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Rules of the Game

SpiceWare

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In order to finish writing Draconian, I need to figure out the Rules of the Game. Information gathered from StrategyWiki, Gaming History and by playing in MAME. Sometimes StrategyWiki differs from what I see in MAME, most likely due to how the dip switches are set.

If you spot something that's incorrect, can fill in any blank spots, or answer any questions, please do so in the comments below!

Anything in green has been implemented in Draconian.
Anything in strikeout will not be done in Draconian.

 



Star Fighter

 

blogentry-3056-0-65170600-1497479162.png
Information

  • At the start of a new game there's an opening tune played. After it concludes the phrase "Blast Off" is heard. When the phrase ends the Star Fighter will gradually ramp up to full speed
  • shoots fore and aft simultaneously
  • can have 4 shots onscreen at once


Enemy Base

blogentry-3056-0-98195000-1497321636.png blogentry-3056-0-66033400-1497321642.png

Information

  • The Enemy Base is a green station comprised of
    • 6 Cannons around the outside
    • Core in the center
  • Intact cannons can fire at player.
  • Destroying all 6 cannons destroys the station.
  • Station core can open/close.
  • If player shoots an open core, even if partially open, the station is destroyed.
  • In later levels an open core will contain & launch an E-Type missile.
  • The E-Type missile will face towards the side of the station the player was on when the core opened. It will not change direction.
  • Destroy all stations to advance to next level. When last station is destroyed the player's ship will freeze, all onscreen enemy & shots will disappear, and a tune will play.
  • Station shots will destroy asteroids, mines, and even the various missiles - and the player earns points.
  • Station shots are always slower than the player's ship at full-speed.
  • Station will not shoot through itself, so it will not shoot at the player if all pods have been destroyed on the side facing the player
  • Station shots are aimed at the player (as opposed to being randomly directed)
  • If player collides with station, both are destroyed

 

Round(level) Progression

  • 1 - cores are always open
  • 2 - cores open/close
  • 3 - cores open/close
  • 4 - cores open, launch an E-Type, then close
  • 5+ - ???

Note: Progression is for Difficulty = Normal, others will be different

 



Missiles

 



I-Type

 

blogentry-3056-0-68137500-1497321614.png blogentry-3056-0-62644200-1497321609.png(right image as Formation Leader)

  • Shows up individually or in formations.
  • Appears to be more aggressive than P-Type ship.
  • Appears to always go towards player's ship* - can think of them as being an Interceptor.


P-Type

 

blogentry-3056-0-86444300-1497321627.png blogentry-3056-0-58055000-1497321623.png (right image as Formation Leader)

  • Shows up individually or in formations
  • Appears to fly around without regard to Star Fighter's location* - can think of them as being on Patrol.

 



E-Type

 

blogentry-3056-0-59663300-1497321586.png blogentry-3056-0-76990800-1497321581.png (right image as Formation Leader)

  • Launched from stations or shows up in formations
  • When launched, faster than player's ship


Information

 

  • Missiles can pass through stations but are destroyed if they collide with an asteroid, mine, player shot, or station shot.
  • If the player moves in such a way that a missile ends up offscreen, the missile is removed from play (no points are earned). If a station's showing an E-Type missile that gets moved just offscreen, the energy field will be shown instead if the player changes direction and moves the core back onscreen.
    Note: The offscreen removal does not occur for missiles in formation with an intact leader.
  • Missile explosions maintain the trajectory of the destroyed missile

 

 

* further testing revealed that the I-Type and P-Type are randomly assigned to both Intercept and Patrol duty. I've decided to keep the division of labor as is as the Interceptor and Patrol names jive so well with I-Type and P-Type.

 

Questions

  • How many can attack at once during normal gameplay?
  • How many can attack at once during a red-alert scenario?

 

Round(level) Progression

  • 1 - I-Type slightly slower than player(on normal difficulty level), ??
  • 2 - I-Type slightly faster than player(on normal difficulty level), ??
  • 3 - I-Type speed increases, ??
  • 4 - I-Type speed increases, ??
  • 5+ - I-Type speed increases, ??


Formations
blogentry-3056-0-11203600-1497321592.png blogentry-3056-0-27857100-1497321596.png blogentry-3056-0-45072500-1497321600.png blogentry-3056-0-62200200-1497321604.png
Information

  • Enemy Formations launch from a randomly selected offscreen station. As such, if there's 1+ stations left and the player flies back & forth with all those stations onscreen then no formations will be launched.
  • Formations will fly towards the player's ship.
  • Formations take on 1 of 4 arrangements
    • Arrow
    • Diamond
    • Line
    • X
  • The position of the Formation Leader does not change based on direction of flight - ie: in the line formation the leader is at the top even if the formation is flying downward.
  • If Formation Leader is destroyed, remaining ships of the formation will scatter in different directions.
  • If all formation ships are destroyed the player earns bonus points.

