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40wattstudio

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A member registered Feb 14, 2020 · View creator page →

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14 MAY 2022:

So much progress this week that I can only properly show it off in a Youtube video!

- My experimental branch of Scrapship has been successful and is now the main branch!

- The game now detects the player's desktop width and height and goes to a windowed fullscreen by default. This gives the game a more cinematic effect and creates a lot more playspace.

- The screen moves around the player instead of the player moving around the screen. This massive improvement allows the player to scroll infinitely in any direction while imparting a greater feeling of freedom and space to the experience. To me, it doesn't make sense to confine the player to a narrow corridor of action like you see in a lot of shmups. Especially in a game that takes place in . . . space.

- Reworked AI system that allows a LOT more enemies to spawn. This is still a work in progress, but even as-is, I see it as an improvement over the last version. 

- The THREAT BAR. You'll see this as a red bar on the left side of the screen. Certain actions (like firing your weapons or damaging enemies) will cause it to increase. The game gets harder as the Threat Level increases.

- The MORALE BAR. As you destroy enemies, their morale decreases. When it reaches a set point, the railgun appears allowing you to go to repair your ship and go to the next level.

- More collectible scrap on-screen. Some is "free scrap" that floats around, but destroying enemies also generates scrap that can be collected. Scrap can be spent at the railgun store between levels. The scrap also helps give the player a sense of movement through space.

- Prior to this update, Scrapship was almost at 11,000 lines of code. The current version you see in the video only has 7,500 lines of code. I was able to accomplish this by consolidating a lot of redundant subroutines.

BONUS:

Morale is displayed using a counter that is broken down into hundreds, tens and ones digit spaces. One of my challenges was writing the code to make this decrement properly. Side note: I initially tried a modulus route, but that was returning incorrect values.

Below is the code I used to accomplish this. The same principle can be used in any programming language.



Quote of the Week:

"Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work." -- Aristotle

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of your week!

Regarding saving time in the prototyping phase, there is a concept called "White-boxing" where you use generic shapes (squares, rectangles, spheres, pyramids, etc) to represent all your in-game assets (main character, enemies, obstacles, trees, etc). A lot of the popular game engines like Unity and Unreal will be able to support these basic shapes right out of the box. Then if you have more time you can go to their asset stores and find something more suitable.

Although white-boxing can save you time, I heard on a Game Design Dojo podcast that sometimes it can be misleading. The example the developer used went along these lines: He tried white-boxing a level and it led him to believe that the level was way too big and spacious . . . but once he put in the final graphics, he found that the level had the right size and feel all along. So from that standpoint, maybe it would be better to just browse the asset store.

Personally, I think white-boxing is best for rapid testing of game mechanics, then once you feel good about that, switch over to better assets to dial in the aesthetics.

7 MAY 2022:

- This week saw Scrapship go in a very experimental direction. I don't want to spend too much time describing things that might not work out . . . but if they do, then ooooh boy, Scrapship is going to look and play better than ever! 

- The first of these experiments is a simplification of the AI system. The old AI system mostly worked, but was also buggy in the worst sense possible in that it sometimes caused the game to crash.

- The experimental AI system also requires a change to the screen layout of the game. Instead of a square gamescreen, the game now goes to a windowed fullscreen by default. The benefits here will be that the game will accommodate just about any display. It also gives the game a much more cinematic feel. And if the new system works as planned, the player will have greater control over the difficulty of the game while they're playing.

- A thing I have never liked about shmups is how they too often restrain you to a narrow corridor of action. In this experimental version, almost the entire screen will be used for gameplay!

- I have to emphasize again my excitement at the new direction the game is going in! Hopefully I'll have some screenshots or gifs of this new branch of Scrapship next week.


Quote of the Week:

"Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." -- Thomas Edison


Thanks for reading and have a great rest of your week!

Thanks for the encouragement hamwil! :)

30 APR 2022: 

- This was apparently "bug" week, the first bug being the stomach bug I got, so no development was done for a couple days. Side note: If you ever do get a stomach bug, ginger ale and kaopectate soft chews help considerably!

- Gamewise, there' s still a bug in the AI system that sometimes causes the game to crash by causing an endless loop. Trying to figure out the exact cause has been elusive thus far. So I opened a new project file with just the AI code to see if I could make some sense of it.

- I found a way to simplify the shield fighter code. I was almost to 11,000 lines of code and now I'm just under 10,000 again.

