Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Topia is out! Where's the update?

The last few months of dev

It has been very a very stressful summer, as I've moaned before in this blog, while a year and a half might seem like a long time to wait for an iOS game, it's nothing for something like Topia with a programming team of one. It became clear some months back that we were leaving it a little late to put a game in. Josh and I had been toying with the idea of releasing it as a sandbox for a while but I'd always been determined to sneak some sort of game in there for the initial release.

Then we realised we had passed the point where I could kid myself I'd be able to get a game in before I completely ran out of money. Meanwhile we had something that was kind of fun. Definitely more fun than most 99c games, maybe we could get away with it after all...

So, I set about fixing bugs, made a tutorial mode and, after a little testing, submitted Topia to Apple.


So, almost two weeks ago we crossed our fingers and released Topia on the app store. We tried to be as up front as possible about the lack of objectives in the game but had no idea how people would actually react. It's not exactly getting solid five star reviews but it seems most people get what we're trying to do and are looking forward to updates or are getting 99c worth of fun from the app which, I like to think, provides something unique even if it isn't exactly a game. Yet...

I totally understand those who are giving it one star for being 'pointless', I fully appreciate that the app store is a mature game market and 'standards' have evolved for games which we have arrogantly ignored.

The biggest surprise though has been just how keen people have been to use Topia to create worlds. We have had more (totally valid) complaints about the lack of a decent save world system than we have about the lack of a game.


Because of this, the focus of the first update is going to be on level saving and loading. I'm part way through the coding work already, the confusing system of recorded replays is going and will be replaced with something that will let people work on their worlds for as long as they like.

hopefully it'll be submitted very soon. Enhanced creature AI and actual game modes after that.

The video below is a quick test of the output from the wonderful 'Reflections app' which turns your Mac or PC into an airplay device which can also capture video and audio. Not much happens in it, it only really shows the silly fake water refraction shader I sneaked in at the end when I could probably have been doing something far more productive.


  1. I am enjoying Topia - excellent value for a highly unique experience.

    Looking forward to the continued journey and watching it grow.

  2. Hi Glenn,

    I was wondering if the math or pseudo code for the "pseudo sphere" is described anywhere? I think I get the idea, but theres a bunch of practicalities bugging me about mesh generation and camera movement (ie where does this p-sphere exist in the 3D scene).

    I say this having tried, and failed to come up with a good solution for warping a cube into a sphere, and mapping height-maps to each face (the edges were killer to deal with).

    If you've got 10 minutes to quickly explain, that would be awesome!