X-Ring


This archery-inspired breakout-style game incorporates target, clout, and field styles of archery with increasing difficulty and exciting thunk sound effects.

Concept

This was a project for my Creative Coding iOS course at Parsons School of Design. We had to make a bricks-style game using the very newly released Swift language.

I thought it might be fun to use archery as the theme for the game, as it has multiple types of competition that could correlate with levels, points, etc. I myself am an archer, and though mostly competed in target archery – what most people know about, since it's in the Olympics – I have also really enjoyed clout shoots and the variety of field archery.

Me at the British University Team Championships, final round. Edinburgh, Scotland.

Tom Walton shooting clout with his traditional horse bow. Hutton, East Yorkshire.

Process

Designing the levels to be in the bricks game style required dispensing with the idea of points, and a departure from actual archery, but sacrifices must be made. For the first level, modeled on target archery, multiple targets must be eliminated before advancing to the next level.

Notes on levels

Three current levels of X-Ring.

The clout-styled second level, rather than claiming points for nearness to a flag posted in the ground 150m away, the player must shoot away each concentric ring before claiming the tiny flag in victory. Field shooting is modeled on hunting in the forest, with obstacles and odd placement for targets, so in the third level I decided to have a small, moving target for the player to hit with their arrow.

Level 1: Target Archery

Level 3: Field Archery

Insights

After user-testing the game, there are a few changes that would make the game flow better through the levels. Currently, after the player dies (the arrow falls beneath the bow), the player is returned to the beginning, regardless of the level at which they died. While more challenging, it proved to be too frustrating to those who managed to make it to level 3 only to be returned to 1. Multiple lives before a complete restart – 3 lives to mirror the traditional 3-arrow end – would also add interest and be less frustrating.

Adding two more field targets to hit before winning would also prolong the game and increase difficulty. Each would follow the next, and be the only target on the screen at a time. Another issue faced by a few players was the continuously spinning arrow. At times it would seem to get stuck, spinning and spinning and moving forward slowly at best. This was, understandably, frustrating and distracting.

Death Screen

Win Screen

Next Steps

There are several options for more levels. Adding more targets to the field shoot, increasing the targets' speed, decreasing size.. all are options for further expansion within the field archery levels. Another option would be to play with the size and speed of the bow and arrow of the player to increase difficulty. Marking lives and collecting points would add depth and layers to the simple game, and offer the opportunity for players to compete against themselves and each other, too.