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This game concept was initially suggested by @lightsoda and refined into the following pitch by a group of community members. For more details on that, see this thread!

To see current development progress and participate, visti the Pongball subforum!

Pongball is Pong meets pinball in a frantic team based multiplayer experience. The core gameplay is similar to pong, but with a twist: instead of Pong's empty playing field, teams must battle each other with the help of - or obstructed by - pinball-style elements like bumpers, triggers and slingshots. Get your vote past your opponents' paddles and score a win for Pongball!

Presented by @Cheeseness

 

Pongball borrows core gameplay from Pong and spices up ball handling and point mechanics with bumpers, ramps, triggers and other elements commonly found in pinball tables. Players are divided into teams of two (or more?) and score points by getting a ball through their opponents' goal. Players might be represented as characters rather than paddles, and will have (unique?) special abilities that can affect the behaviour of the ball or other players' avatars.

Moving forward, we'd need to work out whether Pongball should be 2D or 3D, what kinds of special abilities will make for fun gameplay, whether individual levels should be able to have their own gameplay/physics properties, and what kind of score or ball behaviour implications interacting with bumpers, etc. should have. Individual levels and avatars could explore varying aesthetics, but picking a style for UI and other common visuals would be beneficial.

 

Concept art by @lightsoda and @Cheeseness

lightsoda_1882.thumb.jpg.71614cc6e403feed507914b6be967c61.jpgconcept_table.thumb.png.c7b68df19ab7e259a143556ad2fe06e1.png

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@lightsoda also wrote some notes on some of the types of contributions that Pongball would benefit from

Quote

The game has these “scenes” as I see it

  • Splash screen/main menu

  • Settings screen (if applicable)

  • Character, team and level select

  • Playing

  • Match over, score

 

Major contribution areas include

  • Figuring out fun ways to structure the playing field, what should it look like, what elements are there, what are the winning conditions

  • Characters, what do they look like, do they have special abilities, traits or something else that sets them apart? Should it affect gameplay?

As well as

  • Graphics (also animation where applicable)

    • Levels

    • Characters

    • Menus, possibly backgrounds

  • Music

    • One per “screen” and level, IMO, fitting to it’s style/purpose

  • Sound effects

    • Like music, sound effects should be per object/action, and based on its style/purpose

  • Programming

    • Core gameplay

    • Level traps, sections, whatever the level designers come up with

    • Networking if we decide to go online

    • Menus

    • Effects, shaders, explosions, et.c.

 

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Woot.Super excited for AF. So yeah, a lot of details are left open at this point, to leave some room for you guys to help and mold.

It's probably evident from the pitch that my main inspirations for this are couch co-op style games, short, silly and fun sessions.

Edited by lightsoda
.

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This concept is so exciting! I'd love to give a hand with any assets and animations.

This game in 3D could be so rad! With all the bells and whistles. Do you imagine both players seeing the same screen at the same time or some kind of split screen?

On the other hand, a 2D design would be better for clarity, and the screen-wide "superpowers" would benefit from it. Moreover, you'd have total control over the shading to make it very readable and easy to follow the ball. Maybe top-down view of a 3D level? Pixel art? :D

Sorry I got a little too excited maybe too soon! Cheers!

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Oh man I love this concept!
 

I feel like it has a lot of room to wiggle because of the accessibility factor going on. Pong + Pinball = super familiar. Maybe we could have someone make a custom physical controller to play if there is enough time a la #altctrlgamejam?

Would pong balls be able to move vertically in the space? Could create and interesting dynamic if you have to perform aerial moves and such. Definitely would love to see some sort of Thunderdome type level. There's a game being developed right now called Pinbrawl by a buddy of mine that has a pretty sweet execution on this idea, so would love to see the community's take on it.

Traps and variable win conditions are definitely going to be a huge part of this from what I can infer. So much to look forward to! Would love to help out in designing or programming on this or any of the other concepts when they get picked!

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@kednar so for now I have been picturing it as always having the entire field in view, I prefer that to split screen, if possible. I'm currently open to 2D or 3D, kinda depends on who wants to work on it, and if the majority is more comfortable with one or the other. With the (relatively) short timeframe, bells and whistles will have to be prioritized as nice to have ^_^

 

@Nes Interesting ideas, a physical controller is not something I'd even considered, and it would at least to me, seem waaay out of scope. I hope we have some wiggle room, but it's hard to say before we get down to actually figuring out the core of what the gameplay should be.

