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Cart #starbase_dmorris_v3-0 | 2022-09-04 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

Completed this game as part of the LazyDevs Basic Shmup Showcase Game Jam. I was going for a bit of a Star Wars-y vibe, though I was also influenced by the shooter I grew up with as a kid, Star Solider on the NES.

The soundtrack was inspired by a chord progression used in a lot of Japanese pop and Anime theme songs, with just a pinch of Duck Tales Moon Theme in the mix.

First edit: commented out the code that clears the high score every playthrough. Oops.

Second edit: V2 with powerups that bounce off the sides/top.

Third edit: V3 with levels that persist until all powerups are collected or exit the screen. Adds difficulty settings and logic that ties percentage chance of getting shields vs laser upgrade to the current % shields remaining.

P#116399 2022-08-28 16:14 ( Edited 2022-09-04 05:07)

The difficulty curve is perfect!

P#116448 2022-08-29 01:18

Saw a floating green bonus, @dmorris. Went to it and it drifted off the right-side of the screen not to return ! Suggest bonuses can only leave the screen from the bottom, so they would bounce off the horizontal edges of the screen.

This is standard with most shooters that present power-ups.

P#116450 2022-08-29 01:22 ( Edited 2022-08-29 01:23)

@profpatonildo glad to hear it :)

@dw817 thanks for the tip! i love this idea and i'm putting it on the #todo list for v2.

P#116493 2022-08-29 13:51 ( Edited 2022-08-29 13:52)

Nice game, agreed power-ups should remain inside playing area. Challenging but quite well balanced. Very nice job... there's a flood of shooters after LazyDev's tutorial :) will need to think about putting one up at some point...

P#116503 2022-08-29 15:58

Suggest shields be renewed between levels, @dmorris. Or have game options such as "Easy" in beginning.

"Very Easy" ... keep power-up even if lost ship + easy.
"Easy" ... shields are renewed between levels.
"Normal" ... where you have it now.
"Hard" ... start with one less life.
"Very Hard" only one life per game.

P#116702 2022-09-01 01:12

Love the music. Very nice first game.

It does the R-Type thing where you're better off winning in one round or you might as well give up, but that's a personal gripe.

P#116708 2022-09-01 04:24

@dmorris - This is great! I love it when people put the work in and post complete games. And this is a challenging game and also fun.

@dw817 makes a very good suggestion - if you are going to update this cart, I second the idea of game options. As @joealarson states, in the types of games it can be difficult to get motivated when you lose all your power-ups at a particular level (starbase alpha - I think it was) and go back to just having a pea-shooter.

One minor gripe: I thought the first couple of levels were a bit dull and possibly too long, so I almost stopped playing. You could have more but weaker enemies. However I'm glad I kept playing to completion. This is really good work.

P#116715 2022-09-01 08:18

I like a lot about this. Learning to squeeze between enemy shots feels good. The enemies have distinct appearances and attack patterns, while still having an aesthetic feel that they're all part of the same force. Gold star.

But I nearly gave up in frustration when I steadily built up to 4 green upgrades, then lost them all on stage 5 ("Battleship Group"). Having two ships remaining didn't help much when they were unpowered. I practiced some more, and got to the point that I could consistently get through the first 4 stages with no damage, and still couldn't get through stage 5. So I'm not sure about the difficulty curve there.

The change to powerup movement did make them easier to catch, and I did learn to attack the battleships and cruisers at close range, hitting them with all four of my front shots (if I had that many).

I was wondering what use it was to upgrade to rear-firing shots, but got some use out of them against the starbase turrets and even used one against the tyrant boss without needing to mess around in front of it...

But, even after completing it, there are a few changes that might keep it challenging to learn without feeling insurmountable:

  • Similar but harder than the "very easy" mode suggested by @dw817 lose one level of upgrade on death, not all of them.
  • Swap stage 5 ("Battleship Group") and stage 6 ("Starbase Alpha"). To me this would be a more steady difficulty progression, and also give more variety than having the two starbase levels consecutively.
  • The 10% powerup drop rate (33% of them powerups) feels very erratic - sometimes I get zero powerups in a level, sometimes two. Maybe choose one random enemy each level to drop health and, every second level, one drops an upgrade?
  • Very minor thing, but if there is a powerup floating around after destroying the last enemy, can the stage continue until we either collect the powerup or it leaves the screen?
P#116721 2022-09-01 09:45

Y'all, I was super stoked to get all the great comments! Huge thanks to everyone for your experience reports and improvement suggestions.

@dw817 i love the difficulty level idea and it's going in the #todo for v3.

@joealarson hopefully adding the difficulty options address that :D

@phil what's interesting to me is that technically speaking the timing on waves of enemies launching in each of the first five stages is exactly the same, but i can understand how the earlier ones feel longer.

@Cowirrie i'm definitely planning to implement difficulty levels and haven't decided on specifics, but losing one level of laser has been added to the list of options :)

I also agree with the stages 5/6 swap which I think should be fairly easy to manage.

I was kind of thinking about doing a thing where the chance of getting a laser powerup vs shields boost might be linked to the current %shields intact. it's definitely something i can revisit and play around with.

finally, on your point about the last enemy dropping a powerup becoming worthless, i can see how that's annoying. pretty sure keeping the stage open until powerup leaves or is collected should be low hanging fruit and that's been added to my #todo as well.

P#116753 2022-09-01 21:42

I still wasn't able to pass level 4 after +-6 days trying, but I think the problem is with me. Anyways, this is a awesome game, maybe one of the best products in pico 8 I saw. I'll keep trying this game and I'm waiting updates. A suggestion (or reminder) is to add a way to view the highscores, maybe button o in the menu

P#116801 2022-09-02 22:44

V3 is up which synthesizes a lot of the recent feedback from comments above. One thing I didn't get done yet is the swap of levels 5 and 6, which due to how I have things set up, was not as simple as anticipated.

P#116869 2022-09-04 05:09

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