out, and before you can make another cut. If you try to cut it, game over. Simple.

Oggipital Pro Tip #4

Pro Tip #4

Continuing with the “Level Up” category, a bit more precise than the previous tip,

Use the timer color to prepare for Level Up. When the bottom half is of the same color, you are close!

Also explained in the tutorial, you’ll level up once you have collected enough of the same kind of Kisau Veelas. As the timer shown you the amounts, you can keep an eye on the bottom half of the timer. Once it’s of the same color, you might level up with the next cut. But beware, the sliding colors of the timer are not super precise – even if it looks like it’s more than half of the same color, perhaps the actual count of the Kisau Veelas on the field is not yet fulfilling the 50% rule.

There are other prerequisites than this 50% rule to be able to level up. I bet there are some Pro Tips on those.

Oggipital Pro Tip #3

Pro Tip #3

And diving right into the “Level Up” category,

The color of the timer shows the relative amounts of the Kisau Veelas, with the most common Kisau Veela starting at the bottom of the timer.

This is the second usage of the “Burndown Timer”. Those rainbow colors have actually a meaning. If you look closely, the colors resemble the main colors of the Kisau Veelas. The amount of the various Kisau Veelas types on the playfield are shown by the timer. This gives you a quick hint on which Kisau Veela kinds you should collect. As the target is to collect as many of the same kind as possible, you should mainly pay attention to the two colors on the bottom half of the timer.

The secret formula on what kind of Kisau Veelas you get when you cut is shown in the tutorial. When you make a cut, you can imagine the playfield being cut in two parts. One of those parts is always smaller than the other, right? It’s the part you need to focus on: you see, you can decide where to cut, and hence which part of the field will be the smaller part. It’s easier to count the Kisau Veela kinds on the smaller part, you usually just need to take a glance to see which kind is most common on the part you are planning to “cut off”.

You will always get Kisau Veelas of that type – the most common type – and they will pop away towards the opposite direction – the bigger part. Because the Kisau Veelas are cut in half, you’ll also get  other kinds popping into the other direction. Don’t bother with what kind they are. They’re the least common type from the bigger part of the field, but that’s details.

Oggipital Pro Tip #2

Pro Tip #2

In category “High Scoring”, overlapping with category “Hidden Features”, we have something for the real pros:

Make long, diagonal, cuts for bonus points.

It’s up to you if you want to try this. Is it worth the reward? The risk is that you cut just a bit too diagonal, and the cut becomes a vertical, illegal, cut. Nobody likes those, right? But then again, it looks suspiciously like the more corner-to-corner the cut is, the bigger the bonus is…

If you make it, you’ll notice it by the happy starburst fireworks happening around the score label. Ka-ching!

Oggipital Pro Tip #1

Pro Tip #1

First off: you get to the Pro Tips in the game by pressing the in-game “Pause” button. Top secret hidden feature: tap the “Pause” page anywhere else than on the buttons, and more tips will emerge!

Alright, let’s start. The first tip one goes into the category “Remember This”.

Hurry to make a cut if the timer is running out. Squashing an Oggiput does not reset the timer!

The “Burndown Timer” is there for a couple of reasons. The basic usage you probably figured out already: it’ll tell you how long you have left to make your cut. If you don’t make the cut on time, the Oggiput will pop by. The gold nugget in this tip is the second sentence: if there’s an Oggiput on the field, you need to squash it first, but hurry up, because the timer won’t reset, and you won’t have much time to do the cut anymore!

Oggipital Pro Tip #0

The “Pro Tips” was a feature I came up with after the first beta testing round, when it became clear that the game’s rules are rather hard to get in the beginning. I developed the tutorial at that time, and when that freed up the space on the Pause page, I started drafting tips which are now shown on the Pause page. I’m hoping the tutorial and the tips will reveal enough about the game mechanics so that novice players get intrigued to explore the scoring secrets of the game.

However, I’m still getting feedback that the game is pretty hard to grasp in the first few sessions, even with the tutorial. This is my greatest fear – that players get so frustrated over it that they do not want to play it. Which would be a pity, because once you get the hang of it, it’s an awesome game! 🙂

Oggipital certainly goes in the “hard game” direction, and it will be stated more or less directly in the App Store description. You wouldn’t believe it, but it’s actually Terry Cavanagh’s “Super Hexagon” which is the source of inspiration for Oggipital. The original idea was much more towards “line graphics on acid”, but more on that in a later post. I’ve used examples like “Super Hexagon”, “Pivvot”, and to a certain extent, also “Flappy Bird” as references to hard but simple games.

There is one distinct difference though: Oggipital is certainly much”richer” than these. Hard/impossible games have usually extremely simple game mechanics – they have to, else the hardness would be too complex. I think my test group touches on this fact. There’s more to Oggipital than just mindlessly tapping the screen, avoiding one thing, aiming for one thing.

I recently bought Simogo’s “Year Walk“, which is insanely beautiful and the media attention it got has been astonishing. But I got to say, I was a bit disappointed with the game mechanics themselves, the media attention had drummed up my expectations a lot. Passing that, I still think it’s a great game. It requires a lot from you: the puzzles in it are hard, there are not many clues, you might get frustrated. You really have to put your mind to it. I think Oggipital is in one sense similar – you need to give it a bit more time. Games like Flappy Bird are easy to throw away in a second when you notice you don’t like it – because there is nothing more than that one thing in it, so it can’t surprise you positively anymore.

This made me think. “Hard game” players are a minority (no matter what you say about Flappy Bird). It’s not directly related to if the hardness is from complexity of the game (such as hard puzzlers), or from simple but aggravating game mechanics (such as Flappy Bird). “Hard Game” players, of the Oggipital category, like to explore the underlying stuff, and they like to spend time doing that. But most players prefer simple games – simple in all aspects. So I’ve decided that it’s fine if players don’t like Oggipital. Not everyone will – actually, only a minority probably will. Still, it conforms to Sneeweis’ motto – it’s a game I like to play.

So, this post starts the “Pro Tips” feature on this blog. You will get one tip each day, more or less, until the release of the game. Read them all – I invite you to challenge me on the High Scores leaderboard in Game Center!