The Perfect Shot


ArtbegottiThe Perfect ShotIf there were a television commercial for this game, this is likely how it would go:

Get the ball to green
To escape the scene!
Avoid the red,
Or your ball is dead!
Stay in bounds
And listen to the sounds
To see if you've got
The Perfect Shot!

For his first entry into one of our competitions, Dan Black created this action game of skill and finesse, perfectly titled The Perfect Shot.

To play, grab the red ball from its starting position by clicking and holding it. You'll notice an area surrounded by a dotted line pop up. From within these bounds, move your mouse and release to throw the ball toward the green target. If you make the perfect shot and land the red ball in the green target, success! You move on to the next level.

But perfection is a rare thing, and there's plenty to stop you from the glory of the green. Scattered throughout the levels are devious red walls, spears, and birds of prey that will destroy your ball with one touch. Blue holes will teleport your ball, but be careful, because your direction and momentum are preserved in the relocation. Pink, Yellow, and Blue panels require a pattern to be played before they'll disappear and let you pass. And remember, any time you are holding the ball, you must stay within those dotted lines!

While some of the levels are straight-forward (bank the ball off of this to hit that to land it in the target), a lot of levels require some more in-depth planning. Timing when one grabs or throws the ball is key, as some levels will require you to catch and re-throw the ball in order to win. The blue teleporter holes can sometimes create a maze of pathways for your ball to go (sometimes in your favor, sometimes not). In some levels, the red obstacles react to where you move your mouse, so you might need to throw the ball and quickly retreat your cursor in a different direction. Trial-and-error will be your friend when you play this game, as every level is beatable, but sometimes with a bit of effort.

Analysis: The Perfect Shot captures the spirit of the "ball physics" theme of our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition (CGDC4) very nicely. One of the initial complaints about the game was due to some erratic behavior when throwing the ball, but Dan has gladly fixed this problem and a few other kinks from the original entry. The result is a game that is well-polished a lot of fun to play.

There's a wide range of challenges to face in the 20 levels of this game, but some people might have a tricky time adjusting to a rather steep difficulty curve. Finding the precise "fling" to send the ball to the goal can get frustrating after thirty-or-so attempts (did I mention the game counts your tries?), but then again, that's what you've got to expect when playing a game called "The Perfect Shot." Half of the fun is that moment of glee you get when you sink the basket and get to face the next challenge. I know that when I beat the final level, I wanted more... Perhaps expanding on this project is something Dan might want to consider? (Hint hint.)

So get ready to throw your all to the goal, and play The Perfect Shot!

Play The Perfect Shot

47 Comments

First post! I have to say out of all the games so far, this one gave me the most first level trouble out of all of them! I happen to like the soundtrack, and the ball physics theme is quite nicely presented. The only thing I can criticize is that sometimes when you drag and throw the ball, it doesn't give the proper "oomph". Other than that, great submission! I'm glad to finally be posting, rather than lurking in the shadows, too!!

Ohio Cool

I can't get past the level with

the three bumpers, blue purple and yellow, with the arrow pointing right to the exit. It doesn't even look like there's any physical way to get the ball to the exit!

Any suggestions?

Anonymous:

Press the play button to get the sequence. Hit the lights in that order to make them vanish.

I still can't complete that level, but that's just because I gave up after 40 tries!

Good game, very fun.

Ali

Anonymous: Try

clicking on that arrow before you click on the red ball.

Level 12 (the one Anonymous asked about):

The arrow is a button. Click it. (*Before* grabbing the ball.)
Does that give you any ideas?

You have to hit the three bumpers, in the order that they "flash".

And you aren't allowed any extra hits. (Eg, if you hit one of them twice, you have to die and start over.)

You are allowed to re-grab the ball in between hits though, which comes in handy, because it's *really* hard to hit all three in the right order in a single throw (although I did it once accidentally :).

Stuck on level 16 now. GRRRR!

