Electron Dance
27Aug/15Off

Spheres of Smartphone Chaos

As you may know, I'm a BIG fan of Spheres of Chaos 2012 (Iain McLeod, 2012) even if I'm totes rubbish at it. (I've talked about it in the articles Entropy and Silver Bullet Cure.) So when I was offered a chance to play around with a test build of an Android version on my phone, I wasn't going to say no.

Touchscreens have a difficult relationship with shooters as your fingers tend to get in the way of the action and Spheres piles on the controls: shoot, thrust, turn, jump. I'm not too sure how it's going to pan out but it's lovely to see those beautiful pyrotechnics look exactly the same on my humble S5. This mega-early build eats battery power for breakfast and lunch, often crashes, does not close properly and the controls take some getting used to. I'm not even sure this will see the commercial light of day.

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  1. But it *can* still live!

    Make the ship auto-fire -it is never not time to daka- and then you’re left with three inputs on two axes. Turning left and turning right for one thumb; the other thumb gets the gas pedal. Then, change the aspect ratio and the scale a bit and suddenly people with visible thumbs can play as well as people with regular thumbs.

  2. Mwm, I also thought of auto fire and suggested it to Iain McLeod – he hadn’t even considered it – but he reminded me of the reflectors that turn up after a few levels. Auto fire would kill you quickly. And removing the reflectors would change the game.

    That’s not to say it wouldn’t happen but I think taking out the reflectors would be a change too far.

    (edited so I didn’t refer to mwm as “mum” – thanks auto correct!)

  3. I’d say: change what the reflectors do. A few ideas come to mind, but I like most of all the possibility of a latent counter-attack (i.e. the reflector shoots all its ricochets in one giant lump a second after it stops getting hit by the player, or, it gets to use a shockwave attack after getting hit a certain number of times).

  4. I dunno; would it still be Spheres once the gameplay starts being changed in major ways like that? Of course, the game has to adapt to its new home – mobile and PC versions of the same game are never quite the same – but when you change the behaviour of the reflectors that feels like a more fundamental change.

    (shrug)

  5. While we’re at it — I paid my five bucks for the pre-2012 version for Windows, then had a hard drive crash and lost it. I like that version much better than the 2012 “3D” update, but can’t seem to find it anywhere. The SoC website itself is basically dead — still there, but no obvious updates since at least 2012, can’t access the forums (or even log in). The link claiming to be the “previous version” for download, gives just an unregistered copy of SoC 2012 – – not what I want. Anybody know what’s going on?

  6. Hi Chris. Sorry I can’t help myself. I haven’t heard since this post but Iain must still be there “somewhere” as there’s a comment about Windows 10 on the download page.

    I’ve asked on Twitter – see if I get any feedback.

  7. Thanks Joel. I’ve also sent an email to Iain’s address as given on the website, and *not* had it “bounce” as an invalid address, so there’s that, as well.


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