- I forgot to mention earlier that Scrapship does work on Windows 11 now.  Windows 10 should still be fine too since the vast majority of it was made using that.


QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

"I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways it won't work." -- Thomas Edison


Thanks for reading and have a great rest of your week!

Sorry to hear that, that must have been a hard decision to make but also completely understandable. Yedoma Globula was one of the most interesting projects I've seen on Itch. Best wishes to you and your country!

LIKES:

Full-screen mode

Large text on menus

Calming space-like background music

Simple gameplay

Rotating asteroids look really nice

Multiple ships


SUGGESTIONS:

It's not very clear what determines how much of an element you collect. I would collect an element thinking it would only increment by 1 but instead it went up by 11. 

It'd be nice if the element symbols at the top of the screen were color-coded so the player can more easily determine which colors they need to focus on collecting.

Even for level 1, gameplay is too slow and monotonous.


BUGS?:

"Library" didn't do anything when I clicked on it.

The Prometheus and the Corsair ships have the exact same stats but slightly different prices.

Think of tutorials as training wheels -- they're nice to have in the beginning, but the sooner you can cast them aside the better. Because there are sometimes so many tutorials to choose from, make sure they meet at least these 2 criteria:

  • The tutorial should be compatible with the version of software you're trying to learn. If you have Godot 3.0 you need to find the tutorials that were made using the same or very similar version.  
  • Only watch the tutorials that show you something you might actually use in your game. It's unlikely you'd find value in a FPS tutorial if you're trying to make a platformer. Once you do find one that's relevant, the end result doesn't have to be the same. For example, yesterday I needed a new shield graphic for my game, but I wasn't sure how to do it myself. I found a tutorial that showed how to do something similar and I was able to tweak it to my personal needs.

As for loneliness, what I've found really helps is getting involved with communities that share the same interests as you. And if you're an introvert like me and don't particularly like social gatherings, there are tons of forums online dedicated to very niche categories. Like if your goal is to make a shmup, you might want to check out a site like this. Or if you really want to get better at Godot, maybe meet others on their forum.

Best wishes on your gamedev journey!

I like the Starfox-inspired look and feel of the game. It would be even better with gamepad support. Was this made with Godot? Good job!

Probably one of your best games! Love the art style. This is great for people who like a more casual shmup experience. Dr. Evil approves of the crow that shoots lasers from its head, haha! It's neat too how different birds have different attacks -- I found myself initially liking the blue one with its faster rate of fire but ultimately preferred the pelican (especially for the boss battles). Bird attacks were neat too. Great job!

23 APR 2022:


- An early request for the game was a store of some sort or some way to repair your ship between levels. This feature is now in the game as shown above. You can repair individual segments of your ship for 5 Scrap each. For 10 Scrap you can buy the ability to request a Scrapstorm -- the railgun launches a volley of high-speed scrap at all the enemies on screen.

- The Scrapstorm is back in the game. You press "B" to activate it. This is basically Scrapship's equivalent of a "Bomb" in other shmups.


QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

"Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do." -- Steve Jobs


Thanks for reading and have a great rest of your week!

It can certainly be frustrating when a game isn't working out like it should. 

If you are feeling burnt out, you need to evaluate the cause or causes.

If it's because you're working on your game several hours a day, consider scaling back to just 1 hour a day. Unless you're in a Game Jam, developing a game should be in the mindset of a marathon, not a sprint.

If your game is full of bugs, that can be a bigger issue, but thankfully there are several options:

  • You can go back to a version that was working properly.
  • You can add in or use log files and debug tools to help find your problems.
  • Ask other developers using the same Game Engine or programming language or tools to see how they would fix the problem.
  • If it's still messy, the "nuclear option" would be to just start over. I actually did this with one of my games that I had already been working on for about a year.  It was a very hard decision, but  ultimately the right one because I've been able to make a lot more progress. I've seen this quote on Instagram a lot -- when you are starting over, you are not starting from scratch, you are starting from experience.

For all projects . . .

$20 in donations

846 views

134 downloads

51 followers

I've been on Itch for about 2 years and have two games -- Wallet Warrior for a Game Jam and Scrapship which is still in development.

My Scrapship devlog has 7,501 views, which I find very promising once I get the game finished.

https://40wattstudio.itch.io

16 APR 2022:


A great week with lots of new features!

