Archive entry by Ste Pickford on Wed, 11 Feb 2009
Subject: Magnetic Billiards: Seriously Casual
This is the first set of balls I built for the prototype of Magnetic Billiards. If you've seen the alpha version you'll know they are nothing like the final balls used in the game.
I was trying to make a set of balls with both distinctive colours and distinctive patterns. Although not an absolute requirement, my rule of thumb was that I wanted the balls to still be easily distinguishable from each other even if the player was colour blind.
This set fulfilled all my self-imposed rules, but they just didn't look very good in-game. They didn't obviously appear to belong to the same set, and changing the size of the white spots didn't instantly identify each ball in the same way that their colour did.
It was almost hard work to look at these balls and work out which was which when playing on a busy table.
They were a ton of work too! It's surprisingly difficult to texture a sphere. They just don't want square textures wrapped around them. There are different types of sphere geometry, and different texturing methods, and none of them are perfect or ideal for every situation. This set required a switch between different sphere geometries in order to texture the different spot sizes without any texture distortion.
As I say, a ton of work, and we threw it all away, but that's normal when you're making an original game. You've got to experiment a little, and have a few little failures along the way.