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NaGaCreMo / Roll-A-Ball [Unity Free | NaGaCreMo 2014]

Yodaman Jer
User Banned
Posted: 4th Jan 2014 04:27 Edited at: 7th Jan 2014 03:40
So, I finally settled on an idea for a game to make for NaGaCreMo, but it's not really my idea.

I came across the "Roll-A-Ball" tutorial series on Unity's learning section of their site, and decided to use it as a template for a marble-based game. It uses Unity's physics engine for movement, and you'll feel it for sure!

The goal of the tutorial series was to learn how to use the physics engine AND to learn how to publish your game to the web with the Unity Web Player.

Anyway, here are some screenshots!

Building the Level:

Gameplay screenshot:

You can play the game so far over here, on my new site. Controls with arrow keys to move and space to jump!

Here are some of the features I plan to add...

EDIT: Huh, can't get lists to work. So here are they in my usual way of listing things!

Legend: = idea | = working on | = done

- Add Enemies
- Add traps
- Add lives system
- Add respawn points
- Add scoring system
- Add power-ups
- Make placement of gems semi-random in certain areas
- Add points where the camera will turn to follow the player (some levels will have 90* turns, so this will be required)
- Add some cool wind tunnels that push the player up to higher platforms

So, as you can see, those are all ideas, and I'm working on adding more! But first I want to at least add in the lives, scoring and respawn logic before much else.

So that's what I've got so far, what do you all think?

Check me out on Twitter! Read my blog!
Yodaman Jer
User Banned
Posted: 5th Jan 2014 17:59
I can't publish it right now, but I've updated the following things in the game:

- Controls are now better by using higher initial speeds for movement (you can darn near turn on a dime now), but there is a maximum velocity you can reach
- Changed the ground objects from planes to boxes in order to limit the polygonal count
- Started implementing camera waypoints, though still working out how to make them work

Here's a screenshot and another, showing the differences.

I will upload an updated version of the game tonight before midnight! Sadly I work all day so can't do much else before then...

Check me out on Twitter! Read my blog!
Years of Service
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Joined: 30th Dec 2005
Location: E:/ NA / USA
Posted: 5th Jan 2014 19:01
I love me some Monkey Ball rolling. I was able to jump extremely high by holding jump while in one of the map corners - presumably I was allowed to jump repeatedly because I was colliding with an object the whole time. Maybe that's a feature .

Blobby 101
Years of Service
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Joined: 17th Jun 2006
Location: England, UK
Posted: 5th Jan 2014 19:14
Nice start! Are you gonna add slopes and things into it too? Sounds quite like Marble Blast (which is awesome xD).

Good luck!

Yodaman Jer
User Banned
Posted: 5th Jan 2014 19:41

Yeah,that's exactly how that originally worked. I was checking for consistent collision and jumped based off of that. Now I cast a ray between the player and the floor, and that glitch no longer occurs, although I probably will add a double jump in.


Yup,this was sort of inspired by Marble Maze Construction set by tiresius from the forums, but it will be so vastly different in so many ways, but I will add slopes too.

Check me out on Twitter! Read my blog!
Yodaman Jer
User Banned
Posted: 6th Jan 2014 18:38 Edited at: 6th Jan 2014 18:39
Sorry I couldn't upload the new version last night, everyone. Had to stay later at work than I thought, but on the bright side due to the HORRIBLY cold temperatures in the midwest this week, I didn't have to go in today, so I was able to do a bit more work this morning!

The new version is here, and although it doesn't add much, the controls are VASTLY improved, the level design is changed a bit, there's some nice background music and the gems make a sound when collected.

Right now, I would like feedback mainly on the controls, and the sound effects/music. While there is a lives system implemented, there's no logic to handle any sort of game-over screen, if you keep falling off the edges you'll just get into the negative numbers. Also, I can't figure out how to stop the inertia of the player after he's died - when he respawns, he keeps rolling, so take that into consideration when playing!

Things I'll add next and am currently working on:
- Camera movement logic (need to post about this on Unity forums, keep getting weird errors about rotating the camera)
- Score system
- Game Over Screen

So please let me know what you think! In the meantime, I'm gonna go eat some lunch.

Check me out on Twitter! Read my blog!
Yodaman Jer
User Banned
Posted: 7th Jan 2014 03:37 Edited at: 7th Jan 2014 03:39
Apologies for the triple-post, but I want to make sure everyone sees that I've updated the demo!

