Fractal Combat 1.2 submitted for review

UPDATE: Fractal Combat 1.2 is out now! See it on the App Store.

Today we finally submitted the 1.2 update of Fractal Combat to Apple for review.
As usual, the process will take about one week, after which the update will be available on the App Store at the same place.

This is a free update for those that already have the game, and it’s still going to be a $0.99 game for those that will get it onward.
We call it 1.2, but as far as the graphics goes, this is really more like a 2.0!

Here’s a quick before & after screenshot to show the level of improvement that we reached with this update:

The sky is now not a plain shade anymore. It becomes darker at high altitude, where the stars also start to appear. The player can basically go into stratosphere! 8)

With that, the viewing distance has also been improved dramatically.

In the brighter stages, one can reach 30,000 ft and still look down the horizon and see the curvature of the planet.

We also added suns !

Though we couldn’t do actual HDR, due to hardware limitations, we still managed to simulate the effect. The sun has some actual glare and looking straight into it, will change the perception of light on the environment as well.
A simple glare effect was also added to the jet exhausts, which are now generally much more defined.

The change with the most impact however is the scenery.
For most stages, we put aside our simple fractal generator and instead created the environment using some much more advanced terrain generators.

The downside is that the size of data has increased, but the whole game is still around 30 MB.
To achieve this relatively small size, we created an ad-hoc compression scheme for heightfields. This required a few extra days of work, but size on mobile devices is scarce we think that the users will appreciate the effort 8)

Water in the scenery also received a substantial improvement, especially on devices with a more powerful GPU (iPad 2/3 and iPhone 4s), where a specular effect was added.

Camera dynamics have improved as well. The vehicles are now closer to the camera, which itself moves more freely, giving a better sense of action.

As for the gameplay, there are a few small but important changes. Enemies engage more in this update, and missiles coming from behind can be avoided by turning at the last instant.
This seems to make the game more enjoyable and it looks cool to see missiles pass by!

The hope now is that these changes will get more people interested in the game.

Have fun!
Davide & the gang

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