CGDC4: Event Horizon


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Event HorizonFlash Game Design CompetitionHopefully the moment you've all been waiting for! We'll be rolling out the entries in roughly the order we received them. Here is the first entry to our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition!!...

Event Horizon, by the_Corruptor (Canada), is action game of mouse-play that implements the "ball physics" theme and creates gameplay that revolves around it, literally. We're going to keep these introductions short and leave the discovery up to you.

Please be kind and provide feedback and constructive criticism for the game author in the comments.

Play Event Horizon

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=1

69 Comments

woo hoo!
first game up

off to play now!
:P
(sorry for the unproductive comment)

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WHOOO!!!

See: what officiallyhaphazard said. it goes for me too.

Also: Jay there are far too many exclamation points of excitement in your post!!

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*twitch*

it won't load...

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*twitch*
i get stuck on the individual game loading screen:

0 out of 173 kb...

anyhow.. still :D for the competition

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Yeah, seems it won't load for me either. The sponsors and 'handheld' load, but not the game itself :(

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Haha @ OH, did we just twitch at the same time or did you read my comment?

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yay
it just loaded for me :)

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You guys are way too fast! xD

The files are just now uploading. If you refresh the browser, it may work for you now.

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Also stuck in teh loading screen :(

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same here: 0/173

I thought I was silly for being so nervous at these competition-times, glad I'm not alone :)

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wow. i think it's good for a simple-idea based game. a bit repetative though.

i like how all the cartridges have the same logo on it. haha

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Monkeynutz October 2, 2007 2:54 PM

Loaded fine for me highscore now on 250

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Er, won't load more than 10kb atm. Guess I'll try again after work :)
And yay for CGDC4!

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Nailed the physics, fun game, 802 woo

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Jackson A. Ragg Author Profile Page October 2, 2007 2:57 PM

it's only taking me about 10 seconds to load the game... i dont understand why so many people are having problems.. server error?

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Not bad for a quick distraction. It's maybe a little too easy to unlock the zen mode since you can easily have lots of balls on the go at once if you shove the "black hole" to one side.

The background on the game was very interesting though. Putting it in there was a good idea. Hopefully other entries give us a bit of back story too.

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It will take me one or two to catch a rhythm. My bad for publishing the entry first, and then uploading the files. Sorry about that. :)

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Good physics but actual game play is repetitive. Later levels become totally unmanageable. It took me two tries to pass 500 - the first to figure out what to do and the second to actually do it! Good start for what I hope to be the best competition yet!!

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12-string October 2, 2007 3:03 PM

Nailed the physics aspect. I lost interest after keeping 3 green ones from two red ones... Great simple game.

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Ipsquiggle Author Profile Page October 2, 2007 3:04 PM

That was pretty good! Very minimal, but it ended up being a lot more satisfying than I initially suspected.

The circular arena made lots of really good "D'oh!" moments, where I thought I had smacked a ball to safety, only to have it come barreling straight back at me into the red ball.

My only complaint is that the red balls attract eachother -- this looked rather weird, and also kindof defeated the point of having more than one red ball.

Jay: Good choice for the first up!

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lol

the first time around, i got 14

then i figured out what to do, and i got 491!

I clicked out of the window and in that second, the last ball hit the (red) black hole!

GRRRR

i played again, thinking what is so hard about this game, and then when i got to 300, a second (red) black hole entered the picture and i died almost instantly!

now i am getting the hang of it. It was weird that i almost won my second time playing (thanks to the fact that there was only one black hole)

-------
Some other thoughts,
It is easiest if you keep the red ball hugged tight at the bottom of the circle. that way you wont have to worry about hitting the red ball and sending the black hole flying away into eating all your green (protons?)
I liked the background provided in the "about" screen, and although i understand why a different choice was made, I would have liked to have seen those vector graphics.
Perhaps also have chosen different colored balls. a black hole, if we indeed are concerned for keeping to the story line, should be black, for cognitive dissonance's sake.
the physics themselves were pretty good, as a game developer for an unfinished game that uses these same mechanics, i appreciate the devoloper working through all the vector issues.
On the whole I feel like there could be some more done with this game. Power ups, different gameplay mechanics or something... I feel like although the game did try and make the jump from toy to game (as said in the about section) it did not do it fully, and though the game is fun for a bit, it is not completely captivating.

thank you the_corruptor for entering in this competition :D

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NotSoWize October 2, 2007 3:14 PM

Like the rest, my first go was good for about 19 points and then my second hit 491 (the second "black hole" got me). I liked this pretty well once I got the hang of it, and I am definitely NOT a mouse avoider game fan.

