Balancing Act


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zxoBalancing ActEschewing the ball collision physics typical of the majority of CGDC4 entries, Carl Foust chose instead to focus on rotational inertia, friction, and center of gravity for his entry, Balancing Act, garnering high scores for its use of the Ball Physics theme. However, the real magic of the game lies in the intangible charm percolating throughout all its aspects, such as the lively pictograms, as well as the vibrant colors and clever variations on the balancing balls.

Here's another example. Are there any Monty Python's Flying Circus fans in the house? I know there's got to be a few of you. One of the recurring gags on the show was for one of the bunch to screw up the sketch — saying the wrong line, making a crude joke out of place, or some other such nonsense — and then an annoyed-sounding voiceover would cut in, saying "Start again."

What does this have to do with Balancing Act? Well, that's exactly how I felt when I failed a level. It was as if the frowny face was getting annoyed with me, and then using the pointing hand to say "Start again." Like the game was getting annoyed so I didn't have to! That bit of charm and others like it are what transform what should be a mind-numbing game of frustration into something — dare I say? — pleasant.

As the name suggests, Balancing Act requires you to keep a number of balls (and other ball-ish things) balanced on top of each other. Click on a ball and drag your mouse to rotate it, but remember that each action has an equal and opposite reaction! You can adjust the magnitude of your nudges by clicking closer to or farther from the center; like a lever arm, you'll apply different amounts of torque. If you're thinking all of this sounds like an exercise in aggravation, you would be correct, except for the quite improbable fact that it's simply not -- thanks in large part to the effort put into the visual and audio themes.

However, it still does take a bit of practice to get used to the dynamics of rotating the balls. You'll find yourself both over- and under-compensating until you get your balancing skills tuned j-u-u-u-ust right. It may take a while to pass the first level, but once you do, you'll be well-prepared to tackle the rest of the challenges.

Cheers to Carl for submitting another excellent game!

Play Balancing Act

dancemonkeydancemonkey - Balancing Act is a well-produced game that truly takes the "ball physics" concept in a unique direction. The control scheme is natural and intuitive, though I think the game could have used a little more feedback to indicate what effect your movements were having on the... plates? In any case, I did enjoy the game to begin with but ultimately found it a bit repetitive. The challenge was heightened just by adding more and taller stacks to keep balanced, and it ultimately got more stressful than fun. A nicely done game that just doesn't stand up to repeated play.

John BeaverJohn Beaver - With its highly original take on the theme, Balancing Act makes ball physics integral to both playing and beating the game. Whilst some may find the concept ultimately frustrating, others will feel compelled to keep trying until a level is beaten. The stylish and humorous presentation and simple control system are to be particularly commended in this worthy competition finalist.

31 Comments

what are you supposed to do in round 3? I balance the balls until the bomb goes off, only to find I've failed.

argh. I hate these pictographs. I just don't understand them... I'm stuck on level 3 as I can't figure out how to

stop the bomb from exploding

...

argh... I got it to

let me drop the top-most ball for a few tries, but whenever the bomb exploded at the bottom I lost control of all the other balls

and now its returned to my original predicament. I'm no good at think-on-your-feet games... and I can't get far enough into the game to be able to actually review it :(

ok. i understand round 3 now.

roll the bomb off the top and after it explodes keep the bottom 3 balls balanced for a while

I really like the concept for this but it's so hard. :

quite a good game i think, but i lost interest at round 8 as it was just too tricky for me. :-)

well done Carl. thanks Jay.

Superb idea! I think this is my favourite interpretation of the theme so far.

The game's pretty decent too, though I suck hopelessly at it (eventually reached level eight, which I'm currently stuck on).

Finally completed this on slow. Medium seems impossible.

Nice little game, I especially liked the addition of bombs and mice, would have like to have seen a few more of these types of things, rather than more of the vicious multi-ball towers.

Very ball physics, interesting and fun to play. Pretty good entry.

