Posts Tagged Terry Cavanagh

VVVVVV Mini-Game Super Gravitron Arrives as Free Standalone

Posted by on June 17th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

With VVVVV from Terry Cavangth now available on the App Store, a small (and free) spin-off has arrived alongside it. Super Gravitron started off as a mini-game at the end of VVVVV and, much like Super Hexagon, challenges you to last as long as possible.

Super Gravitron can be downloaded for free if you venture over to the App Store now.

Super Gravitron

VVVVVV Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Previously a gem on the PC, VVVVV is just as great on iOS, proving to be captivating and frustrating in equal measures.

Read The Full Review »

Mobile gamers know Terry Cavanagh for Super Hexagon, the challenging minimalist arcade game that seemingly begat a hundred more challenging minimalist arcade games. But before that, Terry Cavanagh’s big game was VVVVVV, a gravity-flipping open-world platformer that was also very difficult. A mobile version, while discussed before, may have seemed impossible: after all, being a platformer built around precision, virtual controls aren’t the friendliest situation for this game. But Terry Cavanagh’s taking a stab at it, and the mobile version is nearing completion. And it just might surprise some folks who thought VVVVVV was practically impossible on mobile.

For the uninitiated, VVVVVV takes place in a universe where the player, controlling Captain Viridian, can flip gravity to run along the ceiling as well as the floor. Players have to use Viridian’s abilities to rescue five other missing crew members, along with discovering the “shinies” that are hidden throughout the world.

VVVVVV_Preview-3VVVVVV is a non-linear game, and players can discover it as they so choose. There are no additional abilities to unlock, so unlike a Metroidvania game where progression is hindered until a certain item is obtained anything can be seen and any challenge conquered with one’s own skill. Just be prepared to die a lot. Thankfully, checkpoints are abundant.

VVVVVV_Preview-8VVVVVV presents an interesting controls challenge for touchscreens, though. The game requires being able to swiftly move left then right, but with a third button for flipping. Thus, the game’s default control scheme uses swiping horizontally on the left side of the screen to move Captain Viridian around, with tapping on the right side to flip gravity. As well, there’s a virtual buttons option, and one where tapping on either side of the screen moves that way, and tapping on both flips gravity.

The controls are still very much being tweaked and perfected, but VVVVVV is perfectly playable, and at a skillful level, with these controls. Will this become the preferred version of speed runners? Most likely not, as precise movements are what suffer a bit here just by the nature of virtual controls, but for people enjoying this game for the first time – or once more – the experience should remain true.

VVVVVV_Preview-6VVVVVV itself is fully playable in its current form, with even the player worlds feature from the computer versions available for more challenges once the main game is completed. Various bug fixes and tweaks to make the mobile version work better are what stands between this and its eventual release.

Kotaku points us along to this story today, with a post on Super Hexagon creator Terry Cavanagh’s tweet about why his latest free game (Don’t Look Back) was rejected from the App Store today:

“Haha, wow…. Don’t Look Back just got rejected from the app store… You’re never going to believe why: i.imgur.com/wD4X6.png

The click through image shows an Apple official rejection for metadata that Cavanagh included, which says, “there are no in-app purchases or any of that nonsense.”

Apple calls this “placeholder text,” and suggests Cavanagh revise it. Woah.

Kotaku’s take? “So remember, it’s totally okay to clone Mario or Torchlight or Canabalt or Mega Man or Pokémon. Just don’t let Apple think you’ve accidentally left in placeholder text.”

source: Kotaku

This Week at 148Apps: October 8-12

This week at 148Apps.com, Eli Cymet plumbed the depths of difficulty with his interview of Super Hexagon creator Terry Cavanagh: “Talking to Terry Cavanagh (pictured, left), the first thing that jumps out at me is how pleasant he is. How soft-spoken and thoughtful he comes across as. Particularly for somebody who tortures people.

An award-winning independent developer from Ireland, Cavanagh has become known for wonderful, mercilessly difficult games like VVVVVV and Super Hexagon. The latter is Cavanagh’s first iOS game; a low-fi arcade gauntlet that challenges players to move left and right to survive an incoming barrage of lines and shapes for as long as possible. It bent our brains in circles and became a surprise cult-hit on the App Store, moving about 72,000 copies since release, according to Cavanagh’s last look.

Wonderful. Mercilessly difficult. The two don’t quite go together, do they? Against all odds, however, it seems that driving people mad is what’s driven sales for Super Hexagon. It’s a phenomenon that beckons the question: why is a game that’s so hard so very easy to love? What makes difficulty so satisfying?

Read the full conversation at 148Apps.com.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-08-31 :: Category: Games

Meanwhile, over at GiggleApps.com, reviewer Amy Solomon explored Magic Forest HD Pro, a physics-based game for kids: “There are many variations of this style of game in the iTunes store such Cut the Rope, but I enjoy the look of this app, with backgrounds reminiscent of water color or batik artwork and include forest motifs that I find appealing and a little different from what is commonly found in a game such as this. Here, one is looking to help these pets into their basket, breaking glass bricks or other obstacles that prevent these animals from typically falling into where they belong.”

