Gameplay is simple in theory: The objective is to place a large ball into the opponent's goal area. In practise, the combination of skills, tactics and techniques used to accomplish this objective bring a great deal of depth to the game. To make accomplishing your objective more interesting, all Carball vehicles are capable of various acrobatics and of using various power-ups that enhance your car's abilities, all described below.
At the beginning of a Carball match two teams, the red team and the blue team, spawn, already in vehicles. A large ball also spawns, typically above the centre of the playing field. The two teams then attempt to knock the ball into the goal area owned by the opposing team.
Semi-organized chaos now ensues as the two teams run into each other and their teammates and the ball seemingly bounces in every direction except the one you were hoping it would.
As your first game progresses, you will see the other players jumping into the air and performing all kinds of amazing feats knocking the ball in every way, making the game very "three-dimensional".
All Carball vehicles can perform various acrobatics. Your car can jump, flip into the air, do wheelies, and point its nose up or down. Combining these abilities can achieve amazing, high-flying, results. Please see the Vehicle Acrobatics section for more information.
Your vehicle can add to its abilities by driving over special items lying around the playing field. These items are called "power-ups". Your car can hold up to a maximum of three Power-Ups at any one time. Please see the Power-Ups Section below for more information.
Learning to combine vehicle acrobatics and power-ups form a large part of the Carball experience. Good driving skills and the ability to perform vehicle stunts will help you score goals and block your opponents from scoring. The various acrobatics and power-ups available in the game are described in great detail below. You may also wish to read the Tricks, Tips and Techniques Guide to learn more.
Slamming into walls, ramming into other cars, falling from great heights, etc will inflict damage upon your vehicle. This damage is normally slight, so it is a worthwhile tactic to ram the opposing team and more often than not one should not worry about running into the wall or falling onto the ground as long as it helps further your goals. However, the damage can add up so you should be mindful of your car's health.
Your vehicle starts with 450 points and when it reaches 0 your car explodes. You will then respawn in a new vehicle with 450 health points and no power-ups in your inventory. The health of your car is displayed near the bottom left of your screen. (See the HUD section for more specific information.) You cannot exit the vehicle in Carball.
Carball provides four different vehicles to choose from. Please see the vehicle section below for more information.
The default settings for a Carball server have friendly fire set to 0%. While this means that the weapons of teammates will not do any damage to your vehicle, you can still hurt yourself. For example, if you drop a goo pile then accidentally drive over it you may explode. Killing yourself, whether it be intentional or not, will result in a short delay before you will respawn. This is to mitigate the effect of players intentionally killing themselves so they will respawn in front of their own goal a moment latter. No matter what the friendly fire setting is, if another car, regardless of team, hits your car, you will be affected and you may be knocked over a ledge, into a dangerous environment, into another vehicle, etc.
Please note that is is possible for the game server administrator (admin) to set friendly fire to whatever s/he likes. For example, if the server admin set friendly fire to 100% and you drive over a teammate's flip mine, the mine will explode and you will take damage. It is also possible for the server admin to turn off the suicide respawn delay.
Most power-ups can damage vehicles and affect the ball. For example, a direct hit from a Pocket Rocket will destroy your car while an indirect hit may only take off some of your health. A direct hit by a Pocket Rocket on the ball will cause the ball to roll forward with great speed. An indirect hit on the ball by a Pocket Rocket will cause the ball to fly into the air.
The ball cannot be damaged or destroyed. If a power-up is said to affect the ball, it simply means that the power-up will apply force to the ball, sending it rolling off or flying into the air with extra speed.
For the most part, the physics of the game are fairly intuitive. For example, the faster your vehicle hits something, the more damage your car will take. Vehicle explosions will damage nearby cars and apply force to the ball. The faster you hit the ball, the faster the ball will roll, the further it may fly into the air, etc. Please note that the ball sometimes spins as it flies through the air. This spinning may cause the ball to bounce in unexpected directions when it hits the ground.
If you place the ball into the goal area of the other team, your team will score a point. The team with the most number of team points at the end of the match wins the match. Individuals will get points for scoring goals, killing other players, etc, however individual points do not affect which team wins the game. If you place the ball into your own goal area, you will score what is called an "owngoal" and the opposing team will receive one goal. Individuals can loose individual points for scoring own goals, dying from the environment (e.g., driving your car into lava), or killing themselves. Performing special tricks to score, such as using a power-up to make the goal, will provide you with bonus individual points. Any special bonuses you receive as an individual for scoring are displayed on the screen upon making the goal.
