Terry Cavanagh’s Gravity-Flipping Platformer VVVVVV Coming to Android in 2014

Terry Cavanagh’s Gravity-Flipping Platformer VVVVVV Coming to Android in 2014

Jan 8, 2014

Fan of Super Hexagon? Well, Terry Cavanagh made a great game before that, the Metroidvania-esque gravity-flipping platformer VVVVVV. The game has been on PCs and 3DS for a while now, but mobile devices have been left out in the cold. But not for much longer, as Cavanagh has confirmed on his blog that VVVVVV‘s mobile port will be finished in 2014 with release on Android and Ouya. No release date is known other than “this year.” Cavanagh’s blog has some screens of other nifty projects he’s working on, some of which could well make their way to mobile…

Bought Super Hexagon from Google Play? Why Hasn’t Terry Cavanagh Seen a Dime of it Yet?

Bought Super Hexagon from Google Play? Why Hasn’t Terry Cavanagh Seen a Dime of it Yet?

Jun 27, 2013

A rather worrying story about Google Play has come out from indie developer Terry Cavanagh: apparently he has yet to see a dime from his game Super Hexagon on Google Play. The game is available through the Amazon Appstore and has been sold through the Humble Bundle, so he has made some money off of it, but Google has yet to pay him – and they suspended his account after investigating the issue.

While he said earlier the game was not available due to this account suspension, the game appears to be available on the store currently, perhaps suggesting that the issue has been sorted out. However, the fact that a developer who has sold over 50,000 copies of an app on Android has issues with being paid months after an app’s release is worrying news. Hopefully it’s just a glitch in the system, but it’s a huge glitch, and this shouldn’t happen to other developers, especially those who may need the money they make from Google Play to stay in business to begin with.

Of course, it does at least serve as a reminder about Android: just because one store shuts you down doesn’t mean that it shuts down all revenue for developers, but it remains worrying that Google could have this huge of an oversight happen.

Update: Complain on Twitter, get problems solved. The system works.

Humble Bundle With Android 5 Offers Six Android Games to Support Charity and Developers

Humble Bundle With Android 5 Offers Six Android Games to Support Charity and Developers

Mar 5, 2013

The Humble Bundle is back for another round on Android. Changing prepositions from “Humble Bundle for Android” to “Humble Bundle with Android”, this bundle includes 6 games that are available on Android (some of which are available for the first time on the platform), that also come with DRM-free PC/Mac/Linux versions, Steam keys, and even their soundtracks. And of course, the bundle is pay-what-you-want, though there are benefits for paying more. Here’s the lineup this time around:

Beat Hazard Ultra: Like shoot ’em ups? Like your own music? Want to play a shoot ’em up set to your own music? Then Beat Hazard Ultra is the game for you. For more on this game, check out our recent review.

NightSky: This former IGF finalist game combines action gameplay with puzzle platforming in a dark, atmospheric universe. Published by Nicalis, this is the game’s Android debut.

Solar 2: “If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.” – Carl Sagan – this quote opens up the game and then sets you on that path, starting as a small asteroid that starts to become a giant planet. Good luck!

Dynamite Jack: Galcon creator Phil Hassey’s stealth-action game (with bombs!) makes its Android debut. Try to escape the mines which imprison you by using plenty of explosive firepower. Just don’t get caught. The game includes support for building your own maps and playing community maps as well.

Super Hexagon: Terry Cavanagh’s intense and extremely difficult survival game where the goal is to rotate around a hexagon, avoiding incoming hazards that come in at quick paces in 6 difficulties, all labeled as some variation of “hard” is included in this bundle for those who purchase above the average. The soundtrack is included as well, which is a welcome addition for those who enjoy Chipzel’s music but want to hear more of it than short snippets.\

Dungeon Defenders + All DLC: This one’s a relative oldie but a goodie: the tower defense and hack ’n slash hybrid that runs on Unreal includes all the DLC that’s been released for the Android version of the game, giving those who shell out above the average for the bundle the ability to enjoy the complete experience.

This bundle is available until Tuesday, March 19th at 1pm EDT. As always, the bundle can be split to support the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child’s Play, support the indie devs, and as a tip to Humble.

Does Super Hexagon’s Nexus 7 Touch Response Delay Really Make a Difference?

Does Super Hexagon’s Nexus 7 Touch Response Delay Really Make a Difference?

Jan 22, 2013

Terry Cavanagh’s extremely challenging arcade game Super Hexagon was recently released. Notably, it has an issue with the Nexus 7, thanks to a hardware issue where recognition of a released touch input is slightly delayed. For most games, this is not a problem. For Super Hexagon, where lightning reflexes are necessary, this is a big deal. Well, at least in theory it is. In practice, is it an issue? I decided to put some rudimentary, un-scientific statistics work to the test.

After a short warm-up session, I played 20 rounds on Hexagonest on the Nexus 7, then 20 rounds on the Motorola Xoom (which does not suffer from this touch-release issue), then another 20 on the Nexus 7, and another 20 on the Xoom.

