SyntaxBomb - Indie Coders

General Category => Worklogs => Topic started by: STEVIE G on April 15, 2020, 10:57:38 PM

Title: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on April 15, 2020, 10:57:38 PM
I've been working on this over Easter and beyond.

* Increased the size of the levels - they are now 4 times larger with no drop in framerate.
* Added alot more variety to backgrounds - new colours, land feature, vegatation and buildings etc..
* Added a few new enemies and reworked some of the older ones to look a bit better.
* Increased the number of waves to 40.
* Toying with an upgrade system similar to Van Tourisimo (might drop that).

Some screenshots ...

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS30.png)

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS31.png)

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS32.png)

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS33.png)

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS34.png)


Title: Re: Guntar - update
Post by: Steve Elliott on April 15, 2020, 11:08:28 PM
Cool.  Looking forward to trying out the new version.   :D
Title: Re: Guntar - update
Post by: Santiago on April 16, 2020, 01:03:19 AM
 i love this graphics style!, i wait the demo!! good work!!
Title: Re: Guntar - update
Post by: blinkok on April 16, 2020, 02:02:27 AM
Lovely as always. Is the dithering programmed or texture?
Title: Re: Guntar - update
Post by: Derron on April 16, 2020, 06:08:32 AM
Hint: spellcheck the thread title :D


PS: Any stats for download counts etc? Would be interesting for such a great title.


bye
Ron
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on April 16, 2020, 07:38:17 AM
Title updated, my eyes are going in my old age  ;D

Gunstar is a hidden url at the moment so only 75 downloads. By contrast Van Tourisimo has 4,500 downloads with 9,500 views.  As soon as you charge these figures take a nosedive as no one wants to pay for hard work on itch.  I was going to try £1.99 and see how that goes.
Title: Re: Guntar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on April 16, 2020, 07:45:50 AM
Lovely as always. Is the dithering programmed or texture?

The dithering is applied directly to the background texture each wave. It's  meant to represent a buildup of corruption by the Virus spreading enemy ships.
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Derron on April 16, 2020, 07:47:58 AM
Thanks for the stats. Does it happen for the "pay what you want" method too? So asking for 1,99 or a price the user enters. I assume it does not matter much - if there is a price tag - even optional - people skip it.

If you are there for the download count: ask for money and start a "100% discount campaign" - this will lead to links spread on the "now free" threads on reddit and other pages.
Think it is useful if you added a little ad into the game - promoting other games you have (eg Gunstar then).

bye
Ron
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on April 18, 2020, 10:54:24 PM
Thanks for the stats. Does it happen for the "pay what you want" method too? So asking for 1,99 or a price the user enters. I assume it does not matter much - if there is a price tag - even optional - people skip it.

If you are there for the download count: ask for money and start a "100% discount campaign" - this will lead to links spread on the "now free" threads on reddit and other pages.
Think it is useful if you added a little ad into the game - promoting other games you have (eg Gunstar then).

bye
Ron

Van Tourisimo was set to 'no payment'.  I changed it to 'pay what you like' yesterday as a test and went from average of 10 downloads a day to 0.  V strange as they're pretty much both free.


Finalised the 3 versions of the Gunstar - took much longer than I would have likes.  They are seen here seen taking on a Brute (latest and final enemy - an absolute nightmare) and then fleeing the scene to find another target.  This is just a test but you will automatically upgrade to the MKII and then MKIII when power has been maxed.  Each version improves firepower, acceleration and armour and your wingmen powerup will be the previous version.

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS37.png)

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS38.png)
 
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Matty on April 18, 2020, 11:43:34 PM
That looks quite excellent.  I love the pixelated look.
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: 3DzForMe on April 19, 2020, 06:25:47 AM
Quote
  I've been working on this over Easter and beyond.

* Increased the size of the levels - they are now 4 times larger with no drop in framerate.
* Added alot more variety to backgrounds - new colours, land feature, vegatation and buildings etc..
* Added a few new enemies and reworked some of the older ones to look a bit better.
* Increased the number of waves to 40.
* Toying with an upgrade system similar to Van Tourisimo (might drop that).

Some screenshots ...   

Awesome, nice to see its progressing looking forward to trying the latest edition.

Its poor that interest drops to 0 as soon as you put 'pay what you want'. It almost seems worthwhile having two itch.io versions of it - one where peeps can just download it - then on the 'credits' page have link to an Itch.io where peepps can 'pay' for it with what they want. Rubbish you've to go to those lengths.

Don't let it take it away from excellent work, great stuff as usual StevieG.
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Derron on April 19, 2020, 08:31:08 AM
>  I assume it does not matter much - if there is a price tag - even optional - people skip it.

