Post-mortem: Grotto Lander

After releasing Puxpel on Windows Phone, I felt excited about actually having released something. I had been wrong in my assumption that golf course creation would be easy. For the next game I wanted to keep the gameplay simple, but creating levels also had to be simple. I re-used most of the game, but instead of golf, it became Grotto Lander.


Touch vs keyboard

The game was developed in Windows, using the keyboard for control. Arrow keys to rotate the spaceship and the space key for thrust. This did not translate to touch input at all. I first created three on-screen buttons (left, right and space) but the game was unplayable. I then created an on-screen joystick for the rotation, and just one button for thrust - Better, but it still felt really awkward. At this point I was close to giving up, but finally came up with the idea of having just one thrust button, and let the user tilt the device to turn the ship, and finally it felt just right.

Level creation

I created a simplified level drawing mobile app, where you could quickly draw a cave and place way-points and obstacles in just a couple of minutes. By using this tool whenever I had a couple of minutes to spare, I ended up with more than 400 levels, in just a couple of weeks.

I then created a sorting tool, to try and rank their difficulty. 256 levels were selected and included in the full game.

The time, health and fuel requirements to get the stars was calculated based on the distance and number of waypoints, but also adjusted while testing the final game.


Not a big success, but at least some downloads. :)

Quick facts:

  • Released: 2013-04-11
  • Platform: Windows Phone
  • Engine: Custom, XNA (win)
  • Downloads: 4014