Basketball Tactics Prototype Report — Oct 12th

The basketball tactics prototype work is chugging along, and I’ve had some good momentum going. Most of the work I’ve done has remained in the prototype, and the game has definitely seen an increase in fun factor.

A few of the things I’ve experimented with over the past week or two:

  • Defensive controls: you can now direct your defenders to focus on one of the opponents.
  • Added a “card” UI to expose some more of the underlying stats that impact shot, pass, defense, and rebounding chances.
  • Changed logic around rebounding of loose balls. Previously when the ball was loose, I just randomly chose a player from either team. Now I do a distance check to find characters in range of the ball, then choose randomly from that with some minor weighting based upon player stats. It has worked out to make the game easier to understand, and added a new layer of strategy to the game, as you need to also now to consider their position relative to the ball so that you can get loose balls. There is now more of a “balancing” feel to managing your players — you can’t rush the shooter without a major tradeoff now.
  • Special Abilities are in! Characters are generated with special moves. Right now they amount to increased speed, or driving towards the rim, but we have a nice brainstorm list going for all of the abilities we want to try next. The size of the list points to the ability system having a lot of depth, which is always a good sign at this stage of the life of a project. An interesting thing I learned along the way in creating the UI for special abilities was that Unity has built-in support for creating circular “bar” UIs. Below you can see how I used that to create a circular bar to represent the “cool down” time of abilities while they recharge.
  • UI clean-up and code refactoring: I spent some time cleaning up the crude prototypes to make the next stage of prototyping a little easier. Mainly I consolidated some scripts and added more interfaces to make scripting play paths go more quickly. The next step in that process would be a play editor for authoring the path sets that make up a team play call.

Most importantly, I’m having a lot of fun making this game so far. When deciding on what projects to pursue, it’s important to make sure you are passionate enough about it to see it through to completion. The concept is really a mash-up of all of the hobbies I already have: game design, programming, 3D art, Basketball (lifelong player and big NBA fan), and beat making. That’s far from the only thing that makes a game worth pursuing (we also think about audience size, feasibility, and business model at this stage) but so far, so good.

And finally, a bonus bug GIF!

— Scott