Maybe my English wasn't good enough there so I better clarify: what I meant to say is: as soon as you tag it "pay what you want" people will skip the game (not the ask for the price). They see "hmm, something with money" or maybe even "orrrrrr this needs an additional step to download it).

As said you could try to create an entry (maybe a "Deluxe version" with 2 additional levels). Sell it for 2,99.
Then create a campaign offering it for 100% discount (0,00) for 2 weeks.
Download count of this version will raise a lot then.

BUT ... you do not know who just downloaded and who plays. Many "collectors" around.


bye
Ron
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Steve Elliott on April 19, 2020, 03:11:46 PM
Quote
As soon as you charge these figures take a nosedive as no one wants to pay for hard work on itch.  I was going to try £1.99 and see how that goes.

 >:( I knew you were going to update the game so haven't bought it yet, but I will.  How about Steam?  Are people more likely to pay there?

Have you got some YouTube promotion videos out?  Personally I think your game looks much much better when animated, rather than in a still screen shot.
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Matty on April 20, 2020, 04:42:45 AM
Regarding 'pay what you want' and user behaviour I came across this link today from a site that must have existed once as a sale place a bit like itch.io and others....

http://indiegamestand.com/

Interesting read - the top few lines about sales volumes of pay what you want across their website.
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: iWasAdam on April 20, 2020, 07:56:30 AM
There is also the fact that games done sell unless they are good. Not just good, but brilliant - everything fits and the game captures something that engages people.
It's not just about knowing a market, it's about having something that sparks its own market.

If its money, then tools are possibly a better option, but again you have to have a tool that does something unique and answers a problem in a brilliant or stylish way.

Does my game/tool stand out, or is it just one of many doing nothing special in a dull and uninspiring way?
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on April 20, 2020, 08:17:09 PM
>  I assume it does not matter much - if there is a price tag - even optional - people skip it.

Maybe my English wasn't good enough there so I better clarify: what I meant to say is: as soon as you tag it "pay what you want" people will skip the game (not the ask for the price). They see "hmm, something with money" or maybe even "orrrrrr this needs an additional step to download it).

As said you could try to create an entry (maybe a "Deluxe version" with 2 additional levels). Sell it for 2,99.
Then create a campaign offering it for 100% discount (0,00) for 2 weeks.
Download count of this version will raise a lot then.

BUT ... you do not know who just downloaded and who plays. Many "collectors" around.


bye
Ron

I think I've given a 100% discount before (maybe just free) and people just snap it up, add it to their collection for later download.  When you remove the discount it fades into obscurity.
I'll maybe give it a go though.  At the end of the day it would be nice to earn a little money for the effort but priority is getting people to play it and hopefully have fun!

I've said it before but I think that the majority of Itch users won't pay for a thing.

Quick update (from my ever reducing todo list),

* Improved explosions effects
* Improved respawn effects
* Improved player dead camera
* Improved Powerup / Gem collection
* Finalised the upgrade system
* Added a flying monster. 

A bit more on the monster. 
It's similar to the one in Zarch in that you'll only occasionally see it. 
It chases and eats ducks - is faster with a lower turning circle which makes for some madcap chases. 
The wings flap, tail moves side to side and mouth opens and closes as it's moving.
The ducks crap themselves when it's close by. 

Predator VS Prey .. a couple of shots of this monster in action ..

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS35.png)

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS36.png)
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on April 22, 2020, 02:43:01 PM
A short 1/2 speed / 30 fps / no sound / bad quality video showing the new GS Escosystem  ;D

Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Matty on April 22, 2020, 04:07:14 PM
I like that in motion.  The little geysers or volcano things are great.
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Santiago on April 22, 2020, 06:05:41 PM
it's excellent!!!!!
I love it when the mothership shoots the little birdie.

Style and colors really transport me to the golden age of video games.

perhaps to give a sensation of height to the terrain, the shadow of your ship could be varied according to the height of the terrain
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on April 30, 2020, 06:03:52 PM
Quick update. Almost there ..

* Added difficulty select from Poor to Elite and unlockable start wave.
* Sorted all the sounds to .ogg
* Added regeneration ability to the MkII and MkIII Gunstars. Power slowly increases to repair damage. Saves you having to top up as regularly.
* Optimised the AI
* Added rain effects
* Added water monster which pops its head up, looks around and  disappears with a splash.
* Added friendly (at least they don't attack you or the enemy unless provoked). They will fight for you in the end.