Once a goal has been scored, the game will advise everyone of the event and then the ball and players will respawn.
Good map designers incorporate elements to show which goal belongs to which team. This may include making the blue goal glow blue and the red goal glow red or having appropriately coloured lights or banners, etc draping the goal. There is no mechanism to guarantee that this will be done, but it is a standard practise for mappers to include some visual elements to show what team owns a goal area.
If a game has a time limit and that limit is reached with the team scores being equal, the game will enter over time. After a 15 second count down, the players and ball will respawn. The first team to score a goal after this respawn will win the match. This is similar to what is called "sudden death overtime" in many real world sports.
Should a ball not experience any movement for a certain period of time, it will respawn. This prevents the game from stopping altogether because of the ball getting trapped in an inaccessible spot.
Please note that Carball does not provide support for bots, so there is no single player mode for Carball. (UT2004 has an AI system that understands carrying objects, but not the complexities of pushing/passing a ball at the right time.)
It is important to note that map makers can create maps that incorporate elements that are different than the norm. For example, a map can have more than one goal per team and sometimes scoring on certain goals will give your team more points than scoring on other goals. The ball will have a different appearance in different maps. Sometimes the ball will drop down from the sky when it respawns, sometimes it will hover in the air until a player touches it. Goals can be "Random Goals" that assign a score to a team at random, not necessarily the team of the scoring player. Some maps will even have teleportation portals that can teleport your car, the ball, or both. It is possible you will spawn facing your own goal if the map maker so chooses. The creativity of map makers is such that you should be prepared to sometimes see game elements and behaviours different than expected and not necessarily described here.
After reading the above you should be able to learn more about the specifics of the game through playing, however to make it easier and faster for you, all the specific vehicle acrobatics and power-ups are described in great detail below. Our Quickstart Guide describes these game elements with shorter, more basic descriptions.
All Carball vehicles can perform various acrobatics. Your car can jump, flip into the air, do wheelies, and point their nose up or down. Combining these abilities can achieve amazing, high-flying, results.
Hold down your crouch button (default C) down and then release it to make your car jump straight up. The longer you hold the crouch button before releasing it, the higher you will jump. (There is a limit to how high your car will jump.) As the Crouch Button is used for jumping in Carball, we sometimes refer to it as the Jump Button.
If you hold down and release either the Turn Left Button or the Turn Right button (defaults A and D, respectively) while holding down the Jump Button (aka the Crouch button) your car will spin to the left or right (corresponding to which direction button your pressed) during the jump. The long you hold the button down, the further you will spin in the corresponding direction. This is especially useful for changing direction, as opposed to driving in a circle.
Flipping into the air, aka Quickflip. Your car can jump high into the air, moving forward and rotating all the while. This is called a "Quickflip". The Quickflip has many uses, but is normally used to either hit the ball while it is high in the air or to quickly get out of the way of a teammate. To perform a Quickflip, press the Quickflip Button. (The Quickflip Button must be set by the player. Please see the Controls and Configuration Guide for information on how to do this.)
You can tip the front of your car while you are in the air by holding down the Crouch (default C) Button. The longer you hold down the crouch key the further the nose of your car will point down.
You can tip the front of your car up while you are in the air by holding down the Handbrake Button (default Control Key). The longer you hold down the crouch key the further the nose of your car will point up.
A wheelie is the term used to refer to lifting the front wheels of your car into the air while the back wheels are still touching the ground. To perform a wheelie press the Wheelie key. A wheelie is primarily used to stop the ball from moving altogether when it is sent towards you. (The Wheelie Button must be set by the player. Please see the Controls and Configuration Guide for information on how to do this.)
If you car is knocked onto its side or upside down you will be unable to drive. You can upright your car and continue driving by pressing the "use" key (default E). This is the same key you use to enter or exit vehicles in Onslaught games. (The Return/Enter key will also upright your car.)
Your vehicle can add to its abilities by driving over special items lying around the playing field. These items are called "power-ups". Your car can hold up to a maximum of three power-ups at any one time. When your car touches a power-up it will be displayed in the inventory section of your Heads Up Display (HUD) in the bottom right area of your screen. If a yellow square surrounds one of the power-ups displayed on your HUD that particular power-up is active. You can use the active power-up by pressing the Fire button (default Left Mouse Button). Some power-ups have an alternative, or Alt-Fire mode. The Alt-Fire mode utilizes the power-up in a different way than normal. The Alt-Fire mode for all power-ups can be used by pressing the Alt-Fire Button (default Right Mouse Button). You can cycle through which power-up is active by pressing the Next Inventory Item or Previous Inventory Item buttons. These buttons must be set by the player. (Please see the Controls and Configuration Guide for information on how to do this.)
