Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Beating Down Final Tasks

Plugging away at the final tasks this week. The issue/task list is now down to 13 items. Unfortunately, sometimes new ones get added if I spot a bug or unexpected feature.

The game now has a brightness slider and the collision detection performs ten times better now that I have implemented the heuristic algorithm I developed for Gravity Core. The collision system changes were considerably fiddlier than I anticipated but it's done now and there for the next game.

Some of the remaining tasks include:
  • Scoring System
  • Lives and Game Over
  • Documentation and In-Game Instructions
  • Website
  • Installation Packages
I just need to keep plugging away then I'll release the game as a beta. The last few steps over the finish line always seem to be tough.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Attack Waves Completed

Finished working my way through the music to design the attack waves. I have a set of around 30 tasks / issues to work through before the game is fit for release. After that it's website work and spreading the word.

Now the music analysis is done, I can listen to some music while I'm coding. It's really hard for me to keep motivation and momentum without music.

My music of choice when 'in the zone' coding, is metal - Devildriver, Machine Head and Slayer are current favorites on my playlist.

Do you have any musical preferences when coding or working? Comments welcome.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Free to Play Games

Having bought an iPad a few weeks ago, I have been exploring the App Store for games. One of the games I stumbled across is 'Heroes vs Monsters'. This is another game in following the increasing trend of 'Free to Play' as a revenue model.

The game is easy to get into and relaxing to play, however the system of buying in game gold with real money doesn't sit well with me. It is possible to accumulate gold by grinding but most encounters seem to yield a couple of hundred gold whereas decent magical items cost tens of thousands. There's an option on the gold purchase page to buy up to £70.00 (GBP) worth of gold. This seems ludicrous for a casual roleplaying game when the nearest competitor (Battleheart) can be bought for £2.00.

Screenshot of HvM (I should win some kind of 'worst screenshot' award for this):

Personally (as a player), I'm not a fan of the Free to Play model as it seems to offer watered down grinding gameplay to one set of players (those who play for free) and instant expensive cheats for those who want to throw money at it. The uncertainty of what I will need to spend to finish a game kills my enthusiasm for it.

As a developer and purveyor of software myself,  I understand the need for revenue but the game designer in me rebels at the idea of different gameplay dependent on how much you spend.

Comments and differing opinions welcome.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Asteroid Field Gun Turrets and Dreadnought

Another step closer to completion. The asteroid gun turrets are now finished.

The final boss (Dreadnought) is mostly coded up. The boss smashes its way through the asteroids initially, before flipping. Thanks go to BareknuckleRoo on the SHMUPS forum for the Icebreaker idea.

The Dreadnought initial attack pattern (spawning interceptors) is implemented:

I'm pretty close to getting all of the attack waves and boss behaviours finished. The work doesn't stop there as I have a fair few other features to implement, such as scoring and engine tweaks/fixes, however it feels like I'm over the hump.

I spent a lot of time recently analysing the music in GoldWave (sound editor) to find the appropriate spawn points for enemies. This is pretty tedious (and stops me from listening to music to reduce tedium) but I'm pretty pleased with the end result. It will be short but intense game. The music synchronisation really adds to the dramatic effect, particularly with large attack waves and bosses.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Asteroids Coded Up

Asteroids are now coded up for the quiet section of the music. The rocks crash into each other and split into smaller chunks when shot up, as all good asteroids should. Getting the balance right for the damage and collision physics was fiddly but feels pretty good now.

In Shoot'em'up circles, asteroid fields are generally frowned upon as boring. When I listen to the music (Holst's Mars) my imagination cunjures up an asteroid field for the slow middle of the track. Hopefully by having some nice physics and chunky explosions, the asteroid field will be an interesting (but short) change of pace in the game. I also plan to throw in some gun turrets to spice things up.

I have uploaded a video:

And... here are a couple of screenshots: