Available to over 1290 devices

I’m working hard to release Super Hexagon as widely as possible, as soon as I can! For PC/MAC, I should have some news there soon. For Android: here is some good news, and some bad news.

The good news: The Super Hexagon port to android is almost finished! The game is properly resolution independent, and it’s running really well on my own Nexus 7 (see the photo above)! Last weekend, I quickly ported an old flash game to Android, partially to help me catch bugs with my framework. I was originally hoping I could release Super Hexagon on Android this week.

Here’s the bad news – I’m having some trouble with the leaderboards, and it’s probably going to hold up the release of the Android version. (The rest of this post is a long technical ramble about why that is.)

Having a good leaderboard system is pretty important for Super Hexagon. One of the nice things about the iPhone version is that Apple’s built in leaderboard system, GameCenter, is actually really really good. You can have several different boards per game, it creates a separate list for your friends (this part is super important for me), it even allows you to send challenges to people to beat your highscores! For Android, I’m basically looking for exactly that – a GameCenter-like system. Unfortunately, the options aren’t great.

A big part of why they’re not great is my tech – I’m using Adobe AIR, so to access any of the existing leaderboard systems on Android, somebody needs to have written a Native Extension (ANE) for it. This really narrows down my choices – here are my options, as they stand:

    (1) A plugin called GREE is the most obvious choice – it’s got an official AIR Native Extension available as part of its SDK, so it should definitely work. My problem with it, unfortunately, is that GREE is kinda terrible. It’s slow, it’s cluttered with useless “social” features, and games that use it crashed several times on my Nexus 7! It’s definitely an option, but it doesn’t seem like a very good one.

    GREE actually bought and closed a company called OpenFeint last year, which is a shame, because OpenFeint would be have absolutely perfect for this. Oh well.

    I also looked in a similar service called “HeyZap”, but the only ANE I could find for it just enabled the social networking stuff, not the leaderboard stuff.

    (2) Then there are things like ScoreLoop and Swarm. These both look ideal – they’re lightweight systems that do exactly what I need! Unfortunately, neither have AIR Native Extensions, so I can’t use them.

    I contacted the smaller one, Swarm, to ask if they were planning to add support for that. They mostly just seemed surprised that anyone was using Adobe AIR :(

    With ScoreLoop, I investigated the possibility of hiring a coder to actually WRITE an extension for me. However, it looks like there’s a lot more work in that than I realised, so that’s probably not going to happen.

    (3) Finally, there’s the option of just coming up with my own system, possibly using something like Scoreoid in the background to handle the MYSQL stuff. I’m seriously considering this, and maybe using Twitter/Facebook to generate simple friend lists, but the problem here is that even IF I took a few weeks to actually do this, I’m still going to have a system that’s inferior to things like Scoreloop or Gamecenter. So it seems a bit pointless…

So, that’s where I currently stand. What now?

Well, for now, I think I’m just going to focus on getting the PC and MAC versions out. There’s good reason to think that if I hold off even, say, a month, the situation with Android leaderboard services could drastically improve! For one thing, GREE are apparently in the process of integrating OpenFeint with their system – which might mean that OpenFeint would become an option again, which would be great. Also, it appears that Scoreloop are currently working on an official AIR Native Extension, which would also be great. So for the meantime at least, it seems I’m going to have to hold off on releasing the Android version.

Another (horrible) alternative is just to release the Android version without a leaderboard system at all. But I really don’t want to do that.

Anyway; for now, I think I’m going to get the PC and Mac versions out, and come back to this.

I’m getting some comments on twitter about *why* it’s so important that the game has leaderboards, so I thought I should clarify: I feel they’re really essential to motivation in the game. If I released the game without leaderboards (on any platform) I would be releasing an inferior version of the game, and I just don’t want to do that. In general, I don’t think most games need high scores, but Super Hexagon does.

* 28 Comments

28 Comments so far

  1. Jimmy Briggs on October 10th, 2012

    I used scoreoid and a webview behind the scenes for my leaderboard in savingcircles. The downside is that it is not the most secure thing in the world. Anyone could unpack the apk and then open the webview files, unobfuscate them and fake a post to the proxy url.

    Making games is fun, securing leaderboards and integrating middle-ware kinda sucks.

    Good luck super
    @stalkjimmy

  2. Terry on October 10th, 2012

    GameCenter is actually pretty hackable too, so I’m not necessarily that worried about hack protection. Having Friend Lists mitigate that concern quite a lot for me. (Though it does suck that the current highscores on GameCenter are now all hackers :( )

  3. Jimmy Briggs on October 10th, 2012

    Yeah, Saving Circles is free so I just threw some regex in to prevent html pranks. I looked into setting up RSA keys between the client and proxy, but you can still just find the key since I used JavaScript. You can see the web version here if you want to take a break from porting Super Hex to PC/Mac. It runs best in google chrome [html5]. http://devbriggs.com/savingcircles

    I could look into making an Native Air Extension for Scoreoid. I don’t have any experience with Air, but it sounds challenging and fun. plus I could talk about it as Nair for my Scoreoids..

  4. Grasa Total on October 10th, 2012

    How can you tell which high scores are hackers?

  5. Jeremy on October 10th, 2012

    @Grasa: They have a higher score than Terry’s.

  6. dude on October 10th, 2012

    I think you should reconsider releasing for Android without the leaderboards. Even if it’s just for 2 months it gives fans an option to play the game. You can still make it clear in the play store that the game is not finished and still being updated.