The various Carball Power-Ups are described below. Please note that not all Carball maps will contain all Power-Ups available in the game.
This Power-Up will repair 50 points worth of damage to your vehicle. It is activated the moment you touch it and will not take up a spot in your inventory.
When activated this Power-Up will send your car forward at tremendous speed. This is a temporary effect. You have less control over your car while this Power-Up is being used. If you make a sharp turn or stop your car altogether the speed increase will stop. Using the Nitro Boost in Alt-Fire mode will cause your car to jump straight into the air with more force than a regular jump. You can use the Nitro Boost in either mode even if you are already in the air.
Activate this power-up and a rocket will fire from the front of your vehicle. This rocket explodes causing area damage when it hits something. A direct hit can destroy another vehicle. A Pocket Rocket fired from a still vehicle will be launched at a slight downward angle. The faster a vehicle is traveling, the higher the angle of launch for the Pocket Rocket. At top speed, a vehicle will fire the Pocket Rocket at a slight upward angle. If Alt-Fire is used to launch the rocket a special rocket cross-hair appears on your screen. This cross-hair can be moved with your mouse. For the first few moments of flight, the rocket will follow the cross-hair. Pocket Rockets in Alt-Fire mode do not cause physical damage to other vehicles. The Pocket Rocket can affect the ball.
Drop the Flip Mine behind your vehicle by activating the Flip Mine Power-Up. If a car drives over the Flip-Mine, it will be thrown into the air and take a small amount of damage. Dropping a Flip-Mine directly onto an opposing vehicle can destroy that vehicle. The Flip-Mine Power-Up is in a state of constant rotation floating just above the playing surface when it is just a power-up waiting to be picked up. Once the Flip-Mine is dropped, it will stay still still and sit on the ground. If the ball rolls over the Flip-Mine, the Flip-Mine will detonate, applying a small amount of force to the ball. You may use the Alt-Fire mode of the Flip-Mine to shoot the Flip-Mine from the front of the vehicle, like a sticky grenade. The Flip-Mine will stick to cars and the ball. Once the Flip-Mine sticks to something (even the ground in cases where you miss the target), it can be detonated by pressing the Fire Button (default Left Mouse Button). The Flip-Mine in Alt-Fire mode can do enough damage to destroy a vehicle. The Flip-Mine can affect the ball.
The Goo Pile Power-Up can drop a pile of globs behind your car. These globs do damage to vehicles that they come in contact with. Each glob does a small amount of damage. The amount of damage of all the globs together is enough to destroy a vehicle. The globs disappear after a few moments. Damage from the globs is inflicted as they disappear. Firing the Goo Pile using Alt-Fire will cause the goo to be lobbed from the front of the car. The longer the Alt-Fire button is held before depressing, the further the goo will be lobbed. Although it is very difficult to use Goo Piles for this purpose, they will destroy Spider Mines, Flip Mines, and Sticky Grenades. There is a maximum range to the lobbing. Goo Piles can affect the ball.
The Invisibility Power-Up will cause your car to become very difficult to see by opposing players. A car using the invisibility Power-Up will appear to be highly translucent and to be causing a large amount of light refraction. That is to say that the car will have the "Predator Effect" that has been a nearly universal standard for video game invisibility for many years. This Power-Up has a time limit, shown by a count down that appears on your screen upon activation. (You may wish to note that you have a choice of how you view your own car while it is using the Invisibility Power-Up. For more information, please see the Controls and Configuration Guide.) If you activate the Alt-Fire mode of the Invisibility power-up, you will be able to see what power-ups are currently selected by your opponents. This ability only works for a limited amount of time.
Activating this power-up will trigger an explosion causing a large amount of damage to anything covered in its very large blast radius. Your vehicle will be destroyed when the power-up is used. Using Alt-Fire with the Nuke will drop a bomb behind the car. Once dropped, this bomb will explode after 5 seconds or when it comes in contact with a car (including yours) or the ball, whichever happens first. The area covered and damaged caused by the Alt-Fire mode is much less than the explosion trigger by the primary mode fire. The Nuke can affect the ball as well as destroy Spider-Mines and sticky grenades.
