Since the topic of games and Processing came up twice in recent posts, I thought it's a good time to announce a new Processing game: Black Hole Pong
The game is a remake of the old classic Pong but with an astrophysics flavour. Instead of controlling a `panel' to bounce a `ball' to and fro, each player moves around a black hole and has to make use of its attractive gravitational force to keep throwing a star towards the other player.
The only realistic part in this game is the mathematical form of the gravitational potential of the black holes. The rest is pure fantasy. However, I think this illustrates the effects of gravity on the stellar scale quite well; and one can get an idea of how space craft use flybys to accelerate too.
We have used the game very successfully as a fun element in an exhibition and that's where it works best: it can only be played by two players (i.e. you cannot play against the computer), has only one 'level' and the control is best with two Xbox controllers (connected via USB). However, it's good for a bit of fun at home as well, using two mice (on a Mac) or even the keyboard to control the black holes.
Very nice! It reminds me of a game I made many years ago called "Hadrons"* -- a charged-particle shooter that was MUCH slower, less, pretty, and your use of gravitational PADDLES is just brilliant. Love it!
You could have a built-in score limiter if the poor star got shredded by the black holes -- play continues until there's no coherent mass left.... :) I can't help but want to try to steal stars from the other player, too -- just can't get close enough (whoever dies with the most accumulated mass wins?)
Very interesting concept. I'm old enough to remember playing the original Pong when it cost about 20 cents a game on those coffee table like video arcade consoles.
Andreas it would also make it more challenging if the background pic was animated. The galaxies and constellations could be made to slowly swirl and rotate around. That would make it more challenging to control the star. Good luck with it.
@yelele: Thanks for the link, that looks interesting indeed! I am curious to see how those black holes have been implemented. In the trailer they look very nice but seem not to have much of a realistic gravitational potential.
@daejp007: An animated background would be cool. I tried to do something like that earlier but quickly ran into problems due to my lack of OpenGL skills. In fact even the cross fade was difficult for me to get flicker-free.
@aidenfry: Thanks for the feedback. I don't know why it does not work for you, but maybe we can find out. It would be useful to know which version of OS X you are running. Could you also send me the output of the Console (go to Applications->Utilities->Console before you start the game then copy just the messages that appear when you try to run the game)? Thanks a lot!
Im not sure but maybe something to do with ? Exception in thread "Animation Thread"?
I downloaded it on my windows boot and i absolutely love this game man|
quick suggestions, when you use your extra gravitational pull (return/tab) there is no indication that it is working, maybe a little noise could help? maybe summit between a vacuum cleaner n power up noise?
Thanks for the feedback! It seems that the OS X version stubles because it has to run with Java 1.6. And if the line number given in the error message means anything the error might be due to the procontroll library. Since I am not a Java guy I don't know much about compatibility issues. However, I can find a colleage runnning Snow Leopard and do some testing and maybe exporting the application specifically for Java 1.6 as well.
About a sound for the increased range of the potential: that's a good idea. However, I learned that finding the right sounds is not as easy as I had thought. Most of them sound OK alone but get pretty annoying when included in a game. I'll have a look. Otherwise maybe I add visual feedback, might be easier...
Ah, great! That saves me a few hours listening to blimps and bleeps! I like it (at least the inhale part, I'll probably fade out before the exhale starts)!
About the problem with the OS X version. We have tried to run the binary on a newly installe Snow Leopard and it ran without problems (I am travelling right now, so we do not have any mouse to test mouse control). Have you changed the Java version or preferences at some point?
Maybe you could check this version? It is build from the unchanged source code on a 10.6 system:
Just a quick note that I followed the suggestion of aidenfry.soundguy and added the `gasmask' sound for the increased graviational pull event.
It's version 1.1 now but the download links are the same at: