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I think I'm done with my first game...

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... but I need your input to decide whether it really is done. My first game is a 2-D breakout-style game called Atomic Ball. I've debugged it myself for a looong time to the point where I can't find any more bugs, which is very cool! Now I need your help to see if the game indeed has no bugs so I can go ahead and release it and then start work on my next game. Just download from the Atomic Ball link below, read the Readme file, run the installer, and play the game and write some levels with the editor! Atomic Ball (15.2 megabytes) Screenies (editor pic is large): Game in Progress Bonus Round Full-Featured Editor The 'Game in Progress' pic shows a couple of angled blocks, those are actually actively rotating. Your ball will realistically bounce off them based on how those blocks are currently rotated. The purple particle effect is where Teleporters are, which will teleport your ball up into the block area. The two big blocks are 'smashers', which will smash your ball if it gets caught between them when they move together. Sorry if the 'Bonus Round' pic doesn't look very interesting, but it's hard to get a screenshot of it in action (it's very fast-paced). You'd definitely have to see it in action to really appreciate it. Blocks are constantly falling from the top of the screen, and you need to bust as many blocks with your ball as you can while taking care not to get your paddle smashed by a falling block! You also need to make sure you don't let your ball get past your or the bonus round will end. The '6x' in the upper left corner is how high you've gotten the Score Multiplier to go, and each block is worth 10 points, so with the Score Multiplier each block is worth 60 points! Smash 10 blocks to bring up the Score Multiplier by one point, but be ready for some fast-paced action because more blocks fall at a faster rate of speed as you get that Score Multiplier higher! LOTS of bonus items are available in the Bonus Round, so don't be surprised if you find yourself playing with 16 balls on the screen at once. The editor that installs with Atomic Ball is the same editor I wrote all of the game's levels with. It's pretty easy to use, but be sure to read the editor's readme file first or you'll probably be left wondering what the heck to do. Besides, if you read the editor's readme file you will learn about shortcut keys you can use to substitute menu surfing and make level creation a LOT faster and easier! But the quick-and-dirty is to drag out blocks from the 'Block Select' area onto the game area. Right-click on a block to bring up the 'Block Properties' menu (shown), and right-click in a blank area of the screen to bring up the 'Level Options' menu. Write your level, bring up the 'Level Options' menu, and save it. When you want to play your levelpack in Atomic Ball, use the 'Generate Level File' option under the 'Level Options' menu. Read the Readme file to learn how to name your levelpack, name each board in your levelpack, create teleporters, create phantom (ghost) blocks, create moving and rotating blocks, create invincible/multihit/explosive blocks, etc. --- Anyhoo, I'm looking for some input as to whether the game and editor works on your computer. If you download the game, install it, and it works perfectly, post to let me know! If it doesn't work, let me know that too. If it doesn't work, do this: Run the 'Configure Atomic Ball' applet in the game's Program Group and choose the 'Record a log file' option, then run the game and let it crash, and finally run the 'Configure Atomic Ball' applet again and turn off the 'Record a log file' option. Look in your Atomic Ball installation folder and look for a file called 'atomlog.txt', copy its contents and post it here. Thanks for the help, guys and gals! Please let me know whether or not the game and editor work for you.

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Hi Dookie,

Congratulations on finishing your first game. I tried it out (both the game and the editor) and didn't have any problems.

The graphics are nice, and it's easy to play.

Things I liked:

- Sound effects were nice and I like that you are using sound effect positioning (very noticeable with headphones).
- The Arkanoid level start "tribute" music.
- The bonus round (kind of like arkanoid meets tetris).
- The exploding balls at level end or loss.
- The "Demo Mode" if you just sit on the main menu

The level editor seemed pretty intuitive. I didn't read the instructions, but figured out how to use it pretty quickly.

And some constructive criticism:

- Many times when I got power ups (or maybe they were power downs) I didn't really know what happened. Some have a noticeable effect, others don't seem obvious to the player.
- How come there's no music on the main menu?
- Watch out for "last brick syndrome". When I was on one level (think it was called "teleport madness", the level where you have to teleport your ball into the center chamber to hit the blocks) there was one brick left in the corner that I just couldn't hit. That's when I stopped playing ;)

Anyway, nice work.

Regards,



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Very enjoyable, very nicely put together and it plays very well. Some of the levels were a nightmare, I started it up more than once so it's got something going for it. Well done :)

[Edited by - spookycat on November 12, 2005 9:41:12 AM]

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Wow, thanks for the replies guys! I really appreciate it! [smile]

Thanks for the ideas and constructive criticism, bignobody. I want this game to be a very enjoyable experience, so your opinions about the game are just as important as reports about technical issues (bugs).

1) The problem with the powerups not being obvious as to what happens is something I tried to combat for quite a while, and I don't really know how to make it any better without distracting from gameplay. For example, if you grab the Thief powerup without possessing any powerups already, then it appears that nothing happened at all. But what that powerup does is relinquishes you of all powerups (good or bad) and resets the ball's speed back to as if you had just started the level. So if you've just started a level and a Thief falls, then all it does is gives you 100 points. But if you're trying to hit a full-speed tiny ball possessed by the Crazy Ball anti-powerup with your microscopic paddle, then a Thief powerup is a godsend! [wink]

2) The reason I didn't put title music is for two reasons - it sounded too 'busy' when going from title music to the music that played on demo playback, and I ran out of music. D'oh! If somebody out there has a quick title song they'd like to hear in the game, then I'm all for it! Granted, since the game is going to be free I can't pay for the music... but a quick 'splash song' (is that even a real phrase?) would be cool when the title screen appears!

