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Amazing guide to Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint

Blog posted by Ste Pickford on Thu, 13 Oct 2011
Subject: Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint

Ste Pickford

There's a lovely thread about Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint over on Jeff Minter's very friendly YakYak forums, which we've been following, and chipping in to now and then.

We got a tweet from one of the members there - Andrew_72 - asking why there wasn't an achievement in-game for a 50 million Grand Score. I nearly choked when I read it! I checked the achievements and the highest one I'd put in for Grand Score was 1 million, which I figured was about as high as was likely to be possible as the sum of the scores from the 40 tables in the initial release. I knew that when we eventually added more tables (which we're working on right now), the potential would be there for higher Grand Scores, and we might need more achievements, but I figured from my own play-testing that 1 million would be plenty for now.

As I'm still on a 3G phone (which I'm hoping to rectify today!) I can't actually see Game Center or follow the leaderboards, so I had no idea the Grand Scores being earned were so high. I checked with John, in case there was some awful bug in the game, and he checked on his iPad. Sure enough Andrew_72 was top of the iPad Grand Score table with 50 million. The next highest player had about 25 million, and the next one down about 14 million.

Wow, my 1 million max was *way* out, but also Andrew_72 was clearly significantly better than any other player in the world right now. How was he doing it? Had he found a cheat? Was he a hacker? Or was he just really, really good at the game?

Well, it's the latter. He was gracious enough to post some tips on the YakYak forum thread, detailing just how he got an amazing score on the first Serious table on iPad. I've reproduced his image here, but you should click on it to read the explanation that goes with it.

I remember when we put in the achievement for Buzz Master, which requires you to build up a buzz multiplier of 20 in a single shot. I wasn't sure it was even possible, and I spent about half a day messing around just trying to set up the conditions to achieve it. Once I'd got it once, I was happy that the achievement was possible, even if it was rare and unlikely. Andrew_72 gets a buzz multiplier of 69 in his guide. 69! Absolutely incredible!

It's a brilliant feeling as a game designer when you release your game out into the wild and players go on to totally out-think and out-play you, while working within the parameters of the game you designed. We always try to make games with the potential to be open ended, and for strategies and scores that we never dreamed of to be possible, but we're never sure if we've succeeded until it happens.

I think Andrew_72 has proven that we've succeeded with Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint.



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