Monday, May 26, 2014

Mondays sunday Dev diary. - Meet the Circon

Hello everyone! Im glad im finaly writing another dev. diary entry after little break and finaly developement of Awaken moved bit forward. I skipped dev diary last sunday as i did not wanted to write again about how the game is more optimized now, how i used that bit of extra performance to enhance something and other boring, non interesting stuff. Before we ll talk about boss for "Descent" level lets talk a bit about distractions, reworks and why the game is getting bit delayed.

When i started developing Awaken i tought the game ll be finished in two or three monts, or at least at the beta stage. All i wanted was simple arcade style shooting game like the ones i remember from my childhood.
Works went quite smooth for first couple of weeks, but the harder i worked on the game, the more i expected from it. I started to pay more attention to graphics and started reading articles about pixel art and reworked every piece of graphics i had until then(actualy this step is repeating like every month).

Started looking for suitable music for the game as well and found out there is lot of even free music aviable online, but its hard to found well fitting pieces and when i found them i realized i cant afford them. Unfortunately i spent dozen of hours i could spent elsewhere on the game, to realize i ll have to make even music for this game by my self. That is the main reason why there was no dev. diary entry last sunday as i spent whole week repurchasing and setting up for use all the equipment i will need as i sold most of my music gear years ago. Still, im leaving music as a last thing on "to do" list as im still hoping i ll find an artist who ll be willing to provide some of his pieces for the game, but if not i ll have to do it my self. The reason im leaving this as a last thing is that composing and recording music is very time consuming and when it comes to composing it could last anywhere from five minutes to years and it cant be organized in to the work like lets say: "ok today im going to work one hour on level background, one hour on enemy behaviours and one hour on music"

To sum above up, im getting overwhelmed by the tasks i have to do and getting distracted every day from fullfilling them but still, i enjoy this ride and even if the game will be delayed again, i hope all the extra work will be worth it and the game ll provide at least couple of hours of fun to its players.

Now lets talk about Circon!

Circon is the boss of second level and while the encounter of LX-76 in game first mission was quite straightforward(yeah, another thing to rework), Circon is getting bit more complex. The fights in shmup games like the LX-76 were great in the 80`s and early 90`s but fortunately time goes on and exciting phased boss fights can be imported in to shmup games as well! Basicaly i realized this when playing some of the newer shmups(my shmup experience when i started working on awaken was 1942, Raptor and Tyrian) and found out bosses can do more than beign dumb bricks sitting in middle of screen and randomly switching bullet patterns shooting at player.
I spent quite some time working on Circon and equiped with new experience from playing great games like Jamestown or Danmaku unlimited hes much closer to experience nowdays arcade shooter game should offer to the player.
Basicaly Circon switch phases based on his hit points and player have to learn these phases to overcome encounter and while some of them can be passed by just wildly flying around, there are few that require player to do certain thing or be prapaired in certain spot on screen when the phase starts.
When designing the phases im trying to keep sanity and make all of them passable even on first attempt if the player ll focus on whats going on screen and keep calm and i hope fighting Circon ll be challenging and fun at one time.

Thanks for reading and see you soon by more updates!


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday Dev diary. - Teaser and more

Hello! Its sunday again and here i am with Awaken developement progress update. Lets start with boring technical stuff so we can move ahead as soon as possible. The bullet spawning and pattern creating system was completely reworked and simplified so creating new bullet pattern is matter of minutes. That means game ll contain more types of enemy bullets and more patterns they ll create as their creation is not time consuming at all and i can spend more time on designing instead of parsuading stuff to work as intended and thats great. The rework was really worth the time spent on it improved game performance a lot and now i can have twice more bullets on scene than before and without loss of FPS.
All the other additions comes from this change as i reworked everythink bullet-related. Now i can serve you animated bullets as game performs much better even in flash export. Bullet patterns are more crazy than before and all that combined with the enemy behavior changes i wrote about last week creates whole new gaming experience.
It was quite quick today so lets lengthen your visit by a new gameplay teaser as its certainly more entertaining way of spending your free time, than reading wall of text.
Thanks for visit and see you next time!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday Dev diary. - New Enemies

Hello again by the sunday dev. diary! Today we ll talk about new set of enemies and related stuff. I know im teasing the story a bit with "Posthumans" in title of this article, but that all im goin to say about the story for now.

As you can see from the big picture there are 4 new enemy ships added to the game. They will appear for first time during second mission called "The Descent". I ve been inspired by a lot of sci fi stuff while drawing these and i tried as hard as i could to have some unifiing element present on all of them. In this case there are antenas in tho front of all of them and simillar colors. These can be divided in two types, the smaller ones withou orange decks on tops are the interceptors, the smaller and symetric one is classic one-shoot "popcorn" enemy. They are attacking in huge numbers in fast zooming attacks and enemies like these are present in most shmup games to give the player "im a badass" feeling and their main purpose is to fill the screen with smoke and fire of their own explosion.

Second type of interceptor is slightly bigger, asymetric shape and have visible power source. These are a bit tougher than first ones, can maneuver a bit while shooting aimed bullets at player. Enemies like this are usualy bit harder to crack when appear for the first time, but are the ones where player can feel ship upgrades most as in later stages they ll quickly fall in to "popcorn" enemy category as they ll become just a bit more dangerous one shootable insect.

Now to the big guys;-) The smaller one is kind of support ship for the interceptors and as they look much bulkier they are obviously much more durable and have much bigger firepower. Usualy comes with the pack of interceptors and serve mainly as a distraction but can become dangerous when left unnoticed.

The bigest ship on the screen is kind of mini boss enemy. As it should be obvious to every player on sight, it has double the durability and firepower than its smaller brother and its the first enemey thats going to use beam attack against the player.

I was working on more than those few sprites this week, but most of the work contained watching other shmup games and learning the patterns in whitch enemies are comming to the screen. While observing and taking the notes i implemented some of the ideas in to the awaken as well and found out i ve been underestimating this part of gameplay a lot as even few improvements on the enemy behavioral patterns enriched the game by a lot.

Another important change in the game was switching stencly physics mode to simplier mode. I had to completely rework colision boxes on everything, but the performance improvement was significant as the engine dont have to calculate all the stuff thats not used by the game anyway.
And thats all what was done this week, plans for next one is to draw a boss of second level, progam its behavior and make whole level work. It ll be tight, but i hope i can make it;-)

Thanks for reading!