Gaming Your Way

May contain nuts.

That game I've been working on, well, it's a game now.

Always a great milestone, when you can play a game, complete a level, die x number of times, read "Game Over" and start it all again.

This to me is when a game is a game, and X(++) has just reached that sexy milestone. Ok, it's not a great game yet, it needs a lot of balancing, and it needs some fun desperately, but it's a game.

Adding the asteroid to player collisions was pretty straight forward, just simple circle to circle checks. I wanted the player to be forced away from the impact, and it works quite nicely. Seeing how the code was written, I used the same bounce code again for when you're shooting an asteroid ( So your bullets actually push the asteroids away slightly ).
It's a little bit weird shooting an asteroid via the screen wrap, as you kind of suck it back towards you, but hopefully shouldn't be too much of a pain to fix.

Next up was making the energy bar decrease. Simple code. Looks nice. Just how code always should be. After that the next logical step was to blow the player up. It's a movieclip, it doesn't get any more straight forward.
That left me with the issue of what to do with the asteroids still on screen, and as I've done in what feels like far too many games, I've added a heat shimmer / wave to the explosion, which blows up all the rocks as it grows.

Another nice simple solution ( I'm not trying to get a rocket into space here ).

From there, it's not much more than


And we've got a game. Sweet.

I don't know how much work I've got in me before Christmas, a couple of days off eating like it's my last day on earth and sitting in front of the tv sounds just perfect right now. Even if I don't do anything tomorrow, we've got a really great guest article to post up, which we're really excited about.
It's nice and apt for this time of year too, I mean Zombies are good all year around aren't they ?


Comments (5) -

  • reini

    12/23/2008 8:34:26 AM |

    Hi , you already have a really nice game there, but i think that the ship controls do not feel right:
    If you are moving directional, the ship moves faster as if you move up,down, left or right and if you press up, then release the key and press left or right, the ship is still moving directional, but i would expect it to move just left or right.

    It looks like that you are creating the backgrounds randomly, which sometimes causes strange overlapping planets,and it would be nice if you would have a visual feedback of your progress.for example if you would have bluish planets in the first few levels and other colors later on.

    Anyway, great work !

  • tonypa

    12/23/2008 8:42:53 AM |

    Very nice collisions, all looked accurate enough to me and the bounce away effect is good too. Now enough nice words, let me get on with things I dont like :)

    Level number should be visible all the time, I want to look at it and feel proud I have already reached level 24.

    Somehow the graphics of the ship and asteroids have a border around them that cuts them off the background. Im not sure if those are final graphics but when you rotate the bitmap, its edge becomes jagged. I wish you would try to blend them better somehow.

    Starting level over from the beginning after you lose a life could be too much punishment. Once you lose a life, you feel bad anyway and making you destroy the same asteroids again is even worse. Add an evil laugh and some smartass comment about how much player sucks and I would never want to play it again :)

    On the ship controls, yes I still prefer to play without moving the ship at all. Just keep firing at things heading toward you. Until level 6 or 7 I dont need to move it, only once there is enough rubble flying around from every direction, I moved the ship away to more open area. Could be just me but I honestly hate doing several things at once. If I fire at asteroids, then I just fire. If I move the ship then I just move. Now, one thing you maybe could try, would be adding slight backward recoil every time you shoot so the ship wont be completely still. Or add bonus items which require moving around.

    In general, every asteroids game (and also every Breakout game) suffers from deep decrease of difficulty as you clear the level. Most action takes place when level starts and many asteroids fly around. You remove some - it becomes easier. Destroy some more and its even easier. So when level starts, you are at the peek of action and it slowly becomes less and less interesting as you get toward the end of level. Then at the start of next level it jumps to the ceiling again. Its like going backward. Im not sure I have good solutions to avoid this problem, you could try to speed up the asteroids every time some are destroyed or you could zoom in to the ship so the stage becomes smaller and its harder to avoid the asteroids in less space.

    Are you planning to add new types of enemies too? Some could be in the form of alien ships and they could shoot. Or lay down mines that explode after time ticks off. Or the alien ships could circle around you on curved paths. Or they could cloak and become invisible. Or maybe add some really large blocks (maybe half the stage size) which can take manymanymany bullets and blow up into cloud of smaller stones.

    Bonuses (as I mentioned before) can be good because they appear hopefully away from your ship so you need to move there to pick them up. The usual bunch comes to mind: bonus to restore some energy, bonus to increase fire rate (probably wearing off after some time), bonus to add extra bullets (fire one bullet backward too or fire 2-3 bullets toward cursor), bonus to shield you from damage and finally simple bonus to get extra points.