Read Amy’s full review at GiggleApps.

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2012-07-19 :: Category: Games

And at 148Apps.biz, Carter Dotson reported on the growing need for native language support in apps geared for eastern audiences. He writes, “It’s easy to think about the App Store as largely a western, and largely American phenomenon: it’s one of the largest revenue drivers, and success or failure there often means international failure. English is thus the most supported language in apps, particularly as it is such an international language as well now. But Distimo has put out information in their latest report that suggests while English may be the dominant language in the western world, success in the east requires apps to speak the native tongue.”

Want to know more? Read the complete story at 148Apps.biz.

Talking to Terry Cavanagh (pictured, left), the first thing that jumps out at me is how pleasant he is. How soft-spoken and thoughtful he comes across as. Particularly for somebody who tortures people.

An award-winning independent developer from Ireland, Cavanagh has become known for wonderful, mercilessly difficult games like VVVVVV and Super Hexagon. The latter is Cavanagh’s first iOS game; a low-fi arcade gauntlet that challenges players to move left and right to survive an incoming barrage of lines and shapes for as long as possible. It bent our brains in circles and became a surprise cult-hit on the App Store, moving about 72,000 copies since release, according to Cavanagh’s last look.

Wonderful. Mercilessly difficult. The two don’t quite go together, do they? Against all odds, however, it seems that driving people mad is what’s driven sales for Super Hexagon. It’s a phenomenon that beckons the question: why is a game that’s so hard so very easy to love? What makes difficulty so satisfying?

“I think it really comes down to a couple of small things,” reflects Cavanagh. “The main one is that it’s fair. It never feels like…” he pauses for a moment. “Put it this way: whenever you mess up in the game, it always feels like it’s your fault, and that’s really, really important.” We’re talking about his game, but Cavanagh’s first guiding principle speaks to a fundamental shift in values within the industry.

Where once it was understood – embraced, even – that quarter-sucking games would be hard-wired for player failure, notions of ‘cheapness’ have taken over. Blistering difficulty can still exist, but with less erratic exceptions and more dependable rules. If dependability is one piece of the difficulty puzzle, it becomes clear in talking more with Cavanagh that simplicity is its interlocking mate.

“With [Super Hexagon], the sort of things that can happen in the game are very simple, very learnable. In a sense, nothing comes out and surprises you.” Almost immediately, he corrects himself. “Well I suppose that’s a lie…waves are decided randomly at the edges of the screen… [but] every pattern in the game is discrete and learnable. That’s a big part of the game; training your muscle memory and getting to know the patterns.” An important distinction, it seems. Nailing down the difference between too hard and just hard enough means understanding that systems can be complex, but that learning them shouldn’t be.

Playing Super Hexagon, it’s easy to see the way that approach informs every layer of the game. Case in point? The score. Far from recycling the bloated arcade method left over from the coin-op era, Cavanagh gives players only one measure of success: time. An ever-present reminder of the true game at work…survival of the fittest.

Soon after the game’s release, it became apparent that this choice just may have been the unexpected ace in the hole. Players would tweet out their latest time, wearing it like a badge of honor. Super Hexagon has no formal social features, no “tools for virality,” but armed with their hard-fought numbers, players began jostling for position in a metagame of milliseconds. I ask Cavanagh if that was part of his plan all along, and while he won’t speculate as to the social impact, I may have just discovered a third rule of difficulty.

“I think you’re dead right about the score being an exact measure of how good you are,” says Cavanagh. “If you’ve lasted for 14.36 seconds, that’s an exact measurement; it tells you a lot of information, which is not like the kind of scores we’re used to seeing. People are used to seeing exaggerated scores, scores that are multiplied by a million. Scores where there are all sorts of measures in place to prevent you from knowing how you’re actually doing. I think having a score that means something makes the score important to players.” Something to strive for. Arguably, difficulty becomes easier to cope with when success isn’t obfuscated by jargon, when players feel like they’re being rewarded for of their work.

Inevitably, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Feeling rewarded. Yet in some ways, that leads me back to square one, wondering what could be so rewarding about frustration. About losing. Pausing again, Cavanagh responds simply.

“I don’t know if I really think of the game as frustrating.” Only then do I realize, I’ve never asked what he does think of the game. So I ask.

“I feel like you’re trying to get into a rhythm with the game; when you’re playing the game really well, it has this sort feedback, and your senses are going off at the right time, and you’re making all the right moves, and everything…just feels right. And the game is about trying to get into that frame of mind.”

And perhaps that’s when something that’s so hard becomes so easy to love: when the pursuit of that feeling is more satisfying than the experience of not always finding it.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-08-31 :: Category: Games

Image: DistractionWare

Super Hexagon Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Super Hexagon is indie developer Terry Cavanagh's frantic survival title featuring lots of geometry, intense chiptunes, and deaths.

Read The Full Review »
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