Archive for January, 2012

Balloon Ride: Up, Up, and Away!

January 31, 2012

Ugh. Down to just one day. Balloon Ride has to be submitted by the end of the day tomorrow, the 31st. I am wiped out. Work, class, and a group project on top of this EGP entry are just zapping my strength. But I’m so excited about Balloon Ride!

Being mostly comfortable with the gameplay, I turned my attention to updating the graphics and finalizing the layout of the game level. I think I have a fun and somewhat tricky level design made, at least within the context of the design challenge. Playing solo on a PC probably isn’t all that difficult, though from personal experience I can say that it is really difficult to pop a lot of balloons without just spamming the fire keys.

That actually brings up another point. I changed the way the points are tallied in relation to shot accuracy. I felt it was no fun to actually take points away from the player. Nobody likes that. Instead, I’m using the accuracy counter as a bonus points meter. Now, players can earn up to DOUBLE their score just by being an accurate shot. So if you score 1000 points from popping balloons and your accuracy was 50%, you get the 1000 points PLUS 50%, bringing the final score to 1500 points. (Before, the accuracy meter would have deducted half the players score in the situation giving a final score of just 500.)

I’ve only got a few things left to integrate. I need to build the title screen with some simple directions, and I need to build a nice looking results screen that automatically reverts back to the title. I think I need to adjust some variable setting too so that the score always reverts back to zero at the title. However, I may also try to integrate some sort of high score feature so that new players at the event (should my game make it there) can see what they need to beat. Lastly, I’m going to record a few sound effects for the game tomorrow evening before uploading it. I even bought some real balloons to blow up and pop to get that sound. Fun!

All in all, I’m very happy with how Balloon Ride is turning out. I’m excited to release this for the EGP challenge and hope to get it on the big screen in Berlin!
More to come as the project wraps up.


Balloon Ride: Moves and Math

January 28, 2012

Okay, Balloon Ride┬áis shaping up nicely. I believe I have all movement squared away. I’ve also worked out math needed for the scoring method.

In the game, players must shoot point balloons in air and on land. Air balloons can only be shot with arrows and smaller balloons are worth more points. Land balloons can only be shot with bombs (or whatever) and are also worth more as they decrease in size. Land balloons are overall more valuable as well. I have also added an accuracy counter, so players will not want to just blindly shoot since your final score is calculated by multiplying your achieved score by your shot accuracy.

Here is a screenshot of the game so far:

Of course, that’s not the final look of the game. One thing I learned from my failures in other design challenges is to use placeholder graphics until I am done with just about everything else. With the basic gameplay in place, I’ve really just got two major things left to do – update the graphics and build an actual level.

This game will probably only have the one level. Again, it’s not really meant for computer play (though it can be played) but for play on step pads by multiple players. I may tweak a few things about movement. As I play it more, the right-firing bomb seems to fly out a little too far. Plus, I’ve toyed with the idea of making some of the target balloons move, maybe even bringing some in from the right. I haven’t decided yet. Currently, the level takes about 5 minutes to play, and I’m hesitant to extend that since the area where the game will be played will probably have people waiting to play.

The game is short and the mechanics are simple. I know the event is going to be covered by word, photo and video, so I’m looking forward to the possibility of seeing people actually play this. More updates as it nears completion…only a few days left in the challenge!

Balloon Ride – Targets Acquired

January 28, 2012

Okay, so I spent a couple of hours on Balloon Ride over the past couple of days, and I got some decent work done. It’s still in early stages, but little by little stuff is happening.

I got all the projectiles set up and working. Now, the player can fire an arrow or drop a bomb from either side of the balloon. I did have to tweak some speed settings a bit to get everything to work well. Since the balloon is moving at a fixed pace, I had to increase the firing speed out one side of the balloon so that the balloon did not immediately pass what was being fired. With all the numbers in place however, it actually looks fairly nice.

I also have a basic test level set up and have build some placeholder graphics for the targets. I think I may have decided on a score system too, but I’m sure I’ll have to play with that to get the full fun factor out of it.

More work on Balloon Ride to come today!

Balloon Ride – 5 Button Conrols

January 24, 2012

Finished up the initial work on my control scheme for the EGP 5-button challenge. The challenge stipulates that the digits 1-5 must be used. Since submitted games will be played on a big screen with large step pads, I’m developing the game with that in mind. Specifically, this game would probably work best in that environment with 5 players, but it could be played by just one very frantic person.

Here is a link to the EGP challenge so you can get an idea of how the game will be played with the screen and step pads:

I’m just using placeholder graphics for now.

I have movement and gravity set up. Currently, the hot-air balloon is constantly falling. The player will need to ‘step’ on pad 3 (push the number 3) to add lift to the balloon. The player will need to be careful to not let the balloon hit the ground or carry it too high off the screen.

Numbers 1 and 5 fire an arrow left or right respectively. The arrow is long-range and will be used to pop point balloons.

Numbers 2 and 4 launch a small bomb left or right respectively that falls quickly to the ground. This is used to try to hit ground targets for points.