Monthly Archives: April 2015

Read this nice little opinion on Forgotten Ball from ready-up.net

It’s not often I read about Forgotten Ball on the internet, I mean I’m not the most vocal developer but I feel like maybe I am starting to do things right. Lovely chap, spoke to him for quite some time, words continue after the image.

“Last but not least I rounded off my demo derby by playing The Forgotten Ball. Developed by Josh Croft, a Computer Science student based locally at The University of East Anglia, this is a 3D maze puzzle platformer that sees you guiding the titular ball up a massive tower. You know it’s massive because in the opening moments the game forces you to fall off the top and drop through the entire world to its base, on the way giving you a glimpse of the incredibly complex mesh of geometric intersecting pathways that lie in wait. Since Josh intends the game to work on a range of mobile devices, the games graphics make very few technical demands, and yet the game has an elegant but bold aesthetic, which benefits from its simplicity. It’s a fine example of technical limitations producing some creative design solutions. Instead of a dynamic lighting model, for instance, Josh tells me that he uses a heavily adapted shader to simulate the shifting shadows and highlights as you roll around each ninety degree angle, but the resulting effect feels just right.

The forgotten ball shares some technical and aesthetic approaches with Thomas was alone (Josh got some pointers from that games artist), and feels like a revival of Playstation Classic Kula World by way of Echochrome. Most importantly to a simple puzzle platformer the games jumping physics feel spot on, with an emphasis on analogue control (the longer you hold the button the further you go) and the introduction of a float mechanic, which sees you balancing the opposing forces of gravity and upward inertia as you traverse some tricky obstacles, adds a significant level of skill to proceedings. The games level design, with its massively intricate interlocking world filled with hazards and shortcuts that loop back on themselves, also has more than a little inspiration from Dark Souls as I learn from Josh.”

http://ready-up.net/features/norwich-gaming-festival-2015/

Lovely, really.

The changing of colour

Colour is a pig, I barely understand it, I dress in black, white and grey almost exclusively. Colour is not my thing. This post is going over some of my older screenshots through to where Forgotten Ball is today, some lessons learned too.

I have been unhappy with the way Forgotten Ball looks for a long time and the last few weeks I had gone a little into colour hell – I was prepared to make the change. Forgotten Ball is nearing completion and let me be frank – it wasn’t up to the aesthetic standard I had hoped to achieve.

Forgotten Ball’s mechanics came about as a mid teen, playing with Lego. I think the style Forgotten Ball started to take was inspired from those bricks too.

legoTower

Forgotten Ball, Lego, minimal, a lot of blocks, lots of colour combinations, and ultimately a lot of mistakes. These images are kind of in order, from years ago to today.

This is one of the very first shots from the very first builds of Forgotten Ball in late 2012, was a whole new world of learning and looks horrible, but for the sake of progress…

old

This image is an old image. From around Jan 2013. Green floors, placeholder UI, Specular shaders – not ideal. It didn’t look good.Bo_a7BvCcAA7k8E

Brown body, black background, poor lighting. Looked clean though. 2014-07-17 18.51.59BpjRQPkIIAAXQyC

Solid background colour – looked drab, uninteresting. Conflicted with world.B6_4Xy-CAAA525s

Lighting in some sections was poor, trying to create atmosphere at the expense of visibility. Darkness certainly induces tension, but it was never perfect. It has gotten better though, the second image down is still somewhat used, but it’s much more visible.006007
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The falling section of Forgotten Ball is another area that colour really never made sense. As you would fall through world, the colours would show different areas, but really in the end it just made a mess. Colour was starting to create confusion.2014-09-09 17.37.142014-09-09 17.37.19
In a similar series, I was happier with the lighting, but the game still looked unpleasant. 002004

I like this image. 005

I’ve always liked this area, and with a fixed camera Forgotten Ball looks very clean. This area is still the same in game but colours have been changed of the floor.008003001

I still hope to create a fixed camera version, one day.

Everything before now, was an pre-alpha image. So they are old. The next images are recent, up to today.

The next two images show that I really had started to think about colour. The ball with a pink skin was lost within the blocks, the red objects were not as prominent as they should have been due to the red of the smaller body blocks.

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I desaturated the image so that well, everything was grey. This brought the red objects and the ball into clear view.CApS-e-WAAE2CCY

When this change was made I was very happy, as much as I like the colour of the older versions grey meant that the ball, and objects of the game were prominent. However making the geometry grey had a very clear problem and one I didn’t really see at first. Grey is boring, different shades of grey, makes it confusing for the player to separate playable area and geometry, this was a problem.

The last week or so of tweaks..

The next two images were the 4th or 5th iteration, a midpoint from the old to the new. The big change is that the millions of small blocks are no more, and that I am introducing colour again.CBSF_GrW8AA3bNGCBSF_jcWwAAhJtA

Transparency didn’t really work without shifting the rest of the game into a futuristic transparent wireframe version. It also made a user during a play test say she felt ill.

The next changes were quick, and clear.

The lighting in Forgotten Ball has been changed- one light, above the player as opposed to two lights to looking at the player from the side.

I reduced the colours of Forgotten Ball. Right now there are 18 colours in Forgotten Ball, 13 colours for the Ball themselves, with a maximum on screen colour count of 6.

Enemies and buttons have been desaturated, their colours are more in line with pastels. A dark background highlights the game area. The ball has a stronger colour, highlighting the ball to the player, hopefully showing importance.

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As Forgotten Ball is moving into its later part of two years of development – I really am starting to feel happy with the game, and also where I am going with it. 

It really does look very clean.