Backpack Harry. Retro platformer with level editor. Launching Dec 20th.

Discussion in 'Apple TV Apps' started by TrueBlou, Nov 7, 2015.

  1. TrueBlou macrumors demi-god

    TrueBlou

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    #1
    Hi folks,

    As I officially (hopefully) finished up the last of the coding work on the game just a little while ago I thought I'd give it a quick mention.

    I've always wanted to make a platforming game, so after two years of working own this I finally have. Best of all, you can make your own. I've obsessed over the controls for a ridiculous amount of time, so no matter what you play on and how you choose to control the game, there will be pixel perfect precision and lightning quick response.

    Prepare yourself for an epic adventure in a classic, retro styled platforming world. Best of all, It’s your world, so make it your way. Craft your own levels, play them, share them and challenge your friends. Run, jump, fly with a jetpack and bounce off enemies like a trampolining god in your journey to the finish line.

    There's a fully featured level editor built-in to the iOS apps (incidentally the game will be a universal app including Apple TV.) The level editor isn't on the Apple TV yet, mainly because it's just so much better to interact with the level editor on a screen. But you can still play the game and connect to the servers to play any of your own or the user created levels.

    With your own imagination being pretty much your only limit, you can create a traditional platforming level, as fun, easy or ridiculously difficult as you want to.

    Want to make a classic runner style game? You can do that too, a simple switch in the level editor will enable auto running mode.

    Use the jetpack in any of your creations to open up a new level of exploration. Or combine it with the auto runner and you have your own flappy bird style game.

    (Oh, someone is bound to mention a slight similarity to a certain chubby Italians crafting game (Incidentally I do love a bit of Nintendo.) But I honestly started work on this long before we knew that game existed.)

    Here's a little feature list.

    Create your own levels and upload them to our servers for the world to play.

    Choose from three available map sizes, from normal sized levels all the way up to something where you could almost create an entire MetroidVania (Google it) game.

    Easy to use level creation tools, allowing you to create just about anything you want.

    Play our game, your game and everyone else game.

    Classic platform gaming.

    Pixel perfect, precision controls.

    Levels you create are synced using iCloud. So you can start off making a level on one of your iOS devices and continue making it on any other of your iOS devices when your out and about, at the office, on the train or sitting on the loo.

    Vote for your favourite levels.

    Did I mention, there’s a Jetpack. You can use it in levels, or make a completely airborne level.

    Compatible with MFI Game Pads on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Apple TV


    I'll stop waffling and finish up with this (terrible) video. It's from a much earlier build of the game, a lot has changed since this video was made. But it'll still give you a bit of an idea of the game while I work on the proper reveal trailer.



     
  2. Che Castro macrumors 603

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    #2
    I'm into retro gaming , I'll check it out when it comes out
     
  3. TrueBlou thread starter macrumors demi-god

    TrueBlou

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    #3
    Quick, get your name down for a promo code ;)

    I'll look forward to playing any levels you might make. That's my favourite bit, it's already sparked debate among those of us playing it. (By debate, I of course mean me being crap and slagging people off for making levels too difficult :D)
     
  4. MrTemple macrumors regular

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  5. TrueBlou, Nov 13, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2015

    TrueBlou thread starter macrumors demi-god

    TrueBlou

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    #5
    Ok, finally got around to making a (slightly) better video. So this one is getting called the official reveal trailer.

    I've also added a couple of new additions to the game (couldn't help myself and I wanted them for a level I was making) just simple things like the classic hidden blocks that turn solid when you hit them from below, fire and the moving spiky pillars you'll see in the trailer, that sort of thing.

    Feel free to make comments and suggestions (that don't relate to my shoddy videography skills ;))





    Oh, and I figure I might as well add the official description as well as it's now final (assuming I don't end up adding more before it's released :D)

    So here it is:



    Prepare yourself for an epic adventure in a classic, retro styled platforming world. Run, jump, fly and bounce your way to victory in this fast and frenzied game made by us but created by you.

    Yes, I did say created by you. If you've ever played a game and thought, I can do better than this, well, here’s your chance to prove it. Because the absolute best bit about Backpack Harry isn't actually our game, it’s yours.

