This week I’ve been experimenting with powerups, adding new special moves and working on an actual game design!

Art Style and Design

In my first blog I talked about how I wanted this prototype to be a cross between a standard tennis game and Street Fighter. Up until now I’ve been working on my own but this week Jason came on board and we started discussing how we wanted the game to look and play. My initial idea was probably a bit restrictive so he’s been beavering away on various mood boards so we can start to nail down a visual style and move forward on some new character designs.

We’ll share what we’ve come up with over the next few weeks.


I’ve been experimenting this week with various ways to trigger special moves. At first I wanted each character to have their own unique moves in a similar fashion to a fighting game but this might be a bit restrictive.  I am now thinking that any character can trigger any of the special moves with the possibility that the types of moves could be tied to the environments.

I implemented a system that spawns powerups on the court and once collected each powerup gives the player a special move. The type of special will eventually be indicated by  different looking powerups but for the moment they are restricted to my limited programmer art, so basically just a cube!

I’ve tried two different ways of collecting these powerups:

  • Collected by the player.  The powerups spawn on the same side of the court as the player and collected by simply running over them.
  • Picked up when the player hits the ball at them.  They spawn on the opposite side of the court and are collected when the ball passes over them

I prefer the method where the player has to hit the ball at the powerup as it would allow a bit more strategic play but in practice the first method actually seemed to play better, it’s easier to pick up the powerups and enables more special moves to be triggered per point.



I’ve been thinking about the types of special moves the player can trigger during a match. These basically fall into three categories:

  • Offensive
  • Defensive
  • Pot luck (could help or hinder either player)

I wanted a special where you could get a free return and this became the shield effect. This is a defensive special where a shield will appear shortly after the ball has been returned and allows the player to attempt to move closer to the net, safe in the knowledge that the ball will still be returned even if the opponent tries a passing shot.  The implementation is pretty simple, if the ball passes through the shield plane a new target position is calculated and the effect deactivated.

I’m pretty happy with the way this move turned out as it’s one of the more useful specials I’ve implemented so far.

Here’s the move in action…


Next Week

  • More design work on characters and art styles
  • Balancing and improvements to all the special moves implemented so far