All of that talk about interfaces and input schemes last week wasn’t for nothing. I was figuring out a few things and, well, this is some of the results.
That video is a prototype interface for the game I’m making. I had messed around with all sorts of mouse and touch control setups and nothing really felt right. It needed to be simple, yet analog enough to give the player a feeling of control. Previously I had a button with a sort of timer on it. The longer the player pressed the button, mouse button, space bar, or x button, the more force would be behind the launch of one of those little marbles. That worked but it felt like landing an intended shot was based more on luck than any learned skill. I had a crude mouse aim setup going for a while, but that didn’t work very well and felt weird.
When I finally arrived at the slider mechanic for launching the marbles it felt natural, offered great player feedback, and works well with mouse, touch, and controller input. Pull down on the slider to apply the desired amount of force, wait until the right moment to let go, and then let go to launch. It’s incredibly simple, but it took a fair bit of work to get it all working consistently well.
The game itself is a riff on games like puzzle bobble where the aim is to fire object accurately at a field of similar objects to make things happen. As you can see in the video, one of the things that can happen is a violent explosion. I have the bubbles set to explode when certain criteria are reached. In the case of this test it’s the countdown of a random timer, but really it could be almost anything. Exploding won’t be the only thing that could happen, it probably won’t even be one of the most common things that could happen, but it’s sort of fun and makes for a good test of the game physics.
Everything in this video is way deep in the prototype phase. I even had some crummy art in place in an earlier test version, but I took it out so that I had to focus only on the gameplay. I have the presentation elements of the game completely separated from the code. I could have it launching bananas and Buicks by tomorrow afternoon, and the game wouldn’t know the difference. I do have a plan for what the presentation will be,but it won’t be food or car related. I’ll get to writing about that later.