Cool game though. The throwing-but-don't-go-out-of-bounds is tricky and slightly annoying, but the game has kept me hooked anyway. (Up until 16, which is just evil :-)

Okay, I got really annoyed really quickly.

Great idea. I just mislike the throwing mechanic. Maybe I will take a break from games and come back later.

Thx Ali. I got it figured out about the time you posted. I have now completed the game. What seemed relatively boring at the start ended up being a challenging, albeit frustrating, game. All in all, not too bad. A level editor would seemingly be simple and very nice to have.

When you finish the game, it returns to the main screen where you can play any level you would like. There are 20 levels. Level 20 was the hardest for me, at 29 shots. The next closest was Level 16 @ 24 shots. That was my first run through.

Frustrating, but I liked it. :)

Total shots: 160

Great Game! This might be my favorite so far. A great challenge that you can't walk away from and an excellent implementation of the theme. I finished with a score of 280.

Once you finish, you can go back and play any level you want.

Wow, really frustrating near the end, but fun stuff! I finally beat it with 273 strokes. :D

I have to agree with Scramble125, while the concept was good, the throwing mechanic doesn't work very well and it got me pissed of very quickly. part of it was the fact that the out of bounds prevented me from following through the shot, so I ended up stopping just as I threw the ball, causing it to go off at a different angle and speed to the intended one. one way to remedy this would be to make the out of bounds only take effect if you were holding the ball.

I hate to say it, but this game is really frustrating. I feel like I have no real control over the speed at which I throw the ball: either it falls weakly to the ground when I release, or I send it into orbit.

Yeah, It seems like some levels you just can't throw it right. If there was a little leeway of like a quarter of a second between stopping the mouse and letting go it might help, but it seems that the velocity at the exact second of letting go is what really matters. Too many times I stopped just short of the line and the ball dropped into a red zone. Nice idea but not as well executed as possible. I really think just a fraction of a second on the mouse movement would help this game a LOT.

Can't get past the first level. Grr!!

WOW, I must say this is probably the best game yet. It's very hard to play on a laptop with a touchpad. It reminds me of that Tama game only I don't have to start over. Great use of the theme!!!!

My mouse setup simply isn't good enough for this game. Took me eight tries to get off level two. :-(

PERFECT!

This is exactly what I was waiting for when I heard this competition was for ball-physics games. This is a great game, is fun to play, my only objection is that the constant "out of bounds" gets repetitive.
Maybe instead, create boundaries where your cursor cannot cross? Same effect, but you don't have to worry about acceleration from the mouse carrying you out of bounds EVERY TIME.

Incidentally, I ended with a score of 221 and finished the last level with a lot fewer strokes than the second to last. My most was 42 (hooray) strokes on... I can't remember which now. My least favorite was:

the maze with the spikes because even if you made it through the maze it was ridiculously hard to get the ball the right toss into the zone. So little space to move enough.

Probably won't play this again.

Tough game, especially at first. It took me almost 40 strokes to get past the first level. After that, I started to get the hang of it though, but still finished with 214 strokes.

The game definitely made good use of the ball physics theme, and it was certainly challenging, but I'm not inclined to play it again. On the whole, I'd say it was a pretty good entry.

I agree with people's complaints/concerns about the throwing mechanics, but I think the out-of-bounds function adds an element of originality to this game that I haven't seen before, and makes it far more challenging.

I quite like this one. Plays well and is just frustrating enough to coax me back again and again.

I'm stuck on the "maze with red spikes and added red balls" level. And its getting late here so I'm a bit tired for pixel-perfect mouse movements at this stage!

But a very solid entry overall.

This was really tough for me....the first level was harder than some of the following ones, and some levels took me over 40 strokes to complete. I did get hooked, though once I finished one level I couldn't help but continue. Not my kind of game, but the best one I've tried in this competition.

