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Tombstones - beta


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#1 bjbest60 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:55 AM

Hello all,

 

I'm happy to release the beta version of my next game, Tombstones.  It's an 8k game with the standard kernel.

 

The full story is in the next post, but here's the tl;dr version:  You're blue and the enemy is yellow.  Shoot the enemies to kill them.  Any time you do, they leave behind a tombstone which will block future enemies, you, and your shots.  If you kill enough enemies, you will move to a new battlefield where you will encounter more enemies who also move faster.

 

The counter on the lower left signifies the number of blue soldiers remaining--you begin with the player and four reserves.  The enemies have a bomb which takes time to set up, and that's represented by the timer in the lower right.  If the timer reaches zero, the bomb will detonate, destroying everything.

 

To develop the game, I was thinking about the playfield, and how there are a lot of maze games that ask you to either negotiate a maze or alter it to succeed.  But I feel like there aren't many games whose fundamental mechanic is to build a maze, particularly from scratch.  It's fairly easy to isolate yourself from the enemy here, but that only guarantees the bomb will explode.

 

There is an A/Expert level of difficulty.  I actually prefer playing the game in that mode, so it makes me wonder if the B/Novice mode is too easy.

 

I'd love to hear any comments, criticisms, and suggestions for improvement.  I certainly would like any bug reports as well.  I actually have a bit of ROM left over for improvements (about 400 bytes), and the game could expand to 16k if need be.  For example, after one battle is over, there could be basic title cards showing the level number of the next battle.

 

Hope you enjoy, and I look forward to your thoughts!

 

Title screen
The first battle.
The tombstones mount.
Moving faster.

 

Attached Files


Edited by bjbest60, Fri Sep 7, 2018 8:12 PM.


#2 bjbest60 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:57 AM

It’s been a long war.

 

You are one of the last five members of the Blue Brigade.  You are fighting for everything you believe is right, just, free, and true.

 

Your enemies for the past ten years have been the treacherous Yellowcoats.  They too are fighting for everything they believe is right, just, free, and true.

 

They are wrong.

 

In the past year, your scientists have made advances in ballistics and issued each remaining member of the Brigade a gun.  “Even a chicken could shoot a Yellowcoat,” the boys the in the lab say.

 

But the Yellowcoats operate on stealth.  There are far more of them than there are of you, and they can appear from seemingly anywhere.  They are superior in hand-to-hand combat, and if you come into contact with one, you are guaranteed a swift death.

 

The Yellowcoats have a strange tradition of mourning their dead.  Anytime one of them falls in battle, other Yellowcoats immediately erect a tombstone.  The inscriptions are tedious and never enlightening.  All the graves and their markers do is get in the way of your bullets—and you.

 

If you defeat enough Yellowcoats, you will win the battle—but not, as of yet, the war.  You will then be deployed at the next battlefield, where intel assures you that you will face an even larger and faster army of Yellowcoats.

 

One other thing.  You might have a gun.  But the Yellowcoats have bombs.  Right now, the science is simplistic and the bombs are difficult to set up.  But as you fight increasing battles, you feel both the technology and the skill of the Yellowcoats deploying it are increasing.

 

Should a Yellowcoat detonate a bomb, all will be destroyed:  the Yellowcoat, the tombstones, the battlefield and you with it.  Informally, the Yellowcoats call themselves the Omelets.  They’re not worried about breaking a few eggs.

 

Member of the Blue Brigade, you are determined to end this long war.



#3 drludos OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 4, 2018 8:16 PM

Cool game, I really enjoyed it!

 

The game plays quite well (smooth gameplay, tight controls), the goal is simple to understand but the game rapidly gets more challenging (when the enemies moves faster). However I think that the coolest idea of your game (the tombstone) may be "under-used" for now (that's my personal feeling).

 

For example, have to tried to have the player die when they touch a tombstone? That could add more "hazards" to the game with each shot, and so force the player to think twice before shooting an enemy. For now, I feel that I can shoot them all down as they appear, because the only "negative impact" it have on me is that it will block my way, knowing that I can easily go around them. But If I had to also avoid touching the tombstones, I think I would be more careful before shooting an enemy.

 

Looking forward the next beta!



#4 bjbest60 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 5, 2018 7:00 PM

Thanks for playing and for your comments!

 

For example, have to tried to have the player die when they touch a tombstone? That could add more "hazards" to the game with each shot, and so force the player to think twice before shooting an enemy. For now, I feel that I can shoot them all down as they appear, because the only "negative impact" it have on me is that it will block my way, knowing that I can easily go around them. But If I had to also avoid touching the tombstones, I think I would be more careful before shooting an enemy.
 
