Rmvblls


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Rating: 3.7/5 (50 votes)
| Comments (44) | Views (2)

rmvblls.jpgzxoRmvblls represents designer Eduardo Omine's first entry into one of our competitions, and hopefully not the last! It implements the CGDC4 Ball Physics theme in a fairly straightforward manner, with four kinds of balls bouncing around the screen like they're on a pocketless pool table.

At the start of each level the screen is clear except for a single ball with a star on it. Almost immediately, white balls start appearing in random locations with random velocities. Your only channel of interaction is through the star ball – click it and pull back to set your velocity vector and release to set it in motion. Colliding with a white ball will change it into a black one. When two black balls collide, they annihilate each other, a point is earned, and a red ball appears at the opposite point on the screen. A collision between red balls is worth two points because you cannot touch them directly with the star ball, you must go through a black ball, much like shooting through balls in pool. Green balls, the last and rarest type of ball, render you invincible for 5 seconds, and any ball you touch in that time disappears and gives you one point. Each of the ten levels gives you a set amount of time to earn a certain number of points.

Analysis: I must admit, I'm a big fan of simple idea games – when the idea is strong enough to sustain complex, non-repetitive gameplay and stands up to multiple replays. The idea behind Rmvblls accomplishes this goal superbly... almost. By making a dangerous red ball appear for each pair of blacks eliminated, Eduardo forces you to plan your moves carefully rather than just spastically trying to go on a scoring spree. Essentially, he's making you clean up after yourself, or at least be very very careful in navigating through your mess.

The one thing holding Rmvblls back is not that it lacks anything, but rather that it has one color too many. The green balls offer so much of a scoring advantage that it's easier just to wait for a bunch of white balls and one green ball to appear, then go on a five-second rampage, gaining huge amounts of points without having to worry about littering your screen with red balls.

It's a common decision that game designers face: Do you start to introduce powerups, or do you leave things simple? If you do add powerups, when do you stop? In the opinion of this casual gamer, you should either go all out (a la Areas) or keep them as minimal as possible to sustain a good game. In the case of Rmvblls, the green balls only served to detract from what was otherwise an expertly balanced and fun game.

Don't get me wrong – I love this game. There's nothing about it I found annoying or difficult, although some commenters did report problems with the edges of the Flash frame, so YMMV. Still, overall the game exhibits a good degree of polish. If anything, it resembled the previous contest winner just a tad too much, which may have lowered its score a touch, but in all other respects is an extremely good thing for a game to do.

Play Rmvblls

44 Comments

Rmvblls? Pat, I'd like to buy a vowel ;o)

Nicely made. Smooth game play. As usual, the main problem is dealing with the edge of the playfield. You constantly want to drag the directional line outside the window, which doesn't work or it activates the drop-down contest menu. Very annoying. Perhaps a smaller playfield would help.

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Another decent game handicapped by using mouse control in a Flash window. I got tired of my cursor constantly going outside the play frame and messing up my control of the main ball. I can't see any reason why I should have to grab the main ball every time. There's only one object that I can interact with, so why not let me start from anywhere on the screen, draw a line to anywhere, and release? And my ball would behave as though I had started on it and I wouldn't have to go outside the boundary of the game. Yes, I can work around the problem by rebounding off walls instead, but it makes the game feel really awkward and buggy.

Which is a shame, because in every other respect, this is a smooth ride. Elegant concept, graphics, sound and execution. The ball physics are a straightforward implementation of a bunch of pool balls in a rectangle knocking into one another, but the game rules are simple and fun.

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interesting and unique gameplay :)

The clock starts running down when it's not supposed to, so for anyone who is trying to read the help file:

  • remove the red and black balls from gameplay

  • collide two balls together to remove them

  • DON'T hit the red balls with your ball

  • black balls are 1 point

  • red balls are 2 points

Also: you do not get a breather between rounds... the clock starts running down immediately, before you've had a chance to click start on the level... so prepare yourself to go nonstop and click start fast :)

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Good game, but I agree with Psychotronic: there should be smaller field or another way to control the ball. Also I found this game to be a little too difficult for me, which is a shame, since this is such a polished game. Gets a 3,5/5 (does this actually exists?).

