Sunday, April 12, 2015

Rocket Golfing: Morgan McGuire's new iOS video game

I was (and still am) addicted to Angry Birds, but Rocket Golfing has displaced it for me.   This is Morgan McGuire's new iOS game that is just out, but I have been play testing it the last month.  Here's his promo video:

I love it.   It's not only a really good game, it has an unbounded number of procedural levels.   I hope Morgan will publish how he did that.    I'm sure many of you are familiar with Morgan's work on Console games and realistic rendering research, which is the context I know him from when we worked together at NVIDIA Research.   So I was surprised he did a 2D kid/adult game/education games that is so fun.

A personal thing I really like about it is it takes me back to my first "wow" moment with video games when I saw the coin-operated Space Wars over three decades ago.  It was simple graphics but it had terrific gravitational physics and I really liked the game play.  Here's a screenshot from Wikipedia:
Screen Shot from Space Wars (Wikipedia)

Only later did I find out that Space Wars was the grandchild of the game SpaceWar! which is so old that it was released the year before I was born!   To give you an idea of how primeval programming was then, check out this quote from the wikipedia article: "After Alan Kotok obtained some sine and cosine routines from DEC, Russell began coding, and, by February 1962, had produced his first version."  Apparently SpaceWar! was played a lot at the University of Utah and that is part of the Atari Origin Story.   I do like Morgan's game better, but I especially love the connections to OLD school computer graphics.   In addition, its space trivia gets back at the excitement of the space race when I was growing up (and thankfully seems to getting so new breath, or so I hope).  I also like that I don't need to pump quarters into it-- it's a pay once (12 quarters) and no in-app purchases or adds or any of that stuff.

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