Jetboard Joust: Next-Generation Retro Arcade SHMUP - Steam Page Now Up!

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Re: Jetboard Joust: Next-Generation Retro Arcade SHMUP - Steam Page Now Up!

Post by BitBullDotCom » Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:26 am

Havie wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 9:45 am
One 'bug' I have discovered is that sometimes I disappear off the top of the screen and can still fly left and right (unless this isn't a bug and have become invisible).

I have managed to replicate this now ;) still not entirely sure what's causing it but it is something to do with colliding with enemies/recoil.
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Re: Jetboard Joust: Next-Generation Retro Arcade SHMUP - Steam Page Now Up!

Post by BitBullDotCom » Fri Apr 10, 2020 11:04 am

Hello!

Sorry - no updates from me recently as I've really had my head down trying to finish this bloody thing! Pleased to say that I've just released a new beta which you can find here...

http://bit.ly/jbjbeta

...please let me know what you think if you get a chance to give it a spin!. Hopefully this will be the last major round of changes before release. I now need to do a couple of Steam-specific things and some more cosmetic stuff like improving the title page and then hopefully we're ready for release.

Here's some of the stuff that's been added in the latest build...

- Added four new weapons early in the game
- Adjusted weapon unlock order to release more 'playable' weapons earlier on
- Adjusted enemy spawn frequency and algorithm to up the pace earlier in the game, particularly for players that are clearing levels quickly
- Added a few new enemies earlier in the game
- Adjusted enemy placement to introduce a more chaotic feel earlier on in the game
- Added achievements
- Added 'settings' screens, including the option to turn screenshake off
- Added 'controls' settings with the ability to define keys and switch to an 'old-school' control mode based on the classic 'Defender' arcade game.
- Added new palettes and introduced more varied palettes earlier on in the game
- Added visual feedback of shields/ammo increase when you catch an enemy jetboard
- Increased frequency of rocket pickups
- Jetboard attack now allows you to absorb the health of defeated enemies
- Alternate weapon now defaults to the last weapon selected if available
- Map now automatically suggests a sensible choice of next level rather than sticking on the same level
- Map now reveals more of the upcoming loot
- Toned down the abduction siren a bit
- Fixed bug where the player could get stuck above the screen
- Numerous other minor improvements and bugfixes
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James Closs, Director & Wielder of Code, BitBull Ltd

http://www.bitbull.com
Please wishlist Jetboard Joust on Steam

@BitBullDotCom

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Re: Jetboard Joust: Next-Generation Retro Arcade SHMUP - Steam Page Now Up!

Post by Havie » Sun Apr 19, 2020 11:37 am

Sorry mate - haven't played Joust for a while as as things have got in the way (mainly child and Flappy Bird for the Amiga). Have now downloaded and will have a good play today.

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Re: Jetboard Joust: Next-Generation Retro Arcade SHMUP - Steam Page Now Up!

Post by BitBullDotCom » Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:13 am

Hello all,

Sorry - no updates from me for while. I have been hard at work though, as well as gathering feedback from the beta and figuring out how to respond to it.

One main issue has arisen and it's that the 'meta-gameplay' as it stands (i.e. the way you move through the world, upgrade weapons and the like) is far too 'grindy' and dull. People just aren't making progress quick enough, they're not seeing the 'cool' weapons (due to the game design), and they don't really understand how to move around the worlds or what benefit it brings (as the worlds are too big with the 'loot' too scattered).

So I've been spending some considerable time (not to mention some sleepless nights) mulling over suggested changes to the meta-gameplay, as well as watching and reading a bunch of material on roguelike/lite design, and the conclusion I've come to is this...

We are going full roguelike!

• Permadeath
• No persistent upgrades/unlocks
• Upgrade procedure will occur between levels as it does currently
• World layouts will be generated procedurally
• levels will be generated procedurally (actually, they already are but on a fixed 'seed')
• Weapon order will be completely random
• World layouts will be 'tighter' and contain more loot
• Worlds will be 'diamond' rather than 'pyramid' shaped with a routes leading to the boss
• Worlds will be small enough to see the boos level on one map screen without scrolling
• Boss levels will allow a 'retry', but only if the player has a certain amount of cash remaining (insert coins to continue)!

There will only be two things carried over between playthroughs which will be...

• Unlocked teleports, allowing a shortcut to the beginning and approx halfway through each world
• Cash remaining in your abandoned jetsuit/corpse/bloodstain (for those who play Dark Souls)!

Shortcutting via teleports will allow practice at later stages/bosses but will also come at a disadvantage as the player will not be so well equipped if they jump in via a shortcut.

Available 'loot' scattered throughout the world in the treasure chambers will contain...

• Weapon unlocks
• Weapon upgrades
• Jetsuit upgrades
• Jetboard upgrades
• Jetboard rocket caches (I may remove the visible max rocket limit)
• Three types of armour against the game's three damage types (physical, plasma and fire)
• Lives (possibly, and rare if they are included)
• Cash
• Keys to unlock teleports (persistent and at set locations)
• Keys to unlock worlds (persistent and at set locations)

Some loot will be displayed on the map (so the player can plan a route appropriate to their playstyle and how things are progressing) whereas some will be displayed as a 'lucky dip'.

I will probably also limit the 'carry through' of weapons between worlds.

My reason for coming to this conclusion is as follows: being a fairly 'pure' arcade SHMUP the game's interest is (rightfully I think) almost entirely based around its weapons and its enemies. Unlike many roguelites there is no 'world' to explore as such and the environments make very little difference to the gameplay. Consequently the variety in each playthrough HAS to come predominantly from the weapons that are used which means they (pretty much) have to all be available at the start. Any permanent upgrade system, whether it takes place between each level or at the start of each game, causes the system to fail because it will end up doing one or more of the following:

• Necessitate all weapons being upgraded equally (too 'grindy', like the current system)
• Cause the player to upgrade their favourite weapon only (leading to no variety in playthroughs)
• Cause the player to upgrade one weapon only to be bounced back to a lower rated one (frustrating)
• Skew the game design towards stats upgrades rather than skill (the 'bullet sponge' effect)
• Makes replaying the earlier levels a chore as the player is too overpowered

I think the key reason some players aren't finding the game as fun as they should be at the moment is that they aren't getting to see enough of the weapons quick enough and that the weapons unlocked early on (by necessity with a persistent upgrade system) are rather same-y. As some of the feedback has said, I have been applying what's basically a 'soulslike' type mechanic to a game that doesn't have the variety of environments and worlds, or the complexity of interactions, to support it.

I will need to go through and re-balance all the weapons to get the above approach to work, and there are a few other things to think about, but at the moment I am pretty convinced this will be the way to go.

I know this is a long post, bit of a brain dump, if anyone has any thoughts please let me know what you think!
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James Closs, Director & Wielder of Code, BitBull Ltd

http://www.bitbull.com
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@BitBullDotCom

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Re: Jetboard Joust: Next-Generation Retro Arcade SHMUP - Steam Page Now Up!

Post by Tam Toucan » Mon May 18, 2020 12:30 pm

Nice analysis. Good to see feedback has helped you, it can be really hard to get perspective when you are so close to a thing.

Good luck with the changes.

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Re: Jetboard Joust: Next-Generation Retro Arcade SHMUP - Steam Page Now Up!

Post by BitBullDotCom » Wed May 27, 2020 11:36 am

Hi All,

Time to come up for air! I've just uploaded a new beta making the changes to a more 'roguelite' style of gameplay. This has been hard work.

You can download it here.

Please let me know what you think if you have a chance to give it a spin. In the meantime I'm off outside to try and catch some of this sun we've been having and reduce my monitor tan!
====

James Closs, Director & Wielder of Code, BitBull Ltd

http://www.bitbull.com
Please wishlist Jetboard Joust on Steam

@BitBullDotCom

====

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