Thanks for the very thorough feedback. I keep forgetting that what people want are usually different than what I have in mind. Anyways:
- It seems the user position is updated with the refresh rate of the rest of the bullets. This makes the game feel sluggish and unresponsive. I recommend you try to update the user position as close to "real time" as possible to improve the "feel" of the game.
Turned out to be an issue with X movement only. Forgot to rerender the screen on horizontal movement.
I managed to move all the way to the right, and as soon as I got to the 17th column (two from the edge), my avatar disappeared! I think I lost a life, but when the level restarted, the player avatar wasn't there. Sorry, just re-tested this and it was that I died. The "Game Over" message is not too noticeable.
- By the same token, it is hard to tell when the game is over. Perhaps it would help to display the "Game Over" message in the middle of the screen after the player's avatar exploded (see above).
Yeah, it's on my list of graphical updates. Going to put it in the middle like the "LEVEL XX" message.
- It is hard to tell when the player loses a life. It looks like I am going to collide... then... things look the same except that the bullets moved back. Perhaps there should be a more "formal" sequence. Here's an example (inspired by Defender): on collision, stop all motion for a brief moment, then flash the player's avatar and explode it. The explosion could be just replacing it with a "#" symbol temporarily in an "explosy" colour such as red. Then, after a brief pause, continue.
Going to roll this in once shields are implemented (that way I can respawn the player with a shield). Starting to get used to the fact I don't *have* to go back to the loop label every frame.
- NEEDZ MOAR COLRS!!!!!! Seriously, why only Tan and Black around the background? I don't expect the game to look like Rainbow Bright, but maybe a bit more highlight and style around the HUD would make it more appealing. I suggest judicious use of Grey and Blue to give it a more "spacey" feel.
Just found out about MODE after looking at the Inty-B Intro. Still playing around with colors, but so far I noticed my definition of tan and purple don't match what the intellivision puts out.
Also have a couple questions related to this I'll post in a separate thread.
- Needs a goal. Perhaps have a countdown to the "end of level," or a distance meter for the same. I don't know. I will tell you that without a clear and specific goal, the game will have very limited appeal and re-playability. I'm not talking silly achievements for the ADD kids, I'm talking about completing a mission, a level, or the game itself. Give it a short and simple story, and immerse the player in it. One possible goal: survive a wave of bullets until the enemy runs out and reloads. Then maybe give a bonus if the challenge is completed below a predetermined time threshold, and the player gets ready for the next meaner and faster wave. The key is to somehow depict progress and completion in a clear way.
Needs achievements, 0/10.
Nah, just kidding.
Toying around with a couple ideas. I'll let you know once I have something.
However, I did end up adding in some level progression stuff.
- To fire or not to fire? For some reason I want to shoot my way through those bullets with my side-scrolling spaceship. I know, I know, it's not that kind of game -- but it could be...
It's not that kind of game. Yet.
- Paint the "dummy" ship a different colour. I know you stated that its purpose is to guarantee a path, but let's face it: He's the enemy! And he must die!!! It's time to adopt him as an official NPC of the game and give him purpose -- even if his purpose is just to move menacingly up and down the enemy's gate. Giving him a different colour at least makes him distinct from the player.