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Shadowstew avatar 9:00 PM on 07.23.2012  (server time)
Weekend Project: Drop Ball and Petit Computer

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Drop Ball, Drop Ball is an “extremely addictive, high intensity game designed for people everywhere.” Needless to say, there's not that many Drop Ball video games. So when I was trying out Petit Computer, a DsiWare application where one can write programs in BASIC, I started to think what video game I should make. Maybe I'll adapt Drop Ball into a video game.


While this isn't an in-depth guide on how to use Petit Computer or how to create an amazing video game, anyone can try following along on how to made a Drop Ball video game.

What I used:
-Petit Computer

My Drop Ball rules:
1. While in squatting position, grab the ball using your butt.
2. Stand upright without releasing the ball.
3. Only when full upright standing position, drop the ball to score a point.
4. Repeat without breaking your streak.

My basic outline:
1. Graphics
2. Programming
3. Sound
4. Testing


The graphics were very simple. I only drew nine sprites:
-Player standing
-Player crouching
-Player squatting
-Player victory stand
-Player crouching left
-Player crouching right
-Alternate Player squatting
-Alternate Player victory stand

Each player sprite was 64x64 pixels and the ball sprite was 16x16. Using GIMP, Petit Computer's built-in sprite editor, and copy-paste, I drew each sprite. I imported it into Petit Computer using PTCUtilities.

Programming Preparation

Before I started programming, I designed an outline what had to be done.

1. When a button is pressed, the corresponding action and animation must be drawn on screen.
The game controls:
L Trigger: Drops left leg (Player crouch left)
R Trigger: Drops right leg (Player crouch right)
L+R: Crouch (Player crouching)
Touch Screen: Butt Grab
L+R+Touch: Ball Grab (Player squatting)
2. A player scores a point on each successful ball drop (following Drop Ball rules).
3. A player loses the game with a failed ball drop (dropping the ball too soon).

What I programmed

BASICally, I wrote an main loop that checks if a button is pressed during a frame (1/60th of a second). If the button is pressed, the display is refreshed to update the player score, player sprite, and ball sprite. Once the ball is grabbed, an additional check is added when the player drops the ball. When the player drops the ball standing, the score is incremented. When the player drops the ball in the wrong position, the loop stops running (game ends).


Sound design is very easy to do in Petit Computer by using the built-in sound effect and music library. The BGMPLAY command allows multi-track music, and the BEEP command can change the pitch of a sound effect. I decided to add sound effects for each butt grab and ball drop. Additionally, I played around to create a “ONE POINT!” sound, imitating voice. To top it off, I added BG music during the game play.

Testing (And adding some finesse to it)

Test, test, test. The majority of my work is testing the game and fixing its errors. This is where I add some finesse to the game. For example, what makes a video game “a video game”? A title screen. A how-to demo. A game over screen. This is also the time to try to make the game even more enjoyable. I added some jokes during the demo video. I decided that secret achievements made the game much more re-playable, and I added the ability to save the high score and unlocked achievements.

My result

DROP BALL. Yeah, well it is a game. What I learned is video games are a lot of work. Even for simple ones. Below are the QR codes to play and test DROP BALL. Hit this link for a larger resolution.

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