Sunday, 9 March 2014

Iteration 4 - finished

So, I spent this whole week developing my game. The target was to make my game "playable". This means rough skeleton of finished product. Randomverse is about space exploration, so this means - movement around space map and visiting places. 
In the sense of skeleton I kinda did what I wanted. But I am now absolutely terrified by amount of work that is necessary to make it playable and enjoyable. In my estimates I just did not pay enough attention to game content. Well, to my defence, I had no idea how much work it could be. I was just focused on the tools to be able to create content. 
Now I have like 80% of tools and almost zero content. And now I know i will spend probably same amount of time on content like on framework. Scary. 

Anyway. How went the development? As always I made a list of things I wanted to get done and sticked to it. Sometimes it forced framework changes, but that was okay. It was also about testing my framework if it is capable to do anything I wanted. 

Menu stayed the same

 I added some levels, some new testing sprites and tested all kinds of formations I worked on last week. Circle is totaly my favorite :)
 Major addition to framework was event system with choices. Like conversations in rpgs. It does what it should, but the code is ugly and will need some refactor

 Some new movements
Map upgrades - generation, missions, scanner...

... and very simple ladder that will need full rework.

Next steps are obvious. Content content content.
Then openGL
Then sound
Then graphics
Then release!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Iteration 3 - finished

Since I am working hard on iteration 4, which is something like a milestone, just brief info on iteration 3:

Main theme of 3rd iteration was implementation of formation, movement in formations and formation to formation movement. It was much harder to implement than I expected, since I had to do some changes to my engine/framework. In the end it took 16,77 hours to finish it. 16,30 was spent on formation. But I was kinda cheating, in the end I discarded all other planned activities in favor of formations.

I kinda wanted to share the design I came up with, but it's just probably all wrong and can be done better :) There are probably better sources.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Iteration 2 - finished, iteration 3 - plans

Even though I had to cut this iteration in half, I will call it finished. My estimate was quite off since there were many changes that forced some architecture changes. Lets check the checklist to see what was actually done and what was moved to the next iteration.

1. 2 new types of weapons
       - laser (goes through stuff)
       - missiles (explodes)

2. 2 new types of enemies
    - asteroid - breaks into smaller asteroids
    - generic enemy - randomly generated hostile player ships, are ok, but...

3. 2 alternative devices
    - shield
    - mining device

4. 2 new attack patterns
    - wave formation
    - invaders formation

5. 2 new locations
    - asteroid field
    - "invaders

And if you look at the screenshot... there is no way that gray something is and asteroid. And it is not. Halfway through the development I realized, that I am actually creating some crashed ship debris. When I realized that I had to do some "special" tiles. Exploding ones, shooting ones, cargo containers... Yeah, it was totally off the scope, but still seemed like a good idea to attempt it since it seemed like it could put my class design to a test... and it did.

Next iteration will be all about enemy movement. So far everything moved in one direction, next patch will change everything. So scope for the next iteration:

1. new attack patterns

It will also include new weapon, new level and new enemy, but that's just minor.

Aaand stats: It took 19,48 hours to get this done. (6 hours shield, 8 hours debris)
next iteration will probably take 8 - 16. Depends if I get stuck :)

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Iteration 2 - plan

It is time to define what I want to do for my next iteration. This iteration will be about spicing up the combat.

1. 2 new types of weapons
       - laser (goes through stuff)
       - missiles (explodes)

2. 2 new types of enemies
    - asteroid - breaks into smaller asteroids
    - generic enemy - randomly generated hostile player ships, are ok, but...

3. 2 alternative devices
    - shield
    - mining device

4. 2 new attack patterns
    - wave formation
    - invaders formation

5. 2 new locations
    - asteroid field
    - "invaders"

That should do.

Aaand some stats: So far I spent 62.73 hours on this spanned across "I don't even want to know, since it is way slower than I would like"


Iteration 1 - finished

I had somewhat organize this development, since there is so many things that has to be done. All basic stuff is done and it is time to start spicing it up. But how and where? One thing is clear, the tough plan is clear:

1. All core mechanics - game must be fun at the end of this stage and playable, even though it will be ugly as hell
2. switch to openGL - some might argue that it is silly not to begin with it, but reason behind it is to lean stuff. First explore basic java capabilities, then do the switch.
3. graphics
4. polishing

Yeah, great, but how to do the first stage? I decided iterative development is for the best:

1. Define target features of iteration
2. implement
3. refactor

Target of first iteration, which I recently finished was to create playable prototype. Where "playable" means the following:

1. Fight
2. Buy stuff and enhance your ship
3. After you beat a mission, select next spot on the macro map.

In the end the iteration consisted of 10 tasks.

