CGDC4: Brownie Motion


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Brownie MotionFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry is from Lopsidation of Maryland (US). A long-time JIG visitor, this is Lopsidation's first CGDC, so please give him a warm welcome with your feedback in the comments.

Brownie Motion implements "ball physics" in a game based on a very simple idea that demonstrates a more complex one, too (Brownian motion). Simple to understand and yet difficult to master. See for yourself...

Play Brownie Motion

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=6

51 Comments

Nice use of ball physics, could use some sound and improved graphics. It was got hard for me when the number of balloons increased.

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Nice ball physics, and i like the story too hehe.

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The duplicator did me in. Interesting concept.

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Nice physics, but this is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too frustratingly hard. I can't get past the second level, despite a solid five or ten minutes of trying.

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Funny storyline. Could maybe do with a timer of some sort to let you know when the level was going to end? And maybe have a level selector on the menu rather then pressing random buttons to skip ahead.

Really just needs a bit of polish.

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Figures...

The next attempt after posting I pass the second level. Still very difficult though...

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Wow! The game isnt allways stopping the brownies from escape. After the 2nd duplicator level the game changes... Thats where it got buggy. My man kept going inside the large red bubbles

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deadassassin October 3, 2007 1:35 PM

ok, but I don't like it as much as the other games so far. it looks, feels, sounds and plays like something that was barely finished on time, i.e. no music, poor graphics, fairly good gameplay but the menus were not that great. loved the story though.

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Good concept, frustrating gameplay. Not having any control over the characters altitude was understandable, but ramped up the difficulty quite a bit.

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Congratulations on completing a game for the contest, Lopsidation!

I think level 3 is my limit, here. I want to play more to see the rest of the hilarious storyline, but it's just too hard for me. The brownies have won.

Good physics, original story. It could use some sound and a larger playing area. Each level should pause at the beginning, so you have time to look at the situation. LazyPint's ideas would be good for the game, too.

I mostly wish it played a little slower. My old bones can't keep up with the action. It reminds me of games I made when I was a kid that only I could play, because I knew them inside and out.

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NotSoWize October 3, 2007 2:00 PM

Too tough for me as well, but fun until the duplicator kicked in. I was enjoying the story quite a bit. A shallower learning curve would be very helpful!

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Okay, so I went back and beat level 3 and 4. Level 5, unfortunately, is unplayable because the physics are all buggy. I got sucked into a red ball and was trapped forever.

So yeah, this isn't really a finished game, but I did come back and try to finish it after giving up the first time, so something is working.

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I thought it wasn't too difficult since it was so easy to retry. While the warp buttons are cute, giving a chance to directly retry when you fail would be more streamlined. The problem is once I got to the fortress, then it started being really buggy and I couldn't get through without my guy getting stuck inside a bubble. It's too bad, because I thought the physics and gameplay here were really fun and unique.

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Why brownies? We may never know. In any case, a decent gameplay, though it feels like the idea has been done before. It's difficult, but the difficulty feels like the point of the game, and after a little bit of playing I just couldn't stay interested. The lack of any sounds was a bit disconcerting also.

Seriously, though; why brownies?

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Ok, what am I supposed to do? The game always stops 2 seconds after I started it.... And yes, I DID read the instructions.

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birdieball October 3, 2007 2:34 PM

Question: Why brownies?

it's a pun, see? Brownian Motion? it's the term named after a botanist to describe particles randomly floating in liquid.

as for the game, it was a fun little casual game. it could use a little more polish. but it has a certain charm.

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Presumably they're brownies for the sake of the pun. I got to the fortress, then gave up after some buggy collision detection forced me to go back to the competition menu three times. That was disappointing. I did like that the balloons' upward acceleration decreased as each level went on.

Does Brownian motion actually play any role in the game? Jay's description made it seem like it does, but I certainly didn't notice. Perhaps there's something after the fortress.

