Aiming in 3D, Part Two

This is second in a four part series, describing the evolution of the aiming mechanic in Minecart Basketball.

This is the second iteration of the aiming mechanic introduced in part one. There are now walls and rims to interact with. There’s still no sound, and there’s no detection of successful shots vs misses.

This game hasn’t been updated yet by Jason for compatibility with modern browsers.

Please go kick him in the shins and tell him you’d like to see this updated!

What It Does Right

The most important change was setting the camera at a 30° angle to the right of the canon. The actual controls are still exactly the same – the canon response by the same amounts to the same mouse movements. By not looking at the cannon’s trajectory “straight on”, we get some horizontal screen movement to help convey depth information. This makes repercussions of the up/down mouse motion much more clear. I was worried that having up/down mouse motion not directly translate into forward/back from the camera would be confusing, but it was no problem whatsoever.

There’s also a shadow on the balls, which gives height information to the ball. Once we’ve seen balls bounce a few times and how the shadow behaves, we’re able to estimate when a ball is going to bounce based on the appearance and rate of change of its shadow.

What It Does Wrong

While there were improvements, trying to aim at the rims to make baskets is awful. The one saving grace is the trajectory disappears when it enters the solid wall behind the rims, which helps place the trajectory in 3D space. If it weren’t for the wall behind the rims, it’d be nearly impossible to tell where the trajectory is in relation to the rim.

The trajectory also doesn’t go all the way to the ground with higher shot power. it’s not clear whether the trajectory is intersecting the ground, or stopping early, making aiming all the more difficult.

This was an improvement over part one, but we’ve got a long way to go.

  • Chris Sanyk

    I notice in this one that shot power is conveyed by a trailing effect, longer for higher power shots. That’s a nice touch as well.