Quirk #4: Scale matters.

Quirk #4: Scale matters.

Hey folks!

If you’ve played the latest demo, you may have found that the ball moves quite unrealistically; that is, it’ll suddenly move a lot further after bouncing than it should, and something must surely be wrong!

Well, you are right!

When it comes to Unity, it has a standard definition of 1 grid unit = 1 meter. Which is great. However, for the sake of optimization (or prototyping), currently Boss Golf works with 1 grid unit = around 25 meters in real life (that is the approximate size of each tile!). So Unity’s physics systems won’t really like that so much, as it isn’t made with different scales in mind.

Therefore, at some point, it may be likely I’ll have to roll out my own physics implementation, that makes sense with the gameplay; or re-scale everything to match Unity’s 1 unit = 1 meter scale, which I really don’t want to do because the current terrain system works extremely well.

For now, however, I have tweaked the physics settings, plus the drag on the ball/terrain, and added a small tweak to dampen the angular velocity further, ensuring that the ball comes to a stop.

This little tweak will be used later to react to different kinds of terrain too, so it’s a two-for-one kind of deal.

I’ve updated the current demo with the new changes, and you can find it, and download information, HERE!

That’s all for today’s quirk! Have fun!

Quirk #3: Shorter, but is it?!

Quirk #3: Shorter, but is it?!

Hello folks!

In the process of today’s update, I came upon an interesting quirk when using grids.

I have finished implementing the hole creation in the new terrain, works like a treat. Now I’m in the process of processing the tiles in between the hole and the tee, so it can make calculations regarding base shot, par, actually distance etc.

Using A* to find the shortest path between the hole and the tee, leads to some interesting visuals:


Above, the path traced by A* is marked with black spheres. The drawn red line shows the actual shortest path (a straight line) between the two points. When in a grid, the path marked by A* does signify the shortest path between two certain points in the grid. It can be set to ignore diagonal traversals, or to allow them (as is the case of Boss Golf).

Visually, though, it looks so quirky. To us, it’s clear to see that the shortest path is the line between the start and the finish. To the game, though, the shortest path ends up creating these doglegs all over the course.

That’s all! Almost done with the processing of the base shot, coupled with a lot of refactoring and reinforcement. Once it’s done, it’s demo time!

Stay tuned!

Quirk #2: Stupid isn’t good either

Quirk #2: Stupid isn’t good either

For today’s Quirk, it’s an attempt to fix the greed issue on the base shot function. I added one simply look ahead step to ensure that the current maximum has at least one option going forward, so that the function doesn’t settle on a tile with no good moves.

It worked, to an extent. As you can see below:


So while it does avoid certain obstacles, it ends up taking too many strokes to do so. Issue is also with the obstacle detection: if the line of a stroke so much as brush through a tree tile, for example, that stroke is completely discarded in favor of something else. I’ll add now a function to analyze the angle between the potential stroke and the center of the hazard, and allow it to pass through if the angle is large enough.

With that in place, in the example above, it could easily reduce 2 strokes off the base shot, making it more acceptable. (This is a Par 4 hole based on distance).

Here’s hoping that the third time is the charm!

Quirk #1: Greed isn’t good

Quirk #1: Greed isn’t good

Inaugurating the Quirk category, is an interesting problem that appeared when trying to program the base shot function to avoid tiles where the next stroke would be blocked.

As it is now, the algorithm can be considered greedy; that is, it tends to find the local maximum instead of the global maximum. What does that mean?

The function to find the next best stroke focuses on mainly one factor: Distance covered by the stroke. So the function will always try to travel as far as possible with each stroke in order to minimize the Par score. However, in taking obstacles into account, sometimes the stroke with the furthest reach is not the best stroke! As we can see below:


There’s at least two or three tiles before the chosen one that could be used for a perfectly fine stroke, which would eliminate the danger of hitting either of the two trees in the middle. But since the algorithm is currently greedy, it’ll maximize locally, completely ignoring the global maximum. If we tweak the course further, like below, we can safely get rid of this issue:

But this is not good. Users would look at the course and go “What! There’s a perfectly fine play to be done over there! Dumb game!”. And we can’t have that!

So it’s time to smooth out the stroke calculation to look into the future for at least one or two moves, so that it can more accurately get rid of local maximums, and aim for the global.