    With the full featured but simple to use level editor built-in to Backpack Harry, you get to create your own worlds, play them, share them and generally prove just how awesome, devious, cruel or sneaky you can be. Choose from three world sizes and create whatever you want to.

    Want to make a classic platforming level, with traps, enemies, obstacles, hidden areas, collectible bonuses and everything else that makes a platform game great? You can. Or perhaps you'd like to create an auto runner level, well with the flick of a switch you can do that too. Fancy trying your hand at making a flying game? Well, good news, we included a jetpack. Or you can combine everything together, choose the largest world size and make a massive MetroidVania (Google it) game.

    The only limit with Backpack Harry is your imagination. And because Backpack Harry is a universal game, you can even play your brilliant platforming creations on the big screen with the new Apple TV.


    Highlight Features:

    Create your own levels and share them online for the world to play.

    Easy to use level creation tools, allowing you to create just about anything you want.

    Play our game, your game and everyone else game.

    Classic platform gaming.

    Pixel perfect, precision controls.

    Create different types of game. Normal platform, auto runner, flying, or combine everything it’s entirely up to you.

    Levels you create are synced using iCloud. So you can start off making a level on one of your iOS devices and continue making it on any other of your iOS devices when your out and about, at the office, on the train or sitting on the loo.

    Vote for your favourite levels.

    Did I mention, there’s a Jetpack. You can use it in levels, or make a completely airborne level.

    Compatible with MFI Game Pads on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Apple TV



    **Edit 14th Nov.

    With the reveal trailer being added yesterday I just thought I'd add a quick clip of the game running on the new Apple TV because, well, why not and this is an Apple TV section after all.

    This clip also shows a very brief glimpse of the interface for the online shared levels, which lets you filter games by category, or search for them by name (including partial matches.) It's really quick and easy to use.

    Incidentally, in this clip I'm playing using the Siri remote (because I couldn't be bothered going downstairs for my C.T.R.L.i and I'm holding it in standard remote orientation, using the touchpad for movement and clicking it to jump. The game has been optimised so that no matter what type of controller you use and how you want to hold it, you'll get pixel perfect response.

    Enough of me waffling (I must cut down on those Red Bulls ;)) Here's the clip...

     
  6. SaitaraSoft macrumors newbie

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    #6
    I think that looks very very cool! Looking forward to trying it out.

    One (maybe strange) idea: I notice the camera follows the player immediately when he jumps. It might make for a cool effect if the camera's movement was delayed or smoothed a bit... so it would catch up with the player's height after half a second or so.
     
  7. TrueBlou thread starter macrumors demi-god

    TrueBlou

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    #7
    It's certainly not a bad idea, may be a bit more of a traditional camera style. I might just have to have a play about and see what happens, thanks for the suggestion.

    I think it's stayed pretty much as it is just now only because depending on the level size you choose to make they can be hugely vertical (even the smallest is several screens high) so it's just easier having the camera constantly pan with you to see whats going on. But there's no harm in trying out another option or two, I do like experimenting :D
     
  8. Donka macrumors 68020

    Donka

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    #8
    Any ETA on this one? I spent countless hours in my youth playing similar games so looking forward to trying it out.
     
  9. TrueBlou thread starter macrumors demi-god

    TrueBlou

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    #9
    Me too, the playing them in my youth bit, I've played this one :D That's why I wanted to make this game. It's also why there's a level editor, I figured there were bound to be more like me who wanted to make one. If not I've wasted a helluva lot of time :D

    Anyway, none of which waffling answers your question. I wish I could give you a solid date, because it would mean I've finally stopped myself from tinkering.

    But I'm aiming for a start of/very early December at the latest. I'm really just testing a couple of things I decided to add in after I was finished, isn't that always the way. Then it'll just depend on how long the review process takes.
     
  10. Donka macrumors 68020

    Donka

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    #10
    Sounds good. It you want any testing assistance, please let me know.
     
  11. TrueBlou, Nov 15, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2015

    TrueBlou thread starter macrumors demi-god

    TrueBlou

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    #11
    Thanks for the offer. I'll definitely keep you in mind if I'm adding more testers. Cheers.



