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Developing this game would have not been possible without the aid and support of the "Lazy Devs Academy" Community. Helping me with anything I asked, and encouraging me to move forward, notably, "Aktane", "otto_piramuthu", "LouieChapm" and "SquidLight". Through their own strengths they have helped me reach to where now this game exist. My gratitude goes to them. A very special thanks to "Krystman" for fostering such an invigorating community of creators, teachers and learners.
And as always, my unending thanks to epicheezeness, for all your support, attention and direct contributions.
Defender X v1.1 - The 60FPS update
- Adapted the game to work in 60 FPS
- Added a AoE damage effect surrounding the "Powerup - Laser" when being used
- Now, bosses are affected by the "ceasefire effect" bombs have (no projectiles are shot)
- Now, you can use bomb while on ceasefire
- Added a "No-miss" bonus score
- Changed: "Palette 7" now unlocks when you "Reach the boss without having lost any lives"
- Added a new caravan wave
Quality of Life:
- Increased IFrames (invulnerability frames) after death (from 60 to 135 frames)
- Added IFrames on bomb use (120 frames)
- Increased frecuency boss on-hit flash
- Display extra bomb. ("+" if the player has more than 2 bombs)
- The Explosion FX (when an enemy is hit) now inherits the momentum of the enemy which causes it
- Fixed a typo in the word "palette"
- Fixed a typo in the victory message
- Fixed a bug that made the game lock after staying on the death screen for too long
- Fixed enemies no flashing when hit
Thanks to Aktane, FReDs72, Squidlight, Heracleum and AgentAPM for the pointers for things to fix and improve.
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Beckon the Hellspawn - by LokiStriker
Survive against hordes of relentless creatures by using your arcane powers to defeat them. Gather their essence and use it to increase your magical prowess! Use the beacons lure them and defeat them, but be warned, the more time passes, the stronger they get. Your mission? Survive until "It" arrives. When "it" arrives, destroy it.
This game supports touchscreen and mouse (as press/click and drag) as well as directional input. (This includes WASD) Confirmation requires you to press "Tap on the Screen", "Left Click" or pressing of the "X" key or button. Additionally, one may access options within the "Pause Menu" by pressing the "Enter" key or by pressing the "Menu" button (On android this button is a small rectangle). In there you'll find a option to turn off the music, or just have drums available when playing the game.
As you kill enemies within the game, you will be granted experience to upgrade your skills. Each of the five weapons can be leveled up (or upgraded linearly) a total of twelve times. Three of the characters have a unique variant of a weapon, which allows them to be played in a transformative way!
Note: When playing, you may only have have three weapons at any give point, so choose wisely!
Lure and Destroy!
Until "It" arrives, you will kill hordes of hellspawn while avoiding their attacks. The more time passes, bigger and bigger waves will come after you. Eventually, stronger units will spawn! If you are brave and daring, you can choose to beckon more of them, approaching their "beacons". After a short time, the beacons will spawn a small wave and permanently increase the difficulty of enemies. This may be risky, but remember: "The more you kill, the stronger you'll get!"
The following is a long written form of a development log, akin to a post-mortem. If you are interested in this type of content, read to your heart's content:
- Still a dreamer
This game has it's start, as my last project, as a more ambitious project: A robot in the desert killing demons (I kept this part), protecting a mining operation for gathering resources. Killing enemies would make them drop overclocks and mods to equip your character. Even manual shooting with the mouse. Very cool (and I still want to do something like it), but life happened, and I also had my own personals struggles that made me unable to keep working on it. Returning to it, I saw that I was trying to do something cool, but not made for pico8, not in the way I wanted to. So once more, I did like last time!
- The old lives in the new
Function after function, I copied core code to a new pico8 file. My main character couldn't be a robot no more, and the location a desert no more, too close to the original idea. I say this because If I did so, I could always think "This idea was way cooler, and this is but a basic version of it". I don't like such thoughts.
Then came a through: "I was making a shmup about a wizard that I never finished huh? What If I use that guy...?" And so the core of the idea was founded: "A wizard kills demons with spells" Now I have something to go from!
Two games didn't make it, so this one could.
- Design, in the times of Pico
I took the style of that shmup game, who was applying the restrictions of the NES (animated sprites only have 4 colors, and transparency is one of them) I went with outlines because I knew contrast to see enemies on the screen would be very important. By this very point, I made everything related to the player be the color blue/white, and likewise, the enemies would be red/yellow. Simple, but this visual language goes a long way when allowing the player to look an image and quickly distinguish where is danger.
There was another issue found when playing the game. Pico8 has a 128x128 canvas. My player is always at the center of the screen. Enemies spawn around you, but if they spawn to the cardinal directions, the player has less time to see them coming at them, compared to if they come from the diagonals. Considering this, I made my enemies be weighted to spawn on the diagonals more than the directional. This way, the player has more time to see them, this also has some strategy elements to it, which is another point towards mastery of play for my game.
