ScriptOn Takes Paintball to a New Level

January

10, 2014

by JacksSmirkingRevenge


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If you’ve been on ROBLOX recently, you’ve probably noticed a new version of Paintball sitting on top of the Games Page. Paintball Testing by veteran builder ScriptOn is in its early stages of development, and is already gaining a massive following on ROBLOX. Spend a few minutes playing, and it’s easy to see why. The game has an extremely solid foundation that’s as polished as it is exciting. I got the chance to have a chat with ScriptOn about the challenges of putting this game together, and what’s in store for the future. And yes, throughout the interview I took several paintballs to the face and neck. Ow. 

The first thing you notice when you jump into Paintball Testing is how smooth everything is. The controls, aesthetic, and pace are all top notch. On top of that, the existing levels are all radically different from one another, both in terms of appearance and gameplay modes. Turns out there’s a reason for this — ScriptOn and Limitious made the very first level, Classic Divide, themselves in order to test game modes. After that, ScriptOn began accepting submissions from other users and hand picked his favorite maps for use in his game. Each of the maps he chooses are accredited in the description of the game itself, so you know what user made which map.

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I tagged along with ScriptOn and reviewed some user-generated submissions with him.

“All the new maps are submitted to me by users, and the rules are really simple. The maps have to be under 2,000 parts and you have to be able to play Domination Mode in every map you submit,” he tells me. “I’m constantly reading private messages about maps, so if I come across one that seems legit, I’ll go in and see it for myself.”

Of course all the maps in the world wouldn’t mean anything without solid gameplay mechanics. Paintball guns are much harder to script than your average ROBLOX weapon. You see, a modern gun fires bullets that (usually) travel in a straight line until a target is hit. Paintballs on the other hand follow an arching trajectory — they don’t necessarily land where your crosshair is pointed, particularly if your target is far away. This means that each shot fired from a paintball gun requires several calculations to “fall” realistically. This also adds another layer of strategy to the first-person-shooter genre — distance shots are that much harder to make, as you have to predict where your paintball will fall to hit your target.

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Capture“I developed a function called castray, and a line of code that repeats the function until the bullet hits something,” he explains. “Each time the code runs the bullet lowers itself 0.09 studs to simulate falling. It runs on a system that depends on the distance of the bullet that’s shot. If your bullet travels, say, 15 studs, three separate calculations are made on its journey.”

All of this has to work in conjunction with different paintball weapons with different firing mechanisms — there are shotguns and grenade launchers as well, each with their own calculated raycast trajectories. It’s the sheer volume of things needed to be done that overwhelmed ScriptOn initially. But the hardest challenge ScriptOn encountered was creating a fair and balanced spawning system, which proved to be, in his words, “a major pain in the butt.”

“The third and current version of the spawn solution I came up with is a unique points system that assigns points to each spawn. So positive points are assigned for having nearby teammates, and negative points are assigned to nearby enemies. So once you hit the spawn button, the game finds the spawn with the most points and that’s where your avatar surfaces,” he tells me.

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Sprinting while a teammate lays down cover fire is a great way to move forward through points of cover.

Paintball Testing is constantly being tinkered with and updated, though today marks one of the biggest updates the game has received thus far. ScriptOn has released six new levels, tweaks to the spawning system, a reworked leaderboard, rail attachments (allowing you to attach flashlights and aiming lasers to your weapon) and trigger attachments (allowing you to alternate between burst and automatic firing modes).

ScriptOn has also added five Game Passes that offer small perks to paying players. The +25 Game Pass will help you earn points a bit quicker, while the Ammo Game Pass increases the amount of ammo you spawn with.

“The Sprint Game Pass is the only one that really changes the game for the player — being able to sprint for 50% longer helps a lot with objective gameplay, though it isn’t exactly game-breaking either,” he says.

See his head in the window? You've got to aim slightly higher so the paintball falls towards your destination.

See his head in the window? Aim slightly higher so the paintball falls towards your destination.

Even with all of these additions, ScriptOn still insists that the game is far from complete. He plans on adding at least two more game modes, a perk system (similar to the one you’d find in Call of ROBLOXia), five more rewards for kill streaks, and one monstrous “mega” script that will eventually handle each and every projectile in the game. He tells me that the only way he’ll ever consider the game “finished” is if ROBLOX shuts down. For the third time in this interview, I couldn’t tell whether he was kidding or not. Regardless, here’s his advice for other game developers out there:

If you want to make a front page game, don’t plan on making a front page game. Instead, plan and focus on making a game that you yourself find fun. During early development I lost a ton of progress because I just couldn’t stop testing my game. It was just too much fun. I’m grateful that others caught on and started enjoying it just as much as me, and their feedback is vital in shaping the path my game takes.