Yes, you should try to make a multiplayer game!

Yes, you should try to make a multiplayer game!

Power Ping Pong is finally live on the iOS App Store and Android Play Store!

There’s a lot take in during the first few days, we are #1 game in Hong Kong, Editor’s Choice in all of China, featured on the top banner on the US and featured in the first spots on Best New Games in more than 150 countries.

All the while, we have been reading comments, reviews and taking all the feedback we can find to see where we can improve. A build with a number of fixes is already on the pipeline for both platforms and should be online in a matter of days, and based on the feedback we have, we are beginning to draw out some new big updates.

But on a personal level, the most awesome experience has been just going online and facing new opponents from all around the globe.

There’s a lot of excitement on having your first game published, checking reviews, stats, leaderboards, social media, but there’s something absolutely magical about just going online and finally sharing that little piece of universe you helped to create with other people. Just being in that space that only existed in your head and to be able to share a play experience with someone across the world is something I can hardly put into words. All I can say is that it has been one of the best experiences of being a game developer. Something I can only compare to going to gaming events and having a great time playing Battle Tennis tournaments with other gamers a few years ago.

Of course that has to be weighted with the fact that multiplayer was likely one of the hardest part of development. Like many other parts, it’s relatively easy to get it to work, this was our first shot at networking and still it didn’t take us more than just a few hours to get our first interaction and a few weeks to have a fully working match.

But then…there’s just an insane amount of things than could go wrong with the variability of the connection that you have to manage somehow, either on a tech or design level, to have a reasonably stable and great experience on a broad range of networks and devices. And most of these challenges are game specific, so there’s no documentation or online help you can go to, no plugin to solve your problems, it’s just about testing, more testing, and figuring out how to deal with cases like what happens when a user does A with the paddle B and power C and D at the same time, with spin E, with energy F and gadget G and then the other user answers with…again a bunch of variables, and the connection slows down for a few ms on just the wrong time, all while you are trying to keep both devices completely on sync. So do you try to code in a special case, try some clever code trick to speed things up, or design a way to make the case transparent to players?

The amount of variables and weird border cases you have to manage is just mind boggling and the work behind it is insane. But is it worth it? If I had to say it only for the sheer joy and stupid smile I get every time I go online and face one of you, it absolutely is.

So yes, some of you have gone online and played with the developers, we have years of Power Ping Pong training and we are starting from the bottom of the ranks like all of you…we may have gotten a bit carried away and smashed you to pieces. But I’m not playing on the highest ranks yet and I’ve had some really tough matches already, I know its a matter of days before I get my ass completely handed to me. And I couldn’t be happier for that.

Think you are ready to challenge us? Try inviting “GaspDevs” on Gamecenter

PowerPingPong on (some) numbers.

PowerPingPong on (some) numbers.

Being developed in Caracas, Venezuela, a place that’s anything but normal, Power Ping Pong hasn’t been a typical game project. There’s just something “caraqueño” in it. Something that I want to get a chance to share on this devblog.

I plan to make several posts on the experiences we have learned from and those still ahead of us. But in the meantime, I thought I would start by sharing some basic facts and numbers.

Concept: There’s something just inherently fun on the core gameplay of hitting and controlling a ball, and of course developers have been doing it since the dawn of the videogame era. So for a long time it has been an interesting concept to us to push this idea as far as possible, using modern technologies and inputs to make what we call a Ping Pong Fighter. While it’s at its core, a Power Ping Pong match is not just about playing Ping Pong. Using fighting game mechanics, special powers, with customization and progression features that allow players to develop their own unique style and strategies, a Power Ping Pong match is a battle to the death with your opponent.

Time: We started development on 2012 so it took about 3 years of hard work for the first release. Some of the art and sound assets were based on our previous 2008 award winning Microsoft Dream Build Play entry, Battle Tennis, so you can say development goes even further back. Still, even when all the code was built from scratch, the core gameplay was built in a relatively short time. That doesn’t mean the game is done. Power Ping Pong is a huge game with many game modes and features. I’ll surely expand on this later.

Team: The core team for most of the time was made of 3 people, expanding to up to 8 people at some point during development and counting with the collaboration of many more. The development team is all Venezuelan and publishing and marketing is handled in the UK by the EA/Chillingo team. We have been working closely with them since 2013, polishing and getting the game ready for launch.

Budget: I know this is an important deal for many developers out there so I’ve been thinking hard on this one. The whole project was self financed at Gasp Inc. which explains at least in part the somewhat long development timeframe as we sometimes had to work on other commercial projects to keep Power Ping Pong running. But given the strange economics and high inflation we have in distortioland its not that straightforward to put down a number that makes any sense and makes any real reference in U.S. Dollars. I’ll work on figuring out how to put this number together for a future post.

Tech: The game is running on Unity 4, one of the first updates will be migrating to v5 as we’ll get some nice improvements in performance and features. One of the most curious features is the cross platform multiplayer, that means you can have an iOS device and still play with a friend on an Android platform. Playing with a friend online is a fundamental part of the Power Ping Pong experience and we wanted to be able to play with all our friends, regardless of the device they had, and we want you to do the same.

So yes, most of all, we just want all of you to enjoy the game, but we also want to share with other developers. We know there’s a lot of talent out there and we want to know all of you.

Curious about any aspect of the development? Let us know in the comments below to help us shape this section.