Talkin' Ballrace

Ballrace in Tower Unite is off to a great start, I feel like it’s finally found it’s feet and aesthetic as it’s own standalone thing rather than a monkey ball clone.

But there’s a couple of things we can discuss when it comes to improving it.

Tweaking the physics

I feel like TU’s BR physics haven’t really gotten ‘there’ yet, the ballrace in GMT had this near perfect balance that where if your ping was slightly above average you’d still be able to finish the level, but if you had decent ping you’d have time to collect as many bananas as you can. In Tower Unite the bounce back from colliding with even a wall is pretty intense, landing from a height will send you flying back in to the sky for a while and I think the friction of the balls with surfaces could be increased ever so slightly. What we’re playing with right now is a bit of a nightmare for those of us sitting on an official server where we might have 100-150 ping, it becomes less of a challenge and more often just outright irritating.

The maps

The maps we have right now make Ballrace feel more like an obstacle course than a race, each one feels very memories-inspired in the sense that there’s a lot and maybe even too many game shifting dynamics, like the complete abundance of push/pull poles and moving platforms in a lot of the tracks, even Nimbus which is advertised as a “Beginners map” doesn’t feel the most easy going, there’s too much of starting/stopping and it breaks the flow a lot. It’d be neat to have a few maps like Grassworld or the original Skyworld where there’s less to almost no obstacles and feels a lot more free-flowing and is just a straight return to form ‘race to the finish’ style map. I think by creating these kind of maps you’re going to be putting a lot more variety in to the game and maybe even make it more accessible to those who are newer to Tower Unite, because the original Ballrace always felt like the most easy-going and fun gamemode (personally) to get straight into.

If this seems like I’m complaining too much about things that other people might be perfectly happy with then I apologize. I’d like this to be an open thread where people can discuss various things about this gamemode and how it can be improved upon rather than becoming a thread of incessant complaining lol.


I love the physics of the new Ballrace. They’re so tight and fast I felt that the old physics were too heavy and sluggish, The new mechanics feel like a breath of fresh air in my book. I strongly believe that the lag problem should be looked into. Ball Race is a test of reaction and when you’re juttering around its no fun.

But I think you’re looking to fix the wrong thing. If the game already works well for people with 60 ping then it should be the netcode thats tweaked. I can’t really comment on that department since I have almost zero knowledge of netcode.

I perfectly agree with you when it comes to the maps. Every course has a gimmick which is great for separating the maps but theres no standard right now.

I think Ball Race really needs a map that reunites the player with that classic “keep moving” approach. Although I seriously love all the new maps because they’re all different I miss the when Ball Race maps were a race, a real test of which player could beat their opponents. Stopping and Starting so often just completely removes the intensity of race. When you’re forced to wait for a moving platform with 5 or so other players it stops you from feeling singled out and instead groups you up which of course removes the competitive nature of the gamemode.

I think that when/if they revist Ball Race they should experiment more with the pacing of gameplay. If the devs do decide to bring back the “race” in Ball Race I think they should highlight positions more. A little 1st 2nd and 3rd element on the HUD could encourage players to outbeat their opponents. If the game really wants to get experimental a best overall mechanic could be implemented for the end of games but that mechanic is far from mandatory.


Shit that OP to comeback like ratio


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Tower Unite ball race feels so smooth compared to what we had in Garry’s Mod, but the friction is something that could be tweaked. I feel there is much less control over the ball compared to what we had in Garry’s Mod, to the point where it becomes frustrating when you fall off the map if you so much as look away for one split second.

While I can’t necessarily say much about the issue of networking, I can about the maps.

I can definitely agree with the maps side of things, Ballrace in GMT was a nice mixture of casual almost non-stop racing all the way up to the difficult obstacles in Memories.Maps at the moment are a little lacking on the bottom end of that spectrum, so some work is definitely needed. Ill aim to make a new ball race map within the next few weeks or so taking this into account. Once its out I can make edits if necessary just in case I get too carried away COUGH MIDORI COUGH


This ended up being a bit of a long post, but it should be worth the read. It’s not as well organized as I would like it to be but at this point I sort of just want to get it out there.

Easier maps
When it comes to these easier, open maps that focus on going really fast, it’s important to allow the skill ceiling to stay high while lowering the barrier to entry. One of the things I enjoyed about the maps from GMT was all of the little opportunities to skip things to edge out others. Note that edging out others can mean more than just time, it can also mean a high banana count. It kept the maps more fresh and interesting after the 20th or 50th or 100th time through, whereas on the current maps once you learn the gimmicks there’s not really much to optimize on your runs. The large amount of ways you could approach a course was something that was all over both Sky World and Grass World - there were plenty of barriers you could boost over if you went fast enough, tubes that you could skip by airstrafing to avoid going in them, and risky paths with bananas. Memories also has some of the increased reward for taking more of a risk, but it mostly focuses on being a hard level. The stage with the repellers that you had to walk on was a good example of providing this. There was an easy path that was slower and a more challenging path that provided more of a reward for taking a risk.

