Radiangames: Old And New Schools Collide
We caught up with founder Luke Schneider to discuss his newest title, Ballistic SE, along with other topics in mobile gaming.
Radiangames' Luke Schneider loves classic games. We noticed this in the addictive iOS title, Super Crossfire HD, which brought us back to the glory days of arcade shooters like Space Invaders, even Phoenix on the old Atari 2600. Now he's back with Ballistic SE, a twin-stick shooter that brings to mind Bizarre Creations' Geometry Wars, but also the ancient classic, Robotron.
To learn more, we tracked down Luke to not only talk Ballistic, but also Android and the Kickstarter craze.
People will obviously compare Ballistic SE to Geometry Wars. What did you do with this title to make it stand out?
There are two main things: The ship enhancement system (AKA upgrades) and the way power-ups work, particularly the bombs. It's a very fast-paced twin-stick shooter with flashy graphics, so obviously Geometry Wars comparisons are inevitable, and I don't mind them. I've wanted to work on arcade style twin-stick shooters since I first held a PlayStation Dual Shock, as Robotron was one of my favorite arcade games growing up.
Why not bring this game to Android? Is that in the works? What do you think about the platform in general compared to iOS?
It's all about time (and potential money). If one of my games takes off, I'd definitely port it to Android. Though to be honest, I'd rather have someone else do it for me because I don't want to spend a lot of time testing 20 different devices with various resolutions and screen sizes. My games also tend to not use in-app purchases, and I've heard that paid games tend to not do as well on Android.
What about this Kickstarter craze that's consumed the Internet? Is this a great way to go about funding mobile games? Is it smart to back a project when some of these developers lack the business sense to spend this money effectively?
I don't actually know if it's a great way to do a mobile game, since it's hard to distribute a game to certain people on iOS (compared to PC/Mac). I'm not really interested in going that route right now because doing all the bonuses and marketing for it looks very time-consuming. As far as backing new developers: I think the successful Kickstarters tend to be for people who've proven they can do the projects they're talking about.
What's left to improve with Ballistic SE? Do you plan to update the game moving forward, beyond fixing that crash bug?
I might introduce a new enemy, and possibly a new mode or two down the line. I try to release my games as complete experiences, though that's made easier since my iOS games (so far) have been adaptions from other platforms. After they've simmered for a while, I may add something significant. I also need to see and digest more player feedback before I decide on future updates.
Twin-stick shooters require pinpoint precision movements and solid controls. What would you think of having a wireless physical controller to use with iPad games? Good idea, and would you support it?
People seem willing to sacrifice some precision for portability and convenience. Using virtual sticks is no substitute for a real controller, but I try to do my best to make subtle balance changes and other tweaks to my games to help compensate, in addition to just making the touch-screen controls smooth and responsive. As for a wireless physical controller, I'd definitely consider it, particularly if it's popular. I added support for iCade to Super Crossfire, after all. But I haven't heard of any dual-analog gamepads being nearly as popular as that.