Thank you for believing in this project! I can’t wait to see you all on the leaderboards!
Thank you for believing in this project! I can’t wait to see you all on the leaderboards!
As the developer, I wanted to add something a little mysterious to flesh out the atmosphere of Tappy Lander and I have always enjoyed collecting things and striving for 100% completion in games.
As such, I have added collectables and achievements
In the world of Tappy Lander you may find floppy disks floating around in space. These disks are numbered and contain data that can be read-if you know where to look. We don’t know who wrote these tidbits of information and they can be random. From time to time however, they can provide hints, tips and even insights into the Tappy Lander backstory.
This disk idea started as simple tips that would appear on the title screen to teach you how to play-but evolved into a full blown collectable. This means no in-your-face tutorials. I want to preserve the sense of discovery in this game and I think you will enjoy figuring it out on your own.
Collecting all the disks is one of the 14 achievements.
There are 14 achievements in Tappy Lander. I don’t want to give them away, but I will say that some are easy and some are very difficult. It will take some practice to master the skills necessary to get them all. Skill and a little luck that is-you’ll definitely need the universe to throw you bone for some of them.
That’s the short and sweet story behind collectables and achievements. I’m writing this before the game is released and I don’t want to spoil the fun of discovering things on your own.
I’m not sure what the next entry will be. The game is coming very soon and I’m so excited to see you on the leaderboards.
In this video podcast, I discuss the ideas behind the game and the gameplay mechanics of Tappy Lander. You can see lots of gameplay in the video too. I’d love to hear your feedback! Enjoy!
I love going for a high score! I first tried back in the arcade days and again when home consoles were in their infancy, but as they grew, the tech grew, and soon visual storytelling trumped scores and they nearly disappeared.
Then games grew even further. The market expanded, the internet came, and Microsoft tried something crazy with achievements and gamerscore, little indies threw out the rules out and started making games about everything, and arcade experiences made a comeback on our telephones of all places!
So scoring is back, thank goodness. Both Apple and Android platforms are great places to challenge your friends, again.
Tappy Lander is all about scoring. A successful landing on a each pad nets you points (based on the precision of your landing) and, if you’re feeling dangerous, you can grab a data disk for 1000, pop a buggy for 1000 or rescue tomatoes for 1000, apples for 2000, bananas for 4000 and the ultra rare carrot for 8000!
Disks, buggies, fruit and veggies are rare and may not appear at all. If they do appear, they are in hard to reach areas or places where going for them may put you in danger, so don’t get too greedy!
Oh, who am I kiddin’? Get greedy! Get reeaal greedy! Beating your friends will not be easy because of the risk reward system.
Risk & Reward
If you successfully land your rocket you will be given two choices. You can either “Cash In” to cash in your points to level up and submit your high score to the game network or you can “Risk It” and go on another random run, adding to your current score but risking losing everything. Tappy Lander is a game of permadeath. If you blow up, you lose everything, no matter how big your score is. Getting to the next landing pad is ALL that matters.
There are four leaderboards:
The Big Picture, Your High Score!
At the end of your run, danger points are tallied for your pickups and buggy pops along with points for bounce, slide and accuracy. Once added together, a risk percentage is thrown in to boot! The more you “Risk It” the higher your risk percentage gets which can make or break your placement on the High Score leaderboard!
Next I will discuss achievements and the data disk collectables.
You’ve practiced and taken all variables into account. You zero in on the target. Finally, through the combination of calculation, instinct and luck… SWISH! Two points!
I believe the popularity of physics in games is due to two things.
Being created with Corona SDK and Box 2D, an open source physics engine, Tappy Lander is a game that pits your piloting skills against your biggest enemy, gravity. The physics engine handles the forces of your thrust in a semi-weightless environment splendidly. It also handles collisions so that your ship explodes only when it feels like it should, and the falling debris bounces around on the ground realistically. Although some of the collision code is built from scratch, most of it relies on the Box 2D engine. Friction, bouncy-ness and gravity of each planet varies and is all controlled by Box 2D.
One of the joys of physics is that you get all kinds of fun and sometimes unexpected results. The first time I landed in the prototype I noticed a little bounce. At first I thought “Wow, that looked realistic and cool”. My imagination sparked, I quickly then asked. “What if you get extra points for a higher bounce”?
