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Friday, March 18, 2011

Missile Master

Download your very own copy of Missile Master right here!

Almost a month later and the 24 hour game is finished!

Since I'm pretty new to this I'd appreciate any comments on problems you might have in trying to run this game.

After you've played it hit the read more for a text-heavy, in-depth look at Missile Master.

Missile Master is a space shooter that uses limited missiles for ammo and sluggish controls for movement.

The missiles are sort of the core of the game. I just really wanted a game where, instead of a vertical line of death, you get to fire missiles. And since precision isn't really a big deal for a weapon like this I thought it'd be safe to have very imprecise controls. Generally, the more slide-y controls feel, the more frustrating for the player, so I'm very curious if this'll work out because I want dodging missiles and explosions to be fun (that's why the boost ability is in the game).

The most complicated code in the game is the missiles (which I changed over and over again). The missiles follow a very thorough routine which basically ends up in them homing in on the closest target. I've been considering having it so that they immediately find a target (the closest the ship is line up with, whether that be way up front or way in the back) and then the missile just focuses on that one target.

The most complicated formula is definitely for movement boundary. God, what a nightmare.
Apparently, if you move a ship up one unit then that's fine, but if you move a ship up and right one unit then it ends up moving farther than if it only moved up or right. This means that (and I didn't know this at first) you need to whip out some thick trig to create a proper, circular boundary.

Screw that. I made an octagon for a movement boundary. Close enough.

The game is 320x240 resolution but I blew it up to 640x480 with no options to do otherwise. I also didn't bother changing my floating point numbers to ints when I draw on the screen (except for the main ship) so almost everything looks just a teensy bit blurry. Maybe I shouldn't have said that.

The extracted folder for the game is 10Mb, which I'm sorta proud of.
1Mb high-quality WAV files making low-quality sounds.
4Mb TGA files for 4 backgrounds (the stars get more blurred the faster you get. It's a heavy price for a special effect, but it's pretty cool). I'm pretty sure a file type other than TGA would save a lot of space since most of these images are just black and nothing else.
4Mb MP3 from Kevin MacLeod. The guy has a stable of royalty-free music. Perfect for devs like me. Now only if I could turn this file into something lower quality I could save a lot of file space...

Originally, this game didn't have a level. It was just those purple launcher guys spawning at the top of the screen and randomly moving around. Well, it really wasn't fun, and I think this was less because of a need for content (although it is much better with a big, varied level) and more because of the random movement of the launchers. You see, when you aim at an enemy and shoot at it, and then that enemy just randomly decides to move out of the way, it's frustrating.

I call this the eyelor dilemma.

Early play-testing showed me a few problems.

First, nobody dodged those god-damned enemy missiles, which is annoying because aside from adding sound effects and brightening the missiles and darkening the background and making the missiles flash, very few attempts are made at dodging missiles.

The boost button was also never used, or if it was, it was used while the ship wasn't moving at all. I don't think the boost ability is very intuitive, but I'm not entirely sure how to fix that.

Oh, and it's impossible for anyone to figure out how the missiles determine their targets when they first start playing. This should be easier to figure out, but once again, I'm not sure how. I think I mentioned earlier that I was considering having the missiles lock onto one target (with a visual lock-on).

And there was one play-tester who really wanted a proper laser gun.

It's possible that Missile Master is a dud concept.

I'd like to improve on the game so gimme your input. It'd be very easy to turn this into a much larger project, but I've also got a lot of other ideas I'd like to try out. Other, uh, 24 hour projects.


  1. I don't have 1.6 gigs on my drive to play this game.

  2. Eh?
    Wait. No.
    I mean, wait. What?

  3. That was the size of the MS redistributable. You outta know what you're getting people into!

    You'll be happy to know that I bought a new computer so I can run it. It's even better than Disco Beans! I think it's healthy for you to cut back on your super ambitions stuff and make things like this.

    Can't wait to see Jet-Girl.

  4. Oh snap! Here I am thinking that ClickOnce thing is the same as an EXE.

    You're right. I really should know what I'm getting people into.

  5. Can you make a version that doesn't require me to download+install the equivalent of an operating system?

  6. You know what? That's a good idea. Lemme screw around this weekend and see if I can make this happen.

    Assuming the old code is still hiding out somewhere...