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"Space Game" WIP


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#1 kdgarris OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:58 AM

Binaries updated 7/29

 

 

"Space Game" was meant as a working title for my space shooter game, but I may end up keeping it.

 

This is my first demo for my WIP mindless space shooter game.  Move your ship left and right and shoot aliens, while dodging their fire and smart bombs.  Collect good powerups, and avoid bad ones.  There are 9 levels in this demo - each adds a new alien.  Each of the aliens have different abilities, with the later levels having more challenging aliens.

 

 

Premise

 

In the distant future, humankind has formed colonies throughout the solar system and beyond. While building a settlement on an extra-solar planet, humans came into conflict with an alien race known as the Xin  The Xin claimed that the uninhabited planet belonged to them, and that humankind had no right to colonize it. This dispute swiftly erupted into a full-scale interstellar war, with the more aggressive and war hungry humans easily defeating the Xin.

 

Defeated and humiliated, the Xin swore vengeance upon the human race. Not as bellicose as humans, the Xin were master biologists and genetic engineers. They utilized their skills to create an aggressive race of vacuum-dwelling creatures, which they released into human colonies. These creatures, collectively known as the Kraal, which took various forms, quickly began destroying humanity's cosmic presence- destroying spacecrafts, space stations, satellites, and communication arrays.

 

You are the pilot of a spacecraft that patrols beyond the edge of human-controlled space. During one such daily patrol, you receive a frantic distress signal from Human Command Center requesting help to protect humanity from the merciless attack of the Kraal.  Before you can respond, all communications cease.  Your only link to civilization is gone.  You are now alone in deep space, with the fate of humanity squarely on your shoulders.

 

You must seek out the Kraal-infested  colonies, and save the humans by destroying the <race name>.  The task is daunting, as the Kraal attackers are unpredictable and cunning.  You must do everything in your power to save the human race!  Keep your aim true and defeat the Kraal! You are humanity’s last hope!  

 

 

Gameplay

 

Controls

 

Steer your ship by moving the joystick left and right, and press fire to shoot.

 

Warp: If you are stuck by a smart bomb, you can sometimes warp to the other side of the screen by holding the joystick down (Cost: 1,000 points).  On the AFP, hold down the select button instead).

 

Skip Wave: For this demo, the select button may be used to jump to the next wave (for testing purposes).

 

Left Difficulty A: Your ships is twice as wide, making it an easier target.  The doubled ship powerup is unavailable, and is replaced by a narrow ship powerup, which allows the ship to temporarily be normal size (see "Powerups" below).

 

Right Difficulty A: Enemies shoot faster than normal.

 

Pause Game: Switch the Color/BW switch to BW or hot the second controller's fire button to pause the game.  To unpause, hit the first controller's fire button after the Color/BW has been switched back to color.

 

 

Powerups

 

Sometimes powerups get dropped from the location of the smart bomb after a group of aliens has been defeated.  Some of these can be helpful, and some can be harmful.  Only one powerup can be active at any given time.  If a new one is obtained, it cancels out the previous one.  Powerups also get lost when you lose a life.

 

Doubled Ship: You gain a second ship, which mirrors the actions of your first ship.

 

Wide Ship: Your ship doubles in width, making it an easier target.

 

Fast Ship: Your ship moves and shoots faster than normal.

 

Slow Ship: Your ship moves and shoots slower than normal.

 

Wide Shot: Your shots are wider than normal, and sometimes multiple enemies can be destroyed in the explosion from these shots.

 

Bad Navigation: Your controls are reversed, making the ship go left when you steer right, and vice versa.

 

Power Down: This cancels out any active powerup on your ship.

 

Random: This can be any of the above powerups, but you will not know which one it is without getting it.

 

 

Scoring

 

Each Alien Killed: 50 points

 

Group of Aliens Killed: 50 extra points

 

Extra Lives: An extra life is gained at 20,000 points, and then on every 100,000 point mark after that (one at 100,000, one at 200,000, etc.)

 

 

AFP Notes

 

A version of the game was created to work around some of the Atari Flashback Portable's emulation limitations, with an alternative title screen, disabling the starfield effect, etc.  However, there is still a serious bug in the display of the score where digits are repeated after 1,000 points.  I don't yet know a way to work around this issue.

 

Attached File  spacegamedemo.bin   32KB   64 downloads

 

Attached File  spacegamedemo(pal60).bin   32KB   18 downloads

 

Attached File  spacegamedemo(portable).bin   32KB   25 downloads

 

 



#2 kdgarris OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:04 AM

The music, most of the sprites, and about half of the sound effects were the work of my talented girlfriend.

 

The title screen was made possible by RevEng's awesome Titlescreen kernel.

 

Sound effect management was made much easier by using SpiceWare's nifty SFX driver. 

 

I'd also like to thank RandomTerrain for his maintenance of the extremely handy bB reference and answering any questions in the forums, as well as everyone else who has answered my numerous questions here.