 

Round(level) Progression

  • 1 - ??
  • 2 - ??
  • 3 - ??
  • 4 - ??
  • 5+ - ??

 

Questions

  • Do the different formation arrangements attack different?
  • Do the different formation ships attack differently?


Spy Ship

blogentry-3056-0-39669500-1497321633.png

Information

 

  • Will make a number of passes at player, if it gets away a Red-Alert Scenario will be triggered. For first pass the Spy Ship starts at one side of the screen and exits another. For second pass the Spy Ship enters from side it just exited from, then exits another.
  • Number of passes is determined by the selected difficulty level:
    • Kids - 4 passes before Red Alert
    • Easy - 3 passes
    • Normal - 2 passes
    • Hard - 1 pass
  • Scoring is random

 

 

Round(level) Progression

  • 1 - ??
  • 2 - ??
  • 3 - ??
  • 4 - ??
  • 5+ - ??

 

Questions

  • Are a Spy Ship & a Formation ever onscreen at same time? - YES


Red-Alert Scenario

 

Information

  • Triggered if Spy Ship gets away.
  • During Red-Alert Scenario I-Type and P-Type missiles will come onscreen from side of screen player's ship is pointing at (directly in front of ship with a random +/- offset)
  • Up to 4 P/I types will attack at a time

 

Questions

  • 4 of each (so 8 total), or 2 of each?
  • Do the P-Type still patrol during a Red-Alert, or do they target the Star Fighter like the I-Type does?
  • Formation can attack during Red-Alert


Speech
Information

  • Blast Off! - Launch of ship (new round as well as new life)
  • Alert! Alert! - Enemy missile in vicinity.
  • Battle Stations! - Formation has left a station
  • Spy Ship Sighted! - Spy ship in view
  • Condition Red! - Red-Alert Scenario

 

Note: Current samples are just placeholders. We need to finish the rest of the program so we'll know how much space we'll have for them.

 

Questions

  • Unclear on when Alert! Alert should be said.


Inert Objects

blogentry-3056-0-30341200-1497321566.png blogentry-3056-0-84602300-1497321570.png blogentry-3056-0-47636800-1497321576.png (asteroids) blogentry-3056-0-85066600-1497321619.png(cosmo-mine)

Information

  • The player's ship, Spy Ships, and Missiles will be destroyed if they collide with an Asteroid or Cosmo-Mine.
  • The debris from an Asteroid is safe to pass through.
  • The debris from a Cosmo-Mine is deadly to both player and enemy missiles.


Condition
Information
There are 3 conditions:

  • Green - No Enemy threats in your vicinity
  • Yellow - you are near enemy base and it's firing at you
  • Red - Spy Ship got away, or you've been in the sector for too long

 

Condition is visually indicated by the horizontal line above the score, and the ticks that make up the corners of the radar.

 



Scoring
Information

  • Points
    • 10 Asteroid blogentry-3056-0-30341200-1497321566.png blogentry-3056-0-84602300-1497321570.png blogentry-3056-0-47636800-1497321576.png
    • 20 Cosmo-mine blogentry-3056-0-85066600-1497321619.png
    • 50 I-Type blogentry-3056-0-68137500-1497321614.png 100 formation leader blogentry-3056-0-62644200-1497321609.png
    • 60 P-Type blogentry-3056-0-86444300-1497321627.png 120 formation leader blogentry-3056-0-58055000-1497321623.png
    • 70 E-Type blogentry-3056-0-59663300-1497321586.png 140 formation leader blogentry-3056-0-76990800-1497321581.png
    • 200/400/800 Spy Ship blogentry-3056-0-39669500-1497321633.png
    • 200 Destroy Station Cannon
    • 1500 Destroy Station
    • 500 Destroy all ships in I-Type formation
    • 1000 Destroy all ships in P-Type formation
    • 1500 Destroy all ships in E-Type formation
  • Player earns points regardless of how object is destroyed
  • Formation points and Spy Ship points are briefly displayed after the explosion finishes.
  • highest score for taking out station is 2700 points (hitting all 6 pods, 6*200 + 1500)
  • Bonus for no-miss clear - if arcade unit is configured for difficulty level of "auto", the player will earn bonus points at the end of each round the player does not lose a life on.


Extra Lives
to be determined

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Have you already mapped the positions of the stations from level to level? Somewhere on my drive is a bunch of mame screen snaps I did of the first 10 or so levels showing the starting arrangements on the radar

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Additional note: A space station can't shoot through itself, so if you take out all of the pods on the side you're on, it can't shoot you.

