ToneTennis is a game I made for the Experimental Gameplay Project “5 BUTTONS” competition in January.

I usually keep tabs on what the monthly challenge is,but never get around to doing anything. What motivated me for this particular theme was that the control scheme was atypical and unique, and that the resulting games would be displayed in a wonderful museum environment: the Stattbad Gallery in Berlin. It used to be a public pool!

As the name implies, it is a simple tennis game where players can use 5 buttons to exchange a ball between them, trying to score points by throwing the ball in the opposing player’s goal zone. During the “serve” process  the ball goes through several speed cycles, slowing down with each cycle. This also has the effect of shrinking the active zones. A player can also try to “catch” a ball to reset the ball speed and active zone width and serve the ball again. A shared button in the middle allows players to smash the ball, speeding it up dramatically.

What I tried to accomplish with this is allowing a serving player to “choose his battlefield” in a way, favoring accuracy or speed to try to find his opponent’s “discomfort zone”. The hard part was tuning the gameplay, since I had no access to the real control scheme and all my tests were made on a keyboard’s 1 to 5 keys. So I set my variables on the assumption that the pads would be set in a way that one player can easily access 2 pads, but reaching a third pad (in this case, the “smash” pad) would imply a risk in case of failing to hit the ball since doing that means stepping away from the pad that would allow him to defend his goal zone.

The games will be displayed in a special event held in the museum, the 17th of February. The organisers have promised to record most games on film, so I’ll post the video when it’s available.


You can download sources and executables here. Creative Commons License

Uses GreenSock‘s TweenLite lib

Featuring the font D3 CuteBitMapism by Digital Dream Design

Sound generation method heavily inspired by Bit-101’s Tone class

Do, or do not. There is no try.