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Player Thoughts : On a Space Shooting Trail
6th March, 2018
With each release, the feedback is fed back, and I like to gather any important comments and post them into an easily accessible post.
This week's game is the lovely neon shooter, On a Space Shooting Trail
Last year I played one the NeonPlat games and marveled at the neon graphics style. This game has the same style but the way the looks is achieved seems to have matured a lot. Using the new framework some crafty blending techniques have been used to convert the simple white sprites into a whole gradient of colors. The armada of ships seem to start in one color and end up in rainbow gradient of colors. Game ran in 60 FPS without any issues.
Yeah, everything looks a fair bit cleaner this time around. It helps that I've been able to turn OFF the antialiasing.
Instead of blurry upscaled sprites, I'm getting nice crisp pixels everywhere.
This isn't always ideal, however, and the font in particular can look a little gnatty.
But for most ingame things, the effect is great.
In addition, the main difference between this and NeonPlat is that it's much easier to recolour white/greyscale sprites than it is to try to recolour a colourful sprite.
The rainbow colours are much better as a result.
Special mention for the smoke dissipating effect. Not sure how it is achieved, looks great.
The smoke's easy enough. There's a Smoke.png spritesheet. It picks one, draws at a random rotation, and gently scales it up whilst reducing the alpha. On it's own, one single smoke sprite looks a bit too obvious, but when you blow up a bunch of ships together, the resulting smoke-blend looks much better than it should.
A simple effect to make, and without too many assets to create it. (just 9 simple splodges in a spritesheet!)
The number of enemy ships movement pattern seem to be too many to count.
I only coded 7!
1. Classic sine-wave in a horizontal line
2. Classic sine-wave in a vertical line
3. Perfectly straight
4. Large Circles
5. Slightly smaller, but more chaotic circles.
6. Insanely tall sine-wave
7. Slowly flies towards you!!!
With different spawn positions and a bit of variation in the sine-wave parameter, there appears to be a heck of a lot more movement types.
But there really aren't!!
As with the tradition of bullet hell games this game is tough with so many different enemy movement patterns and bullet fire from the enemies. Bullets fired from enemies cannot be eliminated so it they need to be avoided.
In the battle to make the game a little fairer, you might notice that the enemies only shoot when they're within a certain section over on the far right of the screen.
It makes things quite a lot easier for the player, as there's no bullets popping up right beside you, at the last moment.
.. A particular pet hate with bad shoot-em-ups!!
Getting the bomb powerup seems to make all the enemies and coins rush from right to left. So collecting all the coins is a bit tough.
I always loved the "Gem Bomb" in Deluxe Galaga/Warblade, and this was my little way of recreating that!
... RIP Edgar
Only thing that bothered me a bit was not able to fire when a life is lost. This made the game difficult.
I was unsure whether to do that or not. In the end, when I tried to remove it, it felt like things were a bit relentless. By not shooting for a short while, the speed of incoming enemies actually slows down a little. (If you play without firing, you'll find the enemy ships spawn slower.)
I could probably have reduced the stalling a little bit, though.
I'm going to be uploading a fixed Linux and Mac version once I've solved the online part, so I might tweak the timer a bit and update the Windows version, too.
Overall an enjoyable bullet hell game with great graphics.