21st September 2014
The 10 games built into Roll Rage came from a small project that turned out much larger than I anticipated. I created around 15 mockup designs for the game and looking back at those now, only three made it into the final cut. Here how some of the ideas came about.


Survival was the first game in the series that I worked on. Originally, I thought it would be great for a player to time how fast they could roll from between each spaceship beam X number of times. I then introduced a death penalty for over-rolling, which would prevent players from aimlessly tilting their device. In the end, I scrapped the timer and turned it into a score-based game. The hardest part was coming up with the graphics to fit in the gameplay, because all I had was placeholders. As a result, Survival game was the last to get the graphics treatment.


Downfall ended up totally different to what I started with. Instead of tapping the screen to jump, it would change gravity so that the ball would start to roll on the roof. Whenever the ball was on the roof of the room, the player would have to reverse tilt to go in the right direction. I scrapped the idea because the gameplay didn't feel right and the tight screen space made it hard to create variations that worked on the dynamic generations of the floors.


The idea for the Multitasking game came about after abandoning the gravity idea in Downfall. The implementation works here because I introduce another ball and get rid of gravity switching altogether. The light and dark sides show the player that they are controlling two balls on opposite sides of the world, which explains why one is moving in contrast with the other. I doubt many people would pick up on that.


This idea for the Sensitivity game came about by accident when I multiplied the gyroscope results by a massive amount and caused the ball to shoot wildly out of control. I played about with it and thought it could make a great game. Originally, the ‘land’ was flat and had about 1000x more sensitive tilt data. You really had to work to keep the ball in the middle of the screen. The tilting rock idea came much later when I looked at one of the artist mockups for the Survival game.


Invasion is similar to a game called Pang in the way balls, or in Roll Rage case boulders, split up when shot. There is nothing more really to be said here.


Memorize was one of three original ideas I had, but they evolved somewhat. At first, I had a spike spinning across the screen on the ground floor. The player had to wait for it to pass before dropping down from the last platform and rolling straight into a lift. I replaced this with a raining star sequence. The prototype was all on one screen, which meant there was a limited number of platforms to remember. In the final version, the screen scrolls and the maximum possible platform difficulty is 100.


Evasion is also one of the three original ideas. Nothing really changed much, other than I added lava pouring from the pipes.


Collection went through quite a few changes. The bee was meant to permanently fly around the screen, but the randomness of several bees moving around meant the game became more about luck, rather than skill. I scrapped the idea and went for a reverse whackamole concept that starts when the bees settle down on the branch.


Eliminator was the last game I programmed and it’s probably my least favourite. The artist had already created the artwork, so it would have been a waste of his valuable time for me to scrap it because I didn't like it. I needed the graphics up front to make this one work, so it was a Catch 22 situation. However, people have told me that they really liked Eliminator, so maybe it’s pretty good after all.


The game mechanics behind Counteract are similar to absolutely nothing! Anyway, you have to change the ball’s direction and speed based on the movement of the rising platform. Originally, fruit fell randomly but I later changed things to include a paddle that the player can tap to release fruit and stars. The paddles were deliberately placed near the dangerous radioactive liquid to add a risk/reward factor to the gameplay. It took several iterations to get the gear system that releases the fruit to work realistically. Sometimes, it was impossible to tell what direction the conveyor belt was moving, which is why I added a shiny chain segment.

Find out more

Roll Rage is available from 20th November 2014 on the App Store. Visit the Roll Rage page for more information about the game.

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