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Very nice game. The key to success seems to be in taking it easy. Slow, small movements.

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deadassassin October 2, 2007 3:15 PM

good game, a bit tricky at first, and the in game instructions could be a lot clearer, but once you get the hang of it it just gets repetetive, and you only play because you don't want to lose deliberately.

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Anonymous October 2, 2007 3:16 PM

The concept was okay, but unfortunately the gameplay quickly deteriorates into mindless boredom as you can just shove the black hole off to one side and then spend the rest of the game protecting it. This is very easy to do, specially since you won't even have to save all the balls, since losing one apparently doesn't have any bad effects except perhaps slowing the speed the score increases. The game is repetitive and there is no significant challenge, so I quickly lost interest. More variation and more challenge is sorely needed.

I liked the music though. Objectively it doesn't actually fit very well at all, but I love chip tunes, so.

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GAH! i got to 195 and it ate my last ball =(

nice for something to do when you can't find anything else to do ;)

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Yeah at one point I had 5 green balls, and then bounced the red one a little bit much and it wound up eating all but one of my green balls...the game is definitely frustrating (but fun!). The physics are really good...but the game itself feels a bit incomplete...Maybe if it had been a bit more level-based, with different goals, it would have felt a little more complete. Once you had two, then !!three!! red balls added in, it became nigh impossible. Craziness! I enjoyed it, I think that the developer, who did a good job, should definitely expand on the idea outside of the competition!

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Died at 712 points....

Getting the second red ball when you are juggling around about 12 green ones is just a mess.

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The music ran out :(
Love the game. Simple and there are a few tricks that I learned fairly quickly to stck up points.

The additions of the extra balls is a great level up, but the additions of the extra black holes was a wonderful level up! Oh it was so much harder when I had two black holes to cover! I was wondering how the game would progress in difficulty and that really threw me through a loop :D

I do suggest different colours, though. I always get worried about the green and red combo, as that is the most common issue with colourblindness, but that is a minor point.

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the_Corruptor October 2, 2007 3:25 PM

Glad to hear you all like it.

Honestly, the idea behind the game was an arcade style feel, hence things like the animated instruction sequence. I'd explain more, but it removes some of the fun of watching it.

Also, my top score is in the 940 range. Can anyone beat that?

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Yay, first game!

Initial comments - first time through, I died at 247; I was trying to keep all the green balls away from the center attractor, trying to put them in stable orbits. I didn't touch the attractor since the brief instructions said that was 'BAD'. That tactic failed as soon as the second attractor showed up.

Second time around, I realized there was no penalty for knocking the attractor around, so I just pushed it into one corner (insofar as circles can have corners ;) and then played 'keepaway', knocking the other green balls away when they got close. That made it a whole lot easier; I had seven or eight greens knocking around with no problem.

Of course, the second attractor messed that up too, since they wouldn't stay together easily - every now and then they'd go flying off and eat up most of the greens. So then I switched to the reverse - isolated one green and kept the reds away from it; abandoning any new greens to their fates since it was too much hassle keeping them around. That worked fine for a long time, even with a third attractor in the mix, but it made the scoring really slow, and the game kinda boring.

My thoughts: I think the game could benefit from more excitement - the 'play until you get a highscore' is ok, but the constant addition of new greens doesn't really cause gameplay tension because you just need one to survive. If there was a counter that kept track of how many you'd lost, and game over after, say, 10 lost greens, that would make it a whole lot more interesting when the action heated up.

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Yay for start of CGDC 4 and for this game. Very fun and the addition of the two 'goals' made a lot of difference - inspired the player to play further.

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Well. I must say that game is simple but I like it. Physics seems to be precise and it not boring. It just that all that games has runs out pretty fast.

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Got 900 on my first try and was up to 3 red balls at that time. As others have said, the physics are incredible! I found it pretty easy to keep at least one ball away from the black hole until the 3rd one appeared. I think I'd prefer if the difficulty increased a bit quicker.

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I'd have to say that this is a great first entry for the CGDC and I enjoyed this a lot. Of course there are things that I would love to see changed, I understand the time limitation and will focus more on things that I liked.

First of all I really appreciate how difficult this must have been to create. The basic principle is basic, but the chops necessary to make it are pretty good.

Second, the idea is amazing. Although I wouldn't consider it truly "addicting" as some other games (not necessarily ball games), its still pretty nice gameplay. Once I got around 10 balls on the screen the game became a lot of fun, and when there were two of the black holes introduced I literally sat and said "wow." Really a good idea.

