Ascension: The Impossible Climb
By Tim Ruswick

Ascension is an impossible game about an impossible climb. Focus on the climb and survive for as long as you can.



Final Stages





Other devlogs on this game:

Implementing player feedback and polish
Devlog by Tim Ruswick on January 24, 2017.

Designing mechanics around's harder than it sounds.
By Tim Ruswick on June 20, 2016, 12:09 am.

Ascension is a game about climbing. The goal is to use a "Pull" gesture similar to Angry Birds to continually catapult the player object up, and avoid obstacles while you're at it. It's fun...I like it, and everyone I have test it beyond 5 minutes seems to like it too, although there seems to be a lot of confusion in the beginning over how the controls work. That's obviously something we have to address,

Here's an early version of the game to check out just to get an idea:

Now originally the game was based on mine avoidance. So naturally scoring was based on that as well.

Here's how scoring and progression worked originally:

  1. Player got 1 score for every mine they dodged.
  2. Each new difficulty phase would multiply that number by an incremental amount. X1, X2, and so on.

That worked and all, but it doesn't seem satisfying to me. And beyond that, there is no progression outside of a single play session. On top of that, new players seem to find it very confusing on their first few play-throughs. They don't know how they're being scored and some of them don't even understand the modifiers.

So here are my thoughts on a new scoring system:

  1. Player gains score by distance traveled upwards (it is after all called 'Ascension').
  2. Player gains bonus points by collecting specific objects.
  3. Objects player collects can be used as currency to purchase unlockable characters.

Now I had originally stayed away from adding in collectibles because the games controls are very hard to begin with...and avoiding obstacles seems to take up all focus anyway - so adding in something to collect could be a crazy idea. BUT, I have worked with many mobile game companies that have done this successfully as part of player progression and retention. Now I personally don't really see the draw in collectibles, but I have seen the data and I have watched my girlfriend spend hours trying to collect worthless digital collectibles more times than I care to admit - so I know it works.

I'm 99% sure this is the direction I'm heading but I'm very open to any suggestions.

What do you guys think?

KitKat 1 year ago

maybe the feedback isn't good enough when a multiplier is in effect?

KitKat 1 year ago

being rewarded for avoiding things is the same as being rewarded for collecting things. only in negative space. the rush you'd feel would be about the same. But the game would be more in control of the pacing though.

Tim Ruswick 1 year ago

This is one of those projects that spans multiple projects.

Swingkid 2 years ago

I think being rewarded for avoiding things is not so much an intuitive as being rewarded for collecting something. In saying that being rewarded for reaching a certain height or distance is also intuitive. Not dieing or stopping or losing points is what is intuitively associated with avoiding things. A way to think about it is rewards are associated with being consequences for accomplishments, whereas avoiding things is associated with not having negative consequences. You could have got around your score problem by Just visually presenting the score change. E.g it popping up with the new level and level modifier so that the player knows what is going on. In saying all that it is a good direction you are going in. It is popular for good reason as I have mentioned.