"Vacuum and Force" is a small game I developed as a physics project. While there is no formal premise, the basic goal of the game is to guide the spaceship...
"Vacuum and Force" is a small game I developed as a physics project. While there is no formal premise, the basic goal of the game is to guide the spaceship to the goal using its four thrusters. Along the way there are many obstacles and challenges to be overcome.
Taken from my blog about a dude trying to make video games, The Edifice of Enterprise:
It has been about a month since I have last posted.
During this interlude I have accomplished quite a bit of work.
First, the prototype I ended up building for the game I had last spoke
of did not work out, unfortunately. The design was to simple and the
only interesting ideas would require me to develop all of the level
designs to explore. Even though the platforming worked fine and there
where no technical problems, I came to a startlingly (not) conclusion.
Platformers are not very interesting anymore. Every indie dude has made
one, and while I will not make the ludicrous claim that all the ideas
for them have already been used up, any game that tries to sell itself
solely on the basics of the genre will drown in a sea of mediocrity.
There is nothing novel about two dimensional platformers anymore, since
in the past four years both the independent and AAA markets have become
more accepting of them again.
With my inspiration for that project dried up by the harsh sun, I moved
on to a project that was inspired by a very unique and arcade-y top down
shooter called Robotz DX. This game is crazy good nostalgia fuel and has
a brilliant control scheme that I have never seen used anywhere else (probably
in lost games of the past that I will never encounter). I basically wanted to take
the core mechanics and enemy AI from this game and expand it, though I
would probably keep the arcade like nature in for my poor, poor sake. I
was able to recreate the player movement and control perfectly, but I
have yet to tackle the AI. To this game I will return.
So, in the meantime, a miracle has happened. I made a game. I sat down
and developed a complete game, from concept to .zip archive. It is
called Vacuum and Force (a terrible name, even by my standards, but
for some unexplainable reason I am too lazy to change it). Yes, I guess you
could conjure some sort of innuendo for that, but let us both admit that
it would not be that funny in the end. Did I seriously just write in the
Anyways, this game was made as a project for the physics course I am
currently taking. Turns out that physics is a very important component
of many games, especially video games (sports too though, and 52
pick-up). I sat down on a lazy Saturday and from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM
churned this game out. And now it is done. I still don't know if my soul
can handle the absurdity of such a prospect, but I believe it has gone
through worse, so I'll probably be fine. The fact that this project was
necessary to school is probably the source of my motivation. I am one of
those horrible people who will do whatever evils it takes to make sure
that my academic status is as satisfactory as possible. During the
development I was also following Mojang and their Mojam, which also
provided some inspiration. The Swedish people are amazing and I am sure
this also had a sort of psychology affect on me.
To describe the game and its relation to physics, let me present the small report I did on it for the class:
Throughout the game Vacuum and Force, the player is tasked with the job
of controlling a spaceship with thrusters along a two-dimensional plane
towards the finish line avoiding obstacles and hazards along the way. At
first, players are meticulous with their control over the thrust of the
ship, always seeking shelter in the stability of equilibrium, but over
time they develop the skill, understanding, and boundaries needed to
finesse their way through each of the obstacle courses with speed and
accuracy. Subconsciously the player’s mind familiarizes itself with the
physical nature of the game’s reality through repeated play. Velocity,
acceleration, and inertia all take roles in defining what happens in the
vacuum of the game space. Not only does the player simply witness the
results of these concepts of physics in action, but they interact with
and control them. This is the power of displaying and experimenting with
these ideas in a game; the audience explores the nature of physics
through exploring the space of physical possibility. As the player holds
down a key to turn on a thruster, they are causing a constant
acceleration in the respective direction, and when they let go, they
remove the acceleration. Adding, removing, and changing acceleration
allows for an indirect control of velocity. This indirect control over
motion lends to the game challenge. And with inertia, which causes the
spaceship to tend to move in the current direction and speed, balancing
the many accelerations and velocities becomes vital to the player
accomplishing their goal.