- As shown above, enemies now blow apart into scrap when destroyed!

- This scrap can also be collected by the player. An on-screen counter keeps track of how much has been accumulated. Scrap will later be used to repair your ship or as ammo for a scrap storm.

- The basic level transition framework is in place. You can go from the first to the last level, but the levels themselves still need to be fully fleshed out.

- Started making unique scrap for the enemy ships. 


Quote of the Week:

"If the path before you is clear, you're probably on someone else's." 

(side note: This quote is attributed to either Carl Jung or Joseph Campbell, but nobody references the original source).


Thanks for reading and have a great Easter!

9 APRIL 2022:


Finally done with my business trip! As is my habit, I got up at 0530 and worked on Scrapship for an hour. Feels good to be working on it again! Being away from my source code for 3 weeks wasn't really intimidating as the code is pretty self-explanatory (to me at least). I'm sure it also helps that I've been working on it almost daily for the past 2 years. But having time away from your project can also help you see things in a fresh new way.

This morning I started adding in the logic for level transitions: When the player has destroyed enough enemies, the remaining enemies will retreat and the railgun platform will appear.  This will later trigger a level transition animation. One step closer to fleshing out the main game loop!

Above is a teaser of the final boss enemy. It's in the game currently, but still needs all its behavior programmed and animations done.

As I write I got Windows 11 downloading in the background and I've read that it's still compatible with QB64, which is the programming language I'm using to make this game.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

"Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day." -- Jim Rohn


Thanks for reading and have a great rest of your week!

Apparently science is not my strong point because I only got 47. 

The music is good and I like how the triangle rotates as it moves, nice touch!

I love reading these devlogs and hearing about how you go about solving your game design problems!

The first wave animation looked perfectly fine to me. The ones that followed could still work if the waves didn’t look so triangular like shark fins. 

Hi CosmoBrain, thanks for the comment! I’m looking forward to getting this business trip over with so I can finish the game (hopefully this year).

2 APRIL 2022:


Week 2 (of 3) of my business trip. This week I’m sharing a little preview of one of the boss enemies in the game — the Cargo Ship. This asset is already in the game, but still needs all the logic programmed into it.



Quote of the Week: 

“When setting out on a journey do not seek advice from someone who never left home.”  -Rumi


Thanks for reading and have a great rest of your week!

26 MAR 2022:

Week one of three of my business trip. Here’s a teaser of one of the backgrounds that was made for Scrapship.  This is not the angle that will be used in the game, but gives you an idea of what it might look like. New screenshot next week!



Need a new podcast to listen to? I can heartily recommend The Game Design Round Table. Hours and hours of good content. I’m only 7 episodes in and there are over 200 of them. What’s cool about this one is that it talks about board games in addition to video games and it’s instructive to see how much the two have in common and how they differ.


Currently playing: Genshin Impact


Quote of the Week:

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” — Sylvia Plath


Thanks for reading and have a great rest of your week!

19 MAR 2022:


- When the player reaches the end of a level they dock with a Railgun that shoots them towards the next sector. Above you can see my very basic Blender attempt at making a Railgun. This may or may not be the final version of how it looks.

- The game can load in about 10 seconds now (down from 16). I did this by cropping down some of my images and loading .bmp images instead of .jpg or .png. 

- The game file size is about 360MB. Most of that is my .bmp animation sequence of 50 images that take up 234MB. Alternately, if I go with .jpg images for the same sequence, the size is reduced to an awesome 6MB . . . but it does add an extra second to the load time.


I'll be on a business trip for the next three weeks, so there won't be any new updates. I do plan on uploading some screenshots of other parts of the game though.


Quote of the Week:

"Effort is a reflection of interest."


Thanks for reading and have a great rest of your week!

Game Jams can be stressful even if you do know what you're doing. If you're getting burnt out you might want to try and make a project without a set deadline and just focus on learning the basics at a comfortable pace.

Cute game! Leaves you wanting more and I like the use of color in the text.

Thanks for the praise! Yeah, that nebula animation does look good -- too bad the whole image sequence is > 3GB or I would put the whole thing in the game somehow. However, there will be some stills from that animation series, like the one you see in the screenshot.

I haven't decided if there will be another demo per se. I mentioned a few posts up that the final game will be a free, donation-only model, so you will be able to play it as soon as it comes out. I'm aiming for the end of this year . . . but I also have a lot of business trips scheduled, so we'll see what happens. All I can promise is that when I'm at home, I put in at least an hour a day, which so far has been working well.