All that's left is finishing the final waves.  ;D

The Cruiser has escort fighters which destroy anything which hits it, including rocks and you.
(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS39.png)

The Saucer
(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS40.png)

The Betty. My favourite kind of like the one from Alien4.
(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS41.png)

The water monster in the rain.
(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS42.png)

Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Steve Elliott on May 01, 2020, 04:35:17 PM
Some good progress then, marvellous.  Looking forward to playing.
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on May 04, 2020, 12:44:01 PM
Spent yesterday  optimizing the render cycle. Was sitting at 10-15 ms per frame with alot going on. My dev comp is gash with lowest end gfx card so would no doubt render faster on most other machines. I'm aiming for v low end so changed all the object rendering to single surface with vertex manipulation, similar to the particle system. Down to 2-3 ms per frame, what a difference.  :o

Development was slow as every time I quit the game, after testing something, it took a minute to get back to the IDE. Im guessing Blitz had to flush vmem or suchlike. That issue has gone now, straight into the IDE when I quit  :P

Today I have been working on AI collision avoidance. The code was quite simple and could be built into the main collision routine. Basically,  if there wasn't a collision and objects were still within a certain distance; weren't attacking something and had turning and thrust capabilities , calculate the reflection vector as if there was a collision and augment the turn towards that new vector.  The results are pretty good with some spectacular successful avoidance and failure for some faster ships. I've been testing this by zooming right out to see everything on the level - a real sight on a big TV and would make a nice screensaver.  ;D The bonus is you and get to see the particle and animation systems working well - in that they only happen close to the ship.

Anyway, just thought I share more good progress.

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS43.png)
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Derron on May 04, 2020, 03:34:24 PM
I enjoy reading such "improving render times by 500%" posts. good job.


Also this means your upcoming projects will benefit from your newly gained experience.


bye
Ron
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Santiago on May 04, 2020, 03:55:34 PM
Hello, what a good job, it looks amazing !, I am really anxious to play it !!
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on May 04, 2020, 08:38:23 PM
I enjoy reading such "improving render times by 500%" posts. good job.


Also this means your upcoming projects will benefit from your newly gained experience.


bye
Ron

Cheers. I do like the optimisation phase of a project. Each object used 3 meshes/surfaces and 3 textures (main/shadow/outline). Now every object uses about 15 meshes and 15 textures in total. Next up is text rendering. Logic is sitting at a constant 4-6ms per frame which is fine for everything that's going on.
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Steve Elliott on May 05, 2020, 10:02:51 AM
Good job Stevie, it's a style of work you've been refining for a while now, looks like it's paying off.
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on May 05, 2020, 11:26:34 PM
Now that I've finished the text optimisation - now for the Characters - to give it a bit of a (very limited) story.  The guy in the middle is the Supreme Earthling leader (the bad guy), the green ones on the right are Mercurians (who are being invaded) and last but not least is you - the Martian (out for vengance).  The faces eyebrows, eyes and mouthes move about while rotating side to side on their respective ships chairs.  Only one character will appear at a time (this is just a test) and they'll talk some mince at the start or end of levels.

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS44.png)
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Xerra on May 05, 2020, 11:58:36 PM
Are you submitting this for the reboot competition, Stevie?
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on May 06, 2020, 12:20:53 AM
Are you submitting this for the reboot competition, Stevie?

Nope. This is just me developing my original vision for the game. Started it not long after the last comp ended so not valid anyway.  ;D
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: blinkok on May 06, 2020, 01:20:07 AM
Haha. Superb characters! I'm thinking a parody of Bender would be nice
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on May 06, 2020, 08:01:35 AM
Trump (sorry the supreme Earthlings Leader) now leans back and forward in his chair and a Robot for Blink  :))

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS45.png)
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Matty on May 06, 2020, 08:23:04 AM
That looks so cool.
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: blinkok on May 06, 2020, 09:17:08 AM
Haha! Superb!
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Steve Elliott on May 06, 2020, 09:24:47 AM
Haha love the characters.  8)
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on May 06, 2020, 11:01:52 AM
Having lots of fun playing with the animations. Trump now has various states of relaxation, layed back in the chair,  normal and face against the screen screaming  :D

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS46.png)
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on May 06, 2020, 04:15:28 PM
Ok, final test shots of how it will look in game .. dodgy writting so apologies for that  :))

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS47.png)

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS48.png)

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS49.png)

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS50.png)

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS51.png)

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS52.png)

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS53.png)
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Derron on May 06, 2020, 11:05:01 PM
(https://imgur.com/bBBNg2M.png)

double space char spotted?


bye
Ron
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on May 06, 2020, 11:17:00 PM
Trust you ;D Yes, noticed that already, cheers.
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on May 07, 2020, 08:24:02 PM
NPCs in action during a battle.  8)

Excuse some of the chatter  :o

Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Xerra on May 07, 2020, 10:31:25 PM
Holy Moley, that thing looks like a giant birthday cake, sir!

It doesn't actually say that but I demand you add it for the last boss, lol.

