Jetboard Joust - Defender-Inspired Cute Retro SHMUP - Alpha Now Available For MacOS and Windows

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Re: Jetboard Joust - Defender-Inspired Cute Retro SHMUP - Alpha Now Available For MacOS and Windows

Post by BitBullDotCom » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:15 am

Tam Toucan wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:29 pm
I own an upright Defender and I must say the sound you've created is excellent. Really creates the same feel.
Wow - thanks! I would love an upright Defender cabinet. Don't think the wife would put up with it but I've always thought - maybe once the kids leave home and there's a bit more disposable income and space...

They probably cost a fortune now - how long have you had yours?
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Re: Jetboard Joust - Defender-Inspired Cute Retro SHMUP - Alpha Now Available For MacOS and Windows

Post by Tam Toucan » Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:30 pm

Must be 20years now. Back in the day (pre-kid), I used to frequent rec.games.video.arcade.collecting. Things were a lot cheaper then, I got my Defender for 200 (which was a ton for me back then). Also got a Gauntlet 2 (can't remember the price). Also had a few Jamma cabs over the years, currently got a crappy one with only 4 buttons each and no rotating monitor. Main thing is the collection of boards (all of which I'm ashamed to say I've hard soldered to convert to jamma). Haven't been around that scene in over 10 years now, though bizarrely just the other day I was browsing ebay to see what kind of stuff was for sale just out of curiosity.

See my list of boards here
https://www.arcade-museum.com/members/m ... _id=421261

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Re: Jetboard Joust - Defender-Inspired Cute Retro SHMUP - Alpha Now Available For MacOS and Windows

Post by BitBullDotCom » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:51 pm

Tam Toucan wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:30 pm
See my list of boards here
https://www.arcade-museum.com/members/m ... _id=421261
That's awesome!

I see you have Kung Fu Master too - that was another of my favourites. 1942 as well! Defender and Tempest are the two I'd really love to own though!
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Re: Jetboard Joust - Defender-Inspired Cute Retro SHMUP - Alpha Now Available For MacOS and Windows

Post by BitBullDotCom » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:53 pm

At last – weapons are done! This is a big milestone and it feels good!!! ;D

This past few days has been 50% pushing pixels and 50% working on shaders for the weapon effects I decided I wasn’t really happy with.

For the grenade launcher I designed a new grenade as I felt the old one was really pretty shite in the cold light of day. Instead of a more ‘traditional’ type of grenade I went for something that looked a bit more sci-fi and this seemed to work better right off the bat. I probably only spent about half an hour doing it (if that) which is ridiculous compared to the amount of time I spent tweaking the previous version. You can see the original here.

Image

For the plasma rifle I felt the old effect was too overblown so went for something rather simpler using a shader rather than particles. The new effect is just one sprite drawn with a custom shader that renders a fade with a low ‘bit depth’ to look pixelated. It also draws small gaps between the (imaginary) pixels. I much prefer the result and it’s considerably more akin to the player’s weapon in Defender which is what I was going for. You can see the original here.

Image

The particle storm (originally ‘spreader’) is a weapon that’s caused me much pain and grief. The original effect (which you can see here) wasn’t bad at all but I felt it seemed a bit clunky compared to the other weapons, too pixelated or something. The new version adds a new sprite at each frame which is drawn with a custom shader to give a blend effect, there’s also some particles that decay very fast at the front of the ‘beam’. To be honest I’m still not 100% satisfied with this but I think it’s much better than the original. I’ll probably come back to this (yet again) at a later date but for now I’m parking it. It’s in the right ballpark now at least.

Image

The pixel-pushing I had to do was drawing version of all the ‘futuristic’ weapons for the upgrade screens. I really don’t have clue what I’m doing with this type of pixel art and the process often feels akin to a monkey trying to write Hamlet by bashing out random keys on a typewriter. It might have been easier if I’d have sketched the weapons out by hand first, the fact that I had no real point of reference for what they should look like made things even harder!

I’m pleased with the end results though I think. The particle storm is maybe still a bit weird (that weapon’s been a bastard to get right all round). I’m also a bit undecided about the pulse cannon – it looks fairly badass in most respects but there’s something about it that reminds me of whale(!) which I don’t really like.

I’m particularly pleased with the gamma ray and sonic boom but in some respects these were the easiest as I was referencing common retro sci-fi tropes.

