Great productive game jam weekend! I really enjoyed making and playing Laser Star. The theme was ‘arcade’ and I think I captured that! It has a lot of challenge and style for something made over the course of three days (while still managing to hang with friends most of Friday night, and most of the day on Saturday.)
Premise: Galaga vs. Voxel Art Games vs. Infinite Runner
An homage to Galaga with style that reflects some of today’s games. Obviously the graphics are made using the same tools as Crossy Road and its millions of copycats. The perspective of the game was shifted to an above and behind the ship which gives it an infinite runner feel. The alien patterns are inspired by Galaga, but I never did get to creating a large block formation where the enemy can be hit easier…
The game is infinite as far as I can tell, I set it up to continue indefinitely and increase in speed for later iterations. Stage types will cycle as the speed increases.
There are about 7 stages with different make ups of enemies. There is an asteroid stage as well.
There are a number of enemies with unique patterns and abilities.
There are power ups which increase your lasers.
There are extra life bonuses for high score milestones up to 1,000,000 points.
Needless to say, I’ve experimented a lot and learned a lot. I feel happy about the things I’ve worked on and learned over the year and feel like a much better programmer! I am looking forward to the next year of focusing on just a few projects. Mainly my Space Warfare game and the educational games this months game is a sneak peak at. I have a lot of plans for Space Warfare and feel like it has come a long way. I hope to keep improving it and making it awesome after all the stuff I’ve learned.
The final game is part of a vocabulary game I am working on for my school. This is not the final version, just a demo version that is geared towards my Reading / English class. The final game is going to be focused on History vocab and will hopefully be released on school iPads!
Plerion is difficult to describe. Basically there is an energy source in the center of the screen that increasing sends energy burst fireballs off to the edges of the screen. The player must tap or click the edges of screen to send their own energy blast to stop the bursts from going past. It works best on a touch screen since you don’t have to move a mouse, but I am putting up a web version for fun. Also, I am still finishing this, so while the basics are there, its unbalanced and super difficult to go very far. I am thinking of having distinguishable levels, perhaps a more pattern based energy release, and eventually a sense that one can master the game. At the moment, I think it feels way too difficult and confusing. But… its pretty and there are explosions!! Here is a link to Plerion.
I’ve added better(?) AI, explosions, sound effects as well as hit points and a score to the game. It might be getting too complex for the webplayer soon. We may need to switch to stand alone PC/Mac downloads. Here is a link to the web version of Space Wars…
Rewatching the video, I notice the AI is doing a lot of spinning. I am still trying to figure out how to make the AI better, I’ve tried a lot of things. Sometimes it works great, sometimes it does random silly things while it works out its rotation. I plan to implement a waypoint patrol ai, a search ai, a follow/guard ai and a defend area ai soon… Those will be sooner rather than later. Further on I’d like to have goal oriented AI and preferred targets where AI will assess enemy ships and decide what is the most important target. Fighters set to skirmish mode will rate other fighters highly as potential targets, but other fighters whose mission is to destroy a space station or carrier might skip other fighters to prioritize travel and attack their main target. This will be important as ships diversify, we can have capital ships chasing every little fighter buzzing around them if there is an enemy cap ship pumping them full of lasers…
Also up for the AI will be factions so that some AI bots can be on the player’s team. Then the real space war will commence…
The month is just about over and my attempt at creating a multiplayer game has yielded some interesting results. First of all, I did make a multiplayer game where players can host and join a server and then fly space ships around and blow each other up. I haven’t tested it too excessively, but I know it works on multiple computers over my home wifi. I am not sure how many servers can be created or how many players can join!? Here is a link to the networked Space Wars Online – you will need a friend to join you to make it fun…
WASD – Move and Rotate
Space – Fire weapon
-+ Zoom in and out
I couldn’t get points or multiple hits working in time. Every change you make to a networked game seems to break it and require lots of debugging. I hope to refine it in the future and make it more fun. I’d like to be able to show who you are targeting, have ships that can take more than one hit. Selectable types of weapons to use.
The start page has a place for players to enter their names and also customize their ship color. While not mind blowing, since I am still learning, it took forever just to get these two simple pieces of information to be shared across the multiple players. Colors would not show up for the longest time. I think I am getting the hang of it, the names are an attempt at a larger player management system with a shared scoring system but I need to wrap my head around handling collisions of projectiles and giving credit to the player who shot them. One day!
I used a lot of references to make this thing work –
Thanks to all of you for doing your best to explain a super complicated topic. After going through all that stuff, I can see the need for a few more tutorials. Perhaps if I ever understand it well enough I will give it a try.
#Screenshotsaturday Making gifs is an easier process than I thought! Enjoy this Tap Invasion action gif.
Above is one of my students making an epic run in Tap Invasion.
Dev Log Updates:
My April game (Tap Invasion) has stretched far into May! While the game was mostly completed in May, I wanted to port it to the Android Google Play store and get it out to the mobile audience for which it was designed. In that I succeed by about mid-month. I still need to port it to iOS. It was really created with the iPad in mind.
With that being said, I still am making good on my #1GAM challenge. I originally had noted that my next big attempt would be multiplayer. This weekend I finally got something working! The basic game for May is a multiplayer player vs. player SpaceWars game. It may not be super polished by the end of the month, but my goal is to have a game 4 players can join with one player hosting the server, a bunch of obstacles to fly around and hide behind and a scoring system.