This game has come on leaps and bounds since the last competition. Amazing stuff. Some of  the comments those npc's make are great. Does the princess need a good rogering?
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Steve Elliott on May 07, 2020, 10:42:15 PM
Quote
This game has come on leaps and bounds since the last competition. Amazing stuff.

Definitely.  You took a great concept and ran with it...But I think it still needs more particles lol.   ;)
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: 3DzForMe on May 07, 2020, 10:48:56 PM
My lord StevieG - this game is priceless, the NPCs had me chuckling away - just shear quality.

So much going on - your the man StevieG  ;D
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Derron on May 08, 2020, 01:16:18 PM
Normally I do not request "censorship" but dialogues like "go down like a 2 bit whore" might not be needed. I mean in the sense of "needlessly" disturbing potential users.


bye
Ron
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on May 08, 2020, 05:59:56 PM
Yes Derron, these were just chat for testing - some will be toned down for the target audience.  More importantly,  being a nitpicking  pedant,  I'm surprised you never noticed that everyone is missing eyebrows  :-*
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Derron on May 08, 2020, 07:02:17 PM
That might be an evolution thing ... maybe in the space era eyebrows are no longer needed ... same for butt hair :D

Yet I have to explain why I did not nitpick for missing eyebrows: they have some.
(https://imgur.com/iTHy96s.png)

bye
Ron
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on May 08, 2020, 07:08:38 PM
That might be an evolution thing ... maybe in the space era eyebrows are no longer needed ... same for butt hair :D

Yet I have to explain why I did not nitpick for missing eyebrows: they have some.
(https://imgur.com/iTHy96s.png)

bye
Ron

Not in the video footage  ;)
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Derron on May 09, 2020, 05:52:43 AM
Ohh ....you are right. How can you dare....poor game trump....

Bye
Ron
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on May 09, 2020, 04:26:48 PM
One for the censorship board 'Derron' - does this meet with your approval?

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS55.png)

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS54.png)

In other news, I need to add the option to have no comms incase it gets annoying.  Also, I don't  want it getting in the way of your view so have shifted the wave indicator to the bottom right. This will allow comms to come in from the top or bottom - basically the opposite of where your ship is pointing.  Seems like a sensible solution but not 100%. Any thoughts?
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Derron on May 09, 2020, 11:52:06 PM
If they are too chatty without any "benefits" it should be optional ... some might like it as it "encourages" to play some minutes longer and another minute longer and ...
Yet you need to ensure that the stuff they shout is not too repetitive.

Also I think you should have X choices per "mood". And the "mood" is defined by:
- being attacked by you in the last minute ("short term aggression")
- being attacked by you at all ("long term aggression")
- being almost defeated ("game chances")
- having almost owne ("game chances")
- having a streak


... so all this "states" affect from which "mood box" your choice is to select.
Each of this "boxes" could be a "ring of choices" so once the top most is used it is put at the bottom (to avoid repetition).


bye
Ron
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on May 10, 2020, 10:36:21 AM
If they are too chatty without any "benefits" it should be optional ... some might like it as it "encourages" to play some minutes longer and another minute longer and ...
Yet you need to ensure that the stuff they shout is not too repetitive.

Also I think you should have X choices per "mood". And the "mood" is defined by:
- being attacked by you in the last minute ("short term aggression")
- being attacked by you at all ("long term aggression")
- being almost defeated ("game chances")
- having almost owne ("game chances")
- having a streak


... so all this "states" affect from which "mood box" your choice is to select.
Each of this "boxes" could be a "ring of choices" so once the top most is used it is put at the bottom (to avoid repetition).


bye
Ron

I don't want it to be as complex as that, it's an arcade shooter not an RPG. Messages do have priority - ie if one of the important characters is taking damage. Earthlings Pilots are the lowest, then Generals, then Friendlies and then the Earthlings leader.  So, priority messages will override less important ones. The Dropship  pilot will chat at the start of each wave if he has a tip to tell and the Friendles can say hello at this point too. The main aim  is to have to have some Pilot Wings style chatter during the battles. When a wave is complete the Princess or Earthlings leader or the dropship pilot can say something too.

Need to keep it simple  but add variety.
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: iWasAdam on May 10, 2020, 10:53:18 AM
possible suggestion

do a flip flop with the chatter.
E.G. left corner first text along bottom in followed by right side, then back to left, etc.

