Oblings development

Hi there,

Been lurking in this games section, seeing all the really cool stuff for a while so figured it was time to post something.

I've been having a go at making some metaballs run on playdate as a fun little experiment. I've found plenty of really great websites about the technique but these are a couple if you are unfamiliar -


I've got the main functionality of it in C and call into it from Lua. I've done some optimising but I'm sure there is more for me to squeeze out of it.

I'm using a sprite with a draw callback so I can use the addDirtyRect functionality and only redrawing areas where the balls move.

I'm using drawLine when fill is false and fillPolygon when it is true.

So far when the balls are moving and allowed to fill the whole screen I can only get a few balls before dropping below 30 which isn't great. Perf is a bit better when when they are not filled. And when I increase my resolution value (which maybe counter-intuitively makes them look worse) then I get better perf as you can see here -


My half game idea I have won't involve the balls moving all the time though so performance wise it should be fine as they only need to recalculate / redraw when they move.

Would love any feedback or optimisation ideas.



An update - put the optimisation to 1 side and had a go at making a monster. Kinda cute me thinks.



Update - I seem to have put the game bit to 1 side and been making a blobby monster maker instead. I'm sure if I continue down this path for a bit a game will appear.




Love how squishy this is.
Cool idea!

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I've been messing around with a few things, getting some menus working and a modify / delete mode to change bits once placed.

Tried adding a limb option so you can make a section where it places balls in-between a start and end. The idea being that I can then use these for limbs and animate them.



An update

Things have changed quite a bit but nothing too major, got an outline drawing and changed a lot of how the model is created structurally which should help to simplify things a bit going forward.


Update. Made some weirdos.


Going to get some better / more body parts so you can create more stuff next.


Mostly settled on a name for now which is Oblings so changed the name of the post to that. I don't like naming things but ultimately it probably doesn't matter too much.

Did a load of optimisation C side which is mostly just making it not update things it doesn't need to. I did add some visualisation for this so I'll post some more information about that. Ended up with a much better frame rate but still can probably squeeze some more out of it.

Been also just making it so you can modify everything after you have placed down balls so you don't have to delete everything and remake it all again. It's not too bad but does mean if you have all your balls in a chain and move the root one then it will need to update everything which isn't great.

Here is an example of moving things that have already been placed.