I really liked how there were goals to reach. When I first started playing and I just saw the score up top I got a little depressed thinking this would be an old school "get the highest score on the high score board" sort of deal (no offense to pacman lovers, but its not my thing). Only after dying and seeing the two goals you offered did I really get into playing to reach them. I think it would be better if it was more apparent at the start that you had goals in place for the player to reach, especially for someone like me, since if this wasn't for the competition I wouldn't have continued playing (sorry). Also I would love to see more goals, maybe some different layouts or levels that progressed with score (tetris anyone?).

Mentioning levels, I would also like to see more to the game such as obstacles or items that affected gameplay. For instance at 500 points solid blocks could be put onto the map, and other such things (there might be this I'm unsure, but the addition of more balls and more black holes leads me to believe that you were started on this track).

For the time frame given I'd give this a really solid score, perhaps a 4/5. Of course this is also the first entry....let's see your competition first.

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Great first game, simple fun and a perfect example of ball physics in action. Didn't take me long to get the concept and provided a good few minutes of enjoyment =).

I also liked the addition of the back story. I was going to do that in mine, but decided against it in the end.

Keep the games coming!

Ali

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I like it. Sure, it's simple and not too flashy, but that makes it perfect for me at work. I like that the doom balls are snotty green, becuase I was picturing an attck of cold germs, and trying to prevent my red guy getting sick- exactly what I'm doing today.
Would make a great viral for Neocitran or something.

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The minimalist instructions actually did more to confuse me than help me, so I just clicked into the game and played around with it until I understood what what was happening. I enjoyed myself, mostly because the physics feel reliable and solid, and it's inherently satisfying to push things around with other things. But it didn't hook me.

I really appreciated the behind-the-scenes details, because Event Horizon feels like a tech demo struggling awkwardly to become a game, and it turns out that's exactly what it is.

To turn this into a game, you'd need a goal. High scores are fine, but here the player is being rewarded for doing nothing. If you keep objects from coming into contact with each other, you gradually score points. It's very passive. I kept wishing there were pockets on the sides of the play field (or even right inside the circle) like a game of Gravity Billiards, so you could knock the white balls INTO something instead of always AWAY from something. And then you could score points for the accomplishment.

Also, sound effects. When a good ball gets sucked up by a bad ball, we should hear a sound that indicates a tragedy has just occurred. Right when a whole bunch of balls were on the screen, and I was settling into a happy zone of barely-controlled chaos, I realized I didn't care about these disposable silent doo-hickeys. I mean, the game is called Event Horizon. The green balls should look like little planets, and we should hear the cute little screams of their occupants whenever one is sucked into the void. Okay, maybe that's too much, but you see my point.

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I liked it overall. A fun twist on mouse avoidance. Sometimes a very simple concept can be addictive, even if it's repetitive. For example, the winner of the last design competition. I'm not sure this rises to that level, but I think it's solid.

If I could make one suggestion, it would be to make it so that your score doesn't go up unless you have at least two green balls in play. I really like the idea of having the rate of score increase tied to the number of green balls, but it gets a little easy to keep one green ball alive.

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So here's my 2 cents:

I think that the concept of hitting a ball away to avoid a black hole is very nice. However, doing on an empty circular playing field with the only events being the occasional addition of balls and black holes is just too...simple. For this game to be improved, I think that it should be given more variety, or maybe just more depth into the gameplay.

And that's my two cents.

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I didn't really get the point of this one at first, since I thought the red ball would eat me, too! :-)

I haven't broken 500 yet, but this one's turning out to be a lot more fun than it looks.

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Not bad. I enjoyed the music; it's fun!

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Very nice. Although the visual aspect is not wonderful, the gameplay is interesting and the black hole idea fits very nicely. The background and zen-mode provided two objectives to the game, but, after that, the game becomes quite repetitive. Nevertheless, it's worth playing.

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The game is very good, my only suggestion would be to make the red balls appear a little bit earlier, because thats when the real fun beggins.

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Game meets the "Ball Physics" theme perfectly, I think.

Graphics are simple and do not detract from the gameplay. More "Dazzle" effects would definitely improve the game, though, and make it more visually appealing.

Sound is perhaps a low point. The music you provided is excellent, but eventually gets repetitive and even runs out. More than one tune, or even different musical cues for events (losing too many balls, 'game over theme') would improve this. Sound effects are also bothersome, due to the continuous clacking of balls. A variety of sounds (a larger library of 'clacks', either randomized or meant for different speeds and angles of contact) would reduce this.

Replay value is weak. Inclusion of a 'high score' counter helps, but Zen Mode and the other unlockables don't provide much interest for a replay. Perhaps giving the player the option to add balls at their own pace would improve Zen Mode, giving it back the original, 'webtoy' feel you seemed to indicate it began as.

I liked this game, even if it seems more along the lines of "Concept Demo". The lacking feature is replay value: once you've unlocked Zen Mode the first time, there's really very little encouraging you to play again, especially since it takes a lot of time to rack up a really high score.

Good work, the_Corruptor!

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paradox28 October 2, 2007 6:35 PM

I got 1025 on my one and only attempt at the game. The music ran out after awhile, like others have said, and I made it through but lost the game a few minutes after two black holes were introduced. I, too, think it might be a tad too simple for I lost interest by the time I got to around 800 pts.

The physics are great though and the game didn't become too slow when I had about 12 green balls going at once. An inclusion of a high score list would be a good idea. High score competitiveness would encourage repeat play.

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lovely little game - my only suggestion is to ditch the instructions as they are unnecessary

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kellyhalia October 2, 2007 7:35 PM

I have a different take on the instructions. I think that either game instructions should be very clear and, well, instructive, or a practice round should be given so that players can get the feel of things.

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Enjoyable little time waster! The instructions at the beginning were a little confusing, but the concept was easy to pick up with a little play time. I would echo a few sentiments from others: A sound when the red ball sucks up the green ball would help communicate that it's a negative event. Maybe some kind of falling sound? Think Wiley Coyote off a cliff.

Two, the rewards for certain scores helped, but the would be vastly improved by some kind of reward or goal system to keep you playing. Even a title for certain scores reached, or upgrades to your ball.

Keep up the good work, and thanks for the entry.

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Quite liked it, though it took a while for the second red ball to come in, fairly original, don't think it's quite a winner but a nice try.

Bit too simple, needs work, but there's a core of a fine game here.

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Quite good game, gets a 4/5 from me. I just think it was a little bit too easy, and I got 2125 points in my second try. Maybe some more goals to complete or more unlockables would boost the interest for the game, but overrall it's a beautiful ball-throwing game

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Excellent physics, catchy music, fun (if repetitive) gameplay, and of course that one try where you have no clue what is going on and is actually way more effective than any tutorial.

Of course, most games are goal oriented, so objectives like these would help a lot:

Keep three balls alive for one minute!
Have ten balls on the screen at one time.
Survive five balls with two holes for one minute.

You get the idea. Also, more variety and maybe other balls or different shaped playing fields the developer could introduce every once and a while would help as well.

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This is the type of game that I usually really don't like; I'm not into brickbreakers or anything. But I have to say that this game was so simple to understand (maybe not so simple to win), and the physics of the balls so much fun, that after a few seconds I found myself enjoying playing it. I didn't read the instructions at first, and lost quickly, but once I restarted the game and saw the instructions, I quickly worked out what I had to do, and easily reached the 200point mark, while still having a challenging time keeping those black holes away.

Good job on this one!

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Vinny from Yonkers October 2, 2007 10:04 PM

Now this is cool. I wasn't sure what to do at first but figured it out after losing just once... and who says I'm not smart?

Although not the most exciting game I've ever played, it was most definitely interesting and different- both of which I like much.

I was able to get past 200 the second time to unlock the 'secret prize'. I thought that this was another cool feature giving an incentive to revise strategy as gameplay ensues to try to get past 500.

The only thing that I could possibly suggest would be having a difficulty selection: perhaps this one being the easy, a medium in which either the speed and/or rate of frequency of the balls was increased, and a hard with identical features of medium plus touching a red ball equals instant death!

Anyway, great job and thanks.

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Perhaps this is just a repeat of what's been said before but this game is simple to the point of boring. Great idea and could be quite entertaining with a little tweaking here and there.

Making the green balls into little planets is an inspired idea. That would give the player a more vested interest in keeping 'em away from that dastardly black hole. The sound of tragedy as the planet is lost is another brilliant thought.

Making the black hole look more dastardly somehow would help too.

The instructions are slightly confusing but in a game this simplistic does it really matter?