This would keep the main view clear, and use the corner side and bottom more :)

another way would be to remove the dark background and move the text down
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: 3DzForMe on May 11, 2020, 06:42:38 AM
Strong praise from my 18 year old daughter - your game should be on the App Store - I think the NPC's really added a good slice of humour to what is already a most awesome game ;)
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on May 11, 2020, 05:25:36 PM
Strong praise from my 18 year old daughter - your game should be on the App Store - I think the NPC's really added a good slice of humour to what is already a most awesome game ;)

Excellent,  high praise indeed. If I remember she also influenced your comp vote  ;D

I've been trying to figure out a way to keep the main characters alive for the final battle without making them invincible. Think of it as Battle Beyond The Stars where various factions eventually come together to fight a common evil.  Indestructible 'Escape capsules' for the win.  8)

You can pick them up like you would a powerup so get points and thanks or leave them on the field. Either way they survive.  I've got 3 mercenaries, an admiral and a Cigar smoking, Stetson wearing robot cowboy, from different planets, who will join the fight.  The later one quotes lines similar to those from unforgiven and has the fastest ship. He won't start as a good guy. 

I've updated the comms so that the most important messages get heard. If their ship is destroyed while speaking their image changes to static. When a relevant event has happened the NPC send a request to the comms system which picks the message depending on the situation and also decides if the message is more important than the one currently displayed or currently in the queue. Seems to work quite well.

Final boss is done, let's just say I had alot of fun with that and hope it goes down well.  :P

I have a dilemma.  The game has 10 zones, each with 4 waves. I'm guessing you'll be able to complete it in an hour or so. I started by having a zone select where each is unlocked as you progress. The problem with this is that you will have a less powerful ship if you start on the later zones and less chance of accumulating a decent score. So options...

1. I though of having an auto save at the end of each zone which will allow you to continue at the start of that zone with the same points, gems, upgrades you had at the point of save.  Issue is if you only had 1 life left. I could give you at least 5 maybe?
2. No saving. You start from the beginning each time and depending on difficulty have multiple continues of 5 lives each. You don't lose upgrades, gems or score. I think this is my preference so far. Maybe each continue costs you 50000pts or something?
3. Similar to 1 but save file stores your position at the end of all previous zones too. You can then select which one to start from. If you start from an earlier zone and subsequently complete it, your position for that zone is saved over and future zone positions remain intact until you get past that zone and overwrite it.

I think I'm over complicating this so suggestions most welcome.

Cheers Stevie










Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Derron on May 11, 2020, 07:05:32 PM
Other games had level progressing done in a way that you could win a "next" level somehow - but eg not "perfect" (think of a "5 of 5 stars rating") or only if you are very skilled.

Yet you were allowed to play certain levels again - eg. to collect more bonus coins which you could spend to upgrade your items. Or you meanwhile have access to certain items which allow other routes than before (think of the "coloured blocks" which you enable in Super Mario World .. which make paths walkable etc - making shortcuts available then).

So maybe going "back" in the levels is like going back in time - once you went back you cannot jump back "into the future" but have to live your live from there on. So assume this:
In Level 1 you can kill enemy A - or not. You need to kill him to gain access to Level 1_2 which exposes you some knowledge/skill which you can keep during your time travel (eg how to fly the ship of enemy A).
Timewarp ...Level 1 again.
You can now not just kill the enemy, you can assist him by taking over their ship so that there is enough manpower to kill enemy B (in Level 2_1) which else would only be killed by enemy C "force joining" you in the fight (for some price).
So the time warp allows to "re-choose" stuff with your new knowledge of skills (and also of the story - who is a bad guy and who a good one by their heart).



@ game saving
You could give "coins" ...coins can be spend to "win" levels without playing (until you reach "-x levels of your max reached level"). So you can play the levels you know you can win easily and then "skip" the others until you reach the current.
Or make level skipping subtract lives ... so it is up to you if you skip here and there..


bye
Ron
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: 3DzForMe on May 12, 2020, 12:03:26 AM
I like the sound of No. 3, bit like a rewind. Also, the NPC s sound very intriguing  ;D
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Steve Elliott on May 12, 2020, 01:17:03 AM
As far as the characters are concerned, they add some more interest.  But will they quickly become annoying?  You cannot possibly have an endless supply of dialogue without it getting repetitive...Almost like getting heckled when you're trying to play...Some will appreciate it I guess, but definitely something that needs an off option.  Having said that I've often thought of adding brutal heckles to a game, to wind a player up and in some way encouraging the player to try harder next game...It's a fine line to tread.

It seems your game is evolving though (and it's a really good game already) the only true feedback we can give I feel is after playing, rather than a description of how things happen.
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on May 12, 2020, 11:24:00 AM
Other games had level progressing done in a way that you could win a "next" level somehow - but eg not "perfect" (think of a "5 of 5 stars rating") or only if you are very skilled.

Yet you were allowed to play certain levels again - eg. to collect more bonus coins which you could spend to upgrade your items. Or you meanwhile have access to certain items which allow other routes than before (think of the "coloured blocks" which you enable in Super Mario World .. which make paths walkable etc - making shortcuts available then).

