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"Space Game" WIP


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#51 Sprybug OFFLINE  

Sprybug

    Dragonstomper

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Posted Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:29 AM

Very nice!  It reminds of MegaMania with powerups!



#52 kdgarris ONLINE  

kdgarris

    Chopper Commander

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Posted Fri Sep 1, 2017 2:25 PM

I have updated the binaries in the first post of this topic with the new demo version.  This version has many changes.  Some of the highlights include:

 

  • In-between wave sequences (dodge space debris, or navigate a wormhole).
  • New "Boss" aliens after waves 3, 6 and 9.
  • New music for in-between wave sequences, and when a boss is approaching.
  • Temporary invulnerability after losing a life (a little over a second, or until the player shoots).
  • Hard difficulty indicators on the title screen if either or both difficulty switch is set to "A" (pro-tip: never play on A difficulty unless you are crazy).
  • Lots and lots of tweaks and bug-fixes.

 

I feel this is getting close to being code complete!  Here is what is planned for the next version:

  • 3 new waves, for a total of 12.
  • 3 new aliens.
  • 1 new boss alien.
  • 2 new powerups
  • Saving of high score on title screen
  • Optional infinite play mode without waves or bosses or anything else to disrupt the mindless alien shooting.


#53 Mountain King OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 2, 2017 7:36 AM

I just spent about 2 hours playing your game on Stella and on my 7800 and I will give you my honest opinion.

 

Game play:

The Good

1. This game is a lot of fun. Classic shooter.

2. Variety. I am a huge fan of enemy types with different characteristics. Some are a bit subtle, especially in the early levels. But I think you hit the nail on the head. I really enjoy seeing a new enemy each level. You know you did a good job with this when the player starts naming each enemy and starts to dread certain ones.

3. Power ups. Again a great variety. Each is distinctively from the other. I like how you implemented the timer bar and I like the Icons you used. Specifically I like the double ship and the wide shots and being able to take out multiple enemies.

4. Transitional stages. These are awesome. I enjoyed both the asteroid field and the worm hole. They break up the game play nicely.

5. The Bosses. I've only fought the first boss. But it also breaks up the game play. 

 

The not so good

1. The game is a bit on the difficult side. I could not get past level 4 and I consider myself a pretty good player. Be careful not to fall into the expert player trap and gear the game to your level of play. The majority of Atari players are more casual than expert. Stay Frosty 2 fell into this trap. 

2. Power ups. I love the variety, but I found myself only liking 2 of them. The x2 and the Wide shot. I avoid all the others. I don't even like the faster ship speed.

 

Suggestions.

1. If you get a chance, actually watch how other people play your game. Are they playing as you expect are they getting frustrated at certain points?

2. This was mentioned before. Increase the frequency of power ups allow they player to "switch" more often.

3. You also might consider adding more benefits to the power ups. For example the Slow power up might give you a more powerful shot. Or the Wide ship will allow you to take multiple hits.

4. This is minor and I know you are doing a lot on the screen already and you probably want to avoid flicker. But I'd love to see more than one type of enemy on the screen at a time.

5. The Level 4 helicopter can only be hit when standing still. You might give more of a visual sign of their weakness, for those who don't read the manual.

6. You might consider making the levels a little shorter if you don't want to ramp down enemy difficulty.

 

Sights, Sound and Background

The Good

1. Great Title screen.The font you used is simple yet reminiscent of other space games and movies. 

2. Great music The opening has a bit of and ominous feel to it. The other bits of music are well placed at key times, new stage, game over, transitional stage.

3. Spites are distinctive and animated. I love the first boss.

4. I enjoyed your background story. 

5. Nice choice in score font and I like how it changes color when you lose points.

6. Great use of the starfield effect. I know you can't use it during game play, but you use it as much as you can.

7. No jitter, Nice Job.

 

The not so good.

1. You have a great variety in sprites but not death animation and sound. Player death is the same as enemy death. Player death needs to be distinctive in some way. Remember Pac-Man?

2. Your game Title is pretty generic. This is fine if you are Star Wars.

3. There are a couple of enemies that may look fine in emulation but are too dark on real hardware. The Bat and the enemy on level 3 are a little dark. Their shots are especially hard to see.

 

Suggestions

1. Add a memorable player death,like a huge explosion or something traumatic like the ship melting.

2. Make your title simple but make it as interesting as your back story.

3. Check your color pallet. Try not to use colors that are too dark. 

 

Bugs.