Currently the game has been tested on the desktop and through the webplayer on a server and both work so far. I will be adding interpolation optimization to the game to make everything smoother in the next few days and then I will probably publish for folks to try out. Maybe one day I will rig up one of my old computers as an always on server for folks to log on to.
One of my main frustrations has been loading new players with their own perspective camera so that they could all fly around a bigger area on their own. The problem seems to be something a lot of Unity programmers have to deal with. I have tabled it for now, but I am hoping to make the space wars concept a little more massively in the future once I figure this thing out. So in the spirit of completing things in a month, the game now just takes place arena style on one screen with really small players.
Additionally, I came up with a one screen game – sort of smash-brothers meets joust meets explosions. I’ve been calling it Robot Destruction Dome for short. I couldn’t really make it this month because it took me so long to launch Tap Invasion and then learn networking (still learning that!). The RDD would require lots of new pixel art and I want to do it right! Here is my drawing of the game…
The guys with the motorcycle helmets are player one and two. They fight an infinite army of procedurally configured robots.
The store description goes something like this: Fast, addictive retro arcade action! Aliens are attacking Earth again! Tap the invaders as they attempt to destroy your city. How long can you keep the city alive?
Tap Invasion Lite is a DEMO version that gives you the feel for the game and a boss battle. The DEMO has a time limit and only a few of the bad guys. But it does have a boss!
– Retro arcade action
– Simple but addictive gameplay
– Power ups!
– 8-bit pixel art transports you back to the 80’s
– Chip tune sound track!
Try it out and then buy the FULL version to get all the cool features below…
Cool Features of the FULL GAME:
– More Retro arcade action
– Simple but addictive gameplay
– Infinite levels – if you can tap fast enough!
– Randomized levels with increasing speeds and difficulty
– 5 bosses to destroy
– Power ups!
– 8-bit pixel art transports you back to the 80’s
– Chip tune sound track!
– Top Score Board – Can you beat your friend’s score?
– No in-app purchases!
Please support indie games and me! I make games for fun, but its also fun to be paid for your creative works!
We are getting closer to the finish I think! The game is balanced enough that it’s possible to get past the first 10 levels. There are two power ups now to help along the way and they appear more frequently. One rebuilds the city and the other destroys *almost* all the enemies on the board.
Each bad guy has its own unique spin. The green ones are the standard but they move faster as the game goes on. Same with the reds but they go side to side. The orange are like the reds but tougher. The blue are slow but hard to kill. The gray ones are a like blues, but with a twist. The level 8 and 10 bosses are a bit of a surprise I think.
I’ve been trying to decide what to do for my March #1GAM and a few ideas have floated around. I am exploring the haunted house genre with the idea of exploring dark rooms with just a flashlight and hearing cool sound effects of floor boards and distant doors slamming. I remember being really into ghost stories and horror stuff as a kid. I still love a good scare. I’ve been thinking about the old Alone in the Dark game with its impossible combat against Lovecraftian beasts in an old mansion. Another great haunted house was in the Vampire Masquerade game–the abandoned hotel. It had some legit scares! Designing a virtual haunted house would be cool and making the gameplay more about exploration and stealth (hide / run for your life) rather than a shoot-em-up would be neat. I’d make it first person with good headphones and a dark room mandatory.
After watching that, I may have to go back and play that game!! Here is Vampire’s haunted hotel… This may be more my style, but perhaps with the old school graphics?
How about the creepy toy following you around… Or the kitchen scene… or the light bulbs bursting. Nice effects…
Then I’ve been looking into flat shaded 3D graphics (oh and this one is cool too- check out the Italian youtube at the bottom)which harken back to when 3D games first started hitting the arcade when I was a kid. Virtua Fighter, Virtua Cop, Cyber Sled were some of my favorite things to play. On modern computers the style actually looks really cool and I might be able to pull something off with it. I also like the idea of a robot arena fighting game like Cyber Sled or Virtua On. A Cyber Sled remake might be fun and not too far out for my one man studio if I get cracking now. The sleds are like bulky tank robots, not too hard to throw together. The spider one might be hard but I don’t have to include special models – maybe just a few sled/tank types with different speed to firepower to armor ratios. Do that, a few arenas, some enemy AI and we could call it a game. Here is some footage of the game:
Virtua On was much more polished and the robots you could choose from were a little more involved. I’d love to play or make something like it tho. The robots were mostly fast and they could jump over buildings, engage in hand-to-hand combat as well as ranged attacks around an arena. I played the army looking one with the night-stick arms. It would probably take more that the month to do it right tho and the 3D modeling.
Finally, another idea I’ve been toying with is a creating a classic style game like Pacman and do a tutorial series as I make it so that folks at home who want to try Unity can follow along. Pacman would be cool because it would teach moving a character with the keyboard, building maze levels, creating simple enemy AI, pickups, power-ups and points. The framework could be an easy jumping off point for learners to make their own games – a dungeon crawler isn’t much different: a maze with a different texture for walls, enemies that swing swords or throw fireballs could easily spring from a pacman clone. Tutorials are a big undertaking, but I think we could create a game for the month and document How-tos at the same time. Perhaps I will start here, but those games above are near and dear to my heart so look for games inspired by them someday from me.