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Oh, and everyone is welcome to help on which ever pitch gets selected, we'll have more details on that moving forward.

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Aigh... I love the concept if it wasn't so set up for multiplayer instead of an AI opponent.  This is where I wish I knew programming so if this wins... I'd be "I'll do the single player coding damn it so I can actually play this"....(can is the wrong word... want to?  I'm an asshole, I don't get along well with others for gaming.  Creating?  Yes... gaming?  "What do you mean I can't just reach through the screen and punch you in the ace if I'm losing?")

 

Anyways I love both art concepts.  If this wins maybe I could develop a remix of:

 

 

Also just realized on any of the projects... time permitting that my skillset at management, clarifying, testing and constructive development would help on whatever gets voted for.  and if Pongball won I'd play with the community.

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4 minutes ago, lightsoda said:

@Reid_Harris_Cooper So I hope it will be possible to play single player, in that case the other paddles would be AI controlled. My thought from the get go has been 1-4 players.

Yay!  I mean I voted, but I'm going to be happy with whatever wins.

One more "prototype" and this one I get to help?  Yuppers.

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31 minutes ago, lightsoda said:

@Reid_Harris_Cooper So I hope it will be possible to play single player, in that case the other paddles would be AI controlled. My thought from the get go has been 1-4 players.

It's totally doable. Can add a dynamic to the game where AI will maybe try to target each other specifically ie: if AI1 has X more points than AI2 and AI3, game mode is elimination/sudden death, AI2 and AI3 will try to knock out AI1 first. Lots of cool stuff can be done! 

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3D playing space could throw up some interesting gameplay elements that 2D would not. For example, ball elevation, what happens if the ball gets lofted out of the arena? To score point you would need to get the ball within a three dimensional "goal" etc

Edited by elneilios

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Would someone be able to help me get a better picture of the role of the players? Would each character be running around bumping the ball trying to send it into the enemies goal (similar to the car's role in Rocket League), or are the characters running around placing bumpers/flippers/etc. to affect the ball or other players? Both of these situations sound incredibly fun and I'd love to hear more about the vision.

 

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@elneilios 3D does add some interesting possibilities. I'm still open to going either 2D or 3D.

@rheberling My thought is to have the characters replace the basic paddles in pong, so acting as goalies in this case, with some added abilities to spice it up. Though I'm open to ideas!

Edited by lightsoda

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4 minutes ago, lightsoda said:

@elneilios 3D does add some interesting possibilities. I'm still open to going either 2D or 3D.

@rheberling My thought is to have the characters replace the basic paddles in pong, so acting as goalies in this case, with some added abilities to spice it up. Though I'm open to ideas!

So would each paddle be almost like tank controls? With the sticks controlling which side is pushed forward?

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@Nes You'd control one character/paddle, mapped to left analog stick I presume, up is up, down is down et.c. I hadn't considered tank controls.

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I think Tron-like visuals would fit this very well (neon lines on a black background), whether in 2D or in 3D.

Edit: quick unprofessional edit of a google image to illustrate.

7970990_orig.jpg

Edited by EMarley

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2 hours ago, lightsoda said:

@Nes You'd control one character/paddle, mapped to left analog stick I presume, up is up, down is down et.c. I hadn't considered tank controls.

Thought it'd be a good idea considering the paddles would also rotate maybe?

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My vote would be to do 2D, which I believe would have less potential complications and would be easier for a wide variety of people to contribute to. @lightsoda, what game engines would you be open to using for the project? Would you be open to something like Game Maker or Construct 2, which would be quicker to develop and keep the scope down?

Edited by VideoGameScrapBook

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1 hour ago, VideoGameScrapBook said:

My vote would be to do 2D, which I believe would have less potential complications and would be easier for a wide variety of people to contribute to. @lightsoda, what game engines would you be open to using for the project? Would you be open to something like Game Maker or Construct 2, which would be quicker to develop and keep the scope down?

Wouldn't Unity be more apt? Allows more complexity and ability to extend if we do want to work in more than 2 dimensions.