Waaaay too hard to play. If there was a little more "grip" on the balls when I click the pointer on 'em I think it would be a fun game to play.

And what are those pictures supposed to mean anyway??

Potential here but frustrating to the point of irritation for me.

there goes my self-confidence. even on slow i cant pass level 2. great idea and implementation, but way to hard.

I see many of you can't get past level 3 - well, good news: you are not the worst! I can't even get thru level#2...

Anyone found out how you can get back to the menu screen from a level? I found that maybe "slow" would be enough for me but i don't find a link to the menu page. Reloading the page works, but that's not the perfect way I guess...

OK, it's too hard for me even at slow level and not interesting enough to make me keep trying. I'm sorry, I know I'm supposed to bring positive comments here, but I'd rather opt for honesty...

Sorry :(

Great game, its a cool interpretation of the theme

Carl here. Hope you like the game.

The pictograms are just level titles; they won't help you play the game. If you can read that language, great, but it doesn't always translate to English well. Level 2's title is about yodeling, but it's also about falling off a mountain and calling for help.

You can actually use the arrow keys to push the balls. I didn't describe it it in the help because the feature isn't finished: on the levels with multiple stacks you can only select the balls on the first stack.

bioLarzen: I was relying on the JIG pop-up menu to go back to the menu. If that doesn't work I'm sorry.

I tested and designed the game on a speed slightly higher than slow and it was still challenging to me. Bunny mode is for superhumans.

I hope everyone not-hates the menu music because it's the first I've ever produced.

The mouse was originally the character in a platformer I started building for this competition. However I gave it up for this concept. Maybe I'll finish that game some day!

Also here's a tip for getting the balls to react better to the mouse:

push on the top of the ball. That way you get direct force and a good amount of corresponding torque. If you use a circluar motion it will really move.

Oh, aye, important that, you're not moving the balls, you're *rotating* them. As such, just pulling them in a direction seldom works.

Carl,

for me the main problem was not that the balls didn't react to the mouse movement, but that -i found it extremely hard to find the right movement - in most cases i had either no effect on the balls at all or too much.

Neat idea, but quite hard. Maybe a bit too hard for me to thoroughly enjoy myself. It does incorporate the theme very well, though.

The rebus level titles were interesting, although I have no idea what they mean.

I don't understand the bombs. On level 8, you have two bombs and you can't just roll them off.

Level 8 (and 3):

It's possible to remove both bombs without losing any balls.

Roll the bomb to one side so it will fall, then go to the ball just above it. Roll it the other way so that it's still positioned over the stack. Timing is important.

I really enjoyed this game, though it's a little short. I like that when you drop a ball you only lose part of the timer, and then have to balance the remaining balls longer to make up for it. It would be nice to have an audio cue to indicate when you are getting close to the end of the level. It's difficult to watch both the balls and the timer, especially on multi-tower levels.

Managed to finish this under slow, really liked the hamster balls, simple but cleverest use of theme one of my favorites

VERY HARD with a touch pad, even on slow.

Can't manage lvl 8 whatever i try. Please help my with this lvl!!

Thank you very much!

how the heck are you supposed to complete level 9? I don't know how to switch towers, can somebody tell me please. xxx

level 9 is impossible... anyone an idea?

Peter

ok, i am through level 9.

first get rid of the bomb and the rat

'grabbing' the top of the bomb and the rat, just spin them away

the moon might also fall at the end, it does not matter, essential is to keep the blue balls

i hope this helps

i recommend trying different speeds. some people might find it easier at a higher speed, and definitely it is more adrenaline!

I honestly couldn't get past level 2 on my laptop touch-pad.

I like hard games, but this one is ridicilous. I succeeded in removing the bomb on level 3 once and cannot do it again for the life of me. Also, the 3-second pause between retries gets kinda irritating after 20 tries or so.

But the concept seems like it could show up to be fun, if implemented in a little bit more user-friendly way.

SOOOOOOO HAAAAAAAARRRRRRDDDDDD!!!!

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