Hello everyone, and welcome to the Ping Development Blog! I hope that you've been having a wonderful 2013 so far; here at Ping HQ, people have been hard at work at the first steps of bringing Ping to the world.
What's Ping? I hear you ask. Well, you know that game Pong? Yes, that's right; the one with the two paddles and ball. Fun enough, right? But in your heart you've always known that something is missing.
Yes, that's right. Missiles.
Ping began as a small project by animator, cartoonist, and hobbyist game-maker Joe Rothenberg. At first Joe just made it as a simple proof-of-concept; a fun experiment. But as more people began to play it, outside partners and investors realized that there was something big here and decided that this game needed to get into the hands of as many players as possible.
It was still in a rudimentary form, but Joe had already made a working version of the game: Two people could play against each other in a battle of paddles and missiles, but to make something that would appeal to as wide an audience as possible it would need that extra polish to get it really looking good and professional. Joe and his new business partners came up with a plan and a schedule to take Ping from being a fun hobby-project into being a full-blown game worthy of release.
To do this, Joe formed Cup of Joe Games and got to work on Ping full-time.
Today marks a week-and-a-half into Joe's Ping production schedule, so let's take a look at what he has to show for it so far.
On the left is a newly-minted logo for Cup of Joe Games; this will be a logo not just for Ping but any other games that Joe may create next.
For the first time, Joe is also partnering with other artists on a game project. To help with creating splash screens and 'box art', Joe has hired illustrator Wyatt Banks. Wyatt's work will feature as Ping's loading screen as well as promotional art or posters used to generate buzz or as merchandise for Ping. Secondly, composer Ryan O'Connell is being brought on to make new in-game music to really capture the feeling of Ping and creating a theme song that'll get stuck in your head all day.
Above is the latest version of Ping's opening menu; designed to evoke memories of old DOS Games and classic NES/SNES-era titles, it's really fun and manages to feel both retro and cool at the same time. Joe created a custom font to go with that vibe, modeled after his memories of games of that time.
The Single Player Campaign has been Joe's big project for the last week and a half. Designed to simulate playing Ping against 10 different players, Joe's goal with the Singles Campaign was to create a feeling of playing through a story; like a tournament that the player is working his or her way through.
To simulate going head-to-head against different players, Joe knew that he would need to program numerous AI opponents, each with different skill levels and strategies. To do this, Joe worked backwards, creating first opponent #10: Xerxes. Xerxes is theoretically the best player possible and he is really, really tough to beat. To date, only one person has been able to beat him. (...and it wasn't Joe...) Joe has finished making a save system so now the computer will be able to save and keep track of where in the Singles Campaign the player is.
There's a big play-test event coming up soon, which will be one of the first mass-testings of Ping to see how people do against the computer and different AIs. Even in the small amounts of testing so far, it's been really interesting to see the strategies and even terminologies that people are starting to come up with. It should be cool to see what happens when even more people start playing.
For that play-test event, Joe started putting together some temporary poster art to be fun take-aways for the play-testers and for some potential merchandise. You can see some of the art in question below; Joe claims that it's temporary and going to be replaced before too long but I think it's pretty awesome.
So that's where we currently stand in the middle of week 2 of Ping! Things promise to be very exciting as Joe keeps implementing the AI system, programming those new AI opponents, and works on a brand new singles game mode: Survival Mode. Survival Mode is going to be a test of seeing how many rounds a player can survive before they lose; the difficulty slowly ramping up with each successive round. Overall, by this time next week we should be starting to see some very exciting new updates and features!
So. Has all this got you itching to play Ping? Yeah, me too. But for now, stay tuned to this blog for updates and we will keep you posted!
See you next week!
Ping Team Liaison