Walaber Wobbles Less, Leaps More

By John Walker on March 6th, 2008 at 11:45 am.

Mr Walaber has recently come to some fame. His gorgeously wobbly JellyCar physics game is now available on the Xbox Live, as part of the XNA doodah (this stands for “XNA’s Not Acronymed”, in a peculiar moment of Microsoft doing a Free Software gag). (Head here and you can play it on your PC). But we’re here today to look at his next game, Gymnast.

As you’ll have seen, this uses those physics the young people love to recreate bar-based gymnastics. And so very elegantly. Far more reminiscent of Walaber’s Trampoline than JellyCar, this is also being developed for both PC ad 360, and will apparently utilise the analogue controls of a 360 pad. (Is it ok to start thinking that a 360 pad is a necessary piece of equipment for PC gaming now? Not that developers and MS can get away with making PC games only work with a 360 pad, which is popping up in a worrying fashion, but it does seem a decent addition).

From the trailer, my initial thought is how rewarding it will be to play well. But now I’m compelled to go and play JellyCar some more.

Thanks, as ever, to Fun-Motion.

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16 Comments »

  1. Yhancik says:

    I don’t know why *those games* require a 360 pad…
    I mean, weren’t there, back in the day, a kind of standard programming interface that allowed the use of any kind of pad/joystick? I never heard that it was problematic for players or developers.

    So what’s going on ?

    It’s worrying me a bit…

  2. seniath says:

    On the topic of 360 pads, I picked up a 360 wireless dongle thing for my PC a few weeks ago, and while I haven’t used it much, it’s as you say, a nice addition. I got it mainly to play Audiosurf with, it feels much more natural with a pad than with a mouse, imo.

  3. terry says:

    I demand games that only function with 2 Kempston joysticks >:(

  4. fluffy bunny says:

    I don’t see why these games shouldn’t work with standard USB-pads. Are the developers just lazy, or is it impossible with XNA?

  5. Babs says:

    I took it to mean ‘games require a gamepad with opposable thumbsticks and has no mouse/keyboard controls’. DirectX should allow the use of any pad, I’ve used a Dual Shock to play Lego Star Wars before.

  6. Theory says:

    I’ve had a wired 360 Controller for a while now. I’ve only ever used it for platformers, GTA and Bioshock (which is much creepier when you don’t have pinpoint accuracy), but I still feel like I made a worthwhile investment. It’s a damn fine piece of hardware.

    I am a little peeved that it doesn’t work on older games though. I was looking forward to playing MW4 without a joystick. :(

    Edit: As for JelloCar – an annoying fiddlefest that I’ve just uninstalled.

  7. Zeno, Internetographer says:

    If it doesn’t support keyboard/mouse, then to hell with it.

  8. John Walker says:

    Well, of all the analogue pads I’ve used, the 360 one is by far the best. So that’s why I’d opt for that one.

    However, what I worried about in parentheses was the incredibly troubling concern that a crop of games are appearing that *only* recognise the 360 pad on PC. Which is clearly a bad thing.

    As for this game, it’s because it has analogue controls. I’m sure it will support mouse/keyboard. The point is, you won’t get the best of it with digital controls.

  9. Mal says:

    It appears that, for some reason I do not understand, that MS has chosen to implement 360 Pad support as a separate part of DirectX called XInput, rather than using the the old stalwart DirectInput. Hmm.

    Ah – this page explains the reasoning. Summarizing: While the 360 pad can be used under the older DirectInput standard…
    * the left and right trigger buttons will act as a single button, not independently
    * The vibration effects will not be available
    * Querying for headset devices will not be available

    I would also suspect if you are using XNA then XInput is all you get.

  10. Ging says:

    XNA does only support the 360 pad to the best of my knowledge, which sort of makes sense when it’s targeted at the 360 just as much as it as at the PC.

  11. Walaber says:

    That is correct, XNA Game Studio is based on the XInput library, which does not support “backwards compatibility” with devices designed for the older DirectInput libraries using the HID standard.

    anyway, this means that standard XNA games that do not seperately utilize DirectInput currently only support gamepads that are Microsoft approved, AKA will work on the Xbox 360 (which also uses XInput). This means that all first party controllers, and any officially-licensed Xbox 360 controllers (including rock band guitars, drums, and third-party replacement controllers) all work.

    as for Gymnast, it has been designed specifically around the Xbox 360 controller, so keyboard + mouse support will just be clunky and hard to control. The game already requires a fair bit of finesse to play well, so unfortunately the game will definately require a gamepad to play.

    The main platform for this game is Xbox 360, once the “Community Games” platform goes live it will be available for download directly from Xbox Live.

  12. lalahsghost says:

    *Post Edited*
    Blurb. Sorry. Youtube stated the video was down, but I tried again and there it was… I blame myself for looking like an ass.

  13. Stromko says:

    Well when it started out I thought, “Oh man, they think they can put physics on anything and make a game? Pfft”

    Then I saw the gymnast doing all sorts of fly moves and realized not every game needs you saving a princess or thwarting terrorists to have a POINT.

    (edit: removed boob-ish explanation of what the video was since it’s working now)

  14. MindBrain says:

    Geeze this game looks freaking boring

  15. Max says:

    Fired it up on my PC, great fun. I have a wireless 360 pad so no woes for me.

    Cheers for the link, RPS!

    *makes brum brum noises*

  16. TreeFrog says:

    You’d think a company that’s been successfully prosecuted for anti-competitive practices on several occasions might make it simpler to support the F CKING MILLIONS of controllers already out there rather than requiring the purchase of an “Approved” one. How long would it have taken to put a wrapper around DirectInput? God almighty.