This game, as submitted for the App Innovation Contest, is now available for download from the AppUp store: http://www.appup.com/app-details/ballastic. Note that this version was only approved for Ultrabook™ on Windows 8, so you are required to use this platform to find and download the app via AppUp. After the dust settles from this competition, an update will be released to provide greater hardware and software support, including Windows 7 and desktop computers.
Given the limited development time frame, I am satisfied with the amount of progress I made to produce a polished game. However, some of the sensor features I had hoped to integrate were pushed back as the development platform I was using only gained beta support for many Ultrabook™ sensors in the final week of the competition. Even so, I did manage to integrate sensor support in a variety of ways.
- Optional touch support for Ultrabook™ (mouse can be used as well)
- Accelerometer support to alter the flow of the background visuals
- Light sensor support to give the game two different modes of play (day theme and night theme)
- Local and online high score system for playing against global players and those at home
- Unique visuals and background effects that are as relaxing as they are hypnotic
- Six different collectibles and powerups with increasingly challenging gameplay
- A grab-and-play game with simplistic yet addicting gameplay and creative physics
Below are some finalized screenshots of the game, as submitted to the AppUp store. This version of the game was developed exclusively for widescreen resolutions as included on the Ultrabook™, with the optimal resolution being 1600x900. The game can still be played successfully on other screen resolutions, but non-widescreen formats will introduce letterboxing when played.
It starts simple enough. A small and buoyant ball is attached to a thin elastic string. The objective? Carefully swing the ball around the screen while collecting a variety of loot. The catch? If you aren't especially careful, the ball will stretch a tad too far and the string will snap! To make matters worse, the more goodies you collect, the larger and heavier the ball becomes, making it all that more difficult to keep the string from breaking.
The farther you stretch the elastic to grab an item without it breaking, the more points you'll get. Rack up killer combos by collecting multiple items instantaneously. Before long, you'll discover a variety of tricks to increase the longevity of the elastic while executing incredible stunts to get from point A to B quickly. Bounce the ball off the floor, rebound it off other items, do whatever it takes to stay alive!
Along your journey towards growing the biggest balls of all, you'll encounter plenty of power-ups and hazards. Some items may increase the elastic strength or add more time to the clock, while others will spell certain doom if struck. In addition, more balls will become attached to the elastic over time, creating a fresh set of challenges to keep all pieces of the elastic from snapping.
Ballastic is a new game--currently being developed--as part of the App Innovation Contest to support some of the latest features that the Ultrabook has to offer. The underlying idea dates back to an early childhood game, which involved sticking a piece of nylon string to a bouncy ball and swinging it around the room to knock over targets without causing the ball to snap off. In addition, an obscure freeware game from the 1990s distributed by CANO-Lab brings inspiration to the core elements of this game.
Development time has so far been devoted almost entirely towards gameplay over graphics. A couple early screenshots are below, but none of the graphics or interface components are in any way final.
Hello AGK / FE (Ultrabook and Windows 8 Ready Toolkit)
Having just recently learned of this competition, with a substantially limited time to program and test the game, I knew my development options and resources were limited. Luckily, I had also closely followed Intel's Ultimate Coder Challenge over the past few months and, more specifically, read Lee Bamber's weekly blog updates with great interest.
With AGK (and its web counterpart Freedom-Engine), a lot of the grunt work of game development is taken care of behind the scenes and wrapped in easy to understand BASIC functions. Furthermore, apps developed using AGK can readily be exported to a variety of platforms, of which the Ultrabook and Windows 8 have recently been added. This means that all of the hardware features of the new Ultrabook can be tapped into using a few simple functions, as summarized below:
NotificationCreate ( szDateTime, szMessage, szData )
NotificationReset ( )
GetNotification ( )
GetNotificationData ( )
GetNotificationType ( )
SetNotificationImage ( iImageIndex )
SetNotificationText ( pText )
GetNFCExists ( )
GetGeolocationExists ( )
GetInclinometerExists ( )
GetLightSensorExists ( )
GetOrientationSensorExists ( )
GetRawNFCCount ( )
GetRawFirstNFCDevice ( )
GetRawNFCName ( iIndex )
SendRawNFCData ( iIndex, pMessageText )
GetRawNFCDataState( iIndex )
GetRawNFCData ( iIndex )
GetRawGeoLongitude ( )
GetRawGeoCity ( )
GetRawGeoPostalCode ( )
GetRawCompassNorth ( iMagneticTrue )
GetRawGyroVelocityX ( )
GetRawGyroVelocityY ( )
GetRawGyroVelocityZ ( )
GetRawInclinoPitch ( )
GetRawOrientationX ( )
GetRawOrientationY ( )
GetRawOrientationZ ( )
GetRawOrientationW ( )
I have been using TGC's game development products for more than 12 years when creating casual games and rapid prototypes. One of my favorite features of AGK is that it includes Tier-1 (BASIC) and Tier-2 (Native) support. Those looking for more power and functionality than the standalone AGK BASIC language can provide are free to create AGK applications using Visual Studio, Xcode, Pascal, Eclipse and other environments and languages. The core commands of AGK can readily be translated between Tier-1 and Tier 2.
// Tier 1
// Tier 2
It is my intent to include a variety of Ultrabook features in this game including the use of orientation, inclinometer, gyrometer, and notification to some capacity. This along with social sharing features. Of course, these features are still very new to me so it will be a learning process about Ultrabooks along the way.
Stay tuned for updates...
Although I am a Web developer by profession, I have long been enthused by game and app development. There is something extraordinarily rewarding about the prospect of your product entertaining millions around the world. After spending years developing an assortment of games and applications as a hobby to varying degrees of popularity, I took it one step further a couple years ago by establishing a formal side business and launching several commercial applications on iOS. I have also dabbled into the Smart TV market by releasing one of the few third party games for a certain line of plasma televisions and am always looking for the next big thing to develop on.