So maybe going "back" in the levels is like going back in time - once you went back you cannot jump back "into the future" but have to live your live from there on. So assume this:
In Level 1 you can kill enemy A - or not. You need to kill him to gain access to Level 1_2 which exposes you some knowledge/skill which you can keep during your time travel (eg how to fly the ship of enemy A).
Timewarp ...Level 1 again.
You can now not just kill the enemy, you can assist him by taking over their ship so that there is enough manpower to kill enemy B (in Level 2_1) which else would only be killed by enemy C "force joining" you in the fight (for some price).
So the time warp allows to "re-choose" stuff with your new knowledge of skills (and also of the story - who is a bad guy and who a good one by their heart).



@ game saving
You could give "coins" ...coins can be spend to "win" levels without playing (until you reach "-x levels of your max reached level"). So you can play the levels you know you can win easily and then "skip" the others until you reach the current.
Or make level skipping subtract lives ... so it is up to you if you skip here and there..


bye
Ron

Hmmm, too complicated and not in my plans.

As far as the characters are concerned, they add some more interest.  But will they quickly become annoying?  You cannot possibly have an endless supply of dialogue without it getting repetitive...Almost like getting heckled when you're trying to play...Some will appreciate it I guess, but definitely something that needs an off option.  Having said that I've often thought of adding brutal heckles to a game, to wind a player up and in some way encouraging the player to try harder next game...It's a fine line to tread.

It seems your game is evolving though (and it's a really good game already) the only true feedback we can give I feel is after playing, rather than a description of how things happen.

Agreed. I'll be looking for some Guinea pigs shortly. I've settled on a new game / load game style.
New game starts on zone1 and load game allows you to select zones 2 to 10, assuming you've made
it that far. Once you've completed a zone, the game will create a new save file or overwrite any existing
 save file for that zone.  Max of 9 files. The save file will include player info (score, lives, gems etc.) but also difficulty. 
It means you can effectively rewind / wind fwd time and retry a zone to improve your score but have to start again
if you want to up the difficulty. As you progress at the new difficulty the old save files will be overwritten.

Sounds complicated but it's not.  I think it works well.
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Derron on May 12, 2020, 12:06:52 PM
Quote
It means you can effectively rewind / wind fwd time and retry a zone to improve your score but have to start again

Quote
Hmmm, too complicated and not in my plans.

Seems time rewind is not too far of my idea (albeit I of course "deepened" it a bit)


bye
Ron
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on May 12, 2020, 02:02:36 PM
Quote
It means you can effectively rewind / wind fwd time and retry a zone to improve your score but have to start again

Quote
Hmmm, too complicated and not in my plans.

Seems time rewind is not too far of my idea (albeit I of course "deepened" it a bit)


bye
Ron

Yeah, similar. I just didn't want it used as a gameplay element as that would give me a headache.  :))
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on May 13, 2020, 12:00:58 PM
Progress update ..

The Load Game screen works like so ... where you're given details of how you were doing.  If you started  a new game on Hard and made it to the end of wave 4 the zone 02 slot would be overwritten so difficulty would show, Hard, Easy, Easy etc...

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS_LG.png)

The New Game splash is the following.  I've reworded it a few times but it seems ok.  Noone ready these things anyway!! :)

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS_NG.png)

In terms of the comms obscuring the view, I've gone with bottom left (as suggested by Mr Strange) and less dark so that you can see through it and the writting and characters are alpha 0.5. 
I've also put the wave no back at the middle top where it belongs. I'm not going to alternate left/right bottom but I think this works.  In reality, during the normal game you will only see the comms occasionally. 
I think I'm done with the comms for now.

(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS56.png)

Next up is a fancier screen fade and improved wave start and end text transition.

Cheers,
Stevie


Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: 3DzForMe on May 16, 2020, 07:59:35 AM
Cool stuff, the intro screen draws you in - nice work ;)
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on July 12, 2020, 11:28:35 AM
It's been a while since I gave an update so here goes ..

Balancing difficulty for 40 waves while introducing new enemies, bosses and allies is HARD!  It is also a real chore so had a break up until a few weeks ago to recharge. I ended up writing an Excel sheet with Vba code to figure this out in the end.

I've also been overhauling the NPC coms system. Most NPCs and enemies will talk when one of these events occur - wave start/end, spawning, taunts, taking damage, warping, killing the player and being killed. Each NPC event has a priority with enemies being the lowest. I've also worked on making many variations of each event/NPC but as it still could get repetitive it can be turned off. The comms system also knows what ship sent the message so can automatically add static to their image if they die before or during the message being displayed. There's still a few bugs which I need to iron out and some variations need  more work. The comms will tell a little story but think of it more like the original Nintendo Starwings

I should be ready to show the Beta off next week. If anyone is interested in trying it out please email me at stevie@steviegoodwin.plus.com and I'll send you a link when I'm ready.

