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Cart #31774 | 2016-10-26 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

Remake of the classic Atari 800XL game Planetary Defense by Charles Bachand and Tom Hudson with a little but notable modification of the original gameplay: The amount of shots you can fire is limited and you need to recharge by staying near the green orbital base.

Shoot the giant red bombs out of the sky from the orbit. Don't hit your own planet. Don't let the bombs hit the planet either. Once any bomb reaches the core of the planet (coordinates 63:63 on the screen), game ends. 10 points for shooting a bomb.

Arrow keys: Aim
Z: Shoot
X+UP/DN: Alter the orbital speed

P#31545 2016-10-23 11:26 ( Edited 2016-10-30 02:54)

Really neat ! I like this. I think I would like it more if the (X) key would speed up the engines of the sentinel shooter.

To make it a bit like TEMPEST, you could have the LEFT and RIGHT arrow keys control direction of rotation.

Enemies could take pot-shots at the player too, which the player can avoid by reversing direction and/or speeding up or slowing down.

Marvel of a game !

P#31565 2016-10-23 16:30 ( Edited 2016-10-23 20:30)

Thank you! Actually, I was thinking about being able to control the orbital speed as well. I went for a continuous scale rather than just boosts. It was to get synchronized with the green orbital base to recharge your ammo but avoiding the bombs is an interesting idea.

P#31775 2016-10-25 20:21 ( Edited 2016-10-26 00:21)

I'm glad you like my idea. Sometimes ... well, we'll save that for later. Very glad you think it was helpful.

I see you've made improvements too. Lemme bring it up in SPLORE.

I love what you did to the planet ! One of the first things I do though is start shooting, and of course that's directly into the planet I'm trying to protect ! :D

This reminds me a little of Star Castle. I think I have a video of it HERE:

Bacon toothpaste, no that's not it. Ah !


In this case, YOU are the Star Castle, with superior firepower, fending off the bad guys.

Ah ! I just found out what the green dot was for. Replenishes your firepower. Neat !
(I know, I shoulda read your directions above which states this) :)

P#31778 2016-10-25 20:38 ( Edited 2016-10-26 00:49)

This is cool. I'd not seen the Atari game before so will have to check that out, but really like this.

Does it have levels or does it just keep on going?

P#31894 2016-10-27 06:16 ( Edited 2016-10-27 10:16)

Neat! This is fun. I never saw this game back in the day..

X+UP/DOWN feels kinda clumsy for orbital speed but I'm not sure what else can be done.

In any case I think it could use some sfx and visual feedback when you are changing velocity, and also when you are on the base and recharging. The first time I played this I had no idea what the base was, I thought it was just an idle second player or something.

P#31901 2016-10-27 08:46 ( Edited 2016-10-27 12:46)

Thank you guys very much for your feedback.

@dw817: Yeah, there's quite a lot of stuff going on in this game. It can be indeed confusing.

@minsoft: Well, the missiles spawn more and more often as the game progresses, capped at 8 missiles simultaneously on screen and with a minimum of 1 second between spawns. I'll make it more clear in the GUI that such thing is going on there.

@cheepicus: Perhaps I could resort to only two speeds -- normal + stopped. I'll try things. And thanks much for the feedback on the clarity of the user interface.

P#31924 2016-10-27 20:25 ( Edited 2016-10-28 00:25)

This is pretty nifty. I never played the original. I didn't even pay attention to the orbital speed, so now that changes things :)

However, the first thing I wanted to do was use my mouse or touchscreen. I know that kind of changes the concept a bit but even if it was a menu option to use mouse or keyboard, it would be pretty easy to implement (and then up/down could be speed without the extra button).

Can't wait to see where else you take this one. It's in my favorite list for sure.

P#31925 2016-10-27 20:30 ( Edited 2016-10-28 00:30)

Had a thought about speed...what if holding down X is what increased speed. There's a minimum speed, right? So holding it ups speed and when it's not pressed, speed slowly goes back down until it hits the floor. Just a thought.

P#31926 2016-10-27 20:35 ( Edited 2016-10-28 00:35)

Hope you don't mind...I went ahead and modded your WIP to add mouse support. It's definitely a different dynamic than using the keyboard but once the enemies start coming en masse it becomes a good challenge. Also worth nothing that using the mouse seems to work best with the Pico8 client rather than in the web player. If you click to fire too quickly, the browser thinks it's a double-click and highlights things...meh...

Use the mouse to aim, click to shoot.
Hold down Z/X to speed up the satellite in either direction.

After I uploaded this cart I realized using the action buttons wasn't ideal on the PocketCHIP so I made a revision to make up/down control speed as well...plays pretty nicely on the PocketCHIP that way but this cart doesn't have that support.

P#31933 2016-10-27 23:40 ( Edited 2016-10-28 03:42)

I remember playing the original of this as a kid, the raster-bar planet is very iconic. For me the game is too easy and repetitious as it is(played to 4000 and then let it game over). Since others have remarked on the control already I won't say any more about that - the current cursor setup encourages speeding up to overshoot so that you can shoot from behind rather than slowly move the cursor over. Control preferences are very individual, some people like a game you have to fight with to barely succeed, like QWOP, others want immediate gratification and then a focus on higher-level timing and strategy concerns.

To make it more of a "golden age" game, you could try experimenting with these features:

  • Numbered waves or stages to add a rhythm with crescendos and pauses in intensity. This can be combined with enemy variety to create the feeling of a "skillful performance" involving many techniques and different techniques over time. When the patterns of the individual enemies are synchronized against a global timer or rhythm, a harmony often appears in the play.

  • Variety in enemies(speed, movement patterns) so that I have to make more complicated judgments and my shooting pattern has to change. Some examples: an enemy that lands on the planet and sets a bomb, so if I take too long, I have to make a skill shot to avoid damage. An enemy that falls into a fast spiraling orbit, adding a new scenario to setup shots. An enemy that teleports or "stutters" instead of moving smoothly, making it important to match their rhythm.

  • Opportunities to develop a strategic position over time, by, for example, shooting some objects to turn them into inert barriers.
P#32041 2016-10-29 19:17 ( Edited 2016-10-29 23:17)

Thank you, guys! So many ideas to explore :-)

P#32059 2016-10-29 22:54 ( Edited 2016-10-30 02:54)

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