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Here's a first crack at a design for my idea. Now I'll need a prototype the concept. But I'm thinking now that it may a bit too much for this genre. It isn't the straight-forward shoot'em up I intended to do make. I think I got carried away trying to make something semi-original.

Gunhacker (working title)


In One Sentance

Pilot your spacecraft and neutralize the fleet of rogue machines by shootingthem down with your array of lasers or by accessing the enemy units' AI to shut them down or join you in the fight.


Gunhacker is a an arcade shoot'em up reminecent of Irem's R-Type. This game will appeal arcade fans and soft-core shoot'em up fans who don't play this genre too seriously. This game is really a one level demo, with few enemy types including a mid and end level boss.

The game will try to recreate the experience of a classic horizontal scrolling shooter as played on an SNES system in its early years. It will feature typical SNES effects such as parallax scrolling backgrounds real-time sprite scaling and rotation.


This game is classified as Action / Arcade.

Minimum System Requirements

  • Windows 98/2K/XP
  • Pentium 133MHz, 32 RAM
  • DirectX 8.1

Target Demographic

Just myself. So only I need to like it. Actually, the target audience include anyone in game development community who would appreciate having the source code.


The game plays like classic R-Type, with the action taking place in closed side-scrolling environments. Unlike R-Type there is no Force unit. Instead, the player will need to take control of enemy units by making them into drones and use their weapons and abilites.

Controls and Techniques

Gameplay is controlled by a 4-way directional pad and two action buttons, the Fire button and the Lock button. The player's main arsenal of weapons consist of the pulse laser, the high power laser, laser missles with lock-on capability and the EMP Disruptor.

Extra sources of weapons and defensive measures can be acquired by hacking enemy units into drones. There are no power-ups in the game. When the player succesfully turns an enemy into a drone, it follows the player around and fires when the player does. The player can attach to a drone, assign it a target, or take advantage of its special abilty by performing a power transfer.

Using the Pulse Laser.

Tapping the fire button fires a round from the main weapon, the pulse laser. The pulse laser fires a round of discrete light packets like a machine gun. This is the conventional way to attack enemies. The fire button will also make drones fire their main weapons.

Using the High Power Laser

Holding the fire button down will make the POW gauge in the bottom centre of the screen grow. Releasing the fire button will make the player emit a piercing beam of light forward until the gauge is depleted. The longer the POW gauge is allowed to grow, the longer the duration of the laser beam. This is the most damage inflicting weapon in the game.

Using the EMP Disruptor

Just after the POW gauge becomes full, it will switch to EMP and begin to flash. If released this moment, it sends a powerful blast that drains energy from all enemies around the player. If the player takes too long to release the fire button, the player will overheat and the guage will switch to HOT and the gauge will begin to deplete (cool down).

The player cannot fire or control drones while cooling down. The EMP causes enemies to temporarily weaken their shields, slow down, or shut down completely. Enemies closest to the blast will lose the most energy. While the EMP can severely weaken an enemy momentarily, the EMP disruptor cannot destroy enemies. The EMP also affects drones as well, so drones that shut down will need to be re-activated.

Using the High Power Laser with Target Lock-On

Holding down the lock button will open a cursor some distance in front of the player. While charging the laser, the player can hold down the lock button to make the POW gauge switch to LOC. The player can then lock on to enemies by moving the cursor over them. The longer the charge, the more target lock-ons can be made.

Up to 4 targets can be locked. When released, the player will fire a laser missile to each locked-on target. Using target lock-on will weaken the strength of the laser, even when all lock-ons target the same point. Releasing the lock button will cancel all current lock-ons, and continue to charge the normal high power laser.

Suppressing EMP

Holding down the lock button while charging the high power laser will prevent the EMP disruptor from becoming active. This will allow the player to sustain a full charge without the risk of overheating. This is useful for situations where use of the laser or EMP needs to be timed percisely.

Hacking Enemies

At any time, the player may attempt to take control of an enemy unit. The player then must use the lock button to open the cursor and lock on to the enemy long enough to re-write its programming. How long it takes to hack an enemy depends on its strength and power level. Enemies that are weak or deactivated can be reprogrammed instantly. Using the EMP disruptor on active enemies make hacking into them easier. Strong enemies may require repeated hacking attempts.

Hacking enemies is the primary means to upgrading the player's fire power and capabilites. Drones themselves are susceptible to enemy damage, collisions and EMP. While useful as shields and weapons, drones are not invincible (like in R-Type).

Any enemy unit, even level traps, defence systems etc can be hacked -- all except the enemy boss. The mid-boss however can be, with some difficulty be hacked as well. A mid-boss drone drone is invincible and is usually very useful against the enemy boss. The player cannot attach a mid boss however, even if it has flying capablities.

Attaching to Drones

Flying drones can be attached, the player needs only to touch it. A drone can be attached to either 4 sides of the player. If a drone is attached to the rear, it will fire its weapons towards the left of the screen. The player can also eject attached drones by pressing the lock button.

Assigning targets to Drones with target-lock on

Drones that are not attached to the player can be assigned targets to attack directly using the lock button. This is done by opening the lock cursor and selecting a drone, then a corresponding enemy target.

Peforming a power transfer with target lock-on

When a drone is targeted while holding down the fire and lock button, it will recieve a power transfer when the fire button is released. This will cause the drone to charge and peform its special ability such as attacking with its own high power weapon.

If drone's special ability has a lock-on feature, it will use it against the next number of enemies that are locked-on. When transfering power to drones with lock-on abilites, the cursor will change color and the next number of targets the player make will become targets for the drone. When the cursor changes back to its original color, it will continue selecting the player's own lock-on targets. This effectively increases the number of targets the player can lock-on to.


The scoring will broken down this way. Bonus points are awarded disabling enemies, without destroying them and for the number of drones the player has when finishing the level.

Gameplay Elements








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It doesn't sound that bad a concept to me. It reminds me a bit of the great free shooter TUMIKI Fighters, where you can "catch" destroyed enemies to use them to power up your plane.

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