 

Additional question: Does the order you take out an enemy formation affect the points earned? eg. leader first, or leader last?

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  • Verified in Bosconian Older in MAME

Does player earn points if missile collides with asteroid or mine?

Yes, same points as player shot

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Verifying now, but I believe it is

6*200 if you just shoot cannons

or

5 *200 for all but one cannon +1500 for center

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Verifying now, but I believe it is

6*200 if you just shoot cannons

or

5 *200 for all but one cannon +1500 for center

I was wrong. You get 6*200+1500 for destroying the station by shooting all 6, its best way to score points (or shoot 5 and the core)

You get 1500 for ramming the station (killing you and the station)

You get 1500 for just shooting the core

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Additional note: A space station can't shoot through itself, so if you take out all of the pods on the side you're on, it can't shoot you.

 

Additional question: Does the order you take out an enemy formation affect the points earned? eg. leader first, or leader last?

same bonus points for killing a formation no matter what order, but killing the leader causes the remaining ships to turn and run away

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Have you already mapped the positions of the stations from level to level?
yes, Nathan mapped them out back in 2014. Alpha Quadrant = Midway levels, Beta Quadrant = Namco levels.

 

Additional note: A space station can't shoot through itself, so if you take out all of the pods on the side you're on, it can't shoot you.
Additional question: do all pods shoot, or only those 3 (or 4) that can "see" the player?

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Funny, All the times I've played it, in the 80s and in Mame, I never noticed the Midway and Namco map differences. I also just noticed there are two different type of asteroids, both worth the same points.

 

It seems the pod closest to you on the side you are on will shoot, a second pod will also shoot as I fly by, I've never had 3 shoot in quick succession, but maybe higher levels

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There's 3 types of asteroids - Nathan modeled them after the arcade.

 

I'll probably set it up so the pod closest to you, and the two adjacent to it, can shoot. I'll need to work out how to tell which pod's closest, as well as which directions each pod can shoot without it passing through the station.

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You get 1500 for ramming the station (killing you and the station)

You get 1550 for just shooting the core

Is that 1550 a typo? Or is the core worth 50 points?

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I'll have a look at the vizzed page tonight. I'm also wondering if there are major differences in scoring or other things between Older, Old, Newer and midway vs Namco rom sets. I'll do some digging tonight

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I'm thinking about marking up Rules of the Game to keep track of what's been implemented. Any preference between these?

  • this has been implemented

    this has not been implemented


  • this has been implemented

    this has not been implemented

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Not yet, they're just flying around in a test pattern so Nathan could confirm the graphics were converted correctly. Right-Difficulty A freezes all movement, but still lets the formation turn in place and rearrange for each formation shape.

Do note that they're deadly to collide with.

That's part of why I decided I should mark this post up with what's finished and yet to be done.

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Kind of - you can specify the difficulty via existing menu option Level: Kids, Easy, Normal, or Hard.

 

At the moment it only controls how many inert objects are drawn. There's 32 vertical zones. The selected level specifies how many objects per zone (1-4) so there's 32, 64, 96, or 128 asteroids/mines when you start a round. Eventually it'll also control speed of missiles, frequency of attack, etc.

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How about initial lives (3 or 5) and bonus fighter. I suppose these will be covered by the levels as well?

 

And how about continues?

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Haven't decided yet. I wasn't originally planning on digitized speech, so might not have as many options so we can allocation more space for better quality samples.

 

iesposta's done some experiments with "Blast Off". Sounds great, but the sample was twice the size I was expecting - closer to 2K packed (2 samples per byte, so 4K of sample data) rather than 1K packed I'd been experimenting with.

 

I plan to hit you up in a month or so for optimization help, not ready for it at the moment as things are still in flux :D

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I'm thinking about marking up Rules of the Game to keep track of what's been implemented. Any preference between these?

  • this has been implemented

    this has not been implemented


  • this has been implemented

    this has not been implemented

 

If it has been done, cross it off

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If it has been done, cross it off

 

I don't really consider the rules to be a "To Do" list. I've been leaning towards green due to legibility - all those Es end up looking like Cs to me.

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Interesting tidbits here:

https://www.arcade-history.com/?page=detail&id=320

Like us old farts would be good enough players to succeed in this: ;)

"Bonus for no-miss clear (completing a round without dying) - this bonus is given only when the game is set to auto difficulty : multiplier x number of bases, the multiplier starts at 100 points and increases by 100 points each time you get the bonus up to 1,000 points."

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I don't really consider the rules to be a "To Do" list. I've been leaning towards green due to legibility - all those Es end up looking like Cs to me.

Well, it is your list, so whatever works for you ;)

I can see where you may also need to cut certain features/details (like the no death bonus above) so from that point of view the green does make sense. What about another color for "won't/can't implement"

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