#3 kdgarris OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:11 AM

I'm looking forward to feedback on issues with this demo, as well as suggestions for improvements.  Right now, I'm planning to add in-between wave transitions (e.g. avoiding space debris when going to a new area), and adding "Boss" fights at the end of every X waves (maybe every 4?) where you fight a bigger, meaner alien that takes multiple hits to eliminate.



#4 TrekMD OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 5:14 PM

Just downloaded it to try it out! 



#5 StanJr OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:06 PM

I like this game muchly.  Off to a very good start.  I really like the variety of bad guys.  The helicopter guys in wave 4 (?) are they meant to be super tough to take down or is there a trick that I'm doing and not realizing it?  I thought it was that you had to hit them when the propeller was turning?

 

Power-ups could come a little more often.  I made it to Wave 5 in my last game and saw 2 total, the first one not until deep into Wave 2.  Would be more fun with more access to power-ups.  

The smart bomb has never posed a threat to me yet.  Might find a way to make it more threatening.

 

Having a lot of fun with Space Game!



#6 SIO2 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:22 PM

Nice! I like it.

#7 kdgarris OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:00 AM

Thanks for the feedback.  Powerups should drop 1 out of 8 times, so on average 2 1/2 per wave.  Maybe you just had a string of bad luck?  I can maybe bump up the probability if others see the same issue.  I don't want them to be dropping all the time, but I don't want it to be rare, either.

 

The helicopter guys, which I think of as beanie balls, can only be killed when they are not moving.

 

The smart bomb isn't often an issue for me on lower levels, but on higher levels with some of the aliens that are harder to kill like the jellyfish it can come into play more.  Maybe I should have Right A difficulty increase the speed of the smart bomb in addition to making the aliens shoot faster?



#8 8-bit_d-boy OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:53 AM

Pretty good, I like the enemy movement patterns. 

 

Very "Easy to learn, hard to master."



#9 kdgarris OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:42 PM

StanJr - it occurs to me that maybe you are seeing powerups less often because you are taking out groups of enemies before they can "lay" the smart bomb, which means no chance of a powerup.  This can happen with the slower-moving aliens in particular.

 

Here's a version that increases the chances of powerups being generated, increases the probability of groups of 3 being generated, and increases bomb speed if the right difficulty switch is set to "A".  Let me know how you feel that plays compared to the other version.

 

Attached File  spacegamedemo.bin   32KB   30 downloads



#10 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:53 PM

I quite like this. I'm gonna keep an eye on it. I love my 2600 space shooters so this is right up my alley. 



#11 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:43 PM

Looks like it could be good once you get more patterns and aliens in there. Kinda-sorta reminded a little bit of Threshold by TigerVision.



#12 StanJr OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:02 PM

I think you are exactly right, I was taking out the groups too quickly.  I tried playing the original bin again with this knowledge and did see an increase in power-ups, although I still had one game where Wave 1 only netted me 2 total power-ups despite having every group deploy the smart bomb, maybe just bad luck and I'm ok with that.

 

I tried the second bin, but think I prefer the first one with a better understanding of the game play.  Seems like the difficulty was through the roof on the second bin.  Greatly enjoying the game.

 

Very much looking forward to the add-ins you spoke of. Would really round out the solid core of the game play.  Keep it coming!



#13 TrekMD OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:48 PM

This is one fun shooter.  I was not seeing many of the power-ups but now I know to wait before I shoot the groups of enemies until the smart bombs are deployed. 



#14 Arenafoot OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:16 PM

Awesome game! Awesome title screen! Very addictive!!

 

Can we have a symbol legend for the Powerups please?



#15 Arenafoot OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:42 PM

I finally made it to the 2nd wave!!! Made it there with the double ships powerup using the v2 version of bin.

 

Was wondering if someone could work with this game to turn it into Galaga 2600, since it has most of the same features.

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • spacegamedemo (1).png
  • spacegamedemo (1)_1.png


#16 kdgarris OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:43 PM

Awesome game! Awesome title screen! Very addictive!!

 

Can we have a symbol legend for the Powerups please?

 

Thanks!  Here you go:

 

 

Powerup Legend.png



#17 TrekMD OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:54 PM

Cool, that helps!



#18 StanJr OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:58 PM

Ok, so I spent about 2 hours playing this last night (the original version) and I am going to say that I think the power-ups need to appear more often for the following reasons:

 

1.  During one game from Wave 1 to Wave 3 I saw a total of 2 power-ups.  That might have just been bad luck, but it seems to be consistent across most of my games that power-ups are sparse on about this frequency.  (and this was allowing every group to deploy the smart bomb)

 

2. With so few power-up appearances I find that when I get a power-up I like (2 ships, fast shots, etc.) I can just camp out with it, destroy groups as quickly as possible and greatly reduce the appearance of any future power-ups, thus preserving the good power-up I already have.  If power-ups dropped more frequently, it would force me to decide if I like the new power-up better, OR it would make me try to dodge the new power-up I don't want potentially setting me up to get blasted by the next incoming group.  In higher waves this would amp the challenge level significantly.

