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roger_hq

"Star Lance Alpha" 2D scrolling shootem-up demo release

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quote:
Original post by roger_hq
oliii:
Thanks for checking into that. I had a feeling that might be the issue. I think I will issue a warning if the user''s monitor has disabled vsync. I made a version of the game that didn''t require vsync to be enabled, but it simply didn''t scroll as smoothly. Did you find the controls helpful once you got used to them? Did you find the enemies to have too much shields?



It''s smooth as a baby''s bottom. My main critic is, the ennemies are too tough. And they fire a lot of pellets in your general direction. Hard to dodge. Even with the nippiest ship. I think there is an unbalance between the movement speed of your ship, and the large amount of things thrown at you.

There are quite a few controls to learn. I''m used to the amiga''s one-button-does-it-all (And occasionaly hitting the space bar with the foot ). Your ship is quite big, so hard to dodge, but to be fair. your spacecraft can take a lot of punishement. In some games, they have an animation for the ships (left and right rolls), so the craft can bank left or right. At the same time, they reduce the collision box around the ship. The plane banks left, and only the fuselage of the plane has collision, which improves the manouverability and you really feel like you are dodging bullets.

Another thing some shoot''em up do (U.N. Squadron, if I remember correctly), is when you get hit, the ship flashes, and you are invincible for a very short amount of time (like a second). That avoid getting mauled when the screen fills with bullets. And also, when you collide with an enemy. Having the ship flash for a moment gives a good indication when you get hit.

I like the little pods on the side, that shoots enemy bullets. Although, it makes the game a lot easier.

Also, when you die, you loose everything. Typical shoot''em up trickery

And there is no nuke! or I haven''t seen any. This is a definite must have in a game like that A large superbomb, that blasts everything on screen.

One weapon I love, In a game I used play (I forgot the name), was the fire-and-forget, laser guided, heat-seeking missile cluster (phew!).

Basically, you keep the missile button depressed, that triggers a small laser beam, which paints (or acquire, if you will) a bunch of targets, mobile or fixed positions. When you release the button, or two second later, half a dozen missiles are fired and head towards the designated targets. It''s great, coz you can decide to paint several targets, or just one tough enemy ship, or gun emplacements on a large ship, and it looks cool. You can have the same system for bombs. Have a cursor in front of the ship. paint targets on the ground, and see the bombs flatten the targets in your wake.

And a bit more variety and concistency in the ennmy attacks.

The fact that you can decide how fast you scroll through the level is a great idea. It gives a space invader flavour to the mix.

that''s my 2 cents.

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oliii:

After watching some of my friends/co-workers play for a while, I would tend to agree that the enemies could be scaled down slightly, and there could be too much being shot at you at one time. Balance is a very tricky subject. Initially I was going for ships that wouldn''t necessarily die after getting hit with one bullet (I hate that about some shmups). I think I''m going to tone down the number of bullets fired by some enemies as well as reduce the number of shields on some enemies. It would produce a much faster paced game if you didn''t have to constantly pummel every single enemy.

The controls I was hoping would become intuitive after a bit of use. I wanted to get away from highly simplistic controls of many shmups, and go for something closer to a real flight sim, in which there are several things to manage at once. Obviously, no one would ever confuse this game with a flight sim, but I do like the high amount of control and attention you have to pay to the status of your ship.

Thanks for the comments on the defense pods, I sorta came up with those late in the development process, some kind of odd inspiration. The way they work is that for each moment they connect with a target projectile, it decreases that projectiles potential damage. When the projectile''s damage is reduced to zero, it is removed from the game.

Actually, when you die, you don''t lose everything. You lose your weapon pods and defense pods. You still get to keep your special weapons and your other power-ups; and of course you lose one life. Do you think it would be better to keep the pods?

Oh, you bet there''s a NUKE! How could you not have a nuke in a shmup? Check the instructions page where it displays all the power-ups you can get. Some power-ups are placed in the mission to begin with, but as you probably discovered sometimes when you destroy an enemy, a random power-up is dropped for you to pick up. I think most people would like the cluster-bomb power-up the most, as it is very pipe-hittin''. I also tried to steer clear of power-ups that are harmful to your ship, I always thought that was kinda cheap.

Did you notice that you could target enemies with the tab key? When you have an enemy targeted, you can fire your missile-type weapons (missile, double-missile, and EMP missile) and they will lock-on and hit your currently targeted enemy. I like you idea of "painting" a target by holding down the key, maybe use that instead of manually pressing a different button to explicity target the closest bad guy?

Did you manage to get to one of the end boss yet?

Hey, your 2 cents were great! Thanks so much for taking the time to check it out!