1. The game crashes on restart occasionally. I've only crashed it in emulation and not on actual hardware, so it might just be the emulator.

2. When hitting multiple enemies the explosion occasionally occurs away from the group.

3. When using the x2 power up, sometimes when one ship gets hit, the other ship blows up.

 

Overall you have made a fantastic game that really separates itself from other shooters.


Edited by Mountain King, Sat Sep 2, 2017 7:42 AM.


#54 Muddyfunster OFFLINE  

Muddyfunster

    Space Invader

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Posted Sat Sep 2, 2017 7:37 AM

Very nice!  It reminds of MegaMania with powerups!

Was thinking the very same thing!



#55 kdgarris ONLINE  

kdgarris

    Chopper Commander

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Posted Sun Sep 3, 2017 7:16 AM

I just spent about 2 hours playing your game on Stella and on my 7800 and I will give you my honest opinion.


Awesome! This is exactly the kind of feedback I was seeking. The game is already better now as a result of earlier feedback like this from other users.
 

Game play:
The Good
1. This game is a lot of fun. Classic shooter.
2. Variety. I am a huge fan of enemy types with different characteristics. Some are a bit subtle, especially in the early levels. But I think you hit the nail on the head. I really enjoy seeing a new enemy each level. You know you did a good job with this when the player starts naming each enemy and starts to dread certain ones.
3. Power ups. Again a great variety. Each is distinctively from the other. I like how you implemented the timer bar and I like the Icons you used. Specifically I like the double ship and the wide shots and being able to take out multiple enemies.
4. Transitional stages. These are awesome. I enjoyed both the asteroid field and the worm hole. They break up the game play nicely.
5. The Bosses. I've only fought the first boss. But it also breaks up the game play.


Thanks! For #2, the differences should be less subtle in the next release when I add the new aliens and tweak the order of appearance (e.g. I shouldn't have the "martians" and the "smileys" on the same wave like I do on wave 3).

 

The not so good
1. The game is a bit on the difficult side. I could not get past level 4 and I consider myself a pretty good player. Be careful not to fall into the expert player trap and gear the game to your level of play. The majority of Atari players are more casual than expert. Stay Frosty 2 fell into this trap.


I have observed this as well when seeing my own family playtesting the game for me. I want it to be challenging, but I don't want people to get frustrated because they can't even clear the first wave. I have already made it less challenging for the first 3 waves by reducing how often the aliens shoot. Any other suggestions? The only other thing I can think of is to have the aliens pause between movements more often, like the spinners do.
 

2. Power ups. I love the variety, but I found myself only liking 2 of them. The x2 and the Wide shot. I avoid all the others. I don't even like the faster ship speed.


"Fast" can be a bit difficult to work with, but apart from the ship's increased speed, the missiles also shoot faster and are slightly taller as well. When I have that powerup, I position myself close to the enemy group, and shoot like crazy, waiting for them to cross under my rapid fire. Maybe it will grow on you if you play with it more? :-) Also, there is one more good powerup coming in the next version (as well as another bad one).
 

2. This was mentioned before. Increase the frequency of power ups allow they player to "switch" more often.


Powerup frequency was increased before per that suggestion. Right now it's 50/50 chance of a powerup spawning from a smartbomb if the player has no active powerups, and a 1 in 4 chance if the player does have a powerup. Perhaps I could make it 50/50 all the time?
 

4. This is minor and I know you are doing a lot on the screen already and you probably want to avoid flicker. But I'd love to see more than one type of enemy on the screen at a time.


Yeah, this is probably beyond the scope of what I can do for this particular game. I may eventually make a sequel with a different engine that allows for this, however.
 

5. The Level 4 helicopter can only be hit when standing still. You might give more of a visual sign of their weakness, for those who don't read the manual.


Good idea! Any suggestions on a visual cue? Have it flash a different color when hit? Have it be a different color when standing still? Have a shield visual somehow when it's moving that disappears when it's standing still? Right now there's a special sound effect for when they are hit when moving, but a visual cue sounds like a good idea.
 

6. You might consider making the levels a little shorter if you don't want to ramp down enemy difficulty.


This may be a good idea, too, but I fear making the whole game feel too short, as there will only be 12 waves total for the final game. Right now each wave has 20 groups of aliens; maybe I can try it with 15 and see how that plays.

