Gaming Your Way

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What a difference a day makes

Time for a recap on X development stories.

I posted a 3rd build the other day, but didn't bother blogging about it, as, well it didn't seem worth while. The main thing added was the player movement ( Arrows or wasd ) and targeting ( Mouse ) and shooting ( Guess ).
The particles from Orbs were re-cycled to show the bullets expiring ( They have a certain range before they expire. This is 'cause in asteroids the bullets wrap around the screen, so in no time you'd be over run [ With your own bullets ]. Also with a limited range it means you've got to go in perhaps a bit closer than you'd like to shoot up an asteroid ).
The effect is no where near as pretty as when it's running in Orbs, and it took a fair bit of tweaking to get it is where it's at now, but I'm ok sticking with it for the time being. Unlike Orbs, I think in terms of eye-candy the particle effects are going to be well down the list, so I don't want to pour over them for too long. Yet.

The movement is not the usual asteroids control system, of rotate and thrust ( tehehe ) as our good friend Mark at Blastone released a great Geometry Wars meets Asteroids game a while back ( The very sexy Vectoroids ) and when getting feedback on FlashKit games I was the sole voice of "Rotate and thrust" ( Still quite funny, but I'm 36, I've got to stop finding vaguely rude words funny ).
Everyone else acted like I was slightly mental, that those controls wouldn't work in a million years.

I could get on my retro defending soap box, but the retro way isn't always right. There were a lot of shit design choices back in the day, we just didn't know it back then because everything was new, and because we didn't have good design to compare things to. So, instead of me bitching at the kids for not understanding that it's the way it should be played, screw it, let's make it actually handle better than the original. That's not a bad thing to be able to put in place.

( Also it's how Orbs plays, and I like it, and I like to be able to copy and paste ).

One last thing about build 3, our old friend Phil @ flashgamemaker.com has been a star and reported some issues with it, including a freeze during the transition and a pretty piss poor framerate. I'm hoping it's 'cause he's using FP9 on an old machine running the new IE beta, but I'm still going to have to look at it, the transition could be done better so a bit of re-coding there.
If anyone else is having similar issues, please pipe up and let me know. I remember the good old days of Flash, where it was only the Mac version that would play differently ( And no one really cared about Mac users back then ), everyone running Windows would get pretty much an identical experience. Now there seems to be a lot of "On my machine this happens..."

Build 4, this is more like it. The asteroids are in now. An asteroids AI isn't the most taxing thing to code ( A bit of atan2 and you're done basically ) so getting them in and moving didn't take long.
The current images are all greyscale, so a bit of colorTransform action is added to them to try and liven them up a little.

Three big asteroids moving around with a colour tint on them. Next up was to add the player bullet > asteroid collision checks. Again, Orbs was raided, and we've got distance based broadphase collisions in there ( Which is a perfect way to do the collisions in a game like this ).

Getting a trace saying "hit" is only so much fun, so next up was the ExplosionHandler class. Worked first time like a charm ( Tell me how rare that is ).
The large asteroids explode now after 5/6 hits, I should really add the medium asteroids. Tore through that too ( Almost the same code really, I'm not doing anything really clever here ) and finished it all off with adding the small asteroids.

After less than 4 whole ( ie, an 8 hour working day ) days working on this bad boy, we've got a ship you can fly around and asteroids to kill. That's pretty sweet, I'm more than happy with the way it's going.
The original X even to this day is one of my very favourite projects in terms of development, it took 2 weeks and I didn't plan a thing and yet it all fell into place. If I could turn this around in 2 weeks I'd be really pleased.

More whenever really, bye for now.

Squize.

Comments (4) -

  • ickydime

    12/18/2008 2:49:59 PM |

    Its looking great Squize.  Like the visuals, explosions, particles, and all that fun jazz.  I haven't had any problems with framerate (firefox3, windows vista) or the opening transition (which I like by the way).

    My only beef is the controls. And before you bitch me out, I'm NOT going all retro on you.  I agree, new controls could liven it up.  I like how the mouse determines the rotation instead of using the arrows.  But I still believe in the thrust (and who doesn't? :) ).  So my proposal is this... the mouse controls rotation, the arrows thrust/reverse based off of rotation, and then the left and right arrows strafe... and by strafe I don't mean directly sideways, it would be cool to strafe in an orbit whose radius is determined by how far the ship is from the mouse.

    Maybe this has been done before. Maybe its only cool in my head and not in application.  But I figured I would throw it out there.

    Anyways, great work so far.  Looking forward to whats next.    

  • Squize

    12/18/2008 3:09:48 PM |

    Thanks for the feedback mate ( btw checked out your blog, lots of great content there, I'll add you to our blogroll here ).

    Glad you're not getting "the hang I can't replicate", although in the current version I've eased things back a little during the transition. If it's still not working after that, then I'm boned.

    I like the control idea. To be honest I am very lazy when it comes to control methods, I am a retro boy, and I like the majority of the older control methods ( I do actually like the asteroids control, I'm purely pandering to the younger gamers who don't remember playing games like that, and dislike it ), so I hardly ever put any thought into them above and beyond what is actually generic.

    My only pause for thought with your idea is the distance to mouse / strafe radius. I think when the game is really kicking off ( That's only level 1 atm ) then it'll be really easy to make mistakes due to twitching around avoiding lots of crap being thrown at you.

    Maybe it could be a case of having alternative control methods ? To try and please everyone, but I'm slightly loathe to do it as it means more work for me ( Being honest ) and it's another selection / click for the player, which after playing for a while it's not bad, but on the first play I want it to be easier to get into than a bath.

    Excellent feedback though mate, def. food for thought, cheers.

  • ickydime

    12/18/2008 9:04:12 PM |

    Thanks man, added your blog to my list as well. Stumbled across it from 8Bit and added it to my daily reads ever since.  

    Not sure about the hang, I have Flash Player 10 Debug, FF3, and Vista.  

    Good call on the strafe... That could definitely get tricky while trying to swing around to shoot.  I still hold fast to the thrust in the mouse direction instead of moving up on the screen though... but thats probably due to some bias towards the old version...

  • Squize

    12/19/2008 1:10:00 PM |

    Yeah you have the same same up as me. I'm thinking it's perhaps older machines, who knows, if no one's flagging it up with the latest build then it's not an issue.

    The strafe based on mouse distance could work really nicely, albeit in a different game ( Damn that reads like sarcasm, it's really not! ).

    I think if you're doing the thrust towards the mouse thing, then it's just as easy and maybe even better, to move over purely to mouse control. The Neon games, which are two great arena shooters, use the mouse and 1 key to fix the player in place, and it's an excellent control scheme.

    So many possibilities now :)

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