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Nothing special here.

I think more than anything, I’ve learned that I really suck at staying open and transparent about my work with games.

Maybe it’s because I know it isn’t that good. It’s true, I’m still just getting started, I’m still learning the ropes, I still have a long way to go. It’s exciting but it’s also frightening, as the more I learn, the more I look back on what I’ve done so far and cringe.

I had no idea how small a “small” game needed to be. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t still think in the back of my head, maybe I STILL don’t have any idea.

I have so many conflicting ideas and goals that it gets very difficult just trying to do this all myself. I find that I jump into a project really enjoying one aspect but then realize that it’s not really going anywhere I care to take the time to take it. What do you DO when you know your results just don’t match up to your hopes and expectations? That the trajectory your project on is going to hit square in the “way too mediocre” bullseye if you keep going forward on it?

I started in Game Maker, and I’m still using it… but now that I’ve gotten to really learn what Unity can do, and experienced plenty of it in another project, I look back at the limitations of GM and wonder how I ever thought it could put out something at the level of quality I wanted. Some people can wrangle that beast, through whatever trickery they use, but I fear it’s beyond me, to make my GM projects into something that I really want to label me.

So, what’s to become of all my work? Trust me, I have plenty up my sleeves. I’ve been neglecting a lot of my own personal art time to really crack down on something new. I’m not going to make promises because I’ve proven thus far that breaking them is something I’m very good at when it comes to these flimsy projects of mine. But this one… it’s solid. It’s well on its way to completion. It’s something I think I very much would like to label myself with. It’s a gem which I think is likely I’ll see to completion and commercial release in moderately short order, but it needs more time in the oven before I can really put it out there for everyone.

I must thank everyone who’s stuck around so long. It really means a lot to me that there’s even one person out there reading my ramblings and excited for what I put out. I think by now you’ve learned not to get too hyped up, though! I’ll have something cool out there eventually, but time isn’t ticking by too fast to let it bake until it’s really ready.

 

For now I have nothing to share, but I do have an imminent, approaching need to gather a small group of testers. I’ll be putting up a message here first, and later in other places, to gather a small group of Android tablet and phone users. I’ll be needing to gather some data on how new players catch on to the mechanics and how capable they are of overcoming certain challenges early on. Progression is going to take a fair bit of fine-tuning and I want to make sure I have it locked down before release. I would be looking for testers right now, but I need to program in a few more menus and a few other bits before it’s ready for play-testing. Preliminary and alpha play-testing went quite well, though, and I’m excited to hear from players once they get to experience it in a closer to complete form.

 

In other news, no more sketches for signing off! I enjoyed using them, but to be totally honest, half the reason I’ve waited so long to make a post on here so often is because I was too lazy to sketch up a new one. :P

Just a short post for anyone who hasn’t seen this one yet and might want to. It’s my first Youtube video, a timelapse showing my process for making a 3D model in 3DS Max:

 

I know this isn’t the kind of 3D model you would use in a game, and I know I did a few things wrong, but hey. How often do you get to see a timelapse of someone’s 3D modeling workflow?

I hope you like ponies. Or baby dragons. (disclaimer: there are no ponies in this video.)

 

It’s never an easy job. Coming up with a name that is memorable, different enough to stand out, but  still easy to say out loud is a difficult enough task on its own, but a name must be more than that. It must describe the game. It must somehow capture the essence of the game, as if to relate the experience in only a few words.

Am I doing it right?

So, my previously-Unnamed Space Game is now titled Hysteria Star. What’s in a title, though?

Hysteria Star is a game without ties to a persistent universe. Think of it like Mario. Yeah, there are some rules to that series. Eat mushrooms, stuff happens. Things have faces… Bowser flies off in a space-boat with Princess Peach’s castle and Mario can survive in the cold vacuum of space. There is no solid story, no specific “canon” to sweat over.

To that end, Hysteria Star has very little in the way of a story to tell. This is a game where you shoot and dodge, you fly through a variety of locations and run into all manner of obstacles along the way. There is no explanation for why you’re piloting a spaceship one playthrough and a flying ice cream truck the next. Just enjoy it. There’s no canon, there’s no abundance of made-up terms to describe every little thing, there’s no intricately woven tapestry of a narrative to guide you from level to level… it’s just pick up and play. Easy, Normal, Hard, pick your weapon, buy some upgrades and get on with it!

Hysteria, in a sense, describes the game in its very best state. When the lasers and bullets and explosions are flying all over the place and you’re frantically trying to avoid it all. When you come across an unexpected new set of obstacles that throw you for a loop, or a combination of mechanics you’ve run into before are thrown at you in a new way, that’s when Hysteria Star shines.

Star, as it so happens, is a giant ball of exploding junk that’s really bright. Neat! There are a lot of those here. It IS space, after all.

 

Actually, Star is a name that represents each ship playable in the game. The Stars are the hope of the galaxy, and they’re yours to control. They are also the first ships in the known universe to have the incredible technology called Credits. When one is destroyed in combat, another will fly in from seemingly nowhere to replace it, as long as the player has at least one Credit remaining.

I’m a genius, right?

The sketches above show three of the Stars playable in Hysteria Star. Initially, only a few will be available, and more will be unlocked as you progress. Each Star has its own main weapon and special ability, making them completely unique play experiences. Again with the naming thing, I haven’t nailed down the names of these just yet. From left to right:

Freedom Star

A good all-around ship, medium speed and shields. Goals in life: being average.
Spread Shot: a straightforward and predictable laser gun, upgrades add more lasers to each shot, spreading further up and down to cover a wider area.
Energy Overload: Just because the ship is average doesn’t mean the special isn’t. This attack sends out a shockwave that destroys projectiles and damages enemy ships within a circular area, causing a chain reaction in each enemy hit that sends out another, similar shockwave. The effect gets smaller with each time it chains to a new target, but a well-placed Overload can clear a room.

Phantom Star

A very unique ship which can dematerialize and move quickly, but suffers from a low shield.
Orbital Shot: Balls of plasma powered by magical Sin Waves, harder to predict than normal lasers but cover more area. Upgrades add more shots to each burst and small, invincible drone ships which spread around the Phantom Star in a sideways V formation.
Dissipation Field: This special makes the ship transparent for a few seconds, flying right through enemy bullets, ships and even walls without taking damage. Use this to break the game! Or to avoid getting demolished. While Dissipated, shots do half damage, but when the effect either wears off or is manually turned off, you get a few seconds of multiplied damage.

Baby Star

A very small, fast, very low shield ship. Despite its small size and 1-hit kills, this ship has some of the highest concentrated damage dealing capability in the game.
Gatling Shot: Starting out as a rather normal straightforward weapon like the Freedom Star’s weapon, upgrades quickly increase the rate of fire and the damage of each shot. Fully maxed out, this ship’s spray of bullets is a waterfall of pain.
Laser Gatling: This special turns the gatling bullets into piercing lasers for a short time. While active, the ship slows down and rapidly shoots lasers across the screen instantly. This special is unique in that the upgrades to the main weapon change the special’s rate of fire as well.

Going forward, it’s nice to have a name to reference. This development really has pushed the game toward a path of its own, a unique style. There’s a lot of work ahead of me but I think Hysteria Star will be a game worthy of that effort.

And it’s just another day as usual.

For those of you who might not have met me, (you probably haven’t heard of me. I’m pretty underground) my real name is Max, but this is the internet so that’s boring. No, I’m a crazy raccoon thing named Bit. I’m made of imagination juice, electricity and tons of junk food. I am The Goddamn Bitcoon.

I like to make games! I also like to play them, but who has the time to do that when you’re so busy making them? I’m not your average Dew-drinking, online marathon-playing, hate speech-spouting CoD player… actually, I’m nothing like that at all. Screw those point-and-click shooters, I’m a HARDCORE gamer. I like all kinds of games on all kinds of systems and all kinds of controllers, but the best kind is the kind where I see game over screens a lot. Kind.

For so many years I’ve been doing art and character designs, creating interesting fantasy and sci-fi worlds and scenarios and imagining a world where these could actually be experienced by other, real (!) people. It wasn’t until a year or two ago that I gained the courage to actually pursue that dream. I have great ideas (says me) and I want to make something of them. The best way to do that is… well, to just do it!

My goal is to make games for gamers. Games that are reminiscent of the days before you had to have blood spilling out of every fully-rendered pore on a character’s face (wait, how does that even-) and before you had to lead the player on a movie-like trip through a better-than-real-looking world just to keep their attention. Games which focus on great gameplay and being fun, not realistic visuals and online multiplayer progression mechanics. Games which are challenging, but never force you into that until it stops being fun.

So, what can you expect to see on this blog? Mostly:

  • Updates and screenshots and concept art for my games
  • Games I’m Playing: just talking about cool games I’ve gotten into lately, sometimes new stuff, sometimes indie games, sometimes games older than you are. I’ll try not to bore you with posts about That Thing Everyone’s Playing Already. (HEY GUYS CHECK OUT THIS COOL GAME MINECRAFT *facebrick*)
  • Random stuff that has something to do with gaming, I guess?

I would say more things but I’d rather not risk making this wall of text any scarier to read. (if you hate walls, RUN, FAST. I am a dangerous person)

Keep it real. Real virtual.

 

 

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