  7. Razer on October 10th, 2012

    As one of the approximately five people without an Android or iTouch device, I’m very very excited to see the PC/Mac version coming soon. I’m wondering what the plans for release are- mostly which sources and stores will sell it, such as GOG.com and Steam, or whether (if it gets a Linux version) it’ll be in a future Humble Bundle.
    Through those three sources (along with the many Indie Royales) my game library has grown to an immense size, and most of the titles I’ve had time to try, I’ve enjoyed- HIB3 was actually how I discovered VVVVVV.

    So, again, I’m really looking forward to seeing Super Hexagon playable on PC and Mac- I’m also looking forward to seeing it played in HD resolutions. :D

    Can’t wait!

  8. Mark on October 10th, 2012

    I think you should release the game without online scoreboards.You can always update it later. Or, use a temporal one, and then switch to score loop when they release the ane.
    Anyway, i really love your games and im sure you’ll do the right thing:)

  9. Martze on October 10th, 2012

    >So for the meantime at least, it seems I’m going to have to hold off on releasing the Android version.

    Shoot. That means it’ll take longer for me to get the game—

    >Anyway; for now, I think I’m going to get the PC and Mac versions out, and come back to this.

    Never mind.

  10. Anthony on October 11th, 2012

    As much as I’d love to get my hands on superhex now, Scoreboards are definitely important – so take the time it needs!

    Does it have to be an ANE? If you found a suitable alternative with an actionscript API, would that do the job ?

    I know it’s a bit bloaty, but would something like Mochi work ?http://www.mochimedia.com/developers/scores.html

    (Though, I’m not 100% sure how it behaves on a mobile device – probably not well).

    It seems like your best option would be creating your own system. You’ll get all the features you want with less fussing about that way it seems.

  11. Ghoul on October 11th, 2012

    I really couldn’t care less about online leaderboards. On phones, they’re slow, bloaty, and battery killers… In fact, I’d actually rather have the game without the leaderboards…

    I really just want the game…

  12. Daimera on October 11th, 2012

    Hahaha, I would be fine with no leaderboards. Leaderboards are permission-hogs, and I definitely don’t need the game to actively keep track of how much I suck compared to other people.

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  14. atomizer on October 11th, 2012

    Re: securing leaderboards… Have you looked into recording a demo instead of the score? (Demo as in timestamped sequence of user commands, plus required information for wall sequence generator.) Then have serverside process calculate the actual final score for that sequence and post it to the leaderboard service of your choice (or your own one). I understand that it would cause some unwanted server load and take several weeks to implement, but it would become A LOT harder to make a hacked score.

  15. peter on October 12th, 2012

    hi terry,

    i might to able to provide some advice and/or help. have built several scoreboard systems and have potential solution for AIR and Android.

    -peter

  16. Almog Koren on October 13th, 2012

    Hi, I’m Almog the one of the founders of Scoreoid, I came across this from are website stats. I think you should use leaderboards even if you use a different service I did a session on this at Casual Connect leaderboards due make a difference here is my session – http://bit.ly/QvPudK.

    At the end of the day you need to choose what works best for your game and you as a developer.

    Saying that if your interested in Scoreoid, we do have security using encryption, there is currently 2 AS3 SDK’s which should help you.

    And we have an Scoreoid Kit which is the same as the Apple Kit or Game Center but it’s for C# you would need to port it.

    We are working on a big update which should being a lot of features like social, positional leaderboards, friends list and much more.

    If you need help with anything let me know.

    Almog

  17. Eitam on October 16th, 2012

    After scoring 127 seconds on my friends iPhone 4S – i cant wait to score more on my new note 2. Please finish the game so i can desimate my friends :)

  18. android on October 16th, 2012

    please just make it happen

  19. Jack on October 19th, 2012

    PC MASTER RACE WANTS THEIR VERSION

  20. Kolzig on October 21st, 2012

    Will the Android version cost the same as the iPhone version? I got my money waiting here for the release. Hopefully you can find a solution for the leaderboards, but take your time, there’s no rush.

    This game looks amazing, just like your earlier games.

  21. Matt on October 22nd, 2012

    Sent an email before checking here. (Sorry.)

    I’d also vote for a beta release sans scoreboards.

  22. Jeremy on October 23rd, 2012

    It would be nice if Android/google had a centralized gamer database, but in its current state of isolation I just play games on my own. My motivation is primarily to beat the game, or at least do better than I did last time. Now that I’ve trained on the flash version, I eagerly await the PC/Droid versions.

    Any chance of buying the PC version and getting the droid version free?

  23. Gavriel on October 25th, 2012

    Oh please bring us the sweet hexagon glory. I keep hearing news, and seeing news for this game. I love my nexus 7, and it wants this. I just would like to have this soon, i remember a leaderboard program called crystal for mobile devices. Perhaps look into that?

  24. Derek on October 26th, 2012

    Tell you an interesting story. I want to play Super Hexagon but only have an android phone and ancient ipod touch. My ipod touch doesn’t have OpenGL 2.0 so can’t play the game. So went to do some digging about jailbreaking it and from what I found out the only way I can play the game on my jailbroken ipod touch would be to jailbreak it and pirate the game. Seems like not the right approach!

    But 1 to an android release. Can’t wait for it!

  25. konceptz on November 5th, 2012

    Another vote for Android. November style. Also Irene aftermath in NYC style.

    But really I need the distraction on the train, It’s a long commute to school and I hate the types of games that are being released. Yours is a game that brings it back to where gaming should be.

  26. Jason Michael on November 22nd, 2012

    I vote don’t use a leaderboard, unless its reasonably unhackable. Hacked leaderboards take away all the fun of the leaderboard and end up getting ignored by the users who know better. :)

  27. slowmotion on December 13th, 2012

    patiently awaiting super hexagon on android release!

  28. asdffanon on December 16th, 2012

    I’d pay $100 to have Super Hexagon on my GS3 early even if it meant not having a leaderboard.

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