Super Stickman Golf 2 Interview With Noodlecake Studio's Ryan Holowaty
The long-awaited sequel to Super Stickman Golf finally hit the app stores last week, and we gave the game 4 out of 5 stars in our review. We've since spoken to Ryan Holowaty of Noodlecake Studios about the development of the game, the decision to include game mechanics as in-app purchases, and the new content being planned for a future update.
After the success of Super Stickman Golf, what were your priorities when designing the sequel? What did you want to improve upon from the original?
When it came to SSG2 we didn't want to mess with the formula too much. The simple controls, power meter, aiming arrows and responsive physics just felt right for what the game originally was - so we left that exactly the same for 2. We really wanted fans to feel right at home when they hit the new courses, so instead we decided to add on to that core mechanic.
The biggest and most notable addition are the dynamic environments with moving objects, as well as some other cool twists like laser traps, portals, magnets and sticky walls. In addition there had always been a large request for a turn-based style of gameplay, so even though implementing custom servers and making the random matches work cross-platform was a lot of work, it seemed like a logical addition to the game as well.
Lastly, with the success of the multiplayer aspect of the game, we decided to flesh that out a little more with characters and hats to help customize your golfer. With the hats however, we thought the addition of perks such as sticky greens, or more power etc would add additional depth to the game, and let player customize their golfer for whatever course or mode they were going to play.
People are normally very, very fast to capitalize on an App Store success. What led to such a comparatively lengthy development time for Super Stickman Golf 2?
Well a lot of it had to do with the back-end stuff once the core game was working. We have never done a turn-based game and we didn't want to run into server problems. Needless to say, the SimCity fiasco the week before our launch really got us nervous. We limited the games to five currently, but I think now that everything is stable we might up that number for players.
Our studio has also been super-busy porting iOS games to Android and publishing games for other developers, so our plates have been pretty full the past year. The game has been in the works for about a year, but that has been in chunks and wasn't a pure focus from the majority of the team until late summer last year.
How has the game performed on the app stores since release? Is it meeting your expectations after the original?
Yeah, so far so good! The fact that we hit #2 overall in the US for a while blew our minds. Admittedly the in-app purchases are not converting as well as we would have liked, but we didnt want to be too aggressive with them either. If you collect all the Golf Bux from the Achievements and Big Bux awards, plus earn some wins in the multiplayer games and bonus goals, you'll be able to unlock all the hats in the game. I guess we could've been more aggressive, but we didnt want users to hit a paywall or anything.
We were left conflicted over the decision to include the Last Power Shot Indicator as a premium purchase for the game. What was the team's thinking for that decision?
Yeah, this one has caused some controversy to say the least. So we originally had this as a hat, but found in the beta that as soon as people got it, they never used any other ones. It essentially over-powered the Mulligan to a point where if you didnt have it, it was a big disadvantage. So we decided to make it a premium upgrade as in reality, the old game never had it, nor is it required in any way to progress in the sequel. It was just too much of a killer feature for multiplayer, which is such a big component to the game.
In hindsight, however, we are pretty sure we made the wrong choice in making it purchase-only, which has been the only real negative to the game's review scores so far. I think we will probably look at changing how this works for the next update. Even if we leave it at the same value, we might switch it to Golf Bux just so that users can earn the in-game currency to open it up.
Can you we expect to see any more content for the game in future updates - more courses, multiplayer modes, power-ups and so on? If so, can you share any details with Modojo readers?
For sure. We already have new courses in the works that should be familiar to gamers, and I think gamers are going to love them. Plus, now that players are used to the new level additions, we can start to mix them together in weird ways. Like Portals and Magnets and Lasers all in one hole. In addition, we are probably going to tweak the multiplayer to include a Clean Ball mode of some kind that allows for optional power-ups in Race and Turn-Based. We haven't decided how this is going to work exactly yet but it should be coming soon. Oh, and of course more hats! People love the hats.
There are some interesting new mechanics in the game. Where there any that didn't make it into the sequel and can you share any details with us?
Bouncy Land! We had this entire course that had these rubber pads everywhere and a power-up that would make your ball bounce around. The problem was that the physics were so bizarre sometimes that even when we got it down to an acceptable reaction, it still went wonky more than we wanted. Then when you add all the extra things like power-ups and multiplayer to the mix, it just created too much mayhem. Perhaps if we can find the sweet spot it will make its way in.
Are there any tips you or other members of the team can share with Modojo readers?
Hold the power meter down! People fly through tutorials and sometimes miss the fact that in the new game, you wont shoot until you release the Go button. This is vital for timing shots with moving platforms. Also hit the practice tee. Not only will you get better at the holes, you can earn achievements this way without needing to play the whole course over and over. Lastly with multiplayer, get your power going first then aim. That way when you get your shot lined up your power should be full and you can get off to a faster start.