P.S.: Does RMVBLLS stand for ReMoVeBaLLS?

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as said above, the only problem is the edge of the playfield. This isnt much of an issue when using the "Game link", though.I like the music and the graphics. Parabéns Eduardo!

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k i'm gonna try the game again then because the games have been loading wierd for me the last few days I think due to server load. But, I didn't have a problem with the border. I could stretch my string out past the border no problem, and didn't notice a big loss in control.

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Okay I'm back.

I drag my string outside the window all the time, and I don't notice a problem with it. The ball shoots just fine. I think this is definately an area the game designer got right. Wish more designers would do the same.

The only buggy thing for me is the clock. It took me about three tries to read the help file, and I still managed to forget a line, the part about the green balls being good. Ah well, I'm sure people will figure it out.

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Loved the game. Only three problems: the drop down menu keeps coming in the way, when the balls go over the timer you can't see it (the time should go in front of the balls) and its annoying that my cursor keeps going outside of the screen.

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Sorry to post a unrelated idea, but with as many entries in the competition as you have, maybe the interface needs to be changed to make it a little easier to browse the games.

Thanks,
Ben


[Edit: Thanks, Ben. You're right. The interface was not designed for the number of entries we have received. Unfortunately, the interface cannot be changed at this time. Instead, there will be a selection of finalists that will represent the competition after all games have been rolled out. In the meantime, you can always access the CGDC4 tag page for a complete listing of all competition entries. -Jay]

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I tried again using the "game link" and it still doesn't work right. If I drag the line outside the border of the game and release, nothing happens. I have to bring the cursor back inside the border and click again to get control back. Does this not happen to everyone? Why would Flash be acting differently for some people, and is there any way I can make it do that?

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Seems like I'm the worst player around - I'm simply unable to complete even level 1. Either a red ball pop in 1 pixel away from my madly dashing star-ball so i can do nothing to avoid collision or I run out of time :( I've been playin for like 10 minutes and no success...

Seems like I'm not gonna like this game, but it's my fault and not the game's...

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Oops, my bad... I misunderstood the task... Now, that i know what I have to do I can finally pass levels :DDD

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I do like the idea behind the game, but having a red ball spawn right in front of me really takes the skill out of the game and makes it luck... not entirely bad I suppose, but not what I was hoping for...

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I've made it to lvl ten so far :D This game rocks :D

I don't really know what's going on with flash, sorry :( but I swear I can pull the string outside the window, and I'm having a great time.

@biolarzen:
The timer starts running down right away so you lose a few seconds no matter what. you have to be quick on the draw. also, maybe try using shorter strings so your ball goes slower and you have more control. you can also grab the ball while it's still rolling, although yeah you need to be quick.

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oops nevermind lol I see biolarzen does not need my help :P

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All in all its a good game. Easy playability, smooth graphics, I liked that I don't have a limited number of lives to complete a level.

Two little notes: there might be some who'll find this game get a little boring after some levels - you have to do the same thing all over again. Maybe the introduction of new ball types after every 2 or 3 levels would add to the overall enjoyment.

The other note is that it might be useful to tell the player beforehand how many levels there are to beat. Al the player sees that each completed level brings up another one, some seconds longer and some balls more to clear - it could go on to infinity.

A last remark: the help says hitting the green ball makes the star-ball "invincible" for five seconds. It might be good to add that while those 5 secs last each ball hit disappears even without colliding with another ball of the same color.

Godd job, congrats, Eduardo!

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Shadowxaf Author Profile Page October 7, 2007 3:46 PM

This is the first flash game I've played that recognizes mouse/cursor activity outside the bounds of the flash application window boundaries.

I wonder why it's only working this way for some of us?