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Ok, I know why the fortress is broken. When you hit a ball, the designer reverses your speed AND moves you in the direction opposite to the key you are holding. Unfortunately, this means that if you are flying into a ball but are trying to accelerate away from it, you get pulled into the ball.

Gamer solution: Avoid situation above if possible. To escape, counterintuitively try to move TOWARDS the center of the ball, and you'll be ejected.

Coder solution: Check where the ball is relative to the player horizonally, and don't apply counterforce if the player is trying to move away from the ball.

Cheers!

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If I understand it correctly, the Brownian motion in this game is the pattern of motion resulting from the brownies being bounced on from above, somewhat randomly, by the player.

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Whee, I won, and

got both endings, I think.
To Lopsidation:

Do you have to pop all the balloons on your way up and down to win, or is it just for fun?

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littlebum2002 October 3, 2007 3:13 PM

A little too difficult, plus it could use an easier way of advancing levels.

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the story is funny, however the gameplay is kind of difficult and the graphics aren't great either.

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Well, at the risk of contradicting quite a few people I thought the difficulty was really well calibrated.

I mean sure, the game's hard, but all of it's beatable. The only bit which took me more than a few goes was...

That evil smiley face! I so nearly killed him three times in a row!

This game was admittedly not graphically beautiful like The Tall Stump, but I felt way more motivated to complete it. I can forgive a few rough edges on anything I have that much fun with!

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Sleepiful October 3, 2007 3:36 PM

Finished, thanks for the hint mtheminja. (By the way, the glitch in the headquarters can occasionally be useful: if you are about to fall it helps to get stuck in a circle.)
Anyway, I liked the storyline and the gameplay, although it seemed unreasonably hard to begin with. The |< button didn't seem to work, though.

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Great concept and a fun little game although its too hard for me!

As has been said, it just needs some sound and some nice eye candy to give it a nice finish.

Also, a nice touch would have been to make the balloons actually deflate each time you hit them, which would make progression more obvious as well as giving a slow difficulty increase.

Nice job though!

Ali

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I love this game!
I steamed thrue the thirst few levels,
but that bug makes it unplayable.
I hope you fix it, if you do i'll play on.

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Maby the game is based on this?
http://www.browniemovement.com/people

Or are the brownies just a random theme?

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It's probably a coincidence since they also take thier name from brownian movement and what they are working on is something very big I guess.

It's more likely that it is a take on the same joke of brownian movement.

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sorry man... just too complex.

siplicity is what makes physics-based games magical [in my opinion]

but VERY good use of ball physics! youve got the gravity and tensile strength down pat my friend!

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Ack!
It's maddening! In a good way.

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The actual gameplay, I like. Bouncing around the screen is simply fun, and that more than makes up for the unpolished visuals in my mind.

The user interface, however, makes me sad. I'm sorry, but restarting a level (three, in this case) should not require five different keystrokes--two at the same time, no less. Worse yet, to restart level four you have to

switch to your mouse, click on something tiny and invisible, and then press a key.

(I haven't gotten any further than that yet.)

Having passwords or other secret ways to get to higher levels is a good idea, in principle--there's no problem with cookies or whatever. But presumably when the user loses a level, what he usually wants next is to try it again. Perhaps a Game Over screen that says something like "Press spacebar to try again or M to return to the main menu"?

So... a fun game with an interesting concept, but it's dragged down somewhat by a lack of user-friendliness. I still like it. I think I'm going to play it some more now.

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lopsidation October 3, 2007 6:25 PM

Thanks for all the comments! Tips:
levels 1 and 2: try to trap the balloon in a corner, and get it bouncing straight up and down.
level 3: the one on the right has less helium.
level 4: This level's hard, just try and try again.
fortress levels 1 and 2: sorry about the glitches, I don't know how to stop them.
Fortress level 3: there's a quick exit" if you explore some.
Boss: just bounce on it. I hate the spikes.

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Heh, once you understand how the bug works (and how to get out of it), it actually becomes a pretty handy way to get where you want to go!

(thanks to mtheninja for the tips!)