Below is a video @60fps with  no sound showing Wave 8 and the 2nd Boss fight. The AI is doing the flying  ;D

Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on July 23, 2020, 12:39:58 PM
Play testing threw up an issue where you spent more time than I would like looking at the minimap on the top left.
I figured that the solution was to have a small indicator closer to the main action showing the direction of important stuff like nearest enemy, nearest powerup, nearest gem and direction of your dropship when offscreen.

I have come up with 3 graphical solutions which I can't decide on below.  Basically each indicator sits at a specific angle and radius from the centre of the screen.

Option 1
(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS_TGT1.png)

Option 2
(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS_TGT2.png)

Option 3
(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS_TGT3.png)

Any thoughts?

Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: 3DzForMe on July 23, 2020, 05:09:26 PM
I like 3, nice and clean 😉
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Steve Elliott on July 23, 2020, 05:49:44 PM
Either 1 or 3, maybe give the user the option?
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: blinkok on July 23, 2020, 08:52:02 PM
I think i like two.
1. The graphics are too bold
3. Doing the math in my head is too much to think about
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Xerra on July 23, 2020, 10:50:48 PM
Gonna upset the boat here but I think 1 works the best.
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Steve Elliott on July 23, 2020, 11:07:25 PM
Quote
Gonna upset the boat here but I think 1 works the best.

I said 1 or 3...2 is crap.   ;D

1 is better looking, 3 is cleaner and a little less cluttered...So I would put 1 as default and 3 as an option.
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on July 24, 2020, 12:49:12 PM
Cheers folks. Probably add an option for any of the 3 or off.
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Xerra on July 24, 2020, 06:37:03 PM
Cheers folks. Probably add an option for any of the 3 or off.

This sounds the perfect solution. Think you knew that anyway just wanted us to confirm it :)
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: 3DzForMe on July 25, 2020, 06:44:40 AM
Choice is always good ;)
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on July 25, 2020, 07:07:53 AM
Cheers folks. Probably add an option for any of the 3 or off.

This sounds the perfect solution. Think you knew that anyway just wanted us to confirm it :)

Of course. All implemented now  ;D
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on August 27, 2020, 04:48:29 PM
Big update ..

* Wave balancing complete.
* NPC chat text complete.
* Added ability to enter your name on Top gun table (yes I know it should be a given)
* AI balancing complete. - factors applies to loads of enemy stats to adjust them accordingly.
* Added some new background objects which sometimes appear - a crate with 3 powerups, a big gem, debris including a satellite, parts of the bigger ships and sometimes a disabled ship.I used some of my unused prototype ships for this.
* Demo mode starts automatically after 60 secs on main menu.
* Feature creep1! - Added a new friendly ship which is of unknown origin and appears briefly in game. You can fight it but not recommended.
* Feature creep2! - Added a survival mode which is unlocked when you complete the campaign mode. You can select any of the ships in the game and see how long you can last with 1 life against an enemy onslaught. I though this was necessary to give you the chance to try the other ships.

I'm pretty much done. Just need to set up the itch page, a few gameplay videos and good to go. I'm looking at a £1.99 price point and will see how that goes. Should get this done over the weekend and can then start thinking about the new comp.  :D

Final screenies ..

A powerup crate
(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS59.png)

The final battle.
(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS60.png)

Mysterious figure.
(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS61.png)

Survival Mode.
(http://www.steviegoodwin.plus.com/images/Gunstar/GS62.png)

Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Steve Elliott on August 27, 2020, 05:52:40 PM
A definite purchase for me.   :D
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: 3DzForMe on August 27, 2020, 10:21:01 PM
Defo purchase from me sir!
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Qube on August 27, 2020, 10:33:46 PM
Quote
I'm looking at a £1.99 price point and will see how that goes. Should get this done over the weekend and can then start thinking about the new comp.
Bargain! count me as a sale too ;D
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on August 31, 2020, 11:32:38 AM
Best I can do with a trailer  :)


Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Derron on August 31, 2020, 04:39:08 PM
So it is "AVAILBLE" on itch.io ? Maybe correct and reupload the trailer.

And ... add feature screens every X seconds ...

XXX levels of frenzy particles
YYY different ships and all targeting you
...


bye
Ron
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on August 31, 2020, 05:21:04 PM
So it is "AVAILBLE" on itch.io ? Maybe correct and reupload the trailer.

And ... add feature screens every X seconds ...

