SDL-Ball

SDL-Ball

SDL-Ball is a Breakout/DX-Ball clone with pretty graphics. Use a paddle to deflect a ball to destroy the bricks in the level but don't lose your ball. Try to reach a place in the high score list.
Green and blue power-ups make your life easier (such as increasing paddle size, laser sight, etc.), red power-downs make it harder (such as making your ball faster, destroying your paddle, etc.). A specialty in this game is the power-up shop: If you collect power-ups you also collect coins which you can spend to buy even more power-ups at any time you want.
There are 50 levels and 3 difficulty levels; if you manage to complete all levels, the game continues at level 1 but with double score.

The game features an easy-to-use level editor and a well documented level format. There's also support for custom themes to provide custom graphics and sounds. In version 1.02, only 2 themes are provided by default, the original theme and one theme with different sounds.

The game is written in C++ with OpenGL and SDL.

Comments

Review of version 1.02

This game is obviously heavily influenced by DX-Ball 2. And I welcome any attempt to create a remake of this game.

Overall, it's playable, but there are lots of small and a few big things which annoy me. I think the game still lacks some basic polish to be recommendable. Sorry to say it here, but I think DX-Ball 2 is still unbeaten.

First, basic difficulty balancing. I feel the difficulty levels are spaced to far apart, e.g. there's a huge difference in speed between easy and medium. On easy, the ball starts so slow you fall asleep and on medium it's very different.

The easy difficulty is very messed up. You will keep all your powerups over levels. As soon you manage to collect the power-ups Go-Thru and Gun, you can absolutely dominate the game because you just shoot every brick within seconds and complete all 50 stages over and over again, as long you want. Thanks to the power-up shop, you can also stack up extra lifes, so you are basically immortal. Your score will also become absurdly high, it will be hard to beat on higher difficulties.

Some power-ups are standard in most breakout games. What's unique in this game are probably the various aiming helpers. What's very unique in this game is that there are aiming helpers specifically only for the glue paddle. I have not seen this in any other breakout game. Interesting concept, and quite useful. On the downside, these powerups don't do anything when you don't have the glue paddle. ;-)
When you collect the “Drop” malus (drops all bricks when ball hits paddle), it is possible for the bricks to drop down all the way. If the ball hits the paddle when bricks are at the lowest level, these bricks just disappear. WTF? You could even complete a level like this. xD

The power-up shop is a nice idea. It can be helpful to obtain a powerup you need, or save your cash for even better power-ups. You can buy almost all powerups, even an extra life (but it takes a while).

However, the game can sometimes be brutal. When you buy a power-up, you still have to collect it which can cost valuable seconds. Should you happen to complete the level before the powerup reaches your paddle, it's gone and you've wasted your coins. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it sure is frustrating.

Another mechanic in this game is when you complete all 50 stages, the game starts at stage 1 again, but with double the score. The difficulty does not seem to increase, it seems to stay the same. This is a serious design flaw IMO, when you manage to complete all 50 stages with ease, you will probably be able to do it again.

The sounds are okayish, but too “soft” for my taste. The only real issue I have is the death sound. It just doesn't sound dramatic enough, just a soft metal cling. It doesn't sound like that something bad just happened. ;-)
There is no background music, but this game just screams for some kind of background music. Should definitely be added. Until then, time to turn on your media player. ;)

The graphical effects are okayish, but could be better. Here are things which annoy me about the graphics and GUI:

- When you go game over but don't have a high score, the game just shows “GameOver!” for ONE SECOND, then immediately drops you to the title screen. Your score or level is NOT displayed.
- When you die, your paddle immediately re-appears; there is no delay. Your paddle appears before the death animation is even over! You can easily accidentally launch the next ball if you click right after a death
- The ball does not change color when you collect the “Go-Thru” powerup (ball goes through bricks)
- Overlay text is written to agressively sometimes