Hello people of the internet!
The past week has seen some really exciting developments for Ping. We had our first playtesting party which was a big success. Over 20 people came and played Ping on a whole bunch of different stations, putting it through its paces. The highlight was definitely the big screen in the main room, where people where playing 2v2 all afternoon long. People also tested the AI players, which was very exciting as it gave the team a chance for the first time, to see how regular players did against computer opponents. Team producer Osric Chau put together a neat video montage of the party, as well as sneaking in cameos and nametags of many of the team members (including yours truly).
We also got a ton of great feedback from players, which Joe is starting to incorporate into the game. The most common feedback we got was:
- Having an option to change the color of the ball, to reduce overall visual clutter during the game, particularly 4-player matches.
- Adding some more visual flair to the graphics as well as having different color themes.
- Having the option to hold the button for rapid fire to cut down on thumb strain
- Make the menus easier to navigate.
Joe has already started in on this and so we are very thankful for the feedback by all the players - It really is helping to shape the game as we move forward. Something else fun is that Ryan O'Connell has started on working on Ping's new theme song and it's sounding really great. Check it out below!
Other new features being added this week include the near-completion of survival mode, (where players can fight an AI opponent to see how many points they can score without being scored on themselves) as well as the refining of the first batch of AI players: Judy (Level 1), Hobart (Level 2), Delilah (Level 3) & Xerxes (Level 10). This has been really cool to see because, as their 'personalities' and algorithms are tweaked, each develops his or her own strategies and play style. It really makes them feel alive and creates a true sense of accomplishment when you figure out how to beat them. Speaking of the new AI players, Joe put together a great video of him trying to beat the dreaded Xerxes to show off just how smart he's becoming... (Xerxes, of course - We're not sure if Joe's getting smarter or not.)
So between the great new developments and the really successful playtest party, I think it's safe to say that this was an excellent week in the world of Ping. Stay tuned for more developments soon and, if you're in the LA area, mark your calendars for 3 weeks from now for the next playtest party... if it's anything like the first one it promises to be a hoot and a half!
That's it for me this week, stay cool everyone!
Ping Team Liaison