My particle system started as a simple shower of colorful circles. After that was done, I tried to get the circles to react to the cursor/mouse position. I basically wanted a gravity well to be located where the mouse was, but I had a hard time figuring out just how to code that. After some fiddling with it, though, I did manage to get a satisfactory reaction from the circles. The forces are fairly weak, and therefore hard to present through static images, but notice the tendency toward the large white circle (the indicator for the cursor). If you hold the mouse button down/hold your finger to the tablet, the colors, become slightly brighter, and the force applied to each circle is doubled. Overall an interesting little intro into the world of particle systems. I still am quite interested in learning how to properly code a gravity well.
Overall a fairly simple exercise. Using this as practice with matrices, rotations, and translations, I challenged myself to get multiple rotating things to revolve around other rotating things. As the first few parts came together I was reminded of a scrambler: And once I took 2 of those things and split them I was reminded of the DC Shoe Co logo: I threw those things together (with a touch of blue) and came to something sort of interesting: Axing the background and adding just a little extra complexity yielded my Scrambler:
When I first started Streamer, I made 2 related observations about the base code.
- It was (at first) difficult to grasp, and therefore would be difficult to change.
- It was also interesting on its own, meaning it needn’t be changed too much to provide an interesting application.
In the end I kind of ran with my “moar colors, moar circles” idea. It took a long time to get the transparency of the circles to look ok, and in the end it’s still less than satisfying. The game still lacks a goal. In fact, while it sometimes looks kind of cool, it feels both less stylish and less like a game than the prototype. After so many hours and so little (if any) progress, I gave up on expanding Eclipse. I tacked a title screen onto it and let it sit. I don’t think I’ll be touching it for a while. I think the most important thing that I’ve learned from building Eclipse is that more features != better game. You can’t take something that isn’t fun, give it some more features, and expect it to be good. That’s not to say that my original idea was bad. I think that my first draft was a very cool, stylish little prototype. I just took it in the wrong direction. At least it was a learning experience.
I felt there was really something to Eclipse as soon as I threw it on the tablet. I spent a good half hour playing it, seeing how tiny the circles might become. Some other people also played it, and they also were quite motivated to play for a while. However, some concerns were expressed. First, the “random” probably wasn’t quite right for the game. (If one kept the circle in the middle long enough, the roamer would almost always find its mark.) Along with the centering issue, multiple people commented that it became more and more frustrating as you played and the circle got smaller. While it led to an intuitive goal, there was no end. One could perceivably go until the the roamer was but a pixel, but that would take an inordinate amount of patience and effort, and wouldn’t be fun in the slightest. This ended in people suggesting to give the game an end, and to have some sort of scoring. That proved difficult, however, so first I worked on the randomness of the roamer, and thought about adding things such as a timer, some sound, and some color. The timer felt cheap, though, and I couldn’t find good music or sounds to go with Eclipse, so I focused on color. But it turns out that the overlapping wasn’t as easily coded as it seemed in my head. Not to be discouraged, I decided to add some more features, hoping that something would yield new insight into how to make this a more fun game. After I added some extra circles for the sake of of adding colors, though… I came to realize that I probably should have just kept things simple, and perhaps started a new game for conference instead.
Eclipse began with our first black and white exercise, after we had begun to read Chip Kidd. It was almost entirely influenced by my want to use negative and positive space heavily within a game. Here’s my first entry for it in my sketchbook. At first I thought it’d include multiple shapes, and perhaps a time or size limit. However, in the beginning the game was very simple. You play the circle on an otherwise empty screen. There’s a smaller circle, camouflaged by the background, roaming around semi-randomly. The only parts of the roamer you can see are those overlapping with your circle. If you manage to envelop the circle, your old circle expands to become the background, and you become what used to be the roamer. Eventually, as the circles become smaller, it becomes exceedingly difficult to find the roamer. And that is where I ended my first draft.