More variety in game components would alleviate the boredom factor:
>Perhaps larger and smaller balls - or planets.
>A pause in the game when a new level is beginning - like when a new black hole is going to be introduced - would give my mouse wrist a rest.
>Special power-ups or "safe zones" occasionally like a pill you could touch that would reverse the gravity of the black hole or an intermittent spot that would catch and hold the planets for a few seconds.
>Making the music tempo increase as the number of planets on screen increases would add a tension or excitement to the gameplay
>A larger playing area would be cool. Maybe that could be a higher level, or an unlockable level?

This is a great foundation for what could be a really fun time-waster.


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Moses Moore October 3, 2007 8:59 AM

Excellent choice for the first game; it's physics, is simple (I want to use the word "pure" here). Red/green isn't a problem because you use different intensity of colours, and you don't explicitly state "red" or "green" in the instructions.

I did find that I could jam the green balls against the walls, eventually getting them stuck in there (with a constant rattling sound, but hey, free points). Balls coming in from the sides would dislocate them, but so long as I kept one glitched into the wall, no problem.

played it over breakfast, didn't stick around to see if the glitch would work with a second black hole.

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Sorry to say this little game was a bit of a let down. After realizing that you have to prevent the balls from falling in the "black-hole" (first time I tried to knock them into it) it becomes terribly boring. Granted the ball bouncing is well done, but in a 2-D world that really is not that impressive.

- this game would be alot better with a varity of balls that increase/decrease speed, muliply the balls, or make the balls into bubbles or rocks, etc. the varity would make the bonus zen mode much more interesting.

- Granted there was not much time but a 3-d version would have been amazing.

I expect to find much more griping games later.

Wrigg

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Fred Sloniker October 3, 2007 1:15 PM

So nobody else experienced the bug I ran into? Not only couldn't I move the white ball around, but there were no gravitational effects; everything just... sat there. The game wasn't paused, though; new green balls kept being added, and my score kept going up...

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Am I the only one this isn't working for, then? The game loads fine, and I can click to play, but then I can't do anything except pause/unpause. My score's at about 15000, and counting, I've got a load of green balls around the edge, the black hole at the bottom, and a red ball in the middle. Am I missing something here?

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Fred and Cat - it sounds like it could be a Flash Player versioning problem?

Try updating your Flash Player?

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Ah well, at least I'm not the only one this happened to :) Works now, cheers Jay.

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I think theres something wrong with it, as I write this, I am up to 5600 points. Im not doing anything, nothing moves, and here I am, now with 8000.
I think Ill refresh and try this again soon...

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Same problem here, using flash player 9.0.45

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Lord Torgamus Author Profile Page October 3, 2007 8:46 PM

Well-crafted game, I'm quite pleasantly surprised at how natural the ball physics felt. Ultimately boring, for me; I like a little more action, and once I unlocked Zen Mode and didn't have a goal anymore, I couldn't keep myself playing. Great entry for a casual game competition though!

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I found this game got very monotinous after the first few points. There was no new challege and I just got bored.

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I really liked this game, but I must agree with the comments above. The "prevent the planets from dying in a black hole" theme would be great. Also, this would add the possibility of introducing different balls with different sizes and gravitational pull. That would vary the gameplay a lot.

I'd give it a 4/5, with a great possibility for improvement. Hope to see version 2 soon.

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Pretty sure that seems as my score is 346908 and counting that I have stumbled upon a glitch. I just want to play it normaly.
In the time its taken me to fill this out the score is now,
625708.
Mind you I was distracted with MSN also but its still ticking up.

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the_corruptor October 4, 2007 6:36 PM

I'm glad to hear all these wonderful comments. Rest assured that a new version of this game is in the works (well, it will be after midterms) and when it's done It'll be going up online.

I've been reluctant to comment in this thread because I always have the urge to justify every little thing I do, but I shall refrain from that and simply quote my favorite lion:

"Game on!"

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This game I sort of felt as frustrated as a little kid with toy paddle ball. I just ended up "cornering" the red ball and defending it. I never felt any sense of progression and I certainly gave up before I felt any completion. I've played it a few times, but it's not one I'd want to keep coming back to. It's a good concept, but maybe add a breakout ring around it, or make special balls, or some way of allowing a true level up. I did appreciate how all the balls were attracted to the red one, if you continued with the breakout theme, maybe the red ball would ADD bricks if you left it anywhere too long. I dunno, it was a cool game but I thought it could be kick ass.

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Maplewood Junior High> Dora You've got a school assignment to finish, but all the computers are absolutely ancient, and you're totally unprepared! Despite some strange, out-of-place political talk, this point-and-click puzzle from Carmel Games offers a significant upgrade in several areas from their previous work.  ...

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