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Unity (or Unreal) is an obvious choice for long term 3D projects, but I know people that are familiar with those tools elect to use a simpler tool for jams for quicker development. Reducing complexity is exactly the point, as embracing constraints helps limit scope and in fact can encourage creativity. So if 2D is chosen, I'd encourage people to look into Game Maker or Construct 2. But ultimately I'm fine with whatever tool is picked by the team lead.

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Former Bad Golf contributor here (MaritalWheat on Github) - man, haven't been around these parts in forever but saw the AF email and that the community jamming was becoming official and had to pop back in for this. :D

This concept seems awesome @lightsoda/@Cheeseness - reminds me of Rocket League in that it's mashing two simple but fun concepts into one ridiculous, over the top fun one (soccer/cars for Rocket League, and pong/pinball here).  Also feel like it's more achievable for a jam in that it's more of building a few systems that can result in tons of great gameplay, versus being more content driven like the other pitches.

One last thought...I saw the word "networking" in one of the informational posts and a cold chill ran through my body. xD  Just from Bad Golf memories, if I were to say cut one thing for the initial jam development it would be that...adds so much complexity and almost everything that was being developed had to account for the networked state.  My 2c there.

Can't wait to see whatever concept takes off, and hope I can find some time to help!  Y'all are amazing for organizing this.

 

 

 

Edited by cachemonet

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4 hours ago, VideoGameScrapBook said:

My vote would be to do 2D, which I believe would have less potential complications and would be easier for a wide variety of people to contribute to. @lightsoda, what game engines would you be open to using for the project? Would you be open to something like Game Maker or Construct 2, which would be quicker to develop and keep the scope down?

For better or worse, whichever project gets selected as the "main" community project for AF2017 is going to need to use tools that have editor support (not just deployment support) for Linux, Mac and Windows.

I don't think that being 2D or 3D is necessarily going to make it harder for people to contribute - there's still a lot of 2D work to do in a 3D game (and potentially vice versa).

Ultimately, the decision of whether to go 2D or 3D, and in turn which engine/technologies to pursue, will be made by the group that put the pitches together. We'd definitely like to inform those decisions with perspectives and opinions from the broader community though, so more discussion on that front would be super welcome!

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1 hour ago, cachemonet said:

Former Bad Golf contributor here (MaritalWheat on Github) - man, haven't been around these parts in forever but saw the AF email and that the community jamming was becoming official and had to pop back in for this. :D

Glad to see you back! :D

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6 hours ago, cachemonet said:

Former Bad Golf contributor here (MaritalWheat on Github) - man, haven't been around these parts in forever but saw the AF email and that the community jamming was becoming official and had to pop back in for this. :D

Likewise, good memories of helping out with Bad Golf! It was a massively ambition project, I'm still amazed at how far we got with it!

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I was thinking more about 3D vs 2D. I'd really like to see this in 3D. I was thinking about a real-life pinball machine and how it exists in 3D but has an enclosed playing space. E.g. the ball runs along a flat, 2D surface but interacts with 3D obstacles and has a transparent ceiling to stop the ball flying away.

I was thinking how this game could also exist within an enclosed playing area with 3D obstacles to interact with and a ceiling that could potentially be used tactically as a way of ricocheting the ball around to try and score. Perhaps we could use an isometric camera angle to allow for the perspective required to utilize this kind of movement?

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@Nes Rotate, maybe, we'll see what direction the final concept takes!

@VideoGameScrapBook I'm leaning heavily towards Unity at the moment, Godot also seems like a good alternative. Like Cheese said, it has to be somewhat cross platform.

@elneilios The problem with 3D vs. 2D (in my experience), is that 3D physics are harder to wrangle to what you want, but we'll see, I'm totally open to 3D.

@cachemonet Hey what's up! Yeah, we definitely have some decisions to make regarding networking.

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Here's a question: What do you all think about Pongball having tilt?

Levels can have attributes and triggers that tilt the table, and players could add a bit of tilt themselves?

For example; a ball can be rolling into someone's zone, and they're sooooo ready to hit it back, when all of a sudden, everyone else tilts in one direction and the paddle misses the ball. Extra game dynamics!

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Tilt was something we discussed when working the pitches. There's something really nice about the risk vs reward proposition of tilting. If you take a peek at lightsoda's concept piece, the bottom left of the top four screens shows a tilt scenario.

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