Hi Everybody. It's been a little while since the last update, that's because I've been working on a really cool small project. So I'd thought I'd share a small preview with you...
So this is a action-packed 2D dogfight game, which at this stage I'm calling 'Six O'Clock High'. It's a much smaller, less ambitious and more focused project than I usually do work on-- and something I'm going to complete by the end of the month.
I've wanted to make a good little aircraft shooter for quite a while now, I remember making a similar attempt at one when I first started making games years ago called 'Dogfighter'. It was terrible and never released but the idea remained at the back of my mind.
Six O'Clock High on the other hand is quite different. First off, it's ultra-simple. In the game you take control of a two seater biplane, the player is the pilot with the gunner being AI. The game is all about piloting, dodging enemy fire at high speed while manoeuvring into a good position for your gunner to get a shot on the fokkers.
I'm designing this with touch screens in mind. One thing I definitely wanted to avoid was on-screen buttons. I've never found them appealing as a control mechanic, as it always feels like I am playing something that would work better on a controller which bugs me. So for this I had to come up with a control scheme that made sense without traditional controls.
What I came up with was a system that turns the plane around your touch relative to the aircraft's position. To turn upwards simply touch above the plane, or down below the plane. While this scheme takes a little getting used to, it soon feels quite natural to me. I hope others will find it easy and accessible too. Another thing to note is that there isn't a fire button- your forward guns will fire if there is an enemy infront of you, and your gunner will fire if there's an enemy within their field of view. I didn't want to have to make the player fiddle around with fire triggers, in this game it's all about the flying.
The graphical style is something I've been working a lot on. I first mentioned I wanted to experiment with a mashup of painted and pixel art style graphics a few weeks ago in my dev blog, and this game is very much the result. The colouring is also something I've been tweaking a lot, I'm going for a slightly washed out colour palette which makes the whole game look like an old technicolor film. These early screenshots and the graphics are subject to change, but I'm quite pleased with how it looks so far.
The gameplay itself is wave-based survival. At the end of each wave your aircraft will receive a repair and you'll get experience points to put into a tech tree to upgrade your aircraft. I've yet to flesh out the upgrade tree itself, but this should add a little strategy to what is otherwise a very fast-paced action game.
Since I'm using Multimedia Fusion 2 to make the project, I also want to expand the game to play on other platforms. I'm planning to make a free Flash version, and minimum-cost XBLIG, Android and iOS versions. Windows Phone too is a possibility.
Stay tuned for more updates on Six O'Clock High and a release in the not too distant future!
What's new this week? Well, Planet Wars has had what I consider to be a fairly successful launch. People are enjoying it on XBLIG, which is fantastic. There are a few more promo codes below, plus a few for MegaCity I found lying around. You may as well have them!
MegaCity has been updated on flash platforms, bringing them up to date with the recent iOS and Android versions. There will likely be an update on Android soon which merges the Xperia Play and regular versions. More on that soon.
Other than this, there hasn't been a great deal of progress on other projects, as I've also been busy looking at new flats to rent. I really want to get stuck into some serious work during the summer though. I've been thinking about doing a week-long project-- something really simple but fun. As my projects always tend to be more on the ambitious side, I think something like this could be a good addition to my games catalogue. Originally 'Sleigher' was meant to be this before it expanded to become what it is. I need to get back to basics and make something small, fun and fresh.
Anyway, as promised, some promo codes for you:
Planet Wars (XBox)
Hi all! Some exciting news, my game Planet Wars is out now on Xbox! This game is a couple of years old now, and it was my attempt at making a slightly retro top down shooter with a huge amount of variety in the weapons. It's been out on mobile devices for some time, but it's only just been now properly converted for Xbox.
It's had an awkward life-- originally it was to be a PC indie game, then I started developing it for iOS instead as I wanted to dabble in that market. It works OK on a touch screen, but really the controls were much more suited to Xbox. As a result the Xbox version is the best version by far, not to take anything away from the other versions. I also took the time to implement 4 player local co-op, which after a few tests with my mates, was definitely worth it. It's a lot of fun to play in co-op-- if you like stuff like Borderlands, then you should definitely check it out!
As a reward for reading this, here are some promotion codes for the Xbox version:
It's been quite a busy week. I've been racing to get the latest updates out for the original MegaCity. I've gone back and added some more content- this time 2 extra levels/unlockable buildings, a secret unlockable building and 10 more achievements! There are also some other nifty minor changes. The update is in review for iOS, and will be coming to android at roughly the same time (hopefully next week). The xbox version has also had a much, much needed update. Windows phone & flash updates will follow.
I've had one or two cool new ideas for the sequel too. At the moment I want a system based on the roads to dictate the influence of certain buildings. I may of worded that badly-- it's hard to describe, but I think it might be cool if this works well in conjunction with the building cluster system I mentioned a few posts back. We'll see how this turns out because a lot of ideas at this stage remain untested.
I also want to get started on the graphics soon, as this will be a significant amount of work in addition to the engine. It would also be nice to have something to show instead of just posting about ideas here every week!
What's new this week?
Firstly, there's a new minor update out for Android MegaCity, which I hope will fix a problem some have been having with their sexy Samsung devices not running the game properly. If the problem still persists, email me and I'll carry on searching for whatever's causing that. The MegaCity XBLIG update is on it's way too, currently in the traffic jam of review processes that is XBLIG.
Now to the dev blog stuff.
I haven't posted a snippet of what MegaCity 2 currently looks like this week, because frankly it looks like a mess. It's looks like a clown puked tetris blocks everywhere. But it's coming along pretty well. I'm getting my head around the scoring system and deck system right now, and I've finalised the prototype design for both. Meaning I've settled on a concept I think will work, but is subject to change once I have built a working prototype and have had time to test it.
I've come up with a turn-based system where there are 4 decks of building type to choose from, plus a 5th 'special' deck which is unique to each player (and customisable). In my head this seems like a good balance between balance and customisability. We'll see what happens in practise. I've also implemented a system where you enlarge each card or 'blueprint' to have a look at it in detail like in the Magic the gathering videogame.
As far as the art is concerned, I've had some thoughts on that too. I do want to take it in more of a pixel art direction, but I don't want to loose the fidelity and intricate detail of the original, so I've got something fairly unique in mind which you're going to have to wait to see.