3) I was throwing around the idea of using something similar to what DX-Ball uses for their last-brick problem, but I wanted to see what you guys thought about the game not doing anything at all about that last brick. I was thinking if the player doesn't (or can't) hit it for a long time, it just blows up. Or spirals and shrinks to nothing... I dunno, something cool! Although instead of rewarding the player the score value of the block, maybe deduct that many points? or give no score for that block at all?

I'm open to more suggestions... Do ya know of a way to make bonus effects more obvious? Does anybody have a quick song they'd like to hear for the title screen tune in Atomic Ball? How about a way to resolve the last-brick problem (blowup after a while, do something else)?

I'm glad you enjoyed playing the game! BTW if you watch your score when the balls explode at the end of the level, you get 1000 points for each ball left on the screen at the end of the round! The score you earn is also relative to the difficulty level you choose to play, so if you're playing the 'Really Tough' difficulty level then in addition to the blocks being worth more points, the end-level balls become worth 5000 points each instead of 1000.

Thanks again for the input! I'll wait for more replies and opinions, and then implement your ideas and suggestions.

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Hi Dookie,

You still have a lot of real-estate on the left side of the screen. Why not implement some kind of active powerups display? That way it's unobtrusive, but the player can have a quick look at what power ups/anti-power ups are currently active.

As for the last brick problem, for me this is a level design issue, so I'm not sure you need to implement a specific solution for it. Just my opinion ;)

Regards,


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When I read this topic I thought, well, ok, another breakout clone. I have played some, including DX Ball and did not expect much of
this new version. Boy was I wrong.

This game is a masterpiece!

Wow, Dookie, is it that I missed the last decade of new innovative ideas in other breakout games or did you really come up with all these great ideas yourself? Never before I saw
+ so many balls
+ bonus levels with pieces falling down
+ balls that big
+ moving blocks
+ turning blocks
+ ghost blocks
+ even ghost trowsers (lol)

This is a real gem. Music and sound is very good (but also very big :) )
Graphics are good too but maybe leave room for improvements here and there.

What I thought could still be done:

- If there are many balls and level is finished, then ball after ball disappears and I get 1000 points. This is much too slow. Don't want to wait for that so long. Let the balls disappear 5 times faster.

- If last ball is lost or level is finished, then paddle freezes for a short time.
I would like some animation instead. No freezing.
If ball is lost the paddle should explode (and then reappear).
If level is finished then there should some nice animation too, or any effect (like the super smart bomb?)
It would give a more natural, continous feel. But don't make animations too long or at least let player interrupt with fire button. I really don't like to wait for the next level too long.

Quote:
Original post by Dookie
3) I was throwing around the idea of using something similar to what DX-Ball uses for their last-brick problem, but I wanted to see what you guys thought about the game not doing anything at all about that last brick. I was thinking if the player doesn't (or can't) hit it for a long time, it just blows up. Or spirals and shrinks to nothing... I dunno, something cool! Although instead of rewarding the player the score value of the block, maybe deduct that many points? or give no score for that block at all?


I also think, something should be done if no block is hit for a long time. It's too frustrating if nothing happens for too long.

How about a "Hurry up" mode.
If nothing happens for x seconds (x==10?) then the "Hurry up" mode is entered and a countdown starts automatically from 3, 2, 1, boom.
Each time the countdown reaches 0 one of the remaining blocks explodes by itself and costs the player some points. Then count down starts again 3,2,1,boom, another block gone along with some points. Only if player hits a block the "hurry up" mode stops immediately.

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Cool, I've implemented some of the ideas you guys suggested.

- Timer (after 20 or so seconds, a timer begins to tick until the last block explodes)
- Bonus balls at end of level explode faster (so you get to the next level faster)
- Bug fix (Paddle Shrink item sometimes didn't work in Bonus Round after picking up a Thief item)

The Timer is pretty cool! It activates if there's three or fewer blocks on the screen after about 20 seconds, and counts down for about 5 seconds. You don't know it's there until the Timer activates, when you'll hear a familiar 'tick-tock' sound. The timer will tick away and speed up until either it expires and one of the blocks explodes or until you hit a block (the timer stops when you hit a block). When a block is taken out by the Timer, you get deducted from your score the point value of the block.

I didn't do anything about making a separate display for active powerups, because you'll know you have them when you have them... The only time you might be at a queston is if you pick up a Thief item without possessing any powerups beforehand; since there isn't anything the Thief can take away from you, all you get is a cool 100 points and no repercussions!

Anyhoo, download it and give it a shot. 25 levels to play, bonus level after every five levels, an easy-to-use editor... Lots of good stuff here! Oh, speaking of editor, would you test that out for me too? I'd like to know if it really is easy to use. But remember that there will be a little learning curve, since using the editor will be much easier if you have a little background in vector math (min and max values + speed + delta = moving block).

Atomic Ball (15.2 megabytes)

Thanks for testing this out for me! If you don't find any bugs or have any more suggestions, then this will become my first completed game... Yippie!

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Very well done! Looks very professional.

There is just one thing I'd change. I didn't like the look of some backrounds and fonts - their pixels are too big and this brings the idea of those old coin ups or 8-bit computer games.

Apart from that the game is trully pro.

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