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Development Snapshot of the Day
August 30, 2002
Submitted by Rick Overman

Marble Blast
Here it is!! The world premier of Marble Blast, a co-production between GarageGames and Monster Studios.

Back in January of 2002 Mark Frohnmayer started playing around with some marble rolling physics so GarageGames could create a small example game to show off the Torque Game Engine and to be one of the Player´s Site launch titles. However, once the game was running, the Tribes 2 update project took precedence, so Marbles was put on the back burner. It was revived when Kevin Ryan from Monster Studios agreed to start work on the project in May. After Kevin took a month to learn the TGE, he dove into Marbles. About a week ago, Kevin submitted a build that looked awesome and inspired the GG guys to pitch in and help get it done.

In the past week, the game has evolved tremendously, giving us enough confidence that we decided to enter it in the 2003 Independent Game Festival. Our next goal is to get the product ready to ship for the GarageGames Player´s Site launch. Here is the short description from the IGF entry form:

Roll your marble through 30 levels of ramps, loop de loops, and interesting landscapes. Along the way find power ups to increase your speed, jumping ability or strength and use those powers to collect the hidden gems, race through the checkpoints and get the fastest time.

I know it is blowing our own horn, but we must say that the Torque Game Engine is awesome! That the engine is powerful enough to allow us to create a product this good in so short of a time has blown even us away. This game is FUN!!! We had a last minute shipping deadline, yet Tim and Mark would not stop playing the game in order to burn the submission CD´s.

Lastly, we would like to thank Alex Swanson, our art intern from the University of Oregon, for his invaluable contributions to the models, art, and level building for this game. He was here last night until the wee hours of the morning. Great job Alex!!

Would you like to submit your own snapshot? click here!
James "Corvidae" Williams   (Aug 30, 2002 at 21:06 GMT)
Wow, this looks really cool. Nice job. :)
Stuart Urquhart   (Aug 30, 2002 at 21:23 GMT)
I like the cartoony look to it =)
David "RM" Michael   (Aug 30, 2002 at 21:25 GMT)
I remember seeing a "demo" of this at the´s come a long way. Looks really good.

Samu Games
Rick Gorman   (Aug 30, 2002 at 21:25 GMT)
So that´s where you were last night Alex.. good job. 30 Levels, that´s impressive.
Eric Forhan   (Aug 30, 2002 at 21:29 GMT)
Looks great! Good luck @ IGF.


BTW, when I was a kid my brothers and I would take a bunch of wooden blocks and boards and make "Marble Machines" (what we called them, a hundred years ago lol). Kind of a ´Marble Blast´ meets ´Incredible Machine´. :-)
EricCartman   (Aug 30, 2002 at 22:19 GMT)
I want to play it! where can I downloadit?
Jim McLuckie   (Aug 30, 2002 at 23:10 GMT)
Cute...but it would be more fun to have some documentation of the Torque Engine so that everyone else knows how to take advantage of it.
Eric Risser   (Aug 30, 2002 at 23:41 GMT)
awesome project! I just feel sorry for the other IGF entries ;)...... I hope this will be a mod for torque 1.1.3 :), I´m sure we would all like to take a look at it :)
Tim Newell   (Aug 31, 2002 at 00:31 GMT)
Looks cool guys reminds me of the good old days of marble madness and whatever that unicycle game was called.

P.S. I´m typing this from my zaurus :)

-Tim aka Spock
Ken ´CERDIP´ Finney   (Aug 31, 2002 at 01:45 GMT)
Very nice.

So, are the marble physics going to be available in TGE soon ? I know of a few projects that could have / would have used it back in the spring...
Chris "Dark" Evans   (Aug 31, 2002 at 02:24 GMT)
Yeah, you could use it for... a bowling game!!


Really though, my team could use those marble physics. They would make an excellent castle defense for our game. Rolling a few 200lb stone balls down a chute from the top of a castle wall into your attackers does wonders ;)

I´m sure a lot of people could use those physics.
Shane "^BuGs^" Froebel   (Aug 31, 2002 at 05:22 GMT)
I have to give it a 10 thumbs up!
Thor Dominik   (Aug 31, 2002 at 08:52 GMT)
A swedish company had a hit with the exact same game (except for the name) maybe two or three years ago.
Just wanted to mention that.
Anyway, it looks really good. :)
Melv May   (Aug 31, 2002 at 09:49 GMT)
That looks really good.

When I was young I used to spend hours in the back garden with the extra long hose pipe that my dad purchased for our large garden. I used to double it up and weave it down the garden over obstacles and roll marbles down it. I spent hours creating loop-de-loops, ramps, spirals ... ahh sweet memories.

This game is going to take me back!

- Melv.
Ian   (Aug 31, 2002 at 16:00 GMT)
Now this, is one cool looking game!

Reminds me of Marble Madness on my old Amiga 2000

This game should do very well. Can´t wait to play.
Jeff Tunnell   (Aug 31, 2002 at 16:33 GMT)
@Jim McLuckie:

One of the reasons we did this game was to show that the Torque could make a game, as is, no upgrades, no need for new documentation, no nothing. We did not use special knowledge of the engine nor make engine enhancements to make this game. Other than the physics, the game is being created entirely in TorqueScript and the mission editor.

