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Grids & Black Holes - Bjoernke - Feb 6, 2007 12:08 PM


I Had an game design related idea today. So i thought "Let's write that into my blog!" unfortunately there is no BvG-Blog. And even if there was one, i'd update too seldom to gather a discussion-sized readership. However a blog is just a fancy word for a mix between a diary and a forum. I never liked diaries. So I concluded to write this here. If you like my rambling, maybe I could make it a regular habit?

Or actually, let's just do a slightly modified version of the socket gnome business plan™:
  1. I write random stuff.
  2. We discuss random stuff.
  3. ???
  4. Profit!

Preamble (no, the above text is just a threat of further torturing you, not the actual preamble. Or is it the prepreamble? (On further thought I actually don't care))):
I was looking at this list of geometry wars clones, and the first Screenshot there intrigued me: It shows the not-on-the-official-page-aviable-due-to-an-angry-letter Grid Wars. The basic gameplay is prolly based on Asteroids. In addition to many more Asteroids (Some are even agressive), the playing field shows a heavily morphed Grid. As a black hole lover, i instantly recognised them as space curvatures. And they are.

What could one do with such a representation of Space. Basically it's 2D, however you can morph that surface, resulting in fake or even real 3D.

  • Player gets sucked into a hole in the ground, entering a (bonus?) level, which looks more like descent then a 2D plane.
  • Any object/enemies get trapped in the black hole (that's how Grid Wars works).
  • Player morphing: directing a ball over the plane by changing the plane (instead or in addition to tilting it).
  • Worms/Artillery 3d (Already done)
  • Weather creator/World builder: Make it rain after morphing Mountains, creating streams and seas, Vegetation, Animals etc.
  • 2d shooter again: Missing enemies creates holes in the "fabric of space" trough which new enemies enter.
  • Some digging/mining/dungeon could be below the surface.
  • Black Box-like game (Or Crazy Machines puzzle), using gravity wells.

Now it's your turn:
List other implementation of the black hole and the plane, add your own ideas about it, or even make a game using it!

Grids & Black Holes - maximile - Feb 6, 2007 02:52 PM

Does this Gravity game count? (flash)

It sounds like you have an interesting topic going here. I've always had the idea of making a GW-style game, but I hadn't really thought about how much of an effect the space warping had on the gameplay.

Grids & Black Holes - Bjoernke - Feb 6, 2007 05:21 PM

Interesting flash game (did you make it?), some thoughts on it:
  • I always thought it uses extreme computing powers to make a gravity simulation of more then 3 bodies, far more then my computer, let alone a flash game playing in safari (of all things). So my conclusion is: Not a "real" gravity simulation. But games need not be "real" of course. And I might be wrong anyway.
  • The restriction of the playfield annoy me, maybe it should wrap around?
  • The "holes" don't collide with each other, so why is it so bad when my particle meets them?
  • I like the use of colours, it's almost monochrome.
  • I like how all additional time goes towards the score

Keep the ideas, examples, future plans coming!

Grids & Black Holes - maximile - Feb 6, 2007 05:47 PM

I didn't make it. But in games like Geometry Wars and Grid Wars, I think that computing the grid is much more processor intensive than processing the various "black holes". All you need to do to simulate gravity is to have each moving body move towards each "black hole" by an amount proportional to the source's mass. Oh, and presumably the moving object's mass would come into the equation as well. This sounds like the sort of thing I should have been listening to in physics lessons.

Ok, so that was a poor explanation, but I think my point is that you can have a perfectly accurate simulation without, say, working out a huge vector field for every point in space. You need only work out the effects that every "black hole" has on everything you want to be effected by it. And there's nothing to say that black holes themselves can't be affected by others (as it is in Geometry Wars and Grid Wars).

So while this might not be 'real', it gives perfectly good results. And I'd imagine that this is how both GWs do it... though the grid makes it look more complicated, all you actually need to do is work out the effect that everything has on each grid point. (Plus the effect that the grid points have on each other, which looks like some sort of elastic thingy...)

I hope this post made some sort of sense, and that it was of some value. It occurred to me halfway through that I might be totally misunderstanding what you mean by "real".

Grids & Black Holes - igame3d - Feb 6, 2007 07:50 PM

Myth had a deformable mesh terrain, I believe.

Remember the ring game in Tron? I've always wanted to make a game like that were your terrain is destroyed by not catching the ball. Each blast would sink the ground, eventually revealing lava or could just as well be a gaping hole into nothing.

Someone made a 3D grided tank game similiar to that, turn based, it was almost cool.

One could make a slingshot colonizing game, where you pull back on the mouse to create a trajectory and strength of rocket, let go to fire your mother ship..and it zings through space being influeced by heavenly bodies, and oops sometimes getting sucked into them, try again.

one could make a game where you shove everything into the black hole, kind of like Katamari but using tractor beams to sling matter towards the black whole..or smaller bodies like moons into larger ones to break them up into moveable sized chunks.

How about a game where the goal is to move cosmic resources in such a way as to create dense areas of black holes and then watch your galaxy coalesce around them.

A reflex game where your black hole missile fires into a huge fleet of aliens, your goal is to hit the key at just the right moment to drop as many ships into the vortex as possible.

3D breakout with wormholes, ball goes in, pops out somewhere else.

Resource collecting strategy, where you have to harvest one sock out of each persons laundry and use it to repair the space time fabric.

And other such fun.