Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Retaliator Alpha 0.04

Who would have thought that a blog that was originally about games development and being a journal (hence the "gdj" part of the url) would ever actually have a post resembling something of the sort? It has been many years since I undertook the board game development unit at QUT, one where we needed to write an online blog about its progress as well as many topics around general game design. The relics of these days can be found in the far off reaches of the infernal abyss (i.e. first few posts on this blog). How times have changed since then...

The top down side scroller (TDSS) or shoot em up (SHMUP) as they are often referred to I am working on is currently codenamed Retaliator. It is a simple game, one I have been working on, slowly, in Unity 3D for the better part of 2 months. It takes inspiration from several games I used to play back in the day, such as Raiden and Baryon as well as the recent (and brilliant) Jamestown. Although Jamestown is a recent addition to the genre, it unfortunately is a type of game that has also faded from the minds of today's gamers. Much like arena shooters. Hmmm ... I think I am seeing a pattern in my personal preferences here.

I have hesitated to post anything about the actual games production I randomly do, mainly because some of it falls into the 'not-creatively-owned' category of developing content for tutes at QUT. Which is a shame because I have developed many simple game assets in Blender and Unity in the last 3-4 years. Other non-work related content, such as Retaliator and its previous iterations (in Blender) I have barely mentioned either, mainly to keep it as private and secret as possible. The last thing I would want is some wanker taking my idea and developing it before I do.

The basic premise of my game is that its a traditional SHMUP, but breaks the rules in several key areas. The first is that you can aim anywhere along the 2D axis these games are usually restricted to. Obviously this will need to have a much higher difficulty then normal, as positioning enemies in your single axis beam of death was part of the challenge of traditional SHMUPS. The second feature is that you can (or at least will be able to) customise the layout and firepower of your ship, choosing multiple weapon types prior to entering a level and adjusting the spread of your primary weapon during the game itself. Unlocking weapon types and ship slots will probably use some kind of credit system, derived from your score at the end of a level. Finally, the last major change falls into the 'unique' gameplay mechanic that I actually abhor teaching in games design units at QUT. Although I am a firm believer that you don't need a unique gameplay mechanic for a game to be acceptable (shit, look at the COD series ffs), I feel the 'Link Cannon' coop weapon I am providing in the game will create some interesting ways in which players will play my game.

 This Link Cannon is also the primary feature of this video diary, that being for Retaliator Alpha version 0.04. I would recommend watching it at 720p:

I probably won't make too many posts about this project in the future, mainly because the time I will get to work on it is uncertain. Also, it is something I don't want to have consume all my free time and consequently all I ever want to talk about.

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