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Manta-X: Prequel

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As you may have read, I've been planning my top-down space-shooter 'Manta-X' for a good couple of years now. I've had at least 3 attempts at coding it, each time getting closer to something like I want it, but always falling over because of nasty engines and architectures. Manta-X is planned to be a more complex top-down shooter, with multiple weapons, ship types, AI personalities and squad-based combat. The idea is that it will help bring a cliched genre more up-to-date, but like most of my other projects, the current attempts have fallen at fairly early hurdles.

Back to Basics
Recently I've been coding up a space-invaders clone with a pretty high degree of success. The 'engine' is simple, with a basic loop and simple rendering of 2d-sprites. There's no stupid over-engineering of C++ classes, it's just a simple C-API all the way. The step from Space Invaders to the proposed Manta-X game is pretty great, one cannot simply walk into Mordor, so last night I realised that I need to bridge the gap somehow.

Feeling inspired by Ben Ryves' latest project, I realised how much I love old-school scrolling shooters. In fact, these were the whole reason for the original Manta-X project. If any of you have ever played an old game called Uridium, you'll know of the sort of game I am talking about. The original idea for Manta-X was inspired by Uridium, but got somewhat diluted through the ages. I realised that maybe I need to go right back and create a no-bullshit shooter in the original vein of Uridium. Forget fancy graphics. Forget squad-based fighting. Forget enemy AI. Forget multiple weapon types. Forget everything except for the basics; your ship flying over a capital ship shooting up enemy fighter waves.

The original Uridium concept was as simple as this. You would fly over a capital ship, avoiding 'protruding' structures (arials, meteor walls, etc) and trying to shoot up waves of enemies, avoiding the homing mines that emerged from the special mine-pads on the ships. Occasionally there was a surface feature for you to shoot up and score more points, but other than that, the interaction with the capital ship was minimal. After a certain amount of time, the 'Land Now!' sign would appear and the player was prompted to make their way to the runway located on the ship and slow down. Their craft would land and the story was that the marine inside got out and blew the cap ship. The level ended with you flying off at high-speed with the ship exploding behind you. It was overly dramatic and extremely satisfying ;) What made the game 'original' at the time was that the scrolling was bi-directional; most other games were only uni-directional - you could only go 'forwards'. The game was also pretty fast; the high-paced dual-scrolling action made for quite an exciting game, and one that was very fun to play.

Going back to the Manta-X 'universe', I've decided to build the 'prequel' to Manta-X, entitled 'Hyrda' (working title). The basic concept is to remake Uridium in my own style. Instead of adding any complexity to the gameplay, it'll stay true-to-form.

So we have:-
* A bi-directional scrolling tilemap to show the capital ship
* A 'tilemap' to mark collision points and points of interest
* Simple, lo-res graphics
* Single sprite for the player's ship
* Sprites for the enemy ships
* Simple weapon sprite collision with enemy
* Simple weapon collision with POI tilemap for cap ship
* Predictable formation update callbacks for the enemy waves
* A timer that ticks down to 'Land now' gamestate

The jump from my space invaders game to this isn't actually that great. The main difference is the scrolling and the use of a layered tilemap for the capital ship. Last night I began implementing the tilemap with a high degree of success. Instead of loading the individual tiles as sprites, I will upgrade it to use a single texture and tile the data directly from that using the tex-coords.

So it begins.
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I look forwards to seeing what you rustle up! [smile]
Glad to know I'm of some inspiration, at any rate.

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