Now that I’ve had some fun working through some basic tutorials over at catlikecoding.com, I want to start a new project. This falls in line with a number of projects that will be kicked off over the coming weeks, all of which I’ll be referring to as prototypes.

I use the term prototype loosely, mainly because these are planned to be smaller scale projects, all of which are focused fully on mechanics rather than story or visuals. While I’ll be aiming for each of these to end up as functioning, standalone, playable games, the goal in developing these is only to give myself a deeper, more solid understanding of certain fundamentals.

I hope to have each of these prototype projects last no longer than a week, which will include development end to end. This includes development of the game mechanics, implementation of any UI pieces, and finalization into wherever it will be published.

So, where better to start exploring game mechanics than with one of the first commercially successful games: Pong!

Project Description

Well, there’s really not that much to say about building out Pong. We all have seen it, we’ve all played it. Two paddles moving vertically at either side of a game board, bouncing a ball back and forth. Your opponent misses the ball, you get a point!

While my brain starts to run off with ideas of how to add more to this simple concept (powerups! challenging obstacles! graphics!), as a prototype project I will be endeavoring to keep this as simple and as true to the original as possible.

This also gives me the chance to play with methods of tracking projects and tasks. I’m currently using the pretty awesome (and free) Clubhouse for task management, which might become a blog post of its own in the future.

Goals

  • My iteration of this classic will maintain simplicity while ensuring player input is crisp and responsive.
  • The final game will include basic UI for the main menu and game over screens, as well as an on-screen display of current points.
  • There will be two options for playing this prototype game: single-player (where you will play against a computer opponent) and two-player (where another person can operate alternate keys to play against you).
  • Graphics will be exceedingly simple, using basic sprites to represent the player paddles, the ball, and the midline of the game board. Audio will be likewise simplistic, with sounds emitted when the ball hits a paddle.
  • The finalized game will be published to my itch.io page where others can see or play it if they wish.

Next Steps

With this project kicked off, I’ll be starting the process of development and implementation… today! As I make progress through this project, I will update the project devlog right here with lessons learned, interesting developments, imminent ennui and more.

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