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|-+ Moosa's Entry: SS [COMPLE-- er... well, uploaded.]

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Read April 13, 2009, 09:54:47 PM #0

Moosa's Entry: SS [COMPLE-- er... well, uploaded.]

Alrighty, I've uploaded it. Please read the explanation below.

UPDATE: Now includes README file.

UPDATE 2: FIXED for Windows Vista. :]

-----> SSPrototype_0.zip <-----

UPDATE 3: In case you have issues with the scale of the screen image (can't see the whole screen), this version should remedy that. It will set your screen resolution to 640x480.




Arrow Keys ----- Movement
Z -------------- Primary Fire
Shift ---------- Switch Form
X -------------- Control Form
C (pressed) ---- Apply Powerup
C (held) ------- Remove Powerup/Form

Digits 1-6 ----- Spawn Form (Cannon, Energy, Blade, Shell, Seeker, Bludgeon)
P -------------- Spawn Powerup Pods
N -------------- Spawn Enemy Shots (aka "Ouchies")

Space ---------- Pause
Esc ------------ Escape

Manufacturer Suggested Finger Positioning (MSFP): Z under middle finger, Shift under ring finger, X under index finger.

How To "Play:"

The first thing you'll notice upon starting up this "game" is a row of six colorful squares and a few red circle thingies floating downward. You can go ahead and grab 'em all if you want to, but it helps to understand what they actually are.

The colored squares are called "Forms." Forms are basically special ability sets for your craft. Each Form grants your craft unique abilities. You may collect up to three different Forms at a time, which are shown in the Form Slots in the right sidebar. To switch between the held Forms, press the Shift key.

The red circle thingies are Powerup Pods. Powerup Pods are collected in volume, and you may hold up to 10. Collected powerup pods are shown in the tall vertical meter in the right sidebar. Powerup Pods my be applied to the currently active Form (if you hold any Forms) to power-up that Form, which is achieved by pressing the C key. Each held Form may be powered-up a maximum of three times, and the powerup level of that Form is displayed in bars beside the Form Slot.

It's important to note that both Forms and powerups applied to them each add to the "Total Level" of the craft, which is displayed in text at the top of the screen. The Total Level maxes-out at five, meaning that at that point you cannot add any more Forms or powerups to your craft until something is removed. You may remove a powerup or a Form (if there are no powerups applied to that Form) by switching to it and then holding the C key. You may also notice that using the Forms (the ones that are actually functional) will drain that Form's Energy, as displayed in text at the top of the screen. Once a Form's energy reaches zero, it will either lose a powerup bar, if any exist, or the Form will be removed (exactly the same effect as holding the C key).

About Forms:
Please note that only two of the six Forms are currently functional, as described below. The X key is used to control all Forms, although their functions may be linked to other keys such as the fire key or arrow keys as well.

Cannon Form (Orange):
Adds additional directional firepower to your craft. It's pretty "straightforward," though it can also fire diagonally or even straight back. Firing is linked to primary fire. Press X to change formation. Powerups add more firepower.

Seeker Form (Yellow):
Although this Form is functional, it's actually not finished. This Form launches spinning, homing death blades linked to your primary fire. You may also hold down the X key to "charge up" up to four Seeker blades (displayed in the left sidebar) which are launched simultaneously when you release the X key. You'll notice a targeting reticle when holding the X key, but it currently serves no function. It is intended to be able to select targets for your "charged up" Seeker blades. Adding powerups increases the launch rate.

The remaining four Forms are not functional at this point, but I will outline an idea of their functions below.

Energy Form (Green)
Enables the use of a "charge shot" that creates an energy blast of varying effect based on the charge time. Used by holding and releasing the X key. Adding powerups increases the available number of "charge levels," increasing the potential power output.

Blade Form (Red)
Grants your craft an awesome-cool sword attack that can be used in close range. Slash with the X key. You can also control the direction of the attack with the arrow keys, and perform small combos by slashing repeatedly. Slashes won't cancel all bullets, but with good timing certain attacks may be deflected. Powerups add to the combo factor, and also increase the length of the blade.

Shell Form (Blue)
Creates small pods (options) that circle your craft, absorbing shots they collide with and adding their energy to your special meter (which doesn't currently exist, see below). Pressing X will toggle between rotating and fixed modes, and holding X will cause the pods to rotate left or right as you move the craft left or right. Powerups add additional orbiting pods.

Bludgeon Form (Purple)
Creates ramming pods on either side of the craft, which thrust forward when you press X to smack around enemies. As you add powerups, they transform into huge, cool-looking bull horns.

More About the Design Concept:
This concept was originally focused around "Pods" (think Options only more creative) in addition to the Forms, which were not only the means by which the Form's abilities were manifest but also the determining factor in the relative power of the Form (more pods = more power). This was recently simplified to the concept you see now, in which the Pods were replaced by generic powerups (not the Powerup Pods that you collect, which were always generic, but how they are actually manifest in the Forms). In sacrificing some of the gimmick factor here it has made things a little more simple and flexible, and helped remedy some of the design flaws/challenges that were troubling me.

