I’ve decided for some arbitrary reason to make myself update every Monday. Uh.. it’s still technically Monday in my time zone. So I’m not late for my first Monday Update… that would just be sad…
Put your Fun Hats on, we’re in for a hell of a ride!
…Actually, I would have more to show by now but development is at a bit of a temporary standstill. As I’ve said before, I’m using Game Maker: Studio for this game. Well, that is, the GM: Studio Beta, which has ended. I don’t have the money yet to buy the program proper, so I can’t actually work on the game itself until I make some cash from work.
But! I don’t let that kind of minor detail stop me. 🙂 There’s still plenty to do- concepts, sprites, sounds, music… it all has to get done, so I’m taking this time to nail down some level designs and get some concepts and assets looking pretty.
There’s a lot I haven’t explained about this one yet. I think it’s a good time to play some catch-up and put down a little more detail on some important aspects of the game. Today we venture into the wild world of CONTROLS!
Since this game will be coming out on smartphone first and foremost, my goal is to make it as simple and accessible as possible.
Personally, I hate virtual buttons. There’s no tactile feedback, and they cover up parts of the screen. Well… you can’t NOT cover up a touch screen while TOUCHING it. But those buttons never move. You’re always having to cover that same spot, so when something actually needs to be seen there, you’re out of luck. My solution? You drag the ship around! You get full control over exactly how much and how fast you move, but there’s one string attached: like most shoot-em-ups, your ship doesn’t just go as fast as you feel like without grabbing some upgrades. So, when you drag on the touch screen, a silhouette of your ship appears and your ship follows it at whatever speed it can go.
There’s one other input in gameplay: you touch the screen to activate your special. Just a quick tap will unleash a devastating attack, a defensive aura, or whatever your chosen ship can do. Each one has its own unique main weapon, special ability and upgrade paths for those and more. The main weapon fires on its own, so your only worries are dodging and timing your special to deal massive damage or avoid losing credits (extra lives).
The combination of those two simple mechanics (tap and drag) means this game is highly playable without having to fuss around with finicky virtual buttons or learn complex control schemes. It also means you can play however you want to. The entire screen is your controller, so you can tap and drag anywhere you’d like. You quickly grow into a rhythm that lets you see the whole screen while you figure out your next move, and you’re never stuck covering the same spot for long enough for it to mess you up. Since there are only really two inputs, you can focus a lot more on dodging and aiming, and this means things are going to get hectic, and fast.
I’m also planning on Windows and Mac releases, and I’m a fan of game pads on smartphones, so I will be building in that second control method into all platforms. I want to make sure players have a lot of room to adjust the settings so it controls how they like.