  • John Cotterell

    12/23/2008 10:10:08 AM |


    Nice game. I definitely prefer the control system to the traditional one. Makes me wonder how it would play if you had traditional rotate/thrust  but rotated the screen to keep it intuitive...

    Loving the particle fx/firing.

    If I had to be really critical - Having fixed directional lighting on objects that rotate always looks a bit pants to me.

    See you in the new year!


  • ickydime

    12/23/2008 2:52:44 PM |

    Loving it man.  really enjoy the bounce off when I mess up.  feels natural.

    Didn't notice the jagged edges that tonypa mentioned at first. But now I see them.  Think you can clear that up with a simple "Allow Smoothing" on your imported graphics.

    Agree with the bonuses... making peeps move around the screen and upgrading to different weapons would be cool.  

    Interesting concept about the game getting less difficult as the level progresses...  never really thought about that.  Maybe every exploded asteroid could leave a gaping black hole that you would need to avoid.  That is all I got off the cuff... will keep thinking.  

    Thx for posting your progress and letting everyone critique it.  I know it can be frustrating to get criticism back on something you were already planning fixing/changing.  But hopefully there are some fresh ideas in the mix as well.

    Anyways, great job. Love where it is heading.  

    Enjoy the break.

  • Squize

    12/23/2008 2:58:32 PM |

    The comments are getting longer than the posts now! :)
    ( Which for me is excellent, keep them coming ).

    Reini thanks for your feedback.
    The player ship has some inertia / friction on it, which I think is important as it feels slightly less "cheap" then not having it, and also the original asteroids was really heavy with it ( To the point that until you got good you were better off not moving, as Tonypa has said in a couple of his comments ).
    In needs something, it's just not quite right for most people yet, but it's all tweakable.

    As to the planets overlap, in all the times I've tested it ( A lot :) ) I've seen one overlap that looked ugly ( They looked like planet sized boobs ), aside from that they've all looked great to me. Do me a huge favour, if you get the chance could you grab a background that you think looks crap and mail it to me via the blog email address ( It's in the right hand panel ). That goes for anyone who's got two minutes, I know ickydime wasn't feeling the love for the overlapping planets.

    Tony, you can write more than 2 lines about the things you like you like mate :)
    Fantastic post, thanks.

    "Level number should be visible all the time" Like it.

    "Im not sure if those are final graphics..." Nope, nothing is final yet mate, aside from the X on the title screen :)

    "Starting level over from the beginning after you lose a life could be too much punishment" Do you think ? I mean it's a pretty standard mechanic in a shooter like this. Ok, I've got a plan about this involving your level numbers.

    "In general, every asteroids game (and also every Breakout game) suffers from deep decrease of difficulty as you clear the level." The smaller a rock gets, the faster it moves. At present, if a big rock hits you you lose more energy. It just made sense for so many reasons ( If you can't avoid a huge sprite, you should be punished for it. Also the sheer mass of it should affect your ship more ).
    It should be getting more tricky as the sheer number of faster moving objects increase ( Unless of course you use the old tactic of just shooting one asteroid at a time, destroying it completely before even taking on the next one ).

    "Are you planning to add new types of enemies too? Some could be in the form of alien ships and they could shoot." Yes :) I'm hoping the baddies will encourage more movement, so you just won't be able to stay fixed in one place.

    Also the baddies will drop power-ups, energy boost, as well as one of three weapon types. I'm planning on the weapons to be just collectables, and you choose which one of the 3 types you want ( I guess by shooting the power-up icon to change it ) and those will increase in power ( So you collect say 3 homing missile power-ups in a row, you get the max homing missile strength ).

    We're really thinking closely on this one mate, which is a nice surprise.

    Hey John, yeah temp graphics ( I don't think they're going to rotate in the final game, mainly because of that light sourcing issue, partly because I want to remove away from using mc's like I am at present and making it more bitmap based ).
    Rotating the whole screen ? Wow, that'd blow your brain :)

    And yep, def meet up in the new year, I owe you a night of beer mate :)

    Oops, nearly missed your post ickydime, cheers for the feedback mate.
    "But hopefully there are some fresh ideas in the mix as well"

    Yeah totally. It's nice not letting myself get too far up my own arse with a project, and having a nice grounding by opening it up as much as we have here.

Comments are closed