Making Curve Ball

The development of the very first digital game I made.

Game Concept

The initial vision for Curve Ball was to create an arcade game that provided players with a sensation of blasting through levels with tremendous force, destroying obstacles in their path while toying with gravity. 

Building the game

I began by developing the basic game mechanics, featuring a bouncing ball and solid objects to rebound against. Soon enough, I had a playable level that already offered a lot of enjoyment. The concept evolved into launching the ball from cannon to cannon, introducing cannons, a ball, and a goal to reach. Progress was looking good. 

However, the artwork was still lacking, prompting me to make my first iteration in that area, resulting in the following design: 

Adding Depth and Variety

To enhance the gameplay experience, I decided to introduce more variation. This led me to incorporate the following elements:

These additions made the game more enjoyable, but I inadvertently neglected the most crucial aspect: the core gameplay. While the variations were successful, the cannons rotated at an agonizingly slow speed, making the game tedious. Realizing this flaw, I focused on rectifying it, fine-tuning the rotation speed to strike a balance where players had enough time to aim and time their shots, without enduring overly long waits for the cannon to complete a full rotation.

Upping the visuals

Continuing my efforts, I once again concentrated on enhancing the visuals, which were still unsatisfactory. I opted for a "gold jewelry" theme, aiming for an extravagant feel. After hours of research and photo editing, I arrived at the following outcome: 

Although this result started to look good, I acknowledged that it represented my best attempt without the assistance of an artist. Little did I know, the value of having an artist would become evident through later experiences, particularly with Rick O'Shea. 


Despite implementing various changes, something still felt off. Players weren't getting excited while playing, and the rotation of the cannons remained frustrating. Whether I slowed them down or sped them up, the issue persisted, merely shifting from being too slow to being too fast.

It was during this phase that I shared the game with one of my fellow students, Toby Hazes. He carefully examined the game and proposed a brilliant solution: adjusting the starting angle of the cannons, aligning them almost perfectly with the desired trajectory upon entry. Implementing this suggestion proved to be a game-changer, significantly improving the gameplay experience. Initially, I had overlooked this solution due to my belief that timing was a crucial factor in the game's enjoyment. However, this modification actually heightened the significance of timing. Rather than constantly experiencing delays and frustrations, missing a shot and waiting became the player's responsibility.

With this breakthrough, Curve Ball came into its own. With 24 levels in total, I felt immensely proud of having created a great game. Although this game would later evolve into the more successful Rick O'Shea, which held actual commercial value, Curve Ball still possesses its own charm. It serves as a testament to my early days in game design and development. Despite not generating any revenue, the game taught me invaluable lessons and provided a truly personal and enjoyable experience.