Cheers,

roger_hq



_____________________________
http://www.deepbluefuture.com
"Set Phasers to neuter..."
"2+2=5 for sufficiently large values of 2."

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CaptCanada:

Thanks for the system specs. I think I've found the speed issue problems, it seems to have a high prevelance on ATI cards. I will have a fix on that sometime this week soon, I hope. Thanks again for your input.


EDIT:

I posted a new version of the game with the fix for the speed issue on some monitor/graphics card combos. If it was running too fast on your machine before, try it again and let me know how it runs now. Thanks!


Cheers,

roger_hq

_____________________________
http://www.deepbluefuture.com
"Set Phasers to neuter..."
"2+2=5 for sufficiently large values of 2."

[edited by - roger_hq on February 2, 2004 8:15:07 PM]

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Hello all,

I''ve been working on some enhancements, levels, and minor bug fixes for Star Lance Alpha recently, and I''ve uploaded a new zip file which contains the newest version of my game to my web site.

screens

download

Included in the new version (0.9.2) are:

- I''ve toned-down the number of enemy bullets that are shot at your ship, so you have more of a chance to dodge bullets.

- I''ve included a difficulty slider control to allow the user to decrease/increase the difficulty of the game. Currently, this only changes the amount of shields that the enemies will have, but in future releases it will also control other things like collision damage, number of enemy bullets, etc. Setting the slider in the center (default) is normal difficulty.

- I put the levels in the mission selection box in increasing order of difficulty; however some folks have told me that the "Xenoline X" mission is easier than the "Moon Base Assault" level, so those two might be out of order. "Xenoline X" is not a completed level, but I will update that soon.

- Added a new level, "Milk Run", which is a very basic level without too much challenge, to help the new user to get used to the controls and whatnot. Its a very short mission without many enemies.

- Changed the way the afterburner works. The afterburner used to have a lot of thrust time. Now, it only thrusts for a very short amount of time. Use the afterburner to get past smashers, asteriod belts, or other areas where you need a short, quick burst of speed to get out of the way of danger.

- Decreased the download size to 14.9 MB down from 17 MB. Hey, every little bit helps, right?

- Fixed frame rate issues on some machines (I hope!). Should run at a smooth frame rate even if the user has vsync disabled on their machine (this is an old fix from version 0.9.1).


Other improvements I have planned are taking some suggestions from earlier posters, such as auto-targeting, etc. I also plan on developing many more missions for future releases.

Anyway, thanks in advance for checking out the new version of my game. Please feel free to send me any feedback, good or bad! Feedback will really help make this game and my future games better!


Cheers,

roger_hq

_____________________________
http://www.deepbluefuture.com
"Set Phasers to neuter..."
"2+2=5 for sufficiently large values of 2."

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I don''t normally like shoot-em ups, but I enjoyed this. Very imaginative in a lot of areas, very fun.

It ran perfectly on my system.

I''d write more, but it''s time to go to class. :-)

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Idhrendur:
Thanks for checking the game out. Thank you very much for the compliment, that is great coming from someone who does not normally play that type of game! I appreciate that very much.

I am currently making some levels and adding some background story to the game. I also am in the process of creating a manual so users can go to a more aestheically-pleasing instruction doc instead of the readme, which I think should be for system requirements, etc.

A question: in a final version, do people in general prefer a zip-file version or a installer version? I can make both, I am just curious what the general consensus on the "preferred deployment" method.

Thanks for any and all feedback, keep it coming!

Cheers,

roger_hq


_____________________________
http://www.deepbluefuture.com
"Set Phasers to neuter..."
"2+2=5 for sufficiently large values of 2."

[edited by - roger_hq on February 24, 2004 5:26:01 PM]

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Nice game, is that your first or no? What did you use to code it just standard direct3d or some sort of library?

Good work though the graphics probably took quite a long time. I can tell you worked as hard on them as the code itself.

[edited by - DevLiquidKnight on February 28, 2004 3:31:18 PM]

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Hey guys, thanks for the inputs. Anyone else have strong feelings about installer vs. zip file? I know alot of users have strong feelings about installers manipulating the registries on their machines. Anyone here have other points of view on that?

picklejuice:
Thanks for the installer vs. zip input. I will definately make an unistaller if I make the installed version!

DevLiquidKnight:
Hey thanks for your input. This is my first game, and I''m looking forward to creating more. For this game I used DirectX 7.0 using DirectDraw, DirectInput, and DirectSound. I didn''t use any third-party wrappers like SDL or anything like that, just my own stuff. Yeah, the artwork actually took as long or longer than the code. It definately improved my photoshop skills. Thanks again for the input!

Cheers,

roger_hq



_____________________________
http://www.deepbluefuture.com
"Set Phasers to neuter..."
"2+2=5 for sufficiently large values of 2."

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