With all of that in mind, it’s totally okay for there to be levels that are hard for the sake of being hard. I loved Memories when it was introduced because of the extra challenge it provided and I do enjoy what these new maps have to offer. However, they do need some polishing up before they’re really ready for widespread consumption.

Criticisms of currrent maps

The biggest issues I have with these maps are with how you communicate design intent with the level design. One example of this is blind jumps. They aren’t that interesting of a mechanic to run into, it’s no fun when you don’t have the information.
One big example I can think of is level 5 of Midori. After you clear the spinners and get to the booster, you get sent flying up to a wide half pipe with no view of what’s at the top. To me this feels like it’s going to break out into a more open and forgiving section where you just go as fast as possible to the end, but then you end up with another moving platform cycle and no way to save yourself as you fly over the end. This would be fairly easy to address - make the path more clear such that the player has more time to react to what is going to happen, or simply have the level end after that stretch.

Another criticism that I’m sure many have shared about Midori is the significant difficulty compared to other maps. This is totally fine, and I don’t think you should nerf each individual piece into the ground. What should be done instead is to address the issues that new players might have with how difficult it is while preserving the spirit of the map. While a lot of these obstacles need tweaks to make them a little more fair, the best thing you can do for Midori is to provide checkpoints on some of the more brutal levels. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one getting frustrated with clearing one difficult obstacle after using up a life, and then running into another one right after. Reducing the requirement to perfectly execute the course to even clear it would go a long way toward making this map more playable for the general public, and still allow the top tier of players to compete for better times.

Nimbus has a similar communication issue with its teleporters. While yes, you can peek through them, slowly rolling up to a teleporter to peek in clashes with the theme of a ball race. Because it’s interpreted as a race, most players will try to go through the teleporter in the hopes that it will give them an edge (whether that is melons or a quicker path, doesn’t matter). When the teleporter is introduced in level 2, it is placed on an offset platform with a gap, much like a group of melons would be placed. Since it’s a bit of a risk (although not as much in that case) the player expects some kind of reward. However, the player is instead punished by being sent back to the beginning. Perhaps instead of punishing them for being curious, make it some sort of tradeoff. Maybe it takes you to an island with a big melon but you lose a little time, making it feel worthwhile to check.

When the teleporter is reintroduced on level 9(!) you’re thrown into a gauntlet of teleporters with no experience other than the one failed teleport that sent you backwards. It’s all fine though, because the teleporter mechanic is retaught with a set of simple ones leading up to the first branching path. This first branch works fine because you’re given the time to compare and you can see into them.

However, after you pick correctly the first time, you’re then thrown onto a booster straight towards 3 different portals, with no clues tipping you off as to where to go. You can land on the platform at the end and compare them afterwards if you are skilled enough to stop yourself there, but even then it can sometimes be difficult to get into the correct teleporter because it is floating in midair. The fact that it’s in midair is a little confusing since every other teleporter has been connected to a platform with a small post. This is totally fine though, alpha art, there might not be a model for a floating teleporter, whatever. What isn’t great about this is the lack of anything to tip the player off before they go flying to their death what teleporter might be the right choice. This could be resolved in a few ways:

  1. add melons as breadcrumbs to lead the player to the right choice
  2. add some sort of barrier to catch the player
  3. adjust how the teleporter works so it’s more clear earlier on what will be on the other side.

Option 1 would be a great choice if this was a singleplayer game, but unfortunately the more experienced players will have come through and ate up the melons before the less experienced ones even get to the booster. Additionally, this takes away from the spirit of the teleporter mechanic, needing to look inside to understand what will be there.
Option 2 would fix the problem in this instance just fine, allowing the player more time to compare the teleporters and make an informed decision.
Option 3 would help to address the larger issue at hand here, lack of information. It’s hard to say what should be modified in terms of providing more information, but an easy adjustment for now would be increasing the distance at which the preview opens from. This wouldn’t keep the player from dying here the first time because there’s a lot of info to take in, but at the very least they could get an idea of what is behind the portals for the second time around. An important adjustment for this to really work well would be to add more of a visual cue for danger behind the portal. Perhaps instead of just one hammer swinging back and forth it’s a whole bunch of hammers swinging violently. You can get creative with that and find something that clicks with the aesthetic of the level.

Level 10 handles these teleporters just fine with the constraints they’re under right now, so that wouldn’t need any major changes.

I don’t have much else to comment on for Nimbus, with a couple tweaks it would also sit nicely as a good difficulty between Paradise and Memories.