Good game! Among the best presented so far. The levels are varied and creative, making you use a bit of intuition to figure out the solution. I got stuck on one of the later levels and gave up after 100 tries though:

The one with the three red circles that grow and shrink depending on where the pointer is. Just couldn't pull off that "perfect shot". My mouse arm hurts now :(

I liked this game a lot in concept but something about the control scheme was really frustrating, mainly in getting the ball to do what it was supposed to while keeping the mouse within bounds. I'm guessing this game was tested on a system(s) with fairly different mouse acceleration settings than I have because it just seems like it needs to be tweaked to make it more forgiving (of course, probably a lot of people have fairly different mouse settings...)

Also, I occasionally ran into a bug where the ball would bounce off the out-of-bounds lines. (Especially in the level with the Simon theme).

this game is loads of fun! i cant stop smiling, even when i lose. there should be more games like this out there.

The level design here is really great. As soon as you think you've got the game figured out it throws something completely new at you.

LazyPint: The level after that is even harder. You have to throw the ball toward a tiny hole and then immediately pull your mouse back the other way.

I'm guessing that the game calculates your throw by comparing the last two positions of the mouse before you release the button. Therefore if you slow or stop the mouse right as you release, you get a weak throw. The is exacerbated when you are trying to avoid slinging the mouse out of bounds.

I had over 60 strokes on the level I was just talking about. but then as soon as I post about how hard it is, I beat it in just a few more throws. Compulsion pays off!

Yay I win 207 strokes.

Touchpad makes this impossible to play, which cannot help but be frustrating. Seems like an interesting concept, though. :)

It is an interesting game with nice graphics. I do agree though, that the mechanism might get very frustrating. I am getting "out of bounds" for no reason all the time.... Also, is the dotted line supposed to make the ball movement slower, when it goes over it? I thought it was just an imaginary line. And I also had that bug very often, where the ball bounced off the dotted line.

And that's too bad, it would have been a great game.

Very nice implementation of ball physics.
It's the second best for me.

I finished every level except two I think. In those I cheated :P I found the one with the growing red things very hard, even when I figured out how they worked.

A lot of people probably already know how to cheat in these type of games. But here it is again:

1 hold your mouse cursor on the middle of the ball.
2 left mouse click
3 right mouse click
4 move mouse cursor to the middle of the green base
5 right mouse click
So game developers, disable right-mouse-click when you make these kind of games... if you don't want people to be able to cheat

I'm such a cheater with this game that the game says I finished it with Total strokes: 1

I needed 1 stroke because the first level with the music pads can't be done with cheating (because the exit has the red thing under it).

Indeed, the concept is great. But I also have problems with the controls, mainly keeping the mouse inside the bounds while still having to throw it just right. It is the combination of those two which make it quite hard. And applaus for such a great use of the theme.

I became frustrated with the controls on this game very quickly. On the first level, in fact. Grrr.

I second the idea of allowing the player to be out of bounds as long as they're not still holding the ball, as that may improve the throwing mechanics.

(When throwing a ball in real life, follow-through is important. In these games, follow-through is just as important, but forcing you to stay in the box prevents that.)

Wow, this game has the dubious honor of being the only game I have ever played that I couldnt get past the first level. I don't know if it just didnt interact well with my computer, or if there was something I was missing, but I found it impossible, even after close to 50 tries, to complete the first stage.

Bleh

Thanks for the game, but with this one I found it way too frustrating. I guess I am used to the mouse click as my "boundary" I kept going out of bounds with my "follow through" over and over. I know that is the point, but it just wasn't for me. I will say that I've never played any thing quite like it and it's a new twist on an old theme, so I know the developer will have a lot of fans with this one.
My suggestion would be - instead of having the dreaded dotted line (which was totally disconcerting to me) maybe have a "fire line" that slowed you down or something. The dotted line wierded me out.

Well that was about as much fun as a kick in the head. I'm sure the physics is spot on, but like some of the other comments I just found the controls too awkward and didn't find it any fun. I think you've just got to like these sort of games to appreciate it.