    **Edit


    So I don't get in trouble for double posting, here's a reply again to this:



    I've been playing around with a new camera smoothing algorithm for the game. So here's a couple of clips to let you see what it's like and a side-by-side with the old style and new style for easy comparison.

    Opinions welcome as always.

    Cheers.


    New Camera Smoothing:





    Side-By-Side Comparison:


     
  12. SaitaraSoft macrumors newbie

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    #12
    To me, the new one has a better feel to it. Of course it's just about personal taste, but I'd maybe shorten the camera delay just a smidge ;)

    Either way I think this could be a big hit for you. Fingers crossed!
     
  13. TrueBlou, Nov 15, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2015

    TrueBlou thread starter macrumors demi-god

    TrueBlou

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    #13

    Ha, that'd be a first :D

    I'm still tweaking the camera a bit but I'm definitely liking it smoothed out. It certainly seems more like a good old classic platformer camera when you play it. Like you say it just, feels, better. Thanks again for the suggestion. I'm sure that's worth a promo code when the game hits ;)


    This is neither here nor there really, but I figured I'd mention it.

    If anyone is treating themselves to a lovely new iPad Pro, Backpack Harry is optimised for it, creating levels on that awesome big screen becomes all the easier. There's simply just more room, so you can see more of your level at once and in many cases you can create and edit to your hearts content without having to pinch and zoom (still need to scroll of course, the levels can be quite long.)
     
  14. Donka macrumors 68020

    Donka

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    #14
    Looking at those clips, I don't think I have any preference. The smoother, delayed follow camera is nice but the original snapped to the player camera feels more retro authentic. Not sure there is a clear winner to be honest.
     
  15. SaitaraSoft macrumors newbie

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    #15
    Yeah it's something that the original Sonic did beautifully, but you didn't really notice it till the pinball levels... good times!
     
  16. TrueBlou thread starter macrumors demi-god

    TrueBlou

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    #16
    There's probably a case for both. I've decided after much play testing that I prefer the original instant feedback retro/Sonic style camera but other people trying it are split.

    Some prefer the original some the new style. You just can't please everyone, I'm shocked ;). So the only sane thing to do I think, in order to appease both sides of the argument is to make it an option. So I have.

    There's now a toggle in the options screen for switching between the modern/retro camera styles. vive la difference As they say.
     
  17. Donka macrumors 68020

    Donka

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    #17
    Are you allowed to do that? Doesn't that go against the Apple ethos of giving the user some choice? :cool:
    Great to hear you have implemented both, looking forward to this.
     
  18. TrueBlou thread starter macrumors demi-god

    TrueBlou

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    #18

    To hell with the establishment, I whistle my own tune :D Not as if Apple take notice of my apps anyway, I'll fill it with options, they'll never know MwaaaHaaaHaaa ;)
     
  19. TrueBlou, Nov 26, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2015

    TrueBlou thread starter macrumors demi-god

    TrueBlou

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    #19
    I know I should really just get on with the business of submitting the game, but all that playing around with the scrolling styles got me yearning for a classic, very Mario, style of camera movement.

    So, much tweaking and playing around later and the game now has three camera options you can choose from in the settings.

    There's Classic, which is the new Mario style where the screen doesn't move as you run and jump about, until you get to the top of the screen and it will start following you.

    Retro is what you see in the "Camera Smoothing" video above, albeit tweaked a lot since then. It follows you around, but with a slight delay and a fluid style that stops the screen from jumping around. It's nice in motion.

    Finally theres Pinpoint, which is, well, lets be honest, a very Sonic style camera. It's pinned to the characters movement, so as he moves so does the camera, with pinpoint accuracy keeping it locked to the player.


    Thats, all. Just thought I'd do a little update on the progress. I'm going to try and stop myself from fiddling with the game now, get the testing wrapped up and get it submitted. Schedule is set for around the 15th(ish) of December at the latest depending on Apples reviewing.
     
  20. Donka macrumors 68020

    Donka

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    #20
    Looking forward to it and happy to test as well.
     
