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I have published a free game on Android Market called AstroTennis. This is like a classic pong game, but it has an asteroid moving in the middle which deflects the ball making it sometimes harder to defend ones position. It plays against computer or human.

AstroTennis android game

On the bases of received feedback on the market I can see that some people are not too impressed while some like it (50%).

The question of course is how two spice up this game so that almost everyone likes it? Since this is a free game and it will stay free, I cannot invest too much in it and develop many levels at the moment, but still I feel that something interesting can be added to it. If you have an android device then you can check it out easily since it is free.

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Seeing as you only have 8 ratings and 1 comment, it may be too early to tell. I'm downloading the game now to let you know what I think, but I should mention that this question seems to be more self promoting than informative. You should really remove the last paragraph with the contact info to avoid being flagged. This site isn't for recruiting or soliciting. – Amplify91 May 10 '11 at 16:34
Yes, the moment one mentions the name of the game it is a self-promotion... I personally would be happy to sometimes see that people on this forum produce some concrete work which one can try and taste, so that is not always purely theorethical. – Lumis May 10 '11 at 17:08
I agree and I don't think it's wrong to mention the name of the game for the purpose of allowing people to try it. I'm glad to see that you removed the last paragraph since that's the only portion I felt was inappropriate for stack exchange. Good luck with the success of your game! – Amplify91 May 10 '11 at 17:12
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I think your biggest problem as far as impressing people is that your game is Pong. Everyone has played a thousand pong games and games in general don't get much simpler (or more over done). As far as what I liked, your game feels solid (no immediately noticeable glitches, nice framerate, good overall look and feel), the asteroid mechanic definitely changes it up a bit, and I especially like the multi-touch two-player mode. My suggestions:

Add some options!
The ball is moving quite fast and at first, it caught me off guard. It would be nice to be able to adjust this myself or maybe have it start out slow and get faster. I would also like to be able to adjust (or atleast see a difference in) your main mechanic, the asteroid. Adding the option to change the number of asteroids (2+) would be great! If you don't want to allow the player to adjust these, you could adjust them yourself by adding multiple difficulty levels. On easy, the ball would move very slowly with 0 or 1 asteroids while on hard, the ball would move much fast with maybe 4 or 5 asteroids. Even the number of balls in play could be adjusted. I would say that some form of options is absolutely necessary for your game.

More game modes.
When I first played the 2 player mode (by myself) it gave me the idea for a "training" mode where you played against the game (instead of an opponent) to get the highest score you could. In this mode, you would hold the device landscape with a thumb on each paddle and keep the ball in play, scoring a point each time you successfully rebounded the ball (kept it in play). With this mode, the ball might get faster the higher your score got. Then, you could even add leaderboards for people to post their high scores too. Another mode could be an "asteroid destroyer" game where you played against an opponent or against yourself with two paddle (like training mode). The objective would be to destroy as many asteroids as possible, earning a point for each one. Every time you hit an asteroid with the ball, it would explode and another one (or 2 or more!) would appear until your ball escaped (entered a goal). Be creative and most importantly (IMHO), get as far away from simple pong as possible. You could make the greatest pong game with the best graphics and music and extras in the entire world and it would still just be pong and no one would be impressed.

I like your sound effects, but some simple backgrounds music could go a long way towards making your game feel more complete.

Many pong clones have them, they're fun but not original. Try to make you own, unique power ups that no one has done before! Power ups that manipulate your asteroids would definitely be original!

To summarize, your game is pretty good and has lots of potential! But it's still pong, and people have been playing pong since video game were invented. For your next game do something more original, you'll enjoy it more! As far as ratings and comments, don't let them bother you too much. Let your downloads do the talking.

As a side note, I would change the collisions of the asteroid so that it doesn't bounce all the way into the players goal, but instead stayed in maybe the middle 60% (or whatever you decided on). That was the only frustrating thing that happened to me to make me feel "cheated".

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That was quite an analysis! I guess you as a fellow developer are more generous than a typical consumer would be who demands satisfaction otherwise… ;) Yes, it is only a pong game, but I still feel that some little trick could make it become more magical. I like your idea of playing against oneself - that would be something new. For example if every hit into asteroid would leave a glowing crystal which would then deflect only X movement and slightly fasten the ball, that could be fun! The aim would be to create as many crystals until the ball is lost. – Lumis May 10 '11 at 20:15
No problem, glad to help :) I look forward to seeing what you come up with! – Amplify91 May 12 '11 at 4:12
I've made some imrovements. Try to play with 10 balls! I think this is as far as I will go, need to comit time to developing more interesting games which people are prepared to pay for ;) – Lumis Jun 26 '11 at 10:39

The asteroid could exert gravity. Maybe it can start to break up as its hit, each piece with its own gravity. If you did that i think it would be best to make the breaks not be the same each time you play the game(so some sort of dependency on where you hit it). You could have "wormholes" appear/move randomly, once the ball goes in one side to comes out the other with the same angle and velocity(heres a big surprise the worm holes could also exert gravity).

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Asteroid gravity idea is interesting, it can make the path more bendy... One problem with Android design is that screens come in all sizes, so what works for a tablet may not work for a mobile especially when having many sprites on the screen and using finger touch. Perhaps the ball should be smaller to give space to asteroid fragments... – Lumis May 10 '11 at 15:52

In one word. "Shatter"

That game is your go to place for modern arkanoid. Toss the whole pong idea aside in my opinion.

the previous answers already clearly explain the problem with pong.

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Thank you for your comments. I have now written down ideas for many levels of this game and arkanoid logic would play an important part. – Lumis May 11 '11 at 13:25

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