With inspirations from games like Super Monkey Ball and Marble Madness, Roll Control is a 3D balance based platformer built to be played with your body. Using the Roll Controller App on your mobile device, players can transform their balance board into a human game controller.
The Early Inspiration
The initial concept for Roll Control came years ago from a conversation with my father. I’ve always been interested in experimental game mechanics and we were discussing how cool it would be to play a game standing on some sort of board. Years later I received a monetary award at work that allowed for personal development. I decided to use it on a course with Playcrafting and started to learn Unity. With help from the amazing teachers (Stuido Studios based in NYC), I decided to try and create that game with the balance board.
I envisioned Roll Control as a very straightforward, skill-oriented game but one that requires a little bit of creativity. By using the balance board, Roll Control encourages players to think about how they relate to games differently and more intimately. It also will really work your core!
How Playtesting and Feedback Change the Game
I took a one-step-at-a-time approach to design and learned nearly everything as I went. Initially, I was prototyping, creating, and manufacturing my own balance board. As I created more prototypes, I decided that it would be better to release the project as a software-only product and continue to refine the software based on user feedback. Most critically, I have shared Roll Control at numerous Playcrafting events and conventions, that feedback and testing from the community have been a huge driving force for the design.
Beyond feedback, I received lots of help along the way. Besides advice from my teachers and my classmates, I had awesome contributors. They all helped me with parts of the process. Philip Alexeev took on sound design and music. Adding music made the game feel real to me. I always wanted to have a broad soundtrack like a Tony Hawk type of game. In addition, Anthony Bonacci and John Fio created several tracks giving each level a fun, beachy vibe that keep the players calm but motivated.
Building a Community
I wanted Roll Control to have a strong community element and a creative element. Some of my favorite games like Starcraft and Counterstrike were amazing because of all the player-generated content. With that in mind, I worked with Joseph Sepulveda to create a persistent saving level editor. Will Lavalliere designed some handcrafted levels included in the Story Mode. These fun levels are just a sample of what one can do in Roll Control. I cannot wait to see what the players will come up with. You can join the conversation about Roll Control and share your levels on our Discord channel!
After launching this project, I’m amazed at how much I learned through the help of the community. If I could back and do it all again, there are some things I wish I could have known in advance like how to better support Android development. But overall, I feel grateful for how much I have learned and I’m excited to share with the world!
Andrew Simon Thomas
Where to Get Roll Control
To see more of Andrew’s work, visit his website.