Here’s what my results found:
Nexus 7, round 1: avg. 9.58 seconds, max 29.3
Xoom, round 1: avg. 12.26 seconds, max 37.1
Nexus 7, round 2: avg. 12.16 seconds, max 27.29
Xoom, round 2: avg. 12.21 seconds, max 49.29

So, it appears I may have still needed some warming up – Super Hexagon’s harder difficulties require hours of practice to figure out how the patterns work and how the player needs to spin to survive them, and some acclimation is necessary. It seems as if the difference over time evens out on each platform. While the difference is noticeable, especially to a veteran of the game like myself, it may not make a big difference.

Except that the problem is that my high scores were achieved on the Xoom. And I felt way more confident on the Xoom, because I could make small adjustments if necessary. And really, Super Hexagon is about those outliers, trying to get the high score. So while my own errors are dooming me no matter what, it’s possible that the touch-release issue is hurting me at those all-important outliers. But then again, the game at its higher difficulties is so challenging that adding another layer of difficulty is like spitting into the ocean.

My verdict, taking into consideration the quantifiable evidence with my anecdotal experiences? Veterans of the game and those actively seeking high scores should stay away from the Nexus 7 version, as the delays will be frustrating. Otherwise, for casual players, it doesn’t make a huge difference. It’s still a difficult game no matter what it’s being played on.

The Hills Are Greener: Why Smaller Tablets Aren’t Just Physically Smaller

The Hills Are Greener: Why Smaller Tablets Aren’t Just Physically Smaller

Jan 21, 2013

A reminder that the Android market is not the same as the iOS market has been served by Super Hexagon. The Nexus 7 version of the game suffers from a latency issue on touch release that appears to be a hardware-level issue thanks to a cheap touchscreen on the Nexus 7, according to developer Terry Cavanagh; initially the game was going to skip the Nexus 7 but as players manually installed the game and reported that the issues were minor, he decided to go ahead and enabled Nexus 7 support on Google Play. Crisis averted.

Now, while eventually it was sorted out, the point is this: the Android tablet market is largely defined by cheap devices. The Nexus 7 got its start, after all, as a low-cost 7" tablet from Asus that was highly-powered, but concessions had to be made to get it down to the $200 level. There’s a general feel that it is less sturdy than say an iPad, though its rubbery grip could be the cause of that. Still, it’s something that pales in comparison to Apple’s hardware design – one may not enjoy Apple products, but their craftsmanship is very high, even on their relatively low cost ones.

It’s not just Google that’s doing it: Amazon and Nook are pushing low costs on their tablets too. And that’s not to speak of the many nameless manufacturers trying to cut below even them. The market has spoken, and in the 7“ range at least, people want cheap tablets. And there’s a chance that in getting them, quality is going to suffer at least a little bit. And while the 10” market is a bigger unknown – the smaller 7–8" range is the hot market now with the iPad jumping in, and the Galaxy Note 10.1 is certainly well-advertised, but finding out just how many units its sold is not an easy endeavor, while Samsung touts the sales of the entire Galaxy Note line. The Nexus 10 is sold out on Google Play, but who knows how accurate that is. Maybe only 10 Nexus 10s were made. The fact that the Nexus 4 is still out of stock is still suspicious as compared to how fast they should be produced. Who knows.

The point is this: the 7“ market is the clear winner for Android, but people should not expect to be getting the absolute latest and greatest because of the demand for low prices. And a similar phone market is unlikely to develop long-term because phone subsidies on 2-year contracts bring prices into the range of 7” tablets. Heck, even Apple is underpowering the iPad Mini compared to the full-size line. That says a lot about what this market really is.

Super Hexagon Review

Super Hexagon Review

Jan 21, 2013

I am enraged.

Furious. Angry. Disenfranchised. Infuriated.

Sad.

All these adjectives apply to me right now, and it’s all because of Super Hexagon from the dastardly Terry Cavanagh. This game took me places, and I figure it will be a long, long battle.

Super Hexagon is a psychedelic trip into the world of ever-closing and multiplying hexagons… lethal shapes that laughingly stifled my survival with their converging sides. To understand the game is to play it. Starting in the center of the grid, I got two controls which allowed me movement to either the left or right of a circular path by tapping. A never ending series of lines (which eventually move into the rough shape of a rough hexagon, with few means of egress) appear and start converging. Using the direction buttons, I had to dart to avoid touching the sides of the open hexagon.

The description is kind, but the action is intense. Simply put, Super Hexagon drove me batty — in a good way. With three levels (appropriately labeled Hard, Harder and Hardest to give an idea that the developer means business), I fought to live as long as I could, cruelly reminded by my best time which was re-flashed at the end. Super Hexagon somehow was able to pack in a lot of fun into a seamless, fun, and unassuming package.

The colors were perfect for this game, invoking a colorful mirage of Rorschach images in my mind’s eye. Colorful, ever-changing palettes added to the landscape, and melded well with the music.

The game is low on frills, but high on excitement. As I noted earlier, in today’s age of tense storylines and dreamy graphics, it’s tough to make something compelling, but for me, this was a great experience. The whiny, petulant part of me would have loved a simpler stage or two, but it is truly difficult not to appreciate it as-is.

Well done, Mr Cavanagh. I dislike you very, very much.