The best documentation is example, and there are plenty of examples in the demo, Realm Wars, the vehicle code, and the resources section to get a game done. Scripting doco and tutorials are available to get you started. It is beyond the scopt of GG to document how to make a game. We can only provide tools.

Being somewhat defensive, I can tell you there is a LOT more documentation for the Torque than you would get if you forked out $250,000 for the Quake engine.

Anyway, we have always said that GG wants to make games. That is what we are here for, and the Torque absolutely makes it possible. Like I have said many times, look at what is possible, not what isn´t. You can sit on your hands and fret that the Torque does not support some advanced rendering technique for cards that don´t exist yet, or you can make your game.

We chose to make a game, and Marble Blast is just one small example of what you could have done yourself if you had taken the initiative.

BTW, thanks for all of the great comments. This game will be one of the "umbrella" titles that many, many players will be coming to GG to purchase. Your games can tag along, and some day, we hope that your games will be the reason players come to GG.

Jeff Tunnell GG
Justin Morris   (Aug 31, 2002 at 17:32 GMT)
will there be a demo released to the public?
Frank Bignone   (Aug 31, 2002 at 18:11 GMT)
Nice one. It reminds me when i played marble madness, spindizzy and the likes.
Cute one too.
George McBay   (Aug 31, 2002 at 19:15 GMT)
>> Being somewhat defensive, I can tell you there is a LOT more documentation for the
>> Torque than you would get if you forked out $250,000 for the Quake engine.

A big problem here, though, is that the Quake engine would only realistically be licensed by professional game developers. From the standpoint of professional programmers used to working with lots of different technologies, Torque is pretty well documented, IMO. Clearly its documented well enough for some people & teams to do great technical things with it, but generally these people will already be developers (at least some form of computer programmer, if not game developers in their day jobs).

Given the nature of this site though, it seems like you´d have to expect a lot of potential Torque users to be fairly new to programming in general, or at least to programming games. These types of people probably need a lot more documentation than currently exists for Torque if they are to be succesful game developers..Where you draw the line on hand-holding for these people is a difficult question though, and I don´t have any specific answers for that (the issue doesn´t impact me directly as I´ve got lots of programming experience, including game programming. I´m not using Torque right now because its not well-suited for my game, not because of documentation issues).
Dylan "Oblique" Benner   (Aug 31, 2002 at 19:41 GMT)

Looks cool guys reminds me of the good old days of marble madness and whatever that unicycle game was called.

That had to be one of the funnest games Ive played for the Sega Genesis! Even though it stressed me out here and there, I still loved it!

Anyways, the game looks neat! If its anything like Marble Madness then its sure to be an awesome game. Keep up the good work!

Edit: Wait, is it already out? >.<

Edited on Aug 31, 2002 19:43 GMT
Matt Webster   (Aug 31, 2002 at 19:58 GMT)
Reminds me a lot of "Glover". I really liked that game, even though it didn´t get such great reviews.

Of course... no glove here :)

Looks like it´ll be a lot of fun.
Eric Forhan   (Aug 31, 2002 at 22:00 GMT)
For $250,000USD I´d bet GG would hire a full-time software engineer and maybe even a documentation author. lol

Really... If they want to have some fun and make a game like that why bring them down? If anything, it helps us because enthusiasm inspires innovation.
Lets stop being takers, and start being givers. Look how much Melv has helped, and he has no vested interest other than just to see more and better games come out. Sorry to pick on you, Melv. :-)

MidniteRyder Technologies
Djaggernaut   (Aug 31, 2002 at 23:00 GMT)
Really cool! I suppose this is really addictive :-)
Eric Forhan   (Aug 31, 2002 at 23:55 GMT)
Umm... without "The Box", how do we know this is actually a TGE game? ;-)
Jeff Tunnell   (Sep 01, 2002 at 01:47 GMT)
Nice one Eric:) You just have to believe us...
Owen "WDA" Ashcroft   (Sep 01, 2002 at 02:22 GMT)
nice work, looking forward to having a go :)
Kevin Ryan   (Sep 01, 2002 at 02:52 GMT)
I can post an earlier screen shot with the "The Box" there. My name in it is even "Test Guy"... :^)
Eric Forhan   (Sep 01, 2002 at 03:25 GMT)
LOL. Nahhh. I was just ribbin´ ya. :)

Actually, would you mind telling about how many man-hours went into this? It might give a better feel for how long to go from start to finish on a game.

Edited on Sep 01, 2002 03:26 GMT
Simon Windmill   (Sep 01, 2002 at 05:10 GMT)
*cough* Super Monkey Ball *cough*

Looks great though, and is precisely the kind of indy game that I think people will be buying, not the FPSes or (supposedly MM) ORPGs that are scattered around the .plans. That´s not a knock against the people doing those games, I just think it´d be hard to sell when you can get a mod for other games for free.

Back to Marble Blast - I was playing around with ball physics myself, and found it quite difficult to get something believable. While I´m not asking for Mark or Kevin to roll (*groan*) the code in to TGE, it´d be nice if they could make a short guide to how Mark went about it.

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