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March 2017

Pendulum – Iterative Design

By | indiedev | No Comments

Two weeks into the Open Alpha program for Pendulum, and we’re learning tonnes. Its reinforcing our thoughts about visual feedback, that is to say – we need more! Its also been helping with our level structure, by logging ‘amount of attempts’ per level – we can see all the bottle necks in the game. This could be potential de-installs, or rage quits…not the kind of experience we want to create in a game selling itself as mesmerising and relaxing.

When you’re making and testing your own game on a daily basis you quickly become a pro, so its hard to build control systems that are suitable for the average user – this is where testing has been invaluable. We’ve realised our tutorial is not fit for purpose, and we need to train the player in two very particular techniques.

  1. How to break (by adding momentum in the opposite direction)
  2. How to descend faster (by holding your finger down)

Theres also the fact that people forget you can ascend up the screen (by holding two fingers down), so we’re using the game over transition as an opportunity to offer tips – as well as motivational quotes!

Of course, we could always do with more data to draw better conclusions. With that in mind, Pendulum 0.2.0 should launch next week with a hoard of updates, fixes and improvements.

Things aren’t always what they seem…

The visual feedback for Pendulum has been a constant headache, finding a balance between something beautifully simple but yet not too sparse/plain. Coming in Chapter 2 (CH2) will be the new ‘bokeh’ design, taking inspiration from the bloom/dust particles you get in AAA games. Chapter 2 focuses on visual impairments, obscuring the players view of obstacles and forcing them to predict where they can cross paths with the pendulum.

Subtle bokeh effect adds depth and interest against the soft vignette background.

Another great piece of feedback from our online survey was because of our seamless transition between levels, it wasn’t obvious if had WON or LOST a level – Especially since we were randomising the colour of each level. So although you might have lost a level, the transition and change in colour made it seem that you’ve won. So to fix this, we’re now fixing the colour on each level and have now inverted the colour of transition on the game over screen.

White winning animation

Black losing animation

If you’ve got an iOS device, iPhone or iPad, then simply signup to our mailing list in the footer of the website and you’ll get an invite to install Pendulum in your inbox!