The gameplay is pretty fun, but there can be some improvements. Make the red balls slowly fade into the playing field before they become active.
I'd like to try a version that gives the cue ball the same mass as the other balls, so it is more like pool.

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And i have to agree with charmander: dragging the mouse outside the playfield did not cause any problems for me either.

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ok level ten is the last level :D

Those green balls are awesome :D

This game reminds me a lot of those bejeweled or whatever they are called games, except this game is cooler and more interactive. I'd hate to ruin the white-black-red color scheme, but adding more colors of balls could expand the game, and there could also be a scoring system that includes combos and all that. But this game works great just as is, so if Eduardo doesn't want to fix what isn't broken, that's okay. Simple works well :D

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I'm also unable to drag the line outside the play area - or, rather, I can, but can't then release it. Makes it very hard to get away from the edges.

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Nice game - very smooth physics implementation, interesting concept. The instructions could have been a bit clearer, but I figured out the rules myself easily enough. It got a bit repetitive at higher levels; more kinds of balls or other additions would've been nice.

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An enjoyable game, for the most part. But momentum doesn't seem to be conserved when balls collide. When one ball going at speed x (in whatever unit is appropriate) hits another ball that is motionless, the ball that gets hit ends up going about x/5, and the original ball either stops or goes back about x/10. This makes multiple-hit shots difficult because all of the balls slow down way too much.

davidh

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For those who are frustrated when a red ball spawns on top of them:

Red balls appear in the exact opposite place on the board where the two black balls were taken from. So a black ball collision in the lower left corner leads to a red ball in the upper right. So, avoid using your ball to push black balls together near the center, as the red ball will spawn very close to where you are.
However, it's not a foolproof method, as sometimes black balls randomly collide without you having to do anything, and if you're in the wrong spot, you're out of luck!

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Boy, I'm glad we have a discussion page here. I never thought to drag on the ball, I was just clicking.

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I found the gameplay to be quite enjoyable and had no problem with any of the mechanics (including pulling the cursor outside of the box), but the whole timer thing really annoyed me. Why would you make the timer start to count down before the player even starts playing, or while he or she is reading the help? That just makes no sense to me. Changing it so that the timer only counts down when you are actually playing would be logical, and would make this a lot more enjoyable for me.

Other than that, it's a pretty straightforward implementation of ball physics with an interesting twist.

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eyepersonic October 7, 2007 8:55 PM

the graphics are amazingly simple and effective to my eye,
the music suits very well and its catchy enough to make me play the game just to hear it! (and not too much to annoy me),
the rules are simple and somehow original,
the physics are 100% correct and perfect for the theme
..but i find myself not playing it over and over again

why? i can't get to a conclusion easly.

i think maybe the pace is too fast for me to have some strategic approach on the run.. slidding away slowly from the red balls most of the time turns out to be my mainly concern, the rest seems to happen naturaly.

also gets a bit anoying the constant effort to catch the ball every single play (in order to drag the mouse and pull the string).

hope i am not beeing too picky cos this entry is, nevertheless, a very enjoyable one! nice work here

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Superslash October 7, 2007 11:40 PM

1. Blind Luck based instant-death
2. JIG top-bar getting in the way of the game
3. No instructions on how to play
4. Not telling the player red balls are instant death
5. Failure to take into account the borders of the window

Few flash game designers manage to get 5 crimes against sanity crammed into a single game within seconds of beginning gameplay. I am truly impressed.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this game and quickly played it all the way through in fifteen minutes, but it felt challenging and enjoyable -- which makes it a perfect casual game in my book. I did start playing without looking at the help, and the exploration really added to my enjoyment. Thanks!

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Superslash - 4 of your 5 claims are just not (or not entirely) true.

1. See my spoilered comment @5:42
2. OK, you have a point, although this is far from the only game to have that problem.
3. Check the upper right corner. I think that having a link to the help page in the game is a good compromise between those who enjoy figuring games out for themselves and those who don't want to waste the time. I know there has been much debate on this issue during all of the CGDCs.
4. See #3
5. This has always been a problem for Flash. However, there are many people for whom this is not a problem, indicating that the author went to some length to address the problem. I guess that doesn't really do anything for you personally though. :(

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One more little inaccuracy: when the starry ball hits a ball that's in the corner it sitcks to it, doesn't bounce back as would be physically predictable.

But still, all in all it's a nice game and i enjoyed it a lot.

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Hi, thanks everybody for your comments.

I realise now that having to drag the mouse outside the game is an awkward solution, regardless of it working or not. I think a better solution would be to move the board when the ball reaches close to the walls so that the player has some room to release the mouse. That way the board area wouldn't have to be reduced and the JIG menu bar wouldn't get in the way either.

Thanks again!

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Instructions might help...

So if it is true that I can destroy red balls, how do I do it? I myself can't hit them obviously, and neither white nor black balls destroy them when they hit them. So are they just obstacles?

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Theresa, there's a help link at the top right. I do agree that the rules could've been made clearer, though.
And there are actually 2 ways to destroy red balls: (a) make two of them touch, or (b) touch them while powered up.
Green balls power you up and may appear at any time. As you pass levels, more green balls appear in the game.

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About the border issue, I did not have any problems with that when I played, because I played in a not-popup window. For playing in a normal window just use the full URL (provided for outside linking) instead of using the "Play Rmvblls" (this goes for "Spin Ball" too).
I'm not sure if this works for everyone, though.

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Am I the only one who can't get points in this game?

Either it's not working in my browser, or I am fundamentally misunderstanding the point. But it seems like I would have scored at least one point by accident after having tried it 6 or 7 times, right? Can someone explain the game in their own language?

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To score you have to make two black balls collide (1 point), or two red balls collide (2 points).

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Thanks Eduardo -
there must be something wrong with my system (I'm using IE7 on Windows) And by the end of the 30 seconds, the screen is full of black balls, with no red balls and no points. Several of the black balls have collided due to necessity - there are so many!

?!?

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Sidd Finch October 15, 2007 3:48 PM

barnz...I have the opposite problem. I just get an endless supply of white balls.It makes it tough to collide black balls when I have yet to see any show up. I wonder if it is my flash driver or Firefox. but either way I just can't get black balls to show up so I can never get any points...

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Barnz: That's very odd. I suggest you to click on the "Game link" above and try again. I remember having problems with two other competition entries... in both cases, simply refreshing the page solved the problem.

Sidd: to get black balls, you need to hit the white ones with the starry ball. To do that, mouse over the starry ball, and drag the mouse. You'll see a line indicating the force that will be applied to the ball. Release the mouse to apply the force.

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Eduardo,

I actually think that dragging off-screen is a better solution if you could get it to work for everyone. If you move the board, you may not be able to see where you're aiming. That and I tend to dislike games that pan the camera in general.

I also like Psychotronic's suggestion (in comment #2) of being able to draw your vector anywhere in the window. That way you also don't have to deal with getting your mouse onto what may be a rapidly moving starry ball.

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Sidd Finch October 17, 2007 12:02 PM

Eduardo...for some reason that doesn't work. I am hitting the white balls with the star ball over and over and over. And all I see is a whole lot of white balls. I wonder if it is a flash requirement or something that I am missing on my computer. The other games all work fine. I don't know what I'm missing.

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It sounds like Sidd and I are experiencing the same glitch - I just made a mistake in claiming the balls were black - they are white, shaded grey...
I have reloaded the game several times over many days, it never works.

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I was preparing to post that I didn't get it--it wasn't fun, too difficult, etc.--then realized why: I'm having the bug of not being able to release outside of the field of play. Hmmm. I think the touchpad slows me down too. Oh well.

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too bad the game is so buggy. dsrtrosy and others cannot release the ball outside of the game area. I cannot change the balls from white to black (or any other color for that matter).

:(

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