All is done now :)

Saturday, 26 October 2013

iOS Shoot 'em Up games

Since I plan to port Randomverse to iOs and Android (or at least try to do so), I downloaded and played about 20 shoot 'em up games on my iPad to see what the competition is like.

The list is far from exhausting. I just randomly selected top down space shooters. So I am sure I missed some good ones, so if you know about some other game I should try, please let me know!

Please do not consider these as true reviews since I did not finish a single game and gave it only short amount of time. I just wanted to see main mechanics, controls and graphics.

I have to say that competition is quite poor. I was afraid that there are many free games and no reason to buy another 'shoot em up' game. I was so wrong. The free games just suck. All of them. The paid ones were quite good and can really be an inspiration for me.

I also found some other 'top shoot em up games on ios' articles:,2817,2404397,00.asp


Rock Tempest

score: 1/5

Free with ads or for $0.99.
Graphics could be better, but it had nice retro feel. Asteroid explosions were terrible though.
You move ship, it shoots. You dodge and shoot asteroid that are coming at you with inceasing speed over time and collect astronauts. Thats IT. No power ups. No more levels. No more enemies. Nadda. It is a shame, I feel like it could have been good game if it had more to offer.

I liked
Music, controls, overall feel

I disliked
lack of content, achievements.

2 Player Space Battle Duel Free

score: 0/5

This is not really a shoot 'em up game. Well, I would not even call it a game. You have two ships that stand against each other and some destructible blocks between it. That's it. It is ugly, controls are terrible, and almost no gameplay. It all feels unfinished. Probably just someone trying out unity engine.

Air Force Free

score: 0/5

Another rather unfinished game. One background, random ships and that's it. I don't know if there are any power ups, probably not. I did not care to play it for more then few seconds.

Alpha Space Phoenix - Chase of the Corsair from Hell

score 1/5

This one is just stupid. Enemies do not hurt you, but if they reach bottom of the screen, you lose life, sometimes they drop something, but you can't pick it up, since you can move only from left to right. The music and sounds make you hate the game.
It offers some in-app purchases to make the game easier. I do not really know why would anyone buy that.

I disliked
graphics - the ships look good, but the whole looks, I do not know how to say it. Cheesy? Childish?
music - I had to listen to it for like 30 seconds and already hate it.

Galaxy Protector

score: 2/5

Just standard shooter with weird weapon mechanic. If you destroy enough enemies, boxes with weapons open after few waves. Unopened box acts as a mine. Graphics is good, but boring.

I disliked
bugs - if you quit game, and start, you start with full health at the stage you quit.
variaty - After 15 stages, the game was more or less the same.
Ignores advantages of that offer side-scroller.

Space Wars - Star Hero

score 1/5

It is playable, but boring, slow and looks like a product from some tutorial.

Orion Nebula

score 3/5

A decent free game. It has nothing unique about it, but it is well executed compared to other free games.

I disliked
Speed of bullets. They are slow as hell, your ship is much faster and many enemies can also outspeed them...
Levels are slow paced.

Space Falcon Reloaded

score: 3/5
There is also paid version, but it seems like that it only adds adverts, so I consider it free.

You can move only left and right, shooting is automatic, you have limited special attack and alternative attack that consumes ammo you collect.

I liked
Controls. Even though it is only left and right,

I disliked
It is kind of ugly, but graphics works together. What I really hated were walls of text coming at me out of nowhere and I did not really cared to read it.
Walls of text in statistics screen, when I saw it I was immediately uninterested in stats.
There was nothing to surprise me, but I did not care to play long enough to see bosses.

Space Cadet

score: 3/5

Everything about this game is meh. Primary attack is meh, Special attack is meh. Enemies are meh. It just wont hold your attention for long, you will get bored. Otherwise it is well executed. It feels finished.

I disliked
Controls - movement on one side, fire on the other, it controls weird and buttons are too small. it would be better if whole half of the screen would be left/right and buttons somewhere for attack.

Phoenix HD

score 2/5

Free with in-app puchases (additional ships, one for $0.99). Graphics are top notch for free game, better than some paid ones. Other than that it is standard. Paid ships have special abilities which might be interesting though.

Standard shooter, touch control, auto-shoot.