 

Sights, Sound and Background
The Good
1. Great Title screen.The font you used is simple yet reminiscent of other space games and movies. 
2. Great music The opening has a bit of and ominous feel to it. The other bits of music are well placed at key times, new stage, game over, transitional stage.
3. Spites are distinctive and animated. I love the first boss.
4. I enjoyed your background story. 
5. Nice choice in score font and I like how it changes color when you lose points.
6. Great use of the starfield effect. I know you can't use it during game play, but you use it as much as you can.
7. No jitter, Nice Job.


Thanks!
 

The not so good.
1. You have a great variety in sprites but not death animation and sound. Player death is the same as enemy death. Player death needs to be distinctive in some way. Remember Pac-Man?


The player explosion sound is different the enemy explode sounds and the smartbomb explode sounds. Are you not hearing that on yours? You are right that it is not visually distinctive, however. I will put some thought into how that might be improved. There are some technical considerations that could make that challenging in the case of doubled ships where only one is hit, though.
 

2. Your game Title is pretty generic. This is fine if you are Star Wars.


It's no Star Wars for sure. :-) It started as a working title, and it stuck. I like it because it is meant to be light-hearted and campy. I'll give some thought to whether or not I want to give it a "real" title, though. Maybe I can start a poll?
 

3. There are a couple of enemies that may look fine in emulation but are too dark on real hardware. The Bat and the enemy on level 3 are a little dark. Their shots are especially hard to see.


Both of those enemies have had their brightness bumped once already for that reason, and they seem to look okay on the Atari Jr. I have heard that colors are a bit darker on the 7800, however, so maybe they need one more brightness bump.

Speaking of the 7800, have you tried, or could you try the pause button if you get a chance? I think it will work on the 7800, but I don't have the hardware to test it. Hit pause to pause, and press fire to unpause.
 

Bugs.
1. The game crashes on restart occasionally. I've only crashed it in emulation and not on actual hardware, so it might just be the emulator.
2. When hitting multiple enemies the explosion occasionally occurs away from the group.
3. When using the x2 power up, sometimes when one ship gets hit, the other ship blows up.


I've not encountered #1. For #2, I'm not sure if that might be because the enemy group has quickly moved away from the point where they were hit, but I'll look into this more. #3 I'm aware of - there are a few lingering bugs with the doubled ships powerup that I have seen.
 

Overall you have made a fantastic game that really separates itself from other shooters.


Thanks, and thank you so much for your detailed feedback!

#56 kdgarris ONLINE  

kdgarris

    Chopper Commander

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  • 155 posts

Posted Sun Sep 3, 2017 7:17 AM

(accidental duplicate post) 



#57 Mountain King OFFLINE  

Mountain King

    Dragonstomper

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  • Location:Philadelphia, PA

Posted Sun Sep 3, 2017 11:16 AM

Speaking of the 7800, have you tried, or could you try the pause button if you get a chance? I think it will work on the 7800, but I don't have the hardware to test it. Hit pause to pause, and press fire to unpause.
 

I was able to sneak in a couple of games between programs for work. The pause feature does work. I've never seen a 2600 game that used this. Nice job. You'll have to show me how you did it. 

I did find another bug. On level 2 the bats stop moving if you move all the way to the right and you are in a position where they cant hit you. This doesn't seem to happen on the other levels, just level 2. 



#58 StanJr ONLINE  

StanJr

    Web-slinger

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  • fun or bust
  • Location:Louisville KY

Posted Sun Sep 3, 2017 12:51 PM

Ok.  Managed to play for a good solid hour today.  You've really moved this game along from its inception and you are getting really close to something pretty spectacular here.

 

Some notes:

 

I think you have the difficulty just about right.  After an hour of playing I can get to Wave 4 pretty reliably, and definitely if I can luck into the 2X power-up.  With only 12 waves, getting 1/4 of the way to the finish after an hour of playing tells me that most players are going to get to the halfway point with regular gameplay and that skilled gamers will be able to reach the end without too many fits of rage.  I prefer games that are challenging.  If I can beat your game in 2 hours, then no matter how great the game is, I'm probably not coming back to it too often.  Ask me how often I play Adventure these days.

 

Should the power-ups carry over between waves or should you start fresh each wave?  I'm not sure the answer, but it is something to consider.  The Wave breaks are now substantial enough to warrant starting each with no power-up, but carrying over is certainly handy.

 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the intermissions.  I was originally going to comment that the meteor shower was too easy to navigate, but then I tried to do with the the 2X power-up.  Never mind.  The Boss fight after wave 3 is perfect.  Can't wait to see the others.

 

I'm getting a random shot when moving left and right, usually between enemy groupings, even if I'm not hitting the button.  This happens 2-3 times per wave.  Not sure if that's a bug or what.