  21. TrueBlou thread starter macrumors demi-god

    TrueBlou

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    #21
    Thanks to the good folks over at AppAdvice, you can now read about Backpack Harry on their GamingSoon website. Just in time too, today's the day the game finally gets submitted to Apple.

    That's not to say my works done of course, I plan to keep adding new levels to the main game as often as I can to keep building up the content. And I'll no doubt be pushing some to the online section as well that I won't include in the main game. (I'll be DarkHalf on there if anyone is looking and if there's any online levels it'll probably just be mine. Hopefully that'll change in time if anyone picks up the game.)
     
  22. Donka macrumors 68020

    Donka

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    #22
    Cool. Hopefully I'll still have an ATV4 by the time it gets approved - playing around with the Fire TV that I picked up in the sales so still undecided which I'll keep.
     
  23. TrueBlou thread starter macrumors demi-god

    TrueBlou

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    #23

    It's never easy deciding between shiny toys is it. Well, I say that, this time it was for me, the Apple TV stays and the Fire TV is winging it's way to my parents house as soon as I blow some cobwebs off it :D
     
  24. Donka macrumors 68020

    Donka

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    #24
    Interestingly, I only explored the Fire TV due to the buffering issues with the new Apple TV, I set up the Fire TV yesterday, just an hour before TVoS 9.1 was released which fixed the buffering! My need was for a box that handled both Plex and AirPlay well because I stream football games from my Mac to the big TV in the living room. I just discovered Kodi with add ons that allow me to do that on the box itself without the need to use AirPlay. A shame really because I prefer the Apple TV interface but ultimately the Fire TV is of more use to me.
     
  25. TrueBlou thread starter macrumors demi-god

    TrueBlou

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    #25
    Hi again folks,

    One more news update before Christmas. Actually, two, well three in a way I suppose.

    Firstly, Backpack Harry has just been approved by Apple so it's officially launching this Sunday, the 20th. Just a few days later than I'd planned. That's what I get for constantly tinkering with it.

    The second wee snippet is that I'll be submitting the first update shortly. So expect that in the first week or two of the new year. It's got the usual dose of behind the scenes tweaks, especially on Apple TV, where the online functions have been given a bit of a speed boost.

    There's also some new things for the level editor, most importantly, slopes which just couldn't make the cut for the 1.0 release. Basically I just wasn't happy with them until now.

    Needless to say, if there's anything anyone wants to see in an update, just shout at me and I'll see what I can do :D

    Finally and probably most importantly, as you'd expect, well if you've ever read any of my other app threads, I'll be giving out some promo codes for the game to my fellow MacRumors'rs.

    A couple of you who've shown interest and shared suggestions will find a shiny new code in your inboxes tomorrow and I'll make a thread in the promo forum for everyone else.

    And just in case you didn't already know, yes, you can use the codes tomorrow and get your hands on the game before it goes live on the AppStore.

    I'll also put some codes out on Twitter, so if you're one of the two or three people who follow me, you can get one there.

    Now that the grunt work is wrapped up with the game, I'll be dedicating my time to making lots more levels for the game proper.
    There's 24 levels in the game just now, but they're really just to get you used to how things work in the game and whet your appetite to get crafting your own levels to share.

    The real game, well, I say real game. I mean the levels made by us and added to the non-online section, where you progress through the worlds. Will really start with world three, that's where the training wheels are coming off :D. The good news is you won't have to wait on me doing app updates and submitting them to Apple to get your hands on them. When I've a selection of at least half a dozen or so levels I'm happy with, you'll get notified of their availability when you start the game up and you can download them straight away.

    Oh, one more thing. Actually, bad choice of phrase ;) I don't think I mentioned before but one more feature that made it into the game is the ability to record yourself playing any of the online user-created levels (if any of you make some that is :D)

    Naturally there's a slight performance hit when you do, so it's disabled by default in case you're on an older device. But it can be enabled in the settings app of your device if you want to play around with it. After that it's all handled automatically. The game will record your platforming prowess and present you with the finished video at the end of the level.

    Right, I think that's it for now. See you tomorrow with the promo codes.
     

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