This week has been full of progress, although it may not seem like much when you play the current version of the game.
The sound designer, Nick Vecellio, has sent me some sound samples and I have integrated many of them into the game. I’m still not sure how I like them in-game and I have already changed out a few for some other sounds I found online. I also found a decent background song to play during the waves, so that should help the ‘mood’ of the game. The graphic artist says he’s swamped with work and will get me some concepts on Sunday. I’m looking forward to that, because right now the main thing I hate about this game is the placeholder artwork – I’ve seen way too much of it in all my playtests!
I’ll start with these, since they are (in my opinion) the most important. The first and most major bug the game had was enemy ships spawning off the screen. These ships would fire at you and you could not hit them if you fired back. They were practically unkillable because they existed outside the screen, and your ship could not leave the screen because it would wrap around to the other side.
The second bug dealt with player shielding, which for some odd reason would not drop below 1%. I’m not sure when this bug surfaced, but somewhere something went wrong in one of my weekly updates and people reported that the game was too easy because you could just hold down the shield key and never die. This has since been fixed.
Gameplay Additions and Changes
Most of these changes are to make the smoothness of the gameplay experience better.
- All sounds are now disabled when the game is over. This stops the awkward issue where sounds continue to play after you have died.
- Player ship flashes and is invincible upon asteroid collision. Previously, when the player ship collided with an asteroid, there was a chance the player ship would die due to the asteroid splitting into smaller chunks, creating several more instantaneous collisions in the game. Now, whenever the player collides with an asteroid, the ship will flash for a brief second and be invulnerable.
- Default ‘hiscores’ are now replaced with more realistic ones. I didn’t think this would be an issue while the game was still in development, but people were wondering how to achieve a score of 1000 when most struggled to get to 100. I have since changed the hiscores to be more reasonable, even though they still don’t matter right now because the game is incomplete.
- Enemy ships have varying fire rates. Previously, all enemy ships fired at the same rate, but now they fire at different times, making each seem more ‘unique’.
- Enemy ships and asteroids now spawn at the sides of the screen. This was mentioned on my to-do list from last week’s post, and this has since been implemented.
If the graphics artist sends me sprites this coming week, I will do my best to include them.
- Stop player ship from sometimes having unbreakable momentum. Right now, the player ship will sometimes bug out and it will be impossible to change speed. This doesn’t happen often, but I will try my best to find out why it is happening and fix it.
- Enemies should always be moving. Right now, some enemy ships do no move due to AI pathfinding issues. I will try to change it so that if the enemy ships have not found a path to the player, they will have a default movement pattern.
One item not on the to-do list that I may add is variable enemy spawn. Basically the idea is that enemies should not spawn at the same time, but instead spawn at different times in the wave. For example, on wave 6, instead of having all 6 enemies appear at the start, have 3 appear and then the other 3 join the fight over time. This should help avoid the current repetitiveness of the waves and make the game more interesting.
I hope to have a more polished version by the end of this coming week. Stay tuned!