Gaming Your Way

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Homing Missile - Power-Up!

There's a newly posted update on the XDev page.

This isn't really a "I did all this last night" build, it's what I've squeezed in during the holidays, and is I guess around 8/10 hours work in total, so counts as a 1 day-ish. I'm not trying to be totally anal about how long each build takes.

Now I've actually got to remember what I did. The first main thing I managed to drop in there was the asteroids bouncing off each other. The small ones ignore each other as I think it'll be far too cpu tasking, and too much of a head fuck to be honest ( It'd be like pinball with 30 balls ).
It all seems to work quite nicely, it's pretty subtle, you've got to be watching for it, but I know it's doing it and that's enough for me.

In saying that, I think on later levels ( Level 6 seems to be the first real "kick off" level, around that level it feels pretty sweet ) I may have to drop the checks, or at least test for the number of objects running and skip them when there are too many to test.

Next up I added the "waves". Basically, not all rocks come at you at the same time, there's a trigger point where extra ones will be released. This will need some balancing ( Like all the gameplay, which for me is a long way from being done ) when the baddies are in there.

I guess the biggest thing, in terms of the blog title anyway, is the power-ups. Firstly I added the spray power-up ( I don't think I'm going to stick with that name, it conjures up images of dogs and lamp posts ) which is your standard weapon, plus friends. It looks really good when you've maxed it out at [ Weapon ] level 5.
For all the power-ups there's give and take. For example with the spray power-up, yeah you get 5 shots at once, but the reload time is increased to try and balance that out. It helps me as the coder because it means the games not running as many bullets as it would be if I didn't increase the reload time and will also hopefully bring some balance to the game ( If you max out your power-ups and you're as hard as hell, how do you still make the game fun ? Do you make the baddies that before died with one shot now take 5 shots to keep the challenge going ? If that's the case, you've not actually got a useful power-up, you've just got more sprites on screen. Do you increase the sheer volume of baddies ? Then you could slip into a grind if their easy to kill. It's always a tricky tricky problem ).

The spray PuP didn't take too long, so I moved onto the homing missiles ( Which I knew would ). I've optimised these quite heavily already, but I still think with 4/5 running with a lot of objects there's a performance hit, and that's why I've left them unlocked and maxed out in the current build, so if anyone whose got two mins could give the game a quick play ( 'til around that magic level 6 would be good ) and feedback on their performance and specs that would be great.
If they are generally running crap for everyone ( Fine here, but quad core machine. This baby could run seti@home on it's own, so testing a swf in a realistic enviroment is tricky at times ) then I've still got some ideas to try and claw back some speed whilst still keeping the same look to them.

Squize.

Comments (6) -

  • Unknownguy

    1/2/2009 5:13:53 PM |

    Hey Squize,

    I was playing through the game, and at times I get random issues (it might be Flash Player itself) where the input locks up, the asteroids and homing missiles keep moving/firing and all the explosions stop part way.

    Picture: http://www.whatboxstudios.com/Public/glitch.jpg

    At that particular point, I believe I just died, but similar situations happened earlier.
    I also had this happen in earlier builds.

    And on a better note, I am really digging the presentation! Super-slick!

  • dVyper

    1/2/2009 5:38:33 PM |

    The game seems to run perfectly fine on my weakened laptop. Only on the level screen transitions does it run slowly (the zoom-in effect runs really slowly).

    I also encountered the issue that the above guy mentioned whilst on the third level. I was able to complete the level and move onto the next level which exhibited the same behaviour.

  • tonypa

    1/3/2009 9:34:07 AM |

    Still no speed issues with my new PC, runs fine. Played until level 10.

    I like the bouncing asteroids, it makes their path less predictable. Did not notice "waves" which is probably good as it felt like I was always busy enough.

    Did not manage to find or activate "spray" powerup. Missiles look very good but because they hit targets randomly I am not sure I would like to use them.

    Maybe I would add click in the level end screen, the stats shown go away too fast. Its slightly annoying - I see game is telling me something interesting, I start to read and then it runs away before I understand what it was.

  • Squize

    1/3/2009 2:26:09 PM |

    Hey UG, thanks for posting the grab mate, that's going above and beyond, excellent, cheers.
    I'm going to have to check the player dying routines when there's a lot of stuff on screen ( Looking at the grab there was tons of things running ). To be honest I can't remember the last time I died when playing it so I just assume all that code works.

    dVyper, that's great to hear the game itself works nice and smooth. The transition slow down is less than great, and the same problem as unknownGuy sucks. Bollocks.

    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    T, the spray power-up is just coded, I've not done the whole "kill a baddie, it drops an icon, collect it for your power-up" bit yet, so nope no way to get it right now ( I was more concerned about the missiles having a bad performance hit ).
    I'm not sure about a click between levels, I really like everything being bang, bang, bang one hit after another. I could increase the pause slightly, but I think there are only about 4 stats shown there, so you're soon going to pick up what is being shown to you.
    I prefer the flow being nice and fast forcing an overall pace on the game ( That's why all the menu's slide in, to create that constant sense of movement and speed ) and wouldn't want to lose that too much between levels. It's one thing giving the player a chance to catch their breath, almost a reward between levels, and another to add another click to the whole process.

  • tonypa

    1/4/2009 9:42:16 AM |

    I see what you are trying to do with no pause between levels, but I still find it slightly disturbing. Basically, if the game is showing a message to the player, it should be important message and the game should make sure every player manages to read through it and understand the message. People read at different speeds or they may not even know all the words and need to use translator. If you dont want to have too many clicks between levels, perhaps you can make "click to next level" optional?

    Anyway, thats how I feel and I could be completely wrong :)

  • Squize

    1/4/2009 10:26:30 AM |

    After writing a lecture over on FK about bad design, I see what you mean, but I'm still torn.

    My solution ( In my head ) is to increase the delay, but after say a second allowing the user to press any key to skip. My issue with that is that people are so used to prompts for everything these days that a lot of people will be stuck just looking at the text without even trying to press any key ( I don't know about anybody else, but I find everyone my age automatically presses space to try and skip things ).

    Then I have the issue of displaying "Press any key to continue" which I'm worried could clutter up the display.

    It's funny how some of the things I feel aren't that important ( In the grand scheme of the game ) seem to generate the most feedback.

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