 

I think you should pick between symbols OR letters for the power-ups.  It's a minor detail, but I think it would make the game a little more polished.  I don't really prefer one over the other (well, maybe the symbols a little more than the letters), but having both is intellectually upsetting to me.

 

You are killing it on the fun and replayability metrics.  It's hard for me to stop playing this game.  I really want to see the later waves and see what new varieties of enemies are coming. 

 

I also like trying to figure out how to beat the tougher foes.  If you do add a hint of their vulnerability, don't make it too obvious.  Strategic elements add a layer of depth a lot of shooters don't see.  Beamrider is a shining example of this done at the highest level. 

 

I'm going to cast my vote for keeping the "Space Game" name.  Love it.

 

Power-up frequency is just right.

 

 

 

Really loving this and can't wait to see the next version.  :spidey:



#59 Tangentg OFFLINE  

Tangentg

    Moonsweeper

  • 363 posts

Posted Mon Sep 4, 2017 10:53 AM

I tried it out, it's OK and kinda sophisticated for an Atari 2600 game (the power-ups are the good bit of the game, and I like having multiple screens), but the lack of action that's present in many Atari 2600 games makes this kinda bland. Wish there was a bit more going on at a time. Haven't gotten to seen any boss yet though.

 

The cursor thing that chases you reminds me of Yars' Revenge.


Edited by Tangentg, Mon Sep 4, 2017 10:54 AM.


#60 Gray Defender OFFLINE  

Gray Defender

    Star Raider

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  • Location:San Bernardino, California

Posted Mon Sep 4, 2017 2:18 PM

Your game is shaping up to be awesome.   I does seem to remind me a little bit of a few different games like megamania or demon attack.   I don't see any problem with it being named Space Game.   I love the title screen and music, sort of reminds me of the old Prince of Persia theme song.  As has been mentioned the intermissions are a nice touch as well.  There also appears to be an intermission mini-game and intermission music.  I love the star field simulation which precedes the wave starts.  I have yet to learn all the power ups, which is part of the fun, to know which ones are the best ones.  I love the random enemy movements.  Lots of attention to detail. 


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#61 mvo OFFLINE  

mvo

    Combat Commando

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Posted Mon Sep 4, 2017 6:29 PM

Thanks for all the great feedback!  I'm so pleased that people are enjoying the game!



#62 Cafeman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:53 AM

I downloaded this and played about 15 rounds, for the first time today.   I haven't read any instructions of if there is a story behind the game yet so I'll just post my first impressions here, ignore them if I'm off-base.

 

Anyway, this is a fun game and I appreciate the variety of enemies and power-ups.  The game controls well, the art and music are both fantastic!  The bonus warp zone and the boss (surprised me!) was great.  

 

The game is difficult to the point it might turn away casual players.   I'd make the first several rounds even easier by making the enemy shots slower. Don't have any shooting in the very first round. Thus even little kids will have some fun, and the rest of us will just blow by those stages quickly.   Also, allow my the opinion that the power-downs can be frustrating! I hate SLOW the worst. The enemies move very quickly, so do their shots. So Slow shots really hampers my effectiveness.  I think I hate Slow more than Reverse Control.   Well, I quickly learned to avoid S if at all possible.  The x2 (Double ships) and Wide Shots are great power-ups.  F (Fast shots) is great too. I assume you can't combine Fast and Wide shots? One probably cancels the other right?

 

The smart bomb is cool. Once it gets to your level, I chuckled when I realized I couldn't go anywhere and as my area of movement (horizontally) shrunk, I hoped the above enemy would fly into my shots' path. No such luck dang it. :)  So basically the smart bomb is the stage's timer. That adds tension, a good thing. 

 

The game is difficult enough as-is (I'm no casual shooting game player, and I've only reached the boss once) that it would be cool to allow combined Wide+Fast+Double shots in the game (still with a powerup timer counting down though, thats a good mechanism).  

 

Actually, allowing power-downs to accumulate would be wicked. Slow shots + extra-wide ship + reversed control? Egads we'd have to be careful until it expired!  

 

OR ... what if ALL power-ups could be combined?  You could have the dreaded Slow shots, but they could still be Wide shots, and you could have reversed control too yet retain the wide / slow shots... Another example .. you could have Wide / Fast / Double-ship shots, but if you catch "S", you have Wide/ Slow / Double Shots. When the timer expires you lose them all.   

 

Thanks for the homebrew efforts you two. I'll be playing more "Space Game". 






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