A soon as I got Pico-8, I wanted to remake one of the Amstrad CPC games I played most in my teens: Who Dares Wins 2. Of course there will be differences from the original, but here are the things I liked most and would like to keep:
- Fixed screens (no scrolling). It gave a bit the feel of a puzzle game, with each screen having its own gameplay. And once a screen was cleaned, it was suddenly calm, with a bit of imagination you could almost hear birds chirping and you had time to explore as if there was something to do... which was not the case. But that might change.
- The ability to enter buildings. Well, it was more ruins than building. And it didn't quite look as if the dev planned that. Plus, again, there was not much to do, but that may change too.
- Then come the outposts! Frantic action! Mass murder! Be a hero!
- Saving some friends from execution. After all, we're the good guys.
- Launching grenades and picking ammos
- I liked how it looked both on color and monochrome (green) screens. Well that was true for most Amstrad games. That means I plan having the possibility of remapping colors to play any screen versions (including more exotic grey and amber monochrome versions). Well, there are not much green colors on Pico-8, as the original game was in mode 0, so with 16 green values. So, we'll see. Not the hardest part anyway.
There are also things I plan to change, because what's the point in fac-simile?
- Different levels of difficulty
- Saving a friend will give you a bonus life. Maybe that'll be the only way for extra life (none based on score like the original)
- When killed the foes will randomely drop ammo. The falling crates may stay too as getting to them was fun.
- More weapons for you besides the gun and grenades: machine gun, mines and, erh... lasers?
- Maybe limited ammo for the base gun too. If no more gun, you'll have to get close to a foe and kill him with you last resort knife. Kinda Counter-Strikey, eh?
- Mines. Grenades will clean them.
- Swamps. They were in the original, but here they'd slower you and make you an easier target.
- Nighttime, rain and snow; For the beauty of it and the consequences on gameplay (visibility, moving).
- Scrolling. Yep. I discovered yesterday a video of the game on C64 where each level (that is, between 2 outposts) is scrolling. But maybe I'll stick to no scrolling, for gameplay sake or if I use palette mapping in a way that brings issues with scrolling. Plus, scrolling makes the game look more like Commando and, well, WDW2 ain't Commando.
- Different AIs. I mean, the original game way with foes randomly walking and shooting is fun, but, well... let's have some elite soldiers!
- Artillery from both sides: your side will randomely drop bombs to help you kill ennemies, while your foes will target you more precisely. Any side they come from, they force you to keep moving, as they can all kill you. You'll really hate swamps.
- Entering buildings, and more widely background interaction. Free a prisonner for extra life, pick weapon, ammo, order artillery...
- Instead of several lives, maybe only one but with energy level. This point and the previous ones to give a bit RPG or adventure flavour to the game. While still a shmup first.
That may feel over-ambitious as I've only made one small pico-8 game, "Stuck!", for the 1st Collab16. Maybe it is, but well you have to start somewhere! Anyway the best will be to bake the essential cake first and add cherries later.
My rough development plan:
- Moving the main character, and have him firing.
- Differents enemies, their movements, AI, unfriendly interaction with player
- Backgrounds and levels
- Ordering the drawing so that things on top of screen are drawn first and stuff at the bottom last. Now I have no idea on that, as the people move freely and their position is pixel-precise. Would they be on a grid, it would be easier. Oh, that may be a clue.
- Music & SFX. Most probably the Great Escape theme for the menu, and either other tunes from the movie, or my own ones, or none.
- Menu. It'll be accessed with a long press on 2nd button.
Well, let's begin and watch your little fellow move, ain't he cute?
Anyway, while there's not much to see now, I'd really be glad to read about your opinion on that, your experience, what you think are DOs and DONTs... And of course whether you think or not that should be a cool game you'd like to play.
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