The following is now implemented and working:
- Camera rotates around corners perfectly (this was REALLY hard because I also had to make the player's movement relative to the camera - had to wait hours for help!)
- Tutorial messages appear when the player is in the message zone
- Controls have been made slightly better again

Here are some screenshots!

The camera zones:

The tutorial message zones:


And here's a video of the game in action!

Things I'm still working on:
- Game Over screen
- Death logic
- Checkpoints

Things I want to add:
- Traps
- Enemies
-"Bouncy Banisters" (the rails along this demo level were intended for this purpose and will become bouncy in the next update)
- Hoverpads and Wind tunnels

So please tell me what you think so far!

Check me out on Twitter! Read my blog!
Years of Service
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Joined: 30th Jun 2006
Location: On Toast
Posted: 7th Jan 2014 15:30
Sort of reminds me of this weird PSOne game

Formerly OBese87.
Yodaman Jer
User Banned
Posted: 8th Jan 2014 16:04
I definitely see why!

I didn't do a whole lot of work yesterday. All I did was spend some time optimizing the camera code and and trying to organize the scripts a bit better (they're getting just a tad out of hand). I probably won't have a new demo up until at least tonight, it all depends on what I can get done today!

I did record quite a bit of footage of me working on building the next level.

I also bought my first Unity asset - SoundManager Pro. Unity's sound system on its own is actually not great at all. Without SoundManager Pro, I was unable to figure out a way to have music continue throughout the game during level changes - something which should be a basic setting, amirite? Nope, instead, in order to achieve just that, I had to spend $10, but it was well worth it!

So yes, I should have something new to show tonight maybe!

Come check out my new website!
Years of Service
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Joined: 20th Dec 2004
Location: Scotland
Posted: 8th Jan 2014 22:39
Looking good so far!

I think one thing you should do is disable the tutorial regions the first time you leave them. There's no need to go back to the same place and see "Press space to jump" twice.

"everyone forgets a semi-colon sometimes." - Phaelax
Yodaman Jer
User Banned
Posted: 9th Jan 2014 05:03
Thanks, Zotoaster!

Actually, those tutorial "zones" are going to be replaced by floating, rotating question marks that when the player approaches them and presses the designated button, the messages will appear, so if they need the info again they can go back and check it out. Doing that will also help make the scripting for displaying the tutorial messages easier, this is what it looks like right now (bad bad bad!):

Instead, I could just write a general script with two string variables ("caption" and "message"), and then attach it to each floating/rotating question mark. When the player is in contact with the question mark and presses the appropriate button, the custom message will display until they exit out of it. I will probably update it to use UnityGUI, so that I can do some fun stuff with dialog box backgrounds!

Gosh, looking at that now, I can't believe I thought the way I'm doing it now was even a good idea. This is what happens when I stay up till 2am programming.

Anyway, I had a minor setback today. Apparently, something I did interfered with the way shadows are rendered. Everything was fine until I finished level 2 and started work on level 3. When I went to go make a test build, everything was fine. I was halfway through the test when I realized something was off - there were no shadows! Soooo, I played around with settings, Googled a bit, tried desperately to find a solution, and there literally was none. So I thought restarting Unity would fix it. Nope. I then opted to revert to a previous version I had uploaded to Dropbox (thank God!), but that means I literally lost about 2.5 hours of work on touching stuff up...

BUT, it was sort of a blessing in disguise because I had decided I wanted to redo some parts of level 2 anyway. So now I can!

The version that you can play here, sadly, is the reverted version, but you'll notice even more improvements, including:

- Slight initial speed increase (tighter turning!)
- Resolution updated by 100px in width and height, makes for a slightly crisper image in your browser! Please let me know if the resolution is too high (currently it's 1060x700)
- The player is slightly bigger (this helps makes the gems look more appropriate in size, AND helps jumping)
- You can now actually go to level 2! Woot! To do this, approach the (obviously placeholder) Warp Gate that appears when you collect all the gems.
- The music continues from level-to-level

Now, fun fact: if you win level 2, and touch the Warp Gate, you'll to go... level 2. Again, this is because I had to revert to a previous backup, and lost level 3, so in order for Unity to play nicely, I had to put SOMETHING in the Warp Gate's script for it to compile...

Now here are some updated screenies!
New camera zones:


View of past locations:

Things I've added:
- Warp Gate to next level
- More music
- Score system!
- More camera angles and zones
- When the player falls, after they've fallen a certain distance, the camera will stop moving and instead watch them continue to die painfully

Things I still need to add:
- Game over screen (you'd really think I'd have this by now!)
- Some kind of enemy
- Spike traps

So let me know what you think of the new demo! Any feedback is welcome, especially on the camera movement!