Once activated, this power-up will place a shield around your vehicle. This shield will repulse other vehicles and the ball. The shield only lasts for a few moments. When you activate the Alt-Fire mode of this power-up, a shield will be placed around your vehicle that will protect you from damage. Alt-Fire mode has no effect on the ball. A very easy way to tell the difference between the shields is by the coloring: Primary fire is Orange colored, and Alt-Fire is Purple colored.
This power-up will allow you to drop a Spider-Mine behind your vehicle. If an opposing vehicle drives near the Spider-Mine, the Spider-Mine will chase that vehicle and explode upon contact, destroying that vehicle. If the ball rolls near the Spider-Mine, the Spider-Mine will chase the ball, and will explode upon contact with the ball. If the Spider-Mine is already chasing a car, it will not start to chase the ball or other cars. If the Spider-Mine is already chasing the ball, it will not start to chase cars. If you activate a Spider-Mine using Alt-Fire, the Spider-Mine will only seek out the ball. Spider-Mines have been known to score goals and block goal attempts. The Spider-Mine can affect the ball.
This power-up fires a beam of energy that is similar to the Shock beam that you see in default gametypes for UT2004. This beam will cause damage to other vehicles and knock them around a bit. To a lesser extent it will also affect the ball. An Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) will shoot out from the front of your car in Alt-Fire mode. If a car is hit by this pulse, it will be unable to drive for several seconds, and is also unable to fire any weapons.
You can choose from among four different vehicle types to use in the game. The vehicles are of slightly different shapes and sizes. This has a subtle effect on how they handle and how they interact with the rest of the game. None of the vehicles are definitively better, faster, etc. In all likeliness it will take a new player several weeks to determine his or her vehicle preference and learn the different "feel" for driving each type of vehicle.
During a game you can choose a different vehicle than the one currently being used. As soon as you respawn, you will be using the newly chosen vehicle. Please see the Controls and Configuration Guide for more information on switching vehicles.
All vehicles can be customized to a large degree. You can select different "skins" that affect the external appearance of the vehicle. Different skins can be applied to the body of the car, the wheels, and the licence plate. In addition, you can choose what text you would like to appear on your licence plate. Please note that the licence plate can display up to 8 characters. Again, please see the Controls and Configuration Guide for more information.
The Four Carball Vehicles:
During the game your screen will show information about activities related to the game, such as the current score. The system that controls the display of this information is called the Heads-Up-Display, or HUD. The Carball HUD is different than the normal UT2004 HUD and is described in detail below.
This three-dimensional arrow will always point towards the ball. You can change this arrow to the Ball Radar if you so wish. (See the Controls and Configuration Guide for more information.)
A dot rotating around a circle will show you where the ball is located relative to your position. (If the dot is at the top of the circle, the ball is in front of you, if the dot is at the bottom of the circle, the ball is behind you.)
If the map was specifically designed to take advantage of this feature, the location of the ball will be described by a short piece of text that appears just bellow the HUD Arrow/Ball Radar. For example, the text may say "Blue goal area" indicating that the ball may be near the blue team's goal.
The current score for both teams is shown in the score area. The red team's score is displayed next to a red icon on the left, and the blue team's score is shown next to a blue icon on the right.
This is where the health of your vehicle is shown as a point value. When it reaches 0, your car will explode, and you will respawn.
If you perform a jump, a red bar will be shown in this area of the HUD. The longer you hold down the Jump Button, the longer the bar becomes, up to a limit. This gives you a visual indication of how powerful your jump will be. Similarly, if you do a spinning jump, a blue bar will appear bellow the red bar, giving you a visual cue of how far the spin will be.
The inventory indicator will show which power-ups you currently posses. A two-dimensional graphic of the power-up(s) you have will appear in the white squares. If a square is empty, there is no power-up in that slot. A yellow square indicates that the power-up is selected and can be activated with the fire Button.
A glowing green bar will appear on your HUD if you choose to lob a goo pile using the Alt-Fire function. The longer your hold down the Alt-Fire button, the longer the bar will become, up to a limit. This gives you a visual cue to help determine how far the goo will be lobbed.
If the map supports the feature, your current location will be described in text near the bottom left of your screen
If a time limit has been set by the game server admin, the clock shows a count down of how much time remains until the match end.