The reason why the Forms seem somewhat generic is because the planned concept is to actually have more than one craft, each of which has it's own unique set of abilities for each Form. They may simply be different abilities, though each will at least have some sort of cohesive theme about them, and crafts may even have different mechanisms in utilizing the Forms and powerups (for example: one craft may have attributes from each collected form that combine together).

About the different Form abilities, the one's that you see outlined above are all somewhat "safe" mechanisms that have been more or less done already in various games (although surely not all together, and I've yet to see bull horns). My goal is to combine tried and true mechanisms with more creative and experimental concepts, which will hopefully create fresher gameplay. A couple of slightly more interesting concepts are one that is basically a rubber-band laser (I've built a simple version; it's a bit clumsy), and another that drops explosive mines in place for enemies to run into.

As far as the Forms themselves go, I'll probably change them. In particular, I'm not too happy with the "Bludgeon Form" (stuff that bashes!), mainly because from a gameplay standpoint, it probably wont differ enough from the "Blade Form" (stuff that slashes!). I'll probably combine them into one "Melee Form" or something, but of course I'll then have to come up with something new to replace it. I'm trying to reduce overlap as much as possible, but I also can't go with anything too radical such that it's just not practical.

About the "special meter," obviously there is no trace of such a thing in the current prototype, but it is something that is planned. Basically the idea is that every Form would have a special attack/ability, and every Form would have a unique way of filling the special meter. Yes, this complicates things even more, but it also adds some interesting gameplay twists. For example, because there's only the single special meter, one form could be used to increase the special meter in a particular way, and then it may be used for the special ability of another Form. I hope to work in some interesting ways of utilizing different forms in conjunction with one another, and this is one way that could work.

As for the process of how you would actually collect the Form and Powerup Pod items in the game, it's entirely undecided. However I can say that the idea was for every enemy to be associated with a particular Form type, and for there to be some way of extracting the powerup from an enemy that (ideally) would take some degree of skill, thereby creating a level of control in which skilled players could get the Forms they wanted, while also not being too difficult that newbies couldn't get anything (such that it may just happen randomly as well without requiring that skill). Obviously this is a tough thing to work out, but one good possibility is linking it to a combo system of some sort.

to give me your thoughts on all of this. None of this is final, and I want to improve the whole system in concept (i.e. not make it any more complicated Roll Eyes). I want this to be somehow unique and original as well. I've been not really getting anywhere with my ideas lately, but I must say that I have thought of something quite interesting while writing all of this...  wink1
Please, share your thoughts! I'm listening.

By the way, if you've actually read through all of this, then I should thank you. tongue1

-----Original Post:-----

This may or may not end up as anything as far as this session is concerned... I'm not making any promises. Wink
I'm an artist and a designer... not a programmer. I can conceptualize all day and through the night; its the down and dirty work involved in actually putting things together that's often very difficult for me.

Anyways, I'm thinking of putting together something based on a rather robust concept and design I've been developing for a while now. It's pretty complex, and where I've never actually built one of these shmup things before myself, I don't really expect much of myself from the next two weeks. Roll Eyes

The gameplay concept is based on Pods and Forms. That's all you get for now. The actual goal of this prototype is as yet undetermined. Don't be surprised if it turns out to be nothing more than a tech demo of sorts, showing off the fact that I can make bullets fly across the screen when you press the button.  Wink

Sorry for my unnecessary wordiness. It's a bit of a problem.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2009, 06:27:19 PM by moosa »
Read April 13, 2009, 10:26:45 PM #1

Re: Moosa's Entry: SS

Great to have you participating.  I think no matter how far you get this time, post what you have and learn from the scathing commentary to follow Wink


the2bears - the indie shmup blog
Read April 16, 2009, 12:24:03 AM #2

Re: Moosa's Entry: SS

I actually made great progress today. For me, anyways. Wink

Still no enemies or anything yet, but I've put together a big chunk of the powerup system, which is pretty complex and the most essential piece of the overall package. It will, however, be difficult to construct challenges that will properly take advantage of that system. I'm considering placing enemies in a simple "wave" format, where they come into play in groups, and once you've defeated them all, the next wave or group comes in. That sounds like an easy way to lay out the game progression to me, but if anyone would like to offer suggestions I'm listening. Smiley
Read April 18, 2009, 02:54:03 AM #3

Re: Moosa's Entry: SS

Bunch of stupid debugging and uselessly attempting to kill GM's screen tearing issues (again) today. Did a little graphics tweaking (I couldn't help it, I swear). Didn't make a whole lot of progress really. I "finished" the first powerup, and now have decided to revamp the whole system concept. It's a pretty big change for something that's been cooking for so long, but I think it will simplify things and allow a little more flexibility, enabling me to address some of the unsolved design issues that were popping up. I must say that I much prefer the drawing board to a code box...