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Jackson A. Ragg Author Profile Page October 3, 2007 7:03 PM

sorry, man. this is more like "circle physics" instead of ball physics. i know i shouldnt preach over things i've never done m'self but i think this was a poorly thought out game... i think there could have been a lot more added to this game. but good effort, though! very original concept! i dont think i've evr played a game like this before. kudos!

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Great story :) It's kinda hard to do though.

Come back here you brownies! Oh no! Not the...

duplicator!

to go to level 3:

press x+y in the menu

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so far, i've played all the games, and this is the only one i've come back to, or played for more than a few minutes. i'm up to the fortress, and yes it is buggy, but i like the concept so much that i can overlook it. congratulations lopsidation, this one is a winner for me! :D

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I began the game thinking I wouldn't like it at all and came away from it feeling quite good.

I agree with 'the maddeningly frustrating in a good way' comment and very charming story and aesthetics make it fairly forgiveable.

Well done!

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Jackson: Unless you have a 3D game, ball physics is circle physics. Just because it gets shot out of something, or has fancy 3D-esque shading, doesn't change the fact that it's a circle. So if you say this game doesn't fit the theme, you have to say the same thing about nearly all of the games posted so far.

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It's a nice idea- I love the tongue-in-cheek name/idea. It would be much more playable if the balloons moved more slowly and/or the playing area was larger. I suspect the playing area may be that size compared to the balloons to make trapping them easier- but in that case the balloons really do need to move more slowly. For example, if you don't KNOW that on the first level you MUST start out with the right arrow key held down, there is no way to recover oncec the level starts. This is frustrating. The physics are good, though, and I actually find the art kind of charming, in an "I made this in Paint" nostalgic kind of way.

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Very oversensitive balloons, not very easy to make the guy rise.

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The "story" button made me laugh out loud. Escape!

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tripleten October 4, 2007 10:33 PM

nooo!!brownies!! come back!!!

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eehamilton October 5, 2007 10:29 AM

It was maddingly fun and a great effort. Great balloon movement.

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I'm only on level 3, but I love this game. It's really hard, but that's good. I get tired of games where I just fly through. I don't mind the fact that you're almost guaranteed to lose each level the first time you play - so what? So you don't press the arrow key to the right, and you lose, and you try again. Then you press it right, but not quickly enough the other way, and you lose again, and you try again. You learn from your mistakes, and you get more skilled at it, and you have to play it a lot to know where to go next.

I do agree that the menus are annoying. The 5-key combination to get to level 3 is okay so long as you only have to do it when starting up the game - you should have a simple space-button option (so as to stay consistent with the first level) to restart upon losing. Especially since it's hard to press those 5 keys and then immediately jump into playing. (I can't comment yet on the other levels...)

Also, it really does fit the theme. They're floating balls, but balls nonetheless, and they fit the physics requirement beautifully.

Anyway, I am quite enjoying this one. My husband keeps telling to stop making funny noises. (Oh! Er! Come back! Ohhhhh....) I will get those brownies/balls eventually!

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Yeah,

having to switch to the mouse

was worse. But, you can also

hit tab seven times and then enter

which might sound annoying, but I thought wasn't so bad. Also, level 5 is easier to restart than 3 or 4.

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mtheminja, how did you get 2 endings?

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Well,

If you go into the duplicator instead of hitting the self destruct button, you get spikes on your 'ball' and have to pop some balloons. I couldn't tell whether you can get past that.

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lopsidation October 10, 2007 7:58 PM

Yes, if you pop all the balloons after going into the duplicator (except for that one which is just a bit too high) you go to the secret ending. Hint: stay in the same place on the way up, then zigzag to get the rest on the way down.

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@Lopsidation:

What does holding up on the menu screen do?

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I think if I ate fewer brownies, I wouldn't have such a hard time with gravity. haha!

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Anonymous October 22, 2007 6:21 AM

hey!i got to this spot where i didn't need to move at all on the 2nd level!

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