Both the slide and the bounce trick (seen here in the Tappy Lander Trailer) was made possible and inspired by side effects of the physics code. Some planets have less friction than others, allowing a super long slide if you come in at the right angle with enough thrust. Other planets are softer and bouncier, allowing for a super high bounce. Tricks yield lots of points when done correctly but are very risky and easy to botch.
That’s how physics work in Tappy Lander and now you know the origin of the trick system! Next… I’m not sure what I’ll talk about yet!
I love the mechanics of lander games and the fun, to me, is maneuvering your rocket through a series of subtle movements into a good position and a soft landing. It’s difficult but rewarding.
Traditionally these types of games had a variety of buttons: rotate, left, rotate right, thrust, etc.
However, on the target devices I have one button, the touch screen; and I refuse to clutter the screen with complex controls just so it plays exactly like the originals (see my last post about UI.)
In order to simplify, I ask my favorite question: “What makes it fun?” and my cat looks at me like “Who are you talking to?!”
What I came up with…
I immediately wanted to remove the fuel consumption issue. This is in essence, a time limit. It makes sense for quarter munching coin-ops, but doesn’t in a free mobile game. The gameplay is not made more fun by adding a time limit and removing it allows you to focus on manuvering even if you need to take your time.
Most classic gravity and lander games allow you to rotate your ship so that you can thrust in any direction. Again, this is something that I felt I could remove. With a simple up, left or right control scheme, I can move in any direction by timing my taps (except down, and gravity takes care of that.)
The prototype allowed me full control over my ship and maintained the fun of using your skill and instinct to manage the physics of flying through space. It was fun but simple; easier for general audiences to pick up and play but very challenging at the same time.
…and so I moved ahead with development! The next post will be about game physics.
I played Lunar Lander (1979, Atari coin-op) for the first time just a few years ago. It made a big impression on me and ever since, I have wanted to make a game like this.
In Lunar Lander, you try to safely land on a craggy planet before running out of fuel by rotating your ship and thrusting in the desired direction.
Gravitar focuses on flying through caverns and shooting at targets while saving prisoners. It’s very difficult and even has a level where you fly around a planet with gravity pulling you toward the center of the screen.
Time your jump out of a moving plane and pull the ripcord before hitting the target in Sky Diver. Points are scored based on the accuracy of your landing. You have limited steering ability once your parachute is open and must take wind speed into account.
I love Sub-Terrania! Fly around a map using lander-style controls, shoot enemies and save prisoners-but with a snazzy soundtrack and nice presentation.
What does Tappy Lander borrow from these games?
What does Tappy Lander do differently?
The next post will probably address controlling the game and UI. See you then!
After deciding to try something new, I have named our new game Tappy Lander!
I went with Tappy Lander! because it sounds fun to me and it’s descriptive of the game’s content without being boring. In the game you will tap the controls to land your rocket on the target (trying not to explode in the process.) The name is actually informative in that tapping is a better strategy than holding the buttons because of the precision of the physics-but I’ll talk about that in another post.
Other factors that went into naming the game:
The next post will probably be about influences.
Mike and I have been making kids apps as Eggroll Games since November of 2011. But this year, inspired by the success of a certain Flappy game, we both decided to make a quick, simple project.
I told Mike the day we made this decision that I had always wanted to make a lander game, so…
This is the first sketch I drew of the lander game. It shows the control panel (which hasn’t changed much) and a rocket landing on an elevated platform with jagged, outer-space mountains in the background.
Recently Netflix revealed that it looks at torrent services to see what movie and TV shows are in demand in a given area. When I look at the indie game scene I wonder if “big” publishers look to steam, mobile and the crannies of the internet for similar insight.
Apples and Oranges? You may be thinking that torrents reflect consumer needs while indies represent content creators.
What’s the difference? The average twenty-something indie developer has disposable income in his future, and we know he LOVES games. As many indie developers as there are, isn’t that very community a big enough slice of “core” gamers to measure consumer desires?
The very definition of an indie developer is an individual or small team making the games they want to play.