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Brixtar Alpha

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Trapper Zoid

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Download Brixtar Alpha - Windows Version



I've finally got a version of Brixtar ready for download. It's a bit scrappy around the edges, and I haven't had much time to play test it yet, but it should be a good sample of the game.

Currently I've only got the Windows version ready. There's still a few kinks I need to work out with the platform specific code for the Mac OS X version, which I hope to get sorted out by tomorrow.

I ran out of time so I haven't put a readme file in to this alpha version, so things might be a bit confusing. Here's a short description of the game:

Keys
Left and right arrow keys move the paddle.
Space releases the ball at the start of the game.
F1 restarts a new game; currently at "Game Over" that's the only way to start the game again
Escape quits the game (instantly and without warning)

Cheats
To activate cheat mode, spin around on your chair three times anti-clockwise while humming Waltzing Matilda backwards. You can then use the following cheats:
F9 - Lose a life
F10 - Gain a life
F11 - Go back a level
F12 - Go forward a level
Be forewarned that the game will mercilessly taunt you for your use of cheats.

Scoring
Each brick is worth 10 points. If a ball hits more than one brick on its flight from the paddle, each subsequent brick is worth 10 points more than the next; i.e. the second is worth 20 points, third 30 points and so on.

The brick's point worth is also multiplied by the score multiplier shown at the bottom of the screen. Finally, fireballs and ultraballs give you double points for any bricks hit.

Rock bricks are not worth anything if you manage to destroy them.

Powerups
Powerups appear at random when you destroy a brick. Each powerup is colour coded and can only appear when you destroy the corresponding brick colour.
  • Fireball (Red with an F): Will destroy the darker bricks that usually need multiple hits in a single hit
  • Powerball (Yellow with a P): Will keep going after destroying a brick, allowing it to plough through chains of bricks
  • Multiball (Blue with an M): All balls in play will split into two balls. As long as one ball is in play then you will not lose a life
  • Guard (Green with a G): A forcefield is activated at the bottom the screen that will deflect one ball
  • Score Multiplier (Magenta with an S): The score multiplier will increase by one
  • One Up (White with a 1): Gain an extra life

Known Issues
  • No menu: I'll work on this this week
  • No sound: SDL_mixer is loaded but there are no sound effects as of yet
  • Lack of levels: I've only got eight done so far
  • Lack of playtesting: I need to play this more myself. I expect the levels and powerups are not very balanced in their current state
  • No icons for the game: I haven't got round making an icon yet; will do



Please try out Brixtar and give me your feedback. I'll still be working on it this week, adding in some new levels and playing around with the scoring, powerups and general gameplay.
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Very nice for a game developed in a week. The power ups do seem very plentiful though, maybe a small tweak to balance that out.Other then that great job. How much time did you spend working on it throughout the week (hours?)?

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Nifty fun times =)

Ran fine for me at a smooth 400 fps or so on XP. I'll try it on Vista later tonight. My only suggestion would be mouse control because I am picky like that. Also, I like that there are a lot of powerups -- keeps it interesting.

There did seem to be the occasional collision issue; typically when I tried to move very quickly towards the incoming ball when it had a low angle of approach. In these cases the ball often went through my paddle, or at least it looked like that. It could have been going through the side of the paddle perhaps, but it is hard to tell when I am moving it that fast.

Fun diversion though. A couple of sound effects and bam! it's good to go =)

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Quote:
Original post by Mushu
I want to kill myself for asking this, but any chance on a Linux release? :3

Unfortunately it's highly unlikely for quite some time. I don't hold any grudge towards Linux, but apparently Linux has a grudge against me. Despite still having a partition on my hard drive cordoned off for a Linux distro I've never got one to work properly with my PC - when I try to install one its a 50-50 chance whether it hangs on boot up or ends up up scrambling my hard drive paritition table. Even if I did get a Linux distro working, I'd still need to get OpenGL running with my ATI Radeon 9700 Pro (which is nasty).

I'm considering trying to add Linux compatibility to my library, but it's in the far future unfortunately. I'm hoping if I have Windows and Mac OS compatibility it will make things easier. If I get around to it I'll back port everything I've done as a test.

I really should do something with that extra hard drive space though; I forget I've still got a few dozen megabytes floating around unused.

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Original post by DecipherOne
Very nice for a game developed in a week. The power ups do seem very plentiful though, maybe a small tweak to balance that out.Other then that great job. How much time did you spend working on it throughout the week (hours?)?

Thanks. The powerups are a bit on the plentiful side; I wanted them to be easier to test, so they appear quite often. I'll need to wait until enough people play the game to figure out a good powerup drop rate.

In terms of hours spent, I'm not that sure; way too many I suspect. On weekdays I spent the time from about sundown to midnight working on the game, the weekend a lot more. There was also one day in the week where I wasn't feeling well enough to work on my graduate research, but ended up spending more time on Brixtar (even though I suspect too much Brixtar was the cause of my illness). I'll need to cut that down for the next game; Brixtar was a source of procrastination for my real work.

Chalk up the dev time to it being too cold and dark to do anything at night except warm yourself around a glowing computer monitor. Canberra winter sucks; I tend to effectively hibernate for three months.

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Quote:
Original post by shadowcomplex
There did seem to be the occasional collision issue; typically when I tried to move very quickly towards the incoming ball when it had a low angle of approach. In these cases the ball often went through my paddle, or at least it looked like that. It could have been going through the side of the paddle perhaps, but it is hard to tell when I am moving it that fast.