- The dangers of a self-imposed grind
As I'm reaching a point where most of the content of the game is defined, I start to slow down, and I note of this slowdown, as this is the killer of my projects. I'm not having it, so I decided to "go ham".
It worked... but I almost burnt out. Quite in fact, I am burnt out of this game, the last 20% of development was a serious grind. Thankfully, I'm not burnt from making things, but looking at this game still stresses me some. The results are there and I'm so happy the game is out, but it was at a cost I'll consider more seriously later on.
- Ending thoughts
This is my second published game, and I feel proud that it is. There is a great lot in here that too a lot of iterations, I finally touched the token limit and danced on the line for the last 10% to 5% of development, still adding core features to the game at the token limit. An interesting dance, and a very teaching experience. This game has a lot of passion behind it, and many short slept days. I look forward to looking at this game fondly. Till then, I think I'm good for now.
Once again, a thank you to the Lazy Devs Discord Server! Still as inspiring and invigorating as when I first joined. Thank you all for the kind words towards my game as I posted each update, they really helped on those unavoidable difficulty days of development. A thank as well to "Epicheezeness", for providing me invaluable input, helpful design and necessary early playtesting, as well as a seeming endless supply of support and encouragement.
Music once more: All the SFX contribute to the song being played, playing different notes of the scale, that help reinforce the theme or disrupt it when necessary. The player hurt is a sharp 4th, which is really disruptive, as it should be for that event.
Another note is that the "AHHH!" the player does, while developing used to say "HERE!", my classic debug message. I decided to keep it as such, but change the message so it fits more. This scream in text then leads me to do the SFX which then leads me to do screen shake (which its just UI shake!) which then leads me to do the light radius wavering when low health. Funny how a debug message lead to so much juice!
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Picowide, a function-based font.
"Picowide", as the name suggest, is nothing more but the classic pico8 font, but wider on the left side.
This gives it eye-catching characteristic, as its based on the original but with an extra twist; familiar but new.
"Picowide" is printed exclusively through code, explained step by step in the code. Its not "a custom font".
The following gif is an example of how the font is used (At the start, with "play" and "credits", on the score-top right and on the time-bottom left)
The "Picowide" code has been published under the creative commons license "CC4-BY-NC-SA".
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"Sky Fighters" by Lokistriker
A top-down, fast-paced shooter where you pilot a plane and use it to dogfight against those that seek to bring you down. Easy to understand but hard to master, the balance of risk-reward for score maximization while trying to not get overwhelmed is what this game is about! Try to reach to the highest score!
Controls (in game):
- UP - Increase Speed (letting go will slowly decrease it)
- LEFT & RIGHT - Turning
- X - Shoot your gun!
- ENTER - Pause/Options
Inside the options menu there are some notable options that might ease your playtime:
- Toggle Clouds: When using phones, this option might help performance. (Might reduce dizziness if the rotating motion is too strong)
- Auto Fire: Makes you automatically shoot your gun, so you don't have to hold the button to shoot.
- Target Speed: This option allows you to press once UP or DOWN to determine if you wanna go fast or slow, instead of having to hold the key. (Might reduce the degree of control of the ship, but it certainly helps when playing on phones)
- Toggle Music: To turn on or off the music, if you wish to only hear the SFX of the game.
I personally recommend to enable the first three options if you wanna play on mobile devises (or just auto fire and target speed, if your devise can handle the clouds)
While having started as a completely different idea (of a spaceship in space traveling from station to station), scope creep slowly made its way to my development and I nearly stopped working on this project. But having had enough of dealing with unfinished projects, I decided to change the scope of the game to something that would force a limited creative space. Working on Pico-8, in this regard, made things easier, as you cant go too overboard with mechanics, so I kept it simple and this game came out of it.
Id say a big point of reference for me is "Devil Daggers", that while I may have not have experienced it (yet!), its gameplay has always been alluring, and while this project doesn't go to the same depth that Devil Daggers goes, I feel that its roots are on the same area: risk management and score maximization.
Being honest, I did feel like I rushed this game towards the end, wanting to have it publish as soon as possible, as I feared that doubting publishing it would just make it gather dust like the rest of my projects till it became nothing but an "old idea id love to revisit". Hopefully, posting this game will be the start of a sequence and not a random happening.
Many thanks to the Lazy Devs Discord Server! Honestly, it has been so invigorating sharing and seeing so much creativity among the members. I thank them for the feedback and for their positive reinforcements. And of course, to @Krystman, for making such a community happen in the first place. Also a very dear thank you to "epicheezeness", for letting me ramble to no end and pushing me gently into moving forward.
The notes played by the shooting of the players gun is the root of the key of the song that plays, the motor hums the minor third and the enemy bullets play the 5th, and that makes the minor chord this song starts on!