Friday, 15 January 2016

Atom Universe DevBlog #3 – The Art of Balancing & Community Competition

Welcome to the latest issue of ‘The DevBlog’. Previously, Alex was working on The Bowling Alley’s scoring system and told us how he overcome one of the problems that he’d encountered with the final round of bowling.

This week at the Atom Republic Tower, we’re continuing to progress though our workload with The Bowling Alley and we’ll be looking at more in-depth area of game design… ‘Balancing the game mechanics’. Finding the right balance can either make, or break a game. Our Product Manager, Jamie, will be taking us though his process of finding the perfect balance.

 “No matter how great a designer is, it's almost impossible to design the perfect system at the first time of asking. Because of this we add in as many flexible parameters as we can so that we can tweak (and usually tweak over and over!) them up and down until it's right. 

With Bowling the most important parameters that need tweaking are the power and hook - how fast a ball moves and how far it can spin. There are loads of parameters underneath which dictate this (the friction of the lane, the weight of the ball, the power of the bowler etc) so each of these is set up so that it can be refined. 

Less obvious are other aspects: the sound effects, the speed that the camera moves, the special effects when you get a strike... the shininess of the ball even! 

Luckily, in this case we have a real world equivalent - with this we're essentially trying to mimic real-life things, so we have lots of reference to work with. It should feel just like a real bowling alley.” 

“Sadly there's no magic wand for this. It's a hard thing to know for sure, and you get better at understanding it with experience. You learn it from playing a lot of games over a lot of years. 

You know how you have a favourite temperature in the shower and you twiddle the faucet until it's you find that right mix of hot and cold? And how happy it makes you when you do? 

It's that. That's balancing.”

Atom Universe Community Competition

Calling all trivia fans, between January 14th to January 20th, we'll be hosting a competition on the Atom Universe Forums.

The first five members to give a correct answer to that day’s question will receive a number of point’s dependent on who is the fastest to answer. Only those five fastest members will receive points for that day. (Even if you don't receive points on one day you can still play another day, points are cumulative.) The top three scorers in total number of points after 7 days will each receive a alpha key code.. 

For more information on how you can take part in this competition, please visit the Announcements section on the Atom Universe Forums.


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  2. Nice to hear from your new Product Manager, Jamie! What he says about "balancing" makes a lot of sense as far as putting variable parameters in place from the beginning to allow for tweaking in the future. I saw the contest on the forums & think it's great to give such opportunities to win a code to get access to the Alpha since that is no longer being awarded for donations (which are also no longer being accepted). As always, thanks for all your efforts on Atom Universe and thinking of the community too! ^__^

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