I liked

I disliked
Size and shape of ship makes it hard to avoid projectiles.
No checkpoint, you always start from beginning. If you grind enough points, you can buy some continues.
procedural generation - I love procedural generation, but this one sucks, I would not know it has it if I did not read it in the description.
Everything is too large, so you don't have to aim.


Score: 3/5

This might be the best free games if you have enough patience to get used to the controls. It's somewhat worse clone of geometry wars, a bit uglier, but you can have great time with it. For me, controls killed it :)

I disliked

2022: Space Invasion

score 2/5

Weird controlled standard shooter.

I disliked
Long boring cutscenes
Graphics are disappointment compared to cutscenes
sound effects
slow paced and easy,
controls - I just hate to control these types of game with joystick, it just does not feel right.

Asteroid Surfers: Crush the Alien Invasion and Save the Day

score 1/5

Standard with horrible controls - you use tilt to move the ship. Graphics are terrible. I do not know what else to say. Just usual free rubbish. 1 Point is for controls, it may appeal to some masochists.

Turbo Grid

Score 4/5

This isn't real shoot 'em up, but it is similiar to some of the listed games. You move left or right and avoid obstacles that are procedurally generated and try to last as long as possible. Simple, addictive, free, well executed with no major flaws.

PAID (max $2.00)

Tyrian ($2.00)

Score: 4/5

Well, this is classic. Too classic, therefore i can not give 5.

Shogun: Buller Hell Shooter ($1.99)

score: 5/5

Whoa. That's what I thought when I started it.
Awesome art, sound, music, controls and mechanics. Yep. I played just the lite version, but will probably buy it. Only thing that bothers me is number of missions, seems like there are only 4. 

Unique features:
You replenish shields by staying close to enemy fire, neat. 
You bring up weapon menu by releasing your finger.
You can overload weapons.

Roswell Fighter Reloaded ($0.99 + more ships for $0.99)

score: 4/5

This is just well executed stadnard shooter. What stands out are probably the graphics. It is not breath taking, but it is detailed and works well together. You can tell apart enemy, projectile and a bonus.

Enemies drop stars and upgrades you collect. One attack, special weapon that charges over time and bomb
I liked
Levels were 'starred' angry birds like, so there is some motivation to replay the level and try to achieve more stars.
Boss fights. 
Traps like stones falling from above, so you have to move away when you see a shadow.
The length of the levels was just right. Not too short, not too long.
Tapping minigame - occasionaly there is some enemy that drop bonuses if you tap on circles that show up.

I disliked
I think there could be more variaty to levels, some levels are just waiting for a boss to appear.
Ads. Since it is paid I do not expect to see ads.

Radiant HD ($0.99)

Score 5/5

This is closest to my game I would like to create. You only move left and right, and attack is automatic, but it feels so right!

I liked
Conversasions before mission
Retro graphics
Variety of missions
weapon upgrades - minimalistic and smart. You don't get something that kills everything on screen early, nor useless guns. 

Plasma Sky

Score 5/5

This is real modern shoot em up. Fast paced with awesome graphics. Every level last just few second and every level has different enemies that are not just visually different, but has some twist to it.

PAID (more than $2.00)

I do not consider these as a competition since they are far above my price range, I played the lite versions just to see if there are some unique features I could borrow :)

Bug Princess 2 ($5.99)

Score 3/5
I was expecting much more. Lite version is like 30 seconds or so, but I already know I would not buy it. It is classic bullet hell with no additional features.

I disliked
reduced screen size - there is this useless  frame around game screen.
graphics - even though it feels like lot of work were put into it, I just do not like. Screen is constantly filled with coins, explosions or numbers so you don't see anything and the resolution is so low. But it has this arcade feel, so somebody might like that

Espgaluda 2 ($7.99)

score 4/5
This one would probably needed more time than I gave it. It is like Bug Princess 2 done properly. Well it is probably sequel or something, it looks very similiar.
It is much more readable than Bug Princess 2 - no more shit covering the screen. Game space is full scree, no more stupid frame around. Many fire options.

I disliked
Many instructions to read through if you want to understand what is happening.

Space Invaders Infinity Gene ($4.99)

Score: ?

Lite version got me curious, but I am yet to play the full version. But it should be good, damn good :)

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Ship modification screen

Finaly. First somewhat working prototype of the most important feature - ship modification! I am still not sure if it's gonna be fun, but at least you can make some funny spaceships :D

For now it's pretty much just graphics. But weapons are working already! Somewhat. It is still just one type of weapon with different stats.