In my 2016 survey “What Blindfold Games Next”, baseball and football were the two most popular sports games that everyone wanted me to create next. When people ask for a game like that, it can mean two types of games: a game where you are an athlete and you play the game, or a game where you are the team owner, and you assemble a team and play against other teams, similar to Fantasy Baseball.
Based on the suggestion from one of my game testers, I created a simplified version of a baseball game called Home Run Derby. The Home Run Derby is an annual home run hitting contest customarily held the day before the All-Star Game. Two teams compete, where one or more players hit pitch after pitch, and you count how many home-runs each time completes, before getting too many outs.
The first step in building Blindfold Home Run Derby was answering the the following questions: do you swipe on the screen to hit the ball or just tap the screen. If you swipe, should your swipe show the direction the ball moves in, or should the swipe be more like a bat, and when the ball hits the path of your finger, it will bounce off of the bat and move in the opposite direction. How will you know when to hit the ball – should it be a sound telling you when the ball is close or a series of sounds indicating its path. Does the game need stereo sound to help you identify where the ball is?
Lots of questions and each answer seemed to be arbitrary. It’s often that way when I create a new game, and by looking at similar visual iPhone games, I can eliminate some of the stupider ideas that I come up with.
A common pattern amongst the video baseball games is as follows: the ball is pitched and you must tap the screen just as the ball touches the bat. If your tap is too early or too late, it’s a strike. If your tap is a little early or little late, the ball heads more to the left or right. If your tap timing is perfect, it sends the ball down the center field for a home run.
In the video game, you can see the ball leave the pitcher’s hand and travel to the bat. In an audio game, I modified the pitch of the sound as the ball gets closer to the bat. It starts out at a high pitch, and drops continuously until it reaches the bat. The game testers said they could approximate when to hit the ball, but wanted more audio cues.
I added five clicks to the ball sound, indicating where the ball was. The first click is way before your bat, the 2nd click is very close to the bat, the 3rd click is at the bat, the 4th click is just after the bat, and the 5th click is way past the bat.
You can hit a home run by tapping exactly at the 3rd click. You can hit a triple by tapping close to the 3rd click. You score a double by tapping close to the second 2nd or 4th click, and a single by tapping right at the 2nd click or the 4th click.
Your hit is a foul if you tap before the 2nd click or after the 4th click. You strike if you tap before the 1st click or after the 5th click.
Once the framework on ball hitting was done, I created a several games: Practice, Beginner and Hitting.
In the Practice Game, you hit the ball until you have 3 outs, and the ball is always pitched at the slowest speed. Using the practice game enables you to build your hitting skills.
In the Beginner Game, you keep hitting the ball until you have 9 outs. The game keeps track of the number of singles, doubles, triples and home runs you achieve.
The Hitting Game is just like Beginner, but players can move from base to base. For example, if you get a single followed by a double, players are now on second and third base. If you get another double, both players will make it to home base, and you’ll have scored 2 runs.
You can download Blindfold Home Run Derby here: