New Shockto-Mechanics

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus | May 16, 2013 | No Comments

First off, many thanks to the play-testers that have helped out so far with ~~The Electric Shocktopus~~! With their help and feedback from the first version, I’ve been working on the next.

What have I been adding? For starters, more levels. That pre-alpha just had 15 levels, and the final game will be a lot longer. That means not only making new maps (which I have been), but also new mechanics. I’ve got to keep the game fresh as it goes on. Here’s a look at some of the latest.


Moveable Charges

(Hrm, these are in need of a catchier name.)  While most of the charges in a level are purely stationary, these can move.  Electrically push and pull them around, get them right where you want.  Or if you’re not careful, they’ll attract right to you!  See the test charge in the picture below for a glimpse at the idea.



Not only can conductors sap your electric charge, they distort the fields around them.  And they can ‘shield’ anything inside them from outside electric forces.



It’s like that test charge inside the box ~doesn’t even know~!


I’ve played around with a few different types of conductors.  Some with a set voltage, and others that are ‘floating’.  What does that mean?  Oddly, it’s more important for the game than one might expect.


Grounded Conductor

*Shocktopus shown for scale


In the picture above, the conductor is grounded — its voltage is precisely zero.  The positive charges on the left attract extra negative charges into the conductor (from the ‘ground’).  Field lines point from positive to negative, so there’s a whole bunch of lines pointing towards the conductor.


Floating Conductor

*Shocktopus not shown for scale


In the next image, though, the conductor is floating — aka not connected to the ground.  Those red positive charges attract negative charges still, but no extra charges can appear.  Thus, when the near side gets more negative, the far side of the conductor gets more positive.  Thus, you see the field lines pointing towards *and* away from the conductor.



So far, the magnetic fields in the game have just been ‘on’ or ‘off’.  Each square had a field, or it didn’t.  But magnetic fields can be just as complex as electric fields… so I’ve added in some new current blocks that ‘make’ a magnetic field.  The Biot-Savart law describes how an electric current can make a magnetic field (think of an electromagnet).  The magnetic field varies with distance – just like the electric field – but it also varies with the angle.  That means you can get the interesting pattern you see below.


Magnetic Field

The right hand rule means that pink squares are…?


This new version of the game still needs a lot of work, but it should be ready in the next week.  As always, if you’re still interested in helping out by playtesting, drop me a line.


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