Yes, that's a problem. I think it's due to the ball being too low for the usual collision zone in the paddle. I'm pretty sure I've put in the code for side collisions, but it happens rarely enough it's possible it's bugged and I haven't noticed it.

Even if it's technically a miss from the raw numbers perspective, since it looks like it should hit then I'd like to make it count. I'd prefer the game to be on the generous side for collision detection otherwise it's too frustrating.

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Original post by johnhattan
Nice and smooth. Needs mouse and sound. Other than that, it's ready.

Thanks. And you're all right about the mouse support; I think it would be better like that. I haven't yet got mouse running in SDL but I'm sure it's dead easy. I've got the stub code in the input module ready to go, so I'll put that first on my list of new features to code up for the library. I'd really like a mouse control game for my next test (or the one after), so it's good to get that done sooner rather than later.

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Your blog is in my rss feeds, and it's been great watching this unfold. Congratulations for getting to a releasable state! No small feat [smile]

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I don't know what others think, but I'd appreciate if the speed increase were a little more gradual for at least the first level, although usage of the mouse may alleviate that problem somewhat as I'm not great with the keyboard.

Other than that, just what the others have mentioned:
- Check out the collision detection on the edges of the paddle.
- Maybe a few less powerups.
- Make sure you let us turn music/sfx off.

Great job, very smooth. [smile]

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Running on Vista 32-bit edition I found one issue - the game locks up when I collect a multi-ball power-up. Other than that it seemed to run fine and is great work for just a week :-)

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Quote:
Original post by ukdm
Running on Vista 32-bit edition I found one issue - the game locks up when I collect a multi-ball power-up. Other than that it seemed to run fine and is great work for just a week :-)

Really? That's annoying. I don't think the log file will state why an error of that type occurred; it generally is only useful for crashes. I'll have to double check the ball creation code to see if there's a potential memory leak in there; that's the only thing of the top of my head that I think could go wrong with the multiball.

If anyone else with Vista could verify that this is a common problem then that would be useful, thanks.

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Really great!

Just a couple of things I noticed, in addition to what others have said:

  • When you get a new ball, it seems to head off from the paddle at rather a vicious angle even if you have it right in the middle. It would be nicer to have the angle reflect the ball's position relative to the paddle a bit more.

  • The frame rate seems to gradually creep up for me until I get game over. It started at about 690, and just kept going up (to over 900 when I lost my last life), and then resets to ~690 on a new game. Possibly something wrong with the fps count?



Other than that, it's darned good. :)

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Anyone else tried minimising then restoring the game?

For me, it's very blue after doing so, and not much else. Might wanna look in to that. ;-)

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I played it for a longer period of time and all the powerups seem to work except for the multi-ball that makes it hang. If you need an updated version testing Trapper Zoid then let me know as I have the bug happening 100% on my machine.

For reference running on:
Intel Core 2 Duo 6700
4GB RAM
GeForce 8600GT 256MB
Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit edition

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Quote:
Original post by sprite_hound
When you get a new ball, it seems to head off from the paddle at rather a vicious angle even if you have it right in the middle. It would be nicer to have the angle reflect the ball's position relative to the paddle a bit more.

Yes, it's currently programmed to always be at 45 degrees. The angle changes direction depending which way you shift the paddle, but the angle remains the same. I wrote that code before I'd put in the angled deflections and never got around to changed it; I'll fix it to something else. Added to the to do list.

Quote:
The frame rate seems to gradually creep up for me until I get game over. It started at about 690, and just kept going up (to over 900 when I lost my last life), and then resets to ~690 on a new game. Possibly something wrong with the fps count?

That's weird. The ball is supposed to speed up the longer it is in play, but it resets when a new ball is started, but there isn't anything based on the length of the game. Besides which that wouldn't affect the frame rate, just the gameplay speed. The FPS code timer is completely separate from the game logic timer; it's just counting the number of frames per second. Unless the SDL timer is playing up I'm not sure what could cause that to happen.

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Quote:
Original post by Kazgoroth
Anyone else tried minimising then restoring the game?

For me, it's very blue after doing so, and not much else. Might wanna look in to that. ;-)

Ah crap, I should have caught that. How could I go several weeks using my graphics engine and not minimise and restore the darn screen?

Yeah, I'm pretty sure I know what's wrong there; it shouldn't be that hard to fix once I remember what the right event call is for minimising and maximising. I also should pause the game when minimising too.

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Quote:
Original post by ukdm
I played it for a longer period of time and all the powerups seem to work except for the multi-ball that makes it hang. If you need an updated version testing Trapper Zoid then let me know as I have the bug happening 100% on my machine.

For reference running on:
Intel Core 2 Duo 6700
4GB RAM
GeForce 8600GT 256MB
Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit edition

I will do. That one might take some time to track down, as I'm not immediately sure what could be causing that problem. Creating a new ball involves allocating some extra memory, but I'm not sure if that would be a problem. Frankly I'm perplexed that it can allow one ball to be created but not the second; it's storing the things in a list, so it's not as if a second one is going to make any difference.

I've a feeling it might be something to do with my signal connection code which is the basis of the whole game architecture, and if that's the case then that's extremely bad, as it means every one of my games with this library could potentially have that problem. If that's the case I'd like to track that bug down now if possible. I'll elevate this one as a serious fix.

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Awesome Breakout game! The sprites are very well done and the gameplay is smooth. Everything seemed to work fine here.

I'll try to get past level 3 today and see the rest of it. Like any Breakout clone, I'm not very good at this one[grin]

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