Come check out my new website!
Years of Service
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Joined: 30th Dec 2005
Location: E:/ NA / USA
Posted: 12th Jan 2014 03:04
Do these [video[b][/b]=youtube] tags work for everyone else? They don't work for me. Another beta forum feature?

Anyway, it looks and sounds pretty nice. I'm not sure people will need to reread these tutorial boxes (since the game is fairly simple), but it's not a big deal either way. The camera transitions threw me off a lot, though. It was really hard to keep going the right way when the camera transitioned. Dunno what might help that. Maybe if it rotated right as you got the "corner" gem (right now most of them take place in the middle of straight lines).

Yodaman Jer
User Banned
Posted: 12th Jan 2014 19:00
Yes, the way Libervurto and I embedded the videos is the new way in the beta forums. Sorry, should've realized that it wouldn't work for everyone else, I have the beta bookmarked so I can use it all the time now.

And yes, the camera movement is quite jarring (as I've been told by friends on facebook and other sites I've posted this on). I've updated the demo to make the camera transition a tad slower, which helps you adjust, but that's just a band-aid for now.

What I actually want to do is when the player enters a camera transition zone, the player's movement will stop for as long as the camera is moving. Then, when the camera is at its new position, input will resume, and whatever key the player was pressing (this usually will be the forward key) will be saved, then because of the movement being relative to the camera, they should continue to move in that direction just fine, and everything should be smoother than chunky gravy! I already know how to do this, but in order for the effect to look nice, I have to tweak a lot of variables, and find the "magic spot".

Anyway, I've updated the demo!

- You can now die and the gameover screen will appear (nothing fancy yet, literally whipped it up in ~50 seconds)
- Replaced the cube gems with actual models I modeled in my modeling program (blender)
- Tweaked camera settings, but it's still not a good solution
- Made tutorial SignPosts, which will not only appear in the first stage, but will appear in each stage that will introduce something new (think of Bill Board from SM64)
- Upped max velocity AGAIN, because the marble still feels really slow (though if I increase it much more, it will feel completely unrealistic)

Things I'm working on:
- Enemies
- Better camera logic
- Main menu screen (this probably won't happen for a while)
- Better textures, better graphics
- Warp Zones and Wind Tunnels
- Expand the tutorial stage (to introduce a few more of the main game mechanics)

I'm too lazy to take screenshots right now, so just play the demo to find out what it looks like! I will post screenies at a later time, I just have to go do stuff today.

Come check out my new website!
Yodaman Jer
User Banned
Posted: 20th Jan 2014 21:27
Well, I'm back from New Orleans, and on the way home (a 16 hour drive, mind you!), I realized that this project was a bad idea from the start.

First of all, I'm still very, very new to Unity, and have no idea how the physics engine really works. That pretty much means this project was doomed from the start.

Secondly, the concept is kind of overdone. There are so many marble or "ball" games, there's really not much originality anymore. Coming up with new ideas for this specific type of game is proving a bit too much.

Thirdly, there's some weird bugs with Unity's default IDE on Mac, and it only gets worse the bigger the project gets. Basically, the IDE will freeze up, need to be forced closed, and I frequently lose and break entire script revisions, despite saving constantly. It's a really weird, annoying bug.

Soo... yeah... project cancelled. I'm leaving it uploaded on my site for now, in case I ever want to revisit it. It's possible I'll continue work on this in the future, but I'm much more interested in learning how to do city-simulation and tower defense games.

Come check out my new website!
29 games
Years of Service
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Joined: 23rd Nov 2005
Location: not entirely sure
Posted: 1st Feb 2014 01:49
Fully understand why you cancelled this project. It's quite difficult to pick a project for something like this but at least you gave it a shot and tried some new stuff.

Yodaman Jer
User Banned
Posted: 1st Feb 2014 05:07
Yeah! I felt I got pretty far, at least in terms of a goal and whatnot.

It just became too much of a chore - like I said, there are so many various marble games that it's incredibly difficult to come up with new ideas. And I really don't want to do a remake, so, that's what led to the project being cancelled.

I did spend a day a week or so ago trying to come up with ideas for it, as I would love to complete it, but I just wasn't getting any that hadn't already been done.

Instead, I thought of an interesting new idea for a game that could be really fun to make - I've already started making the terrain for it (gotta love Unity's built in terrain tools!), but I still want to learn more about Unity before I dive head-first into it.

Maybe for the next NaGaCreMo, eh?

Come check out my new website!

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