You may have noticed that we are working on Archibald’s Adventures sequel. The work was delayed by the PSP port of the original game, which took more time than we have expected, but it’s finished now and we can fully focus on the sequel. I would like to write some introduction of the game and its basic features and how the game should differ from the original one.
When we were developing the original Archibald’s Adventures game, we made several decisions based on what platforms we wanted the game to run on. This affected both gameplay and technical implementation. Looking back, all these decisions turn out to be based on wrong assumptions and didn’t do much good to the game. Also they were limiting us while making iPhone and PSP ports of the game. That’s one place when we want to make difference with Archibald’s Adventures 2.
The former Archibald’s Adventures was released for huge amount of platforms: Windows, Mac OS X, iPhone, Windows Mobile, Palm OS and PSP on the way. This was great experience and at least we know to never do it again. It’s funny that the game was initially focused on Windows Mobile and Palm OS and only later ported on iPhone, while profits were just opposite: the game was most successful on iPhone, mediocre on Windows/Mac and total flop on Windows Mobile and Palm. And we will yet to see how the PSP turns out.
So Archibald’s Adventures 2 will be released for iOS (iPhone, iPad), Mac OS X, Windows and possibly PSP (if the sales of the PSP version of the original game won’t be good, we won’t probably bother to port the sequel to the PSP because the process of getting a game to PSP is quite complicated).
The controls is the main area we want to improve, mainly on iPhone. When we were making the iPhone port of the original game, we didn’t have much experience with the device and the plan was to get the game released as soon as possible so the controls are not ideal. The virtual cross-pad is too small for many people, the switching to second mode when the cross-pad is hidden and the hero can be controlled by touching the screen is not much intuitive, and I suspect many people didn’t find the option to configure the controls because it is visible only in the in-game menu, not in the main menu.
In the sequel, we want let the player to choose from several control modes: virtual cross-pad (with customizable size), virtual analog pad, swipe controls and touch-the-screen controls. Also the game logic will give additional support to the controls – for example if player input can cause two or more different moves, the game will choose the safer one (it is safer to stay stick to a wall instead of jumping into a pit etc).
The bubble is dead. Long live the lifter.
There won’t be the bubble in the Archibald’s Adventures 2 any more. But don’t worry, it will by replaced by a robot, which we call “lifter”. Lifter is flying robot which can be remotely controlled and which is able to grab and move crates, push levers and do other things like the original bubble. But many people have found controlling the original bubble frustrating because of the slow movement and its weird bounciness. The lifter will move similarly to hero, will have properly defined collisions and won’t bounce. It is also possible that the lifter will be able to receive new features during the game, but this is still undecided.
We want the sequel to be more focused on exploring. We really like games like Knytt or Lyle in Cube Sector and we were thinking about creating one big continuous map, made of many screens joined together. But such solution has several drawbacks: The most common is backtracking, where players need to (or have to) return to previously explored areas. Also we liked the freedom to choose any level to play in the original game, so for example if you have a few minutes while waiting at a bus stop, you could select some small and fast level and keep any complex level for later. It is hard to keep this feature if the game would be one big map. We could put teleporters to the map which would allow faster transitions among unexplored areas, but it is still not ideal. Also one big map tends to contain puzzles and quest of type “bring here the item X from the other side of the map”, but most of the iPhone players prefer “casual” playing games for few minutes a day. And if you play games this way, you don’t want to remember each time you run a game what did you do the last time, where you need to go or study any quest log – you just want to play the game for a while.
So we decided to do something in between. The “choose level” menu will be replaced by a simple overview map. We want to get rid of the menu because the menu distracts from the game’s atmosphere and mood. The original menu in the game was a compromise to support all the different platforms and screen resolutions. Within the map you will be able to jump to any unlocked level. Each level will be standalone level with its own puzzles like in the original game. Completing a level will unlock surrounding levels on the map. This allows the player to skip the levels he don’t like or which he founds too difficult but still fits nicely into the game and adds at least a bit of exploration experience.
There are also many new gameplay features and improvements to be revealed (you will love Archie’s new animations and his new movement abilities), but I will keep them for future posts for now. So stay tuned!