I haven't read this yet, but maybe I just missed it:

I HATE HATE HATE that when your ball stops on a wall, you're stuck. I didn't pass level 1 because of that. I want to know what the author plays this game with, and how his accuracy is. I don't know if it was maybe just me, but my ball was either straight up or curved into the bottom right corner, only to bounce back and catch the lower wall. AND once caught on the wall, I couldn't take another stroke without hitting the "restart" Jay button on the top menu and clicking "play" again. Infuriating.

I'm sure everyone who got past level one is correct with their physics and whatever, but I mean JEEZ, no one should be so turned off by a game that they quit on level one, and no game should be so hard that level one should take fifty or sixty tries. Sorry to be so pessimistic and snarky--I look forward to his further submissions, or this one again if some problems are dealt with.

I... don't do gesture-based games well... I shouldn't comment.

Yes, this is a really hard game - but even the hardest level (my nemesis was the second of the colour sequence levels - over 200 strokes needed) seemed just a fraction out of reach which made you want to have just one more go. And the great thing about hard games is when you beat them!
BTW I was using a tablet for most of this and although it was still hard to keep within bounds it felt quite natural.
Overall: I love it.
Peter

Thanks for the comments everyone. To answer a few queries/remarks...

My average score was between 30 and 50 strokes everytime I played it through to test.

The ball isn't ever bouncing off of the dotted line. The dotted line is the boundary past which your mouse cursor cannot go. If it does, the ball is released from your grip, which is what makes it look like it is bouncing off of that line. Either that, or you're pulling back your throw to try and avoid the boundary... which causes the game to react as if you are throwing it the other way. There is not a single line of code that causes the ball to react to that line.

Not that anyone is re-reading this, or that it can be played but I changed the copy I have in the following ways based on your comments:

1. There is now a single cycle's lee-way in the throw, so that, if the game detects that you were going one direction in one cycle, and the ball is now set to travel in the opposing direction, it will take the old cycle's trajectory and run with it. Overall, I found no difference for me, but when I purposefully snapped the mouse back just before throwing, it still traveleed the direction I was headed originally.

2. I fixed it so that it is impossible to use the cheat. I don't know if I can change the fact that the menu appears when the game is being hosted through another interface, with its own settings, so I fixed it another way. It basically takes you to a screen with the words "No cheating!", and does nothing for you beyond that.

3. I made it so that the dotted line is only active while the bal is in-hand. Many of you commented on this, and I realized after thinking about it that it wouldn't change the gameplay all that much actually. It is just a little more difficult to figure out what to do once the ball falls flat and stops moving. You have to go try and pick it up, then it alerts that you are out of bounds.

My feeling is that a lot of the people who had problems were the ones that feared the dotted line and its implications. It caused them to pull back their shot instead of following-through as is needed. Granted, I created the game, but it didn't take long before I got over that and used the follow-through to my full advantage.

Thanks again everyone. This has been a really fun contest so far.

Final update on changes made to newly submitted version:

1. 1-game-cycle's forgiveness on direction change with respect to mouse-movement when making a shot.
2. Fix to not allow right-click menu cheating.
3. Shuffling of a few lower levels to ramp up difficulty more appropriately.
4. Flash Shared Local Object now stores levels defeated, allowing easy access from main menu.
5. Boundary for shots is only active while actually "holding" the ball with the mouse cursor.

Finished the game with 20 strokes (not in my first go off course) and thought it would be nice if there was a you win perfectly screen or something, would have been nice after all the hard work I did to perfect this game.

Wow Dorham! Quite honestly... I didn't program anything in that event because I never really expected anyone to make it all the way through with only the one stroke on each and every level perfectly. As a matter of fact... I can't even do that myself. Let me just say that you definitely deserve something for the effort... what it is, I don't know... but... wow...

How about The George W. Bush Award for Believability... ;-)

Great game. I finished with 157 strokes (on a touchpad!!) The hardest for me was definitely the level with the balls that changed size when you moved your mouse around at 31 tries.

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