Image

Dev Time: 3 days
Total Dev Time: approx 152 days
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Re: Jetboard Joust - Defender-Inspired Cute Retro SHMUP - Alpha Now Available For MacOS and Windows

Post by Tam Toucan » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:28 pm

Great improvements. I know what you mean about the pulse cannon. The front reminds me of Little Shop of Horrors.

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Re: Jetboard Joust - Defender-Inspired Cute Retro SHMUP - Alpha Now Available For MacOS and Windows

Post by BitBullDotCom » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:14 am

Tam Toucan wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:28 pm
I know what you mean about the pulse cannon. The front reminds me of Little Shop of Horrors.
Shit - you're spot on -I didn't see that!!

I need to fix that somehow.
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Re: Jetboard Joust - Defender-Inspired Cute Retro SHMUP - Alpha Now Available For MacOS and Windows

Post by Ian » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:09 pm

"Feed me Seymour!"

Looking great. I do hope your next game will be documented just like this one - I've really enjoyed seeing the progress. :D
I came. I saw. I Played.

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Re: Jetboard Joust - Defender-Inspired Cute Retro SHMUP - Alpha Now Available For MacOS and Windows

Post by BitBullDotCom » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:18 am

Ian wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:09 pm
"Feed me Seymour!"

Looking great. I do hope your next game will be documented just like this one - I've really enjoyed seeing the progress. :D
Thanks - it's good to know you're getting something out of it.

It probably takes about 25%-30% on top of the development time writing the blog and (mainly) getting all the GIFs together but I made up my mind to see it through from the outset! It's really good getting feedback from people when you're otherwise working in a vacuum, plus the discipline of making the GIFs is in itself useful as it forces you to really look at things in detail.
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Re: Jetboard Joust - Defender-Inspired Cute Retro SHMUP - Alpha Now Available For MacOS and Windows

Post by BitBullDotCom » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:12 pm

Sometimes with code you just have to pick it all apart and start again – and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the last day and a half.

Like its main inspiration ‘Defender’, Jetboard Joust has a game world that ‘wraps’, ie once you leave one side of the world you enter at the other – a bit like Pac Man in his maze with the difference that, as the camera is permanently fixed on the player, the effect isn’t so immediately obvious.

Image

To date I’ve been using the obvious approach to this, an approach that I’ve always used when coding this type of game. When the player leaves one side of the world the horizontal size of the world is added or subtracted to/from the player’s location and they appear at the other side. It’s straightforward in principle, seems to make logical ‘sense’, and for the most part works.

But there’s always been these little niggles when gameplay occurs around the area where the world ‘wraps’ and I’ve found myself writing lines and lines of code to circumvent issues to do with drawing (particularly some particle effects), collision detection, and AI. Most of these problems have been solvable without too much hassle but I kept thinking ‘there must be a better way…’.

Then, for no particular reason, a light bulb went off and I had the idea of dealing with wrapping relative to the player rather than to the world itself. In this scenario the player never ‘wraps’, their location just keeps increasing or decreasing as they travel in one direction, but if anything else in the game world finds itself more than half a world width away from the player the width of the world is added/subtracted to/from its location to position it on the other side of the player.

Whilst this method doesn’t really make logical ‘sense’ (static objects like buildings are jumping all over the place in the game world) it actually works much, much better in practice. The real beauty of this system is that if any glitches do occur due to the sudden jump in location caused by wrapping, they happen way off screen so the player is never aware of them – and as fast-moving objects such as projectiles, particles etc only really appear close to the player wrapping code can be completely omitted for these items.

Implementing this was a major change for the game engine and I proceeded very gingerly at first, making sure I preserved the ‘old’ method of doing things in case I needed to switch back, but it soon became obvious this was the right way to go. Various minor bugs have been completely eradicated and I was finding myself able to comment out large swathes of code. Debugging at the ‘wrap point’ is now pretty much a non-issue! I’ve eradicated a fairly major development headache in preparation for working on the enemies.

Bye bye crap code... :lol:

Image

Dev Time: 1.5 days
Total Dev Time: approx 153.5 days
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Re: Jetboard Joust - Defender-Inspired Cute Retro SHMUP - Alpha Now Available For MacOS and Windows

Post by pob » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:38 pm

Another way to handle this would by never moving the player's x position, instead moving the world and everything else.
Combine the same feature of checking if something has gone too far and wrapping it.

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