I got into juggling sometime during the pandemic. Its really simple. You just throw up a ball and catch it. The hard part is doing that three at a time. I’ve recently gotten back into it, and now I see it is really something that can be easily broken down into a system.
So I wanted to make a game about juggling. The “premise” is that you have control over some kind of robot, and you have to give it precise instructions, and it will learn to juggle.
The idea was that over the course of the game you would be given certain hints about different juggling patterns, then you would track them down on youtube, and then get your robot to replicate them.
The first day, I spent getting some of the systems set up. By the end of it I had a basic version of the regular cascade simulated correctly.
The next couple of days was working on the UI and the specific controls, and then converting them into instructions that the simulator could run.
The fourth day, I had the whole thing running and could get the juggler to do several basic juggling patterns.
The final day was mostly fixing bugs and things. This time, I don’t have a final prototype for you to try out. The final thing was a little too broken and prone to crashing to be fun to play with.
So instead I created a short video overview to highlight some interesting things about the game.
It’s a lovely system. It’s really fun to see the kinds of things you can do, and really satisfying to get a particular pattern working. In general, the juggling patterns themselves can be really hypnotic to watch, and that’s a definite plus.
I have not really been able to test it out, but having players leave the game to go and watch youtube videos about juggling could be something that gets them interested in the hobby in general, and its an idea that could be explored further.
The most important part of any programming style game is the UI. It needs to be very easy to make the kinds of changes that you might want to make. Shifting instructions around, quickly seeing the results of a change in instruction, changing a parameter of an existing instruction, things like that need to be really easy to do.
Overall, I am really excited about this idea. I think that I would like to spend some time to spin it out into a full game. I will have to decide then whether I want to have the patterns available in game, or whether that can be “additional” extra content.
I am not sure when I would pursue it, but I think if I can get a satisfactory UI system working, then the game can scale to whatever scope I would like to put it to, and I have a few stories / themes that I think this mechanic could carry well. It would be a lot of fun to work on.