Monday, 21 November 2011

Vicious Little Interceptors and Difficulty Levels

Added in some nasty little Interceptors for a bit of variety. They are more aggressive on the way in but fire less on the way out.

Difficulty level code is implemented, at least in the gameplay - still need to add the menu options. At the moment it ranges from Space Slug through to Impossible.

A couple of screens showing me getting into a bit of bother:

I have uploaded a video of me playing on Insane (second to hardest):

At the moment, I can't beat it without losing at least one life. Need more practice!

The final game will have the option of an energy bar (shields) and for the truly dedicated arcade headcase a 'Hardcore Mode' with single shot instadeath.

Comments welcome.

Monday, 14 November 2011


I have spent quite a lot of time on my other product (KitBase) this week. I have realised again that working on database applications is generally easier than games and progress is more easily achieved. I'm not saying that the technical skills are necessarily harder (although they are different) but that achieving 'goodness' and predicting outcomes consistently is much more challenging.

I think that the differences are largely down to the weighting of:
  • Objectivity vs Subjectivity
  • Plumbing vs Sculpting or Crafting
  • Design and Realisation vs Experimentation
(There are probably many more of these but the above spring to mind).

To elaborate:

Subjectivity vs Objectivity
Games are extremely subjective. A game that is loved by one crowd may be hated massively by another. Business applications can usually be made to fit many different users without alienating half of them due to the more objective nature. Trying to make everyone happy during gamedev tends to result in a mess that nobody likes, either that or two games in one. Either way, a stupendous amount of hours can be burnt up trying to make a game 'liked' only to upset the original lovers of the game.

Plumbing vs Sculpting or Crafting
Business applications are generally built by fixing together various technologies (plumbing) to fit with the business requirements (databases, form systems etc). Rarely are entire systems built from scratch. Games on the other hand tend to be created by building (or buying in) some base functionality then continuously refining and chipping away until you end up with a good, playable, (hopefully marketable) game. Not easy - particularly the last part in my case (see Gravity Core on the right).

Design and Realisation vs Experimentation
Again, business applications are largely built in a methodical manner - even when built using Agile methods. Sometimes functionality may not work out and is scrapped but generally the design is built piece by piece until a required level of functionality is reached. The next phase of the application can usually be visualised by a designer then realised pretty accurately. Quite often with games, the end result is quite different to your original vision as some key features may not work as you envisaged or rebalancing may yield a very different gameplay experience. Huge amounts of time can be spent tweaking, refining and reworking the design with no obvious finish line.

Clearly all software is elements of all of these things but the emphasis is in different directions for games and 'serious' software.

Now that progress has been made on the other project, I'll burn some hours on gamedev next week.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Polish and Tweaks

Most of the development over the last week has been adjustments to the player ship model and re-lighting all of the ships from the top left. The ships were originally used in Gravity Core and were top lit. This provided interesting shading in GC because the ships were rotated, whereas the new game has the ships rolled instead.

I also reworked the Gravity Core shuttle into more of a fighter configuration and corrected the centre of gravity as this was causing the spin to be odd (notice how the upside down ship at the bottom is smaller).

The below image shows the new ship at the top and the old one at the bottom:

I've also brightened up the enemy Interceptors a bit whilst still retaining their sinister colouration. The player ship gained some pretty glowing jets as you can see below:

Back to gameplay over the next week I think.

As ever, comments are welcome.