When I start getting lots of requests for a game, it piques my interest to see if it can be created as an audio game. Since many games were previously created as a text game on a Windows PC, if someone suggests football or pool, they are often just asking for that same type of game on the iPhone. A baseball game may let you pick a player, a type of pitch and a type of swing, and then the game tells you what happened. That might be fine for a simple windows text game, in an iPhone game, a rich audio environment and relevant gestures are what makes the games fun.
I thought pool, also known as billiards, couldn’t even be done as an audio game. In the real game of pool, you must hit the cue ball at the colored ball at just the right angle so it lands in the designated pocket. And you have to hit the cue ball at just the right spot, so it sets up the next correctly, using a forward, side or backward spin. When I played some iPhone video pool apps, lining up a shot took about 3 different actions, and I had to consider many different angles on the screen at once. Giving that much audio information would make the audio game overly complex.
I started by first doing the rack break – the first shot in a pool game. To break the rack in Blindfold Pool – in other words, hit the cue ball at the triangle formation the balls at the other end of the pool table, you just swipe your finger. The more powerful your swipe, the faster the cue ball goes. You hear the sounds of the balls rolling in all directions on the pool table, and some may sink into a pocket.
For aiming & shooting though, I simplified the game by eliminating the cue ball. You just line up your shot so the colored ball would go into the selected pocket. When playing, you hear a ding meaning your shot is lined up, and then you swipe.
All this was great, until I sent out the first version for testing. That’s when the confusion began. More in another blog.