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Project Tennis

Updated: Aug 14, 2021

Photo by Nelo Hotsuma via Wikimedia, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

After making three practice projects in C#, I'm ready to start working on my first polished game. I've admittedly picked up many projects in the past I never finished- I always used Unreal Engine and often suffered feature creep as a solo developer. Many of my small attempts never saw the light of day, and is one of the reasons I began studying C# and Unity 2D. As someone with an interest in game preservation and history, I thought it would be a good idea to start with a simple concept that is similar to one of the first games ever made.

Introducing Project Tennis. What I want to do is re-envision Pong, Tennis for Two, and similar paddle and ball games for the modern era while making it a completely unique and original IP. The idea is not to remake the source material with enhancements, but rather to start from scratch with the same questions and goals.

I've been reading a great book by Jesse Schell called Game Design: a Book of Lenses. In it, Jesse challenges us to use different "lenses" to think about our game and how we design it. In today's post I want to cover venues.

recreation of Tennis for Two

Where do I want my game to be played? Tennis for Two was created by William Higinbotham in 1958 to make visitor day at the lab he worked at more appealing to families. While the concept of video games were only a thought at this time, it highlights an important fact about the venue- people played it in public, and according to historians, people lined up around the building just to play it!

original Pong arcade machine

Pong on the other hand, was a more commercial product. Placed in public venues around the country, its extremely simple design both in game play and control made it easy to pick up. It's not hard to imagine a group of friends gathered around the machine screaming and yelling in competitive excitement.

Where do I want my game to be played? A lot of things have changed in how and where we play games. Looking at what is available, I am inclined towards releasing on both PC and Nintendo Switch. PC has flexibility- they can play on their laptop, desktop, living room or even public venue as all types of computers exist in the world, all you need is the operating system to run it. With WebGL, a specific OS isn't needed, it can simply be run in a browser. Nintendo Switch on the other hand has two key features that are important to this game: portability and two controllers. The Switch is the ideal platform to play this type of game on, as it is designed with group play in mind.

So what is the ideal venue for my game? Whether it is Windows, Mac, Linux, WebGL, or Nintendo Switch, I would really want people to play my game in the living room or a public venue. This can be a bar, an arcade, or an e-sports center. E-sports seem to have become the evolution of the arcade, and this is something i will cover at a later date. The point is, I want this game to bring people together. Just like Pong, I want it to be simple. I want people to understand how it works within seconds, and it to be a go-to choice for parties and gatherings.


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