[stella] JoustPong: feedback please on ball speed

Subject: [stella] JoustPong: feedback please on ball speed
From: KirkIsrael@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: 4 Mar 2004 14:42:37 -0000
is the latest update, with not 1, but TWO bins:

Now that I have subpixel movement for the ball (a little 
jumpy looking 'cause of the 2 line kernal, but hey), I
want to experiment with more variation in the ball vertical

The first binary simply copies the hit players speed to the
ball.  (though applying a max and min value to it) The second
adds the player and ball speed together for the ball speed.

I think I like the former idea better, since it allows for -
gasp - strategy in the game!  It's more plausible to direct
the ball to a certain part of the court, by trying to hit the
ball while going fast or slow.  Adding the speeds together 
gets too complex, and it's too difficult for a player to use 
the old PONG tradition of "ball angle depends on where on the bat 
the ball hit" in JoustPong with any subtlety at all--timing 
a flap is much trickier than twisting a knob.

The only possible drawback to the "copy speeds" idea is if 
the ball ever hits a player who is motionless on the ground, it
will fly at a flat trajectory to the other player...who will
most likely hit it by letting himself fall to the ground, 
motionless, and the ball will just drift back and forth with
little vertical movement. This will continue 'til a human 
player wises up and flaps a bit just before the ball hits 
it.  Does this seem like a huge problem?

(If this crafty speed thing is going to work, I may have 
to look at the AI again...maybe the game has gotten too
hard for the dumbed down AI I put in the other week.)

Finally, this is pointing out the weakness in totally seperating
ball horiz from vert speed.  A "flat" trajectory goes slower
than a steeply angled one.  To correct this, I may work in 
an inverse relationship between ball horiz and vert speed. 
I don't think I want to go crazy with sine/cosine lookup tables,
more like horiz speed = a constant - abs(vertical speed).
(Atari games don't have to be 100% accurate physics simulations 
to be fun...)

PLEASE get me feedback ASAP on how you think the ball speed 
think is working out.  Time is running out, and I feel I'm on
slightly dangerous ground, changing something so fundamental 
to the feel of the game at this late date.


KirkIsrael@xxxxxxxxxxxxx    http://kisrael.com
"The desires of the heart are as crooked as corkscrews." --W.H.Auden

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