That's a very interesting idea.  Right now, the only way to move on in the game is to defeat X number of enemies per level.  But avoiding them altogether is an interesting strategy.  I'm worried that lethalizing (for lack of a better word) the tombstones will make the later levels much more difficult--particularly trying to slide through gaps that are one playfield pixel wide.  But that could be part of the point, too.  This might work well in terms of the design of some of the original Atari games--that is, game #1 could have normal tombstones, but if you press the select switch, game #2 has lethal ones.
 
Maybe there could be another timer on the left side that signals Yellow's imminent retreat--the longer you play a level, the closer you get to the retreat.  If you manage to get Yellow to retreat rather than killing them all, you could get a sizable score bonus.  That would reward stringing Yellow along without actually killing them. 
 
Thanks again!  I'll play around with these ideas.


#5 Impaler_26 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 4, 2018 2:41 AM

Nice game! I like the simple concept, reminds me a bit of batari's Zombie Chase.

 

It's a bit too easy as it is so maybe make the walls deadly like in Berzerk in the later levels. Or let the ball sprite bounce around the screen like in Pong to liven up the gameplay.

Looking foward to see how this one develops.  :) 



#6 bjbest60 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 7, 2018 8:32 PM

Hello again all,

 

A second beta is attached to the original post with a fair number of new features.

 

Probably the biggest change in terms of game play is that there are now two modes:  Normal and Electric.  If you go right into a game, it starts in Normal, which is how the game played before.  But in Electric, everything in the playfield--the tombstones as well as border that encloses the battlefield--is electrified.  If you touch a tombstone or the edge of the field, you will die.  (The original story can be modified to include further oddities about the way the Yellowcoats build their graves:  they don't want anyone else touching them, and have the technology to punish those that do.)  To switch to Electric mode, just press Select from the title screen.  You can then switch between the two modes before playing using Select as you like.

 

So, there are a total of four levels of difficulty, and they're indicated by the score color:

  • Novice (B) / Normal: light gray
  • Expert (A) / Normal: dark gray
  • Novice (B) / Electric: light brown
  • Expert (A) / Electric: Brigade blue

 

In this new version, you can, in fact, end the war if you succeed in enough battles.  Even on the easiest settings, it isn't easy.

 

The main cosmetic change is the "title cards" that announce the number of the battle you're fighting after you win the previous one.

 

If your Color/BW switch is set to BW when you start a game, you can fight with an alternate set of characters presumably drawn from some alternate reality.

 

As before, I look forward to your feedback!  I feel like this is getting pretty close to being done, so I'd appreciate any bug reports, too.  Thanks!

 

It's electric!
Battle 6.
Alternate characters from an alternate world.

Edited by bjbest60, Fri Sep 7, 2018 8:34 PM.


#7 cimmerian OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:43 AM

Heya bjbest60! We'll be featuring Tombstones on ZeroPage Homebrew's livestream tomorrow, Wednesday September 12! The show starts at 11AM PT/2PM ET. Hope you can make it, if not, it'll be available for you to watch our YouTube archives the next day. :-)

 

Twitch: https://twitch.tv/zeropagehomebrew

YouTube: https://youtube.com/zeropagehomebrew

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20180912-Let's Play.png


#8 bjbest60 OFFLINE  

bjbest60

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Posted Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:41 PM

Heya bjbest60! We'll be featuring Tombstones on ZeroPage Homebrew's livestream tomorrow, Wednesday September 12! The show starts at 11AM PT/2PM ET. Hope you can make it, if not, it'll be available for you to watch our YouTube archives the next day. :-)


Thanks for playing and for the comments! I like the idea of making the alternate characters the main ones, and vice-versa.

To get to Electric mode, you need to press Select from the title screen. You can switch between modes from there (the screen will say which mode you're on). Only the left difficulty matters; the right doesn't do anything. Given the discussion of challenge, maybe the game should start in Electric mode.

More enemies would be cool, but the game would require a new kernel and would wind up with a fair amount of flickering, unfortunately.

I'll start tinkering. Thanks again!

#9 cimmerian OFFLINE  

cimmerian

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Posted Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:44 PM

You're very welcome, thanks for making the game! Thank you also on the clarification on how to get into Electric Mode.

 

I think you're right about making Electric the default, it would probably be the right level of difficulty for the normal mode and make the non-Electric an 'easy/kids' mode.

 

Thanks for playing and for the comments! I like the idea of making the alternate characters the main ones, and vice-versa.

To get to Electric mode, you need to press Select from the title screen. You can switch between modes from there (the screen will say which mode you're on). Only the left difficulty matters; the right doesn't do anything. Given the discussion of challenge, maybe the game should start in Electric mode.

More enemies would be cool, but the game would require a new kernel and would wind up with a fair amount of flickering, unfortunately.

I'll start tinkering. Thanks again!



#10 Coolcrab OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:17 AM

This game would be really cool with a MP function. 

Gove 30 lived to both and tombstone away. 






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