Surprisingly good and notes on something better
Russell Degnan

A while ago, I mentioned that all cricket games are crap because all cricket games have crap controls.

I am happy to say that I have been proven wrong, albeit in two dimensions, and without any attempt at simulation.

The Little Master cricket game is a really basic but addictive gem of a game.

From a very non-traditional side-on position, the mouse controls little more than the hands and balance. This is sufficient, however, to allow you to drive or defend off front or back foot, by pushing at the ball - much as in real life.

More to the point, it makes playing shots closer to real life. Timing matters, but it is not essential; the shot is stroked, not hit; the play is meditative, not violent (though you can be violent). It feels like batting (or at least throw-downs) in a way that nothing else even attempts.

It occurs to me too, that I continue to over-complicate the batting in the theoretical game cited earlier. With some (substantial) tweaking to convert from 2d to 3d, there is an elegant mouse-only approach.

The key is the realisation that the stroke and movement are separate but confluent. As the ball is bowled, the player should be moving the hands and weight into position. This can be modelled with a curved plane.

The thick red line represents the position of the hands, the blue the field of vision (from behind the stumps) and the thin red the field of movement.

Moving left or right (not seen in the picture) will adjust for line. Moving towards the ball will advance down the pitch, either a little, or a lot (marked by the top-most line). Moving down the screen will play back, with a raising of the hands and adjustment upwards as you move further backwards (represented in the curve of the thick red line).

With movement and weight distribution covered, that leaves the slightly more confusing problem of stroke-play.

A stroke is made up of two parts: the act of swinging the bat through at some angle; and the movement of the hands in relation to the ball, to guide, glance, push, defend, etc.

The first part is therefore represented by a cone of swing. Regardless of hand position, the length of time spent holding the button, represents the power of the stroke, from a defensive tap or glide, to a full follow-through. By dragging the mouse in some direction, the bat will move through the cone in the direction of push.

For a front foot shot, pushing forward with the mouse would swing through the line of the ball. Left and right would cut and pull. Back, would reverse the hands, resulting in a tennis shot, or paddle.

For a back foot shot, pulling back will hook, forward, a back foot punch, left and right the cut and pull.

These controls seem intuitive with a little practice, but back to front in terms of where the bat travels in relation to the mouse movement.

The second aspect, the hand movement, is straight forward. Releasing the mouse button will continue the shot being played (whether short or long), allowing the player to press early and wait on the ball. Moving the mouse after the shot will complete the final aspect of control: dropping or raising the hands (down or up), and gliding, pushing and directing the ball (left or right).

Seems simple. The only thing missing is a reverse sweep, though that could be accommodated by pre-emptively playing a pull shot to "reverse" the hands.

Of course, it still needs coding...

Frivolous Pastimes 29th May, 2009 00:23:02   [#] 


Surprisingly good and notes on something better
I hope Tony Teee doesn't find this - he will be distracted from blogging After Grog.
F.G. Marshall Stacks  4th June, 2009 22:07:50