At this point it looks like the possibility of this having any enemies (let alone levels) by the deadline is fast approaching zero. I'm hoping to just bring the whole powerup system up to some kind of functional form. If I don't make it that far, I may be too embarrassed to submit whatever I have put together. tongue1 As it is, I can't help but be a tad worried about forming impressions for a design that's been in the works for so long with a lackluster "prototype." BUT there is still time! Smiley

One thing I will tell you about this design is that it makes for a whole lot of opportunities for experimental shmup mechanics in one package... Perhaps this was a result of me not being able to restrain myself from constantly exploring new ideas and never being able to settle down with just one. Smiley As it is, were this actually a real game, it could perceivably be infinitely expandable......




Gahh- somebody stop me! Shocked
« Last Edit: April 18, 2009, 03:17:17 AM by moosa »
Read April 22, 2009, 03:39:49 AM #4

Re: Moosa's Entry: SS

This really isn't a good time for me to be doing this... I'm way behind in schoolwork and the semester ends in like 2 weeks.

It doesn't look like this session is turning out all that well at this point. Tongue I've still been working on it though... I hate school. Undecided
Read April 26, 2009, 03:32:39 AM #5

Re: Moosa's Entry: SS

Screw it.
I'm just going to upload what I've done tomorrow evening. Lets just say it isn't much... No enemies or objective of any sort, just some kind of demonstration of the powerup system, which itself is largely incomplete. Two of the six powerup forms work, and one of them I haven't finished yet. There are little targets you can blow up. I'll try to explain the whole concept and its mechanisms the best I can, and tell you about how the things that aren't in here would work.
Hopefully you guys can help me out with where to bring this design/concept because I'm not entirely happy with it in its current form, and I guess I've been somewhat lacking in inspiration regarding this lately. Everything's probably a bit too complicated as it is now, and I don't feel as though it's turned out quite as unique and creative as I had hoped... Anyways, perhaps you all could help me find some ideas to improve on this design. There are so many possibilities it's obscene, but I just can't seem to find the right way...
If anyone decides to cast a vote for mine it'll be good for a few luls.
Read April 27, 2009, 01:23:16 AM #6

Re: Moosa's Entry: SS [COMPLE-- er... well, posted.]

Update: Uploaded sad excuse for a prototype, included very long-winded explanation.

Edit: Now includes README file.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2009, 03:09:52 PM by moosa »
Read April 28, 2009, 05:26:15 PM #7

Re: Moosa's Entry: SS [COMPLE-- er... well, uploaded.]

I think this suffers from the "Vista" syndrome and Game Maker games.  There was a workaround app to fix this, but I can't find it at the moment.  Anyone?


the2bears - the indie shmup blog
Read April 28, 2009, 07:56:51 PM #8

Re: Moosa's Entry: SS [COMPLE-- er... well, uploaded.]

Doesn't work? That's silly. *slaps Microsoft*

EDIT: Fixed for Vista now.  Smiley
Thanks for pointing that out 2Bears, I never knew.

I should also mention that at first I thought you were comparing my prototype to Vista. I was a bit offended.  Cheesy
« Last Edit: April 28, 2009, 08:30:30 PM by moosa »
Read April 28, 2009, 08:42:24 PM #9

Re: Moosa's Entry: SS [COMPLE-- er... well, uploaded.]

Good, working now Smiley


the2bears - the indie shmup blog
Read May 02, 2009, 11:20:03 AM #10

Re: Moosa's Entry: SS [COMPLE-- er... well, uploaded.]

This was more of a reading experience Smiley I think your game idea has potential. It would be interesting to see some mode gameplay implemented though.

Are you planning to further the implementation?
Read May 02, 2009, 03:51:36 PM #11

Re: Moosa's Entry: SS [COMPLE-- er... well, uploaded.]

Haha yes, and you're right; perhaps I should have just typed this out like one of those "choose your own adventure" stories and had you hold a game controller in your hands while reading it. Grin

I apologize, but given my lack of experience and the inherent complexity of the concept, that was all I was able to put together within the time frame. I will most certainly develop it further, and I'll continue to share with you guys as things progress and become more fleshed out.
Read May 02, 2009, 03:55:44 PM #12

Re: Moosa's Entry: SS [COMPLE-- er... well, uploaded.]

I actually really like the idea behind this though. I like how you have to devolve/evolve according to the situation. Looking forward to see the actual implementation! Smiley

Oh, one more thing. I think you should not force changing resolution next time though. My laptop is widescreen and for some reasons I could only see 1/4 of the game screen Sad
Read May 02, 2009, 06:15:07 PM #13

Re: Moosa's Entry: SS [COMPLE-- er... well, uploaded.]

I apologize for that... Mine is widescreen as well but it works fine. I had the exact problem you've described before, which was due to a problem in GM when you try to change the resolution mid game rather than at the start (I figured it might be nice to have the program send you that popup before it went ahead and switched it), but I had fixed it. I have no idea why it isn't working right for you.
The reason why it changes the resolution is that, first, it looks a tad sharper, and second that the game runs smoother in 640x480 because the frequency is automatically set to 60hz. GM's screen tearing issues are really nasty.
I can either post a version that doesn't change the resolution, or one that changes it but doesn't show the popup box at the start. Either way should remedy the problem, but I'm partial to the latter for reasons I've described. I'll post up that version, but tell me if there is still any issue.
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