 

3. Getting power-ups is a fun part of the game play (I'm thinking Arkanoid here) and having them more prevalent, for me, only makes the game more fun.  Can I get the power-up I really like?  Can I keep it?  How far can I go on one power-up?  How far can I go when I get a crappy one?  All of these game play elements only come up if power-ups show up on the regular.

 

But that's just me, I'm deep in the pro-power-up camp.  I'm sure others have difference perspectives on this issue.



#19 Arenafoot OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:30 PM

 

Thanks!  Here you go:

 

 

attachicon.gifPowerup Legend.png

Thank You!!



#20 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:31 AM

Ok, so I spent about 2 hours playing this last night (the original version) and I am going to say that I think the power-ups need to appear more often for the following reasons:

 

1.  During one game from Wave 1 to Wave 3 I saw a total of 2 power-ups.  That might have just been bad luck, but it seems to be consistent across most of my games that power-ups are sparse on about this frequency.  (and this was allowing every group to deploy the smart bomb)

 

2. With so few power-up appearances I find that when I get a power-up I like (2 ships, fast shots, etc.) I can just camp out with it, destroy groups as quickly as possible and greatly reduce the appearance of any future power-ups, thus preserving the good power-up I already have.  If power-ups dropped more frequently, it would force me to decide if I like the new power-up better, OR it would make me try to dodge the new power-up I don't want potentially setting me up to get blasted by the next incoming group.  In higher waves this would amp the challenge level significantly.

 

3. Getting power-ups is a fun part of the game play (I'm thinking Arkanoid here) and having them more prevalent, for me, only makes the game more fun.  Can I get the power-up I really like?  Can I keep it?  How far can I go on one power-up?  How far can I go when I get a crappy one?  All of these game play elements only come up if power-ups show up on the regular.

 

But that's just me, I'm deep in the pro-power-up camp.  I'm sure others have difference perspectives on this issue.

 

The other option would be that the power ups have a finite time limit. Or in the case of the fast or wide shots, they last for X amount of shots. You wouldn't need the "cancel powerup" at all then. This would encourage the player to continue to go after power ups instead of sticking with one they like and thus making the game too easy. But I agree, more power ups but make them to last for a few seconds each or the duration of a wave and keep them coming forcing the player to either dodge or collect them while also watching the aliens fire. This would improve an already good game considerably IMO.

 

I also like the idea of negative or bad power ups to balance out the gameplay such as the wide ships or slow shots. Adding these adds more to the game with the need to dodge these in addition to the alien fire. 



#21 kdgarris OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:46 AM

I think that powerups are the main thing that distinguishes this game from other space shooters, so how to handle them best requires a bit of thought.  I kinda like the idea of them being more frequent but timing out in order to force the player to get them more often.  The doubled ship one is a bit too good - more often then not it ends up being equivalent to an extra life, except for the rare times when both ships are hit at once.

 

So if I were to have them time out, how would I do it?  The easiest way would be to have them go away at the end of the wave, but it might be more fun to have a thermometer bar slowly go down so the player knows how much time is left (and decide whether to grab a replacement powerup or not - which can't be the same powerup you already have as the code stands now).



#22 kdgarris OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:50 AM

I finally made it to the 2nd wave!!! Made it there with the double ships powerup using the v2 version of bin.

 

Was wondering if someone could work with this game to turn it into Galaga 2600, since it has most of the same features.

 

 

As much as I appreciate my game being used in the same sentence as Galaga, implementing the formation alien movement in Galaga would be a *much* different beast than what I have done for Space Game.  It would take someone with a huge amount of Atari wizardry to produce a good Galaga version that wasn't a flickering mess.  I'd love to see someone do it, too, but I don't think it would be a hacked version of Space Game.  :-)



#23 kdgarris OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:00 PM

Okay; I have a new test build with the following changes:
 

  • Smart bombs are deployed sooner
  • Powerups drop more frequently in general, and especially so if the player has no active powerups.
  • Powerups now have a timeout bar
  • Powerups drop slightly faster

 
Please let me know if this plays better - so far I'm liking the changes.
 
Attached File  spacegamedemo.bin   32KB   19 downloads



#24 Arenafoot OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:31 PM

 

  • Powerups drop more frequently in general, and especially so if the player has no active powerups.

FYI - not seeing it with this new version using Stella 4.0 (I.E. first 3 tries I only got one powerup to drop towards the end of wave 1)



#25 StanJr OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:48 PM

Liking the improvements a great deal.  The counter is a great addition.  When I get stuck with Slow or something it's nice to know it will end.  Much happier with the frequency of the power-ups.  But I wouldn't be too hasty in deploying the smart bomb.  Having to wait for it to deploy in the hopes that it will become a power-up means more time dodging enemy fire.  

 

Also the game now seems more difficult.  I was getting to Wave 5 with regularity and now I'm lucky to clear Wave 3.  Not unhappy about that at all.






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