Let me start off by saying that Paradise is probably my favorite level to play in multiplayer. It really sits well as a nice middle tier difficulty map that people can race down to the wire to min/max their times and their melon counts. I only really have two small things.
My biggest annoyance in this map is something that annoyed me with ball race maps on GMT. Elevators that run on a cycle suck. They’re boring. If you mess up a little bit and end up off cycle, you spend a bunch of time just waiting for an elevator.
The other issue I have is with how the levels start. I had a tendency to just run off of the level at the start because my camera was faced the wrong way. I’m sure this was planning to be fixed at some point but I thought I would just throw it in. You could fix it by adding the tubes from Nimbus or just snapping the camera forward at the start of the level, either one is fine.

I’m sorry if this post seems a bit scattered, I ended up writing a lot more than I expected. I’m also sorry if this comes off as a bit armchair game designer-y. If there’s anything people disagree with or anything that’s wrong, feel free to call me out.


A lot of these levels in ball race run off of cycles. I don’t really enjoy that because it doesn’t leave much room for the “race” part of the name as you were saying. More maps that use more themed gimmicks, but don’t limit the top time someone can get are what I want to see in the future.

I’m gonna rework or completely scrap a lot of levels in Nimbus.


Yeah some of those later levels are serious bullshit.

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I think I wasn’t having a good day when I made them.


As someone who has played in Nimbus a couple of times, the only levels that caused problems for me are Levels 9 and 10. I’m gonna explain the whole map below.

Level 1 - Easy intro, nothing much to talk about.

Level 2 - Introducing the Teleporter and the Bumper thingies, just roll carefully and it will be fine. Idk what the purpose of the Teleporter in this level is, except being a dick and sending you back to the start, considering it’s not even in the main path as mentioned before. :sweat:

Level 3 - Timing is the key to this level. The platform with the spinning Bumper thingies is cake once you know the trick.

Level 4 - Same as Level 3, but actually easier. Introducing the hammers that kick you out of the map, this level should be 3 instead of 4 in my opinion.

Level 5 - Fun level with the moving platforms, nothing much to talk about.

Level 6 - Same as Level 2, carefully roll between the Bumpers at the beginning and the rest should be easy. The passage with the opening/closing gaps near the end of the level can be a bit confusing at first, but still okay.

Level 7 - The BS part of the map starts here. After the two speed boosts, there is a set of moving platforms with Bumpers literally everywhere around them. Dodging all the Bumpers can prove very challenging, and I believe it’s kind of a brutal transition of difficulty between Level 6 and 7. Maybe reducing the platforms’ movement and/or removing some annoying Bumpers (like the first one that stands in the middle of the way and is especially hard to avoid) would help. Personally I like to jump through that part by directly landing on the end of the level from the 2nd speed boost. :grin:

Level 8 - Less unfair than Level 7, but the part with the swinging hammers kicking everything that’s on the narrow path you’re supposed to roll on can be pretty annoying.

This quality drawing represents the part right after the Plinko board, with the first swinging hammer. The red area represents the part where the hammer kicks you off tracks. Circled in green is the small tile after the hammer. Not stepping exactly on that tile will either get you kicked by the hammer or make you fall off the path due to the speed gained in order to dodge the hammer, which can be very punishing. Just adding extra space between the hammer and the circled tile could make things more forgiving. There again, you can also choose to take the risky shortcut and roll in the air directly from the Plinko board to the end of the level.

Level 9 - The difficulty of this level may vary depending on if the Teleporters make the game super laggy for you or not. If not, no real concern here. If you’re lagging like I do, you’ll have to deal with a tiny swinging bridge that connects 2 platforms with Teleporters, including a deadly one located on the platform you have to wait on and delays everything you do like crazy due to the lag.

Level 10 - I actually never finished this one, but then again it’s because of the lag caused by the Teleporters. A challenging level that requires balance and much precaution. The Bumper at the beginning of the slope will mercilessly push you off tracks if you dare to touch it, which is also punishing as you get the same kind of problem as in Level 8: if you don’t step exactly on a tile and precisely calculate your speed, you’ll either get pushed off by the Bumper or roll down the slope, and eventually fall off the path. I’ve been on a bunch of servers where no one could finish that level due to that or the laggy Teleporters. Adding an extra tile between where you come from and the Bumper could also help here.

In the end, there wouldn’t be many things to change in this map to make it better (by better I mean not full tryhard, some difficulty is also welcome even though it’s a beginner map) and more fun to play. I don’t believe scrapping levels is really necessary there :sweat_smile:

I really wish ball race wasn’t entirely server based, with a slight amount of ping it feels like ice.


Considering that there is no collision I don’t see why it couldn’t be a bit more client side.

I just finished the reworked Nimbus map.
The last levels are a lot more friendly than before, good job for the changes (although there’s still that BS part at level 7 but whatever) :grinning:
RIP Plinko board in level 8 :disappointed: