Here’s an early prototype of a space flight game we would like to turn into a proper game someday. Plus, it’s also our Christmas and New Year postcard this year! So Happy 2017!
So far we are already able to turn the spaceship with a mouse, accelerate (W), brake (S), strafe left (A) and right (D), fly upwards (Space) and downwards (Left Ctrl) and roll left (Q) and right (E). Yup, it works like a FPS! We can also shoot our lasers (Left mouse button) and a tractor beam (Right mouse button). We’ll add gamepad control at some point.
Behind the curtains we are also toying with an Entity Component System (ECS) architectural pattern on Unity, and so far we have a good feeling about it. Those gifts swarming around the Christmas tree are nothing but pure data!
Plenty of work ahead and surely lots of fun. And headaches. But that’s what game development is about: solving problems to create fun!
We felt that Beatfense Alpha 5 lacked strategy. Placing Repeaters in Pulse lines was the only thing the player could control, but there was no relation between Repeater placement and enemy movements. One could just place Repeaters in a certain pattern and hope for the swarm to be contained, as enemies simply flew almost freely over the grid.
In many Tower Defense games, structures are placed so that the player can create paths that enemies will follow – players shape the battlefield, allowing them to devise defensive strategies.
We wanted to explore this mechanic, so enemies are now slower and come in waves. First wave has just one enemy, second wave has two enemies and so on… And they take Repeaters seriously – their steering behaviours won’t allow them to collide with obstacles. That way the player may create some sort of paths and divide enemy forces. But enemies shoot back as they move, destroying Repeaters! (they are ‘healed’ when they receive the Pulse). That way the battlefield changes constantly.
There’s also a crude resources management mechanism, although not that serious. Repeaters cost 2 points, killed enemies award 1 point and resources increase slowly as time passes. Just to prevent placing Repeaters everywhere… But it’s there just for testint purposes.
Anyway… now we have a weir prototype. It’s not as chaotic as previous versions, but it’s certainly difficult to understand what’s happening in the grid. All those Pulse lines going back and forth… We could take two paths now. Go on with Beatfense, adding more features (different kind of weapons, enemies, holes in the grid…), trying to balance all this… or go for something different, simplifying gameplay.