Tackleball ’98 is a Kiwjam 2016 entry. I worked on this project over 48 hours with Jacob Grossman. I did the design and programming, and Jacob provided the lovely pixel art.
Tackleball ’98 was voted ‘Best Overall Game’ at Kiwijam 2016.
Tackleball ’98 is reminiscent of 90s sports games – light on rules and heavy on quick and simple fun.
Having only 48 hours to make the game, the game had to be simple. It’s four directions and one button, so it’s very easy to pick up and play. I was inspired by Bomberman and old Sensible Soccer games, but wanted to make something a bit unique, a sports game that couldn’t be played in real life. The limited time I had to make this game, along with being the only coder, meant no AI, this game is solely a 4-player game.
It’s sort of a capture the flag type game – the players must grab the ‘orb’ from the other goal, and bring it back to their own home to score. There are also negative point orbs that will occasionally appear in the centre of the field to award bonus points or dock a point to add an extra element to the game. On top of that, destructible crates appear on the field constantly!
Most of the weekend was spent nailing the movement code, as if the game doesn’t ‘feel’ right to play it won’t be fun. It’s a difficult combination to get right because grid-based games like bomberman are often very reactive to input, but sports games rely on having big open spaces to build up some acceleration. The biggest success I had on this project was liberally guiding the player around obstacles on the field by subtly pushing them onto a grid using techniques from The Legend of Zelda. The player doesn’t get ‘stuck’ and can run around smoothly.