XXX levels of frenzy particles
YYY different ships and all targeting you
...


bye
Ron

FFS a spelling mistake - typical!  :))  I'll fix that tomorrow.

Appreciate that there is some sort of standard format for Trailers but I prefer the ones where it's just actions and you can judge for yourself.  If you are interested then you'll check out the page.  Making and editing video's is something I clearly have zero interest in - you can't be a master of all trades.  The trailer is mainly for itch.io which will already mentions all the features etc.. so not too bothered about that.

Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Matty on August 31, 2020, 08:47:00 PM
That looks excellent.

If I'd been good at the version released a while ago I'd play it.
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on August 31, 2020, 10:00:20 PM
Link to the final game if anyone is interested ..

Cheers,
Stevie

https://stevieg.itch.io/gunstar-release
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Qube on August 31, 2020, 10:06:44 PM
Yay \o/ - My faulty mouse slipped and accidentally paid £20.00 for it :))
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on August 31, 2020, 10:11:45 PM
Yay \o/ - My faulty mouse slipped and accidentally paid £20.00 for it :))

I thought that was a bit steep.  :o  Will I donate the extra £18.01 to the comp and call it quits?
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Qube on August 31, 2020, 10:21:36 PM
Yay \o/ - My faulty mouse slipped and accidentally paid £20.00 for it :))

I thought that was a bit steep.  :o  Will I donate the extra £18.01 to the comp and call it quits?
Nooooo! I like to pay what I think a game is worth when it comes to indie's who put a lot of work into their games and not asset flip for a quick buck. Buy a few beers and toast SyntaxBomb ;D
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on August 31, 2020, 10:27:37 PM
Yay \o/ - My faulty mouse slipped and accidentally paid £20.00 for it :))

I thought that was a bit steep.  :o  Will I donate the extra £18.01 to the comp and call it quits?
Nooooo! I like to pay what I think a game is worth when it comes to indie's who put a lot of work into their games and not asset flip for a quick buck. Buy a few beers and toast SyntaxBomb ;D

Very kind of you, thanks and will do.
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: chalky on August 31, 2020, 10:30:22 PM
Seems that I now have a 3rd title in my itch.io "Stevie G Collection"...!  ;D
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on August 31, 2020, 10:39:01 PM
Seems that I now have a 3rd title in my itch.io "Stevie G Collection"...!  ;D

Thanks man!
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Xerra on August 31, 2020, 10:49:05 PM
Well worth a couple of quid so take my money too. I can't even play it until I get Parallels back on the Mac but I admire the work you've put into this.
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: chalky on September 01, 2020, 12:20:23 PM
This is great - really well done.

One teeny issue occurred when I selected maximum resolution via the menus (2560x1440) and restarted the game, which then crashed with "Unable to create 3D scene" every time I tried to launch it. Because I therefore couldn't run the game, I had to manually edit the ini file to restore the 1920x1080 settings.

Seriously addictive, silky-smooth gameplay - this deserves to do well...
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on September 01, 2020, 01:10:30 PM
This is great - really well done.

One teeny issue occurred when I selected maximum resolution via the menus (2560x1440) and restarted the game, which then crashed with "Unable to create 3D scene" every time I tried to launch it. Because I therefore couldn't run the game, I had to manually edit the ini file to restore the 1920x1080 settings.

Seriously addictive, silky-smooth gameplay - this deserves to do well...

Cheers.  Ah, thats a B3d limitation I think. Max is probably 2048x?. I should probably restrict to full HD in options.. Thanks for letting me know.

P.s. feel free to rate/comment on itch.  ;D
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: 3DzForMe on September 05, 2020, 05:58:00 PM
Just got my copy, brilliant shoot em-up fun  ;D
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: Steve Elliott on September 05, 2020, 06:03:59 PM
Cool, oh yes PayPal only it seems?
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: 3DzForMe on September 06, 2020, 05:00:48 PM
Yeah, got my wife to 'gift' it to me, my PayPal acct. S been dormant for ever!
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: 3DzForMe on September 11, 2020, 06:00:49 PM
just reached the end of level 8 - my lord it gets frantic on the normal setting!
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: STEVIE G on September 11, 2020, 06:07:24 PM
just reached the end of level 8 - my lord it gets frantic on the normal setting!

Is that Zone 8, wave 32 - boss is a Bezerker? Did you meet the Saturnian Scoundrel? He gives you a useful gift if you beat him over 2 rounds.

Are you enjoying it more importantly?
Title: Re: Gunstar - update
Post by: 3DzForMe on September 11, 2020, 09:25:58 PM
Yeah that berzerkers a sod with his homing missiles, excellent 3d version of defender. I'm playing it with my analogue joypad, ace fun!
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