I stopped doing the monthly demos as it was getting a little exhausting and some months didn't have much progress. Plus it frees up more time for the most important thing: finishing the game.

Thanks again for the feedback!

12 MAR 2022:


I don't know what got into me, but I got a LOT done this week!

- First off, nebula backgrounds! I played around with Embergen and found a way to make some simple but effective nebula backgrounds like the one you see above. They add a lot of much needed color to the game! You can also see a neat little animation here:


- I also finally (finally!) added the Cargo Boss and Final Boss to the game. They don't have any logic programmed in as of yet, but at least it's a start.

- Made 2 new explosion animations, also using Embergen.

- A lot of the image files were unnecessarily large, so I cropped them down using Movavi.

- One of the bombers had a faint border around the image. I was able to fix this with an online png tool.

- Made a spreadsheet that I will use to track my progress when it's ready for final testing:


- Fixed a bug that was causing the game to crash by looping endlessly.

- And many other minor adjustments and bug fixes. The game is starting to look better every day! 


Quote of the Week:

"Before you give up, think of the reason you held on so long . . . "


Thanks for reading and have a great rest of your week!

5 MAR 2022


- A big problem was that even though the cruisers had a "beak opening" animation to warn the player that it was about to fire, I still found myself accidentally flying into the laser path. It's hard to be looking at your player ship AND watching for all the cruisers simultaneously. To give the player more warning, I added in a "pre-fire" animation which is just a bunch of harmless pixels that basically show the cruiser gun spooling up. This looks much better and gives the player that advance warning I was looking for.

- Added engine exhaust animations to the cruiser.

- Cruisers can try to escape if they take too much damage.

- I also spent a lot of time with Embergen this week. I'm getting better at using it. Just this morning I figured out why my renders were coming out all black. It was because I had the opacity turned all the way down.


I haven't heard of too many indie devs using Embergen, but it is VERY powerful software and can do a lot. I've been working on making better explosions since that is such an integral part of any good shmup. What software do you use for your special effects?

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

"Try many things once to figure out what you want to do twice." -- Traf


Thanks for reading and have a good rest of your week!

This one starts off fun, but gets very tedious the farther you go. I probably played for about an hour and the most advanced Gregory I got was the one with the wavy hair. Was really hoping the game would let you decrease the spawn speed even further, but it maxes out at 5 seconds. 

It's a cute game though and I didn't find any bugs. 

Memory lane! So cool seeing the intros to so many shows I grew up with. It was fun just staying on the Menu screen and watching the TV to see what would come up next. 

The game itself is true to the Duck Hunt inspiration and I  liked how shooting the Doc triggers the boss fight. The Doc boss enemy is pretty challenging though. Some of those birds come at you pretty fast. Three was the most number of hits I was able to get on the Doc Boss. And as I write this I see above where it says to "Shoot ducks before the boss to gain extra lives" so maybe that's why I'm dying so early on.

Fun game! 

The graphics are really good here! Like wow, you even got SHADOWS to move with the plants, so good job there! 

Some sound effects would be nice. 

The unicorn movement was very odd. It seems like the unicorn can only move by tacking left and right. I'm not sure why a more conventional up/down/left/right/diagonal control scheme wasn't used.

The game itself is very creative and had an "open-world" feel to it since it could scroll in different directions. While playing, I was pleasantly reminded of this funny toy called "The Avenging Narwhal".

Game tips were a nice touch!

The screen felt a little  small. A larger default screen size or full-screen option would have helped.

Overall I'd give this 4/5.

Looks like this is one of those idle-clicker sort of games. But even with that assumption it wasn't very clear what the goal was because there are no instructions on the main screen. There are instructions in the Misc. menu but I found them very vague. 

- There are some nice options like being able to change background and foreground color, but those don't really add much to the actual gameplay.

- There is a sound effect ( the bell)

- Pop-up windows are convenient, but every option has Yes No Cancel, even when one or more of those don't even apply.

- I noticed that the Bank Deposit value doesn't round the number, so the decimals run off the screen.

- There is a nice variety of things to do, like guessing numbers and interacting with the bank. But some features don't seem to be finished.

- Usually games like this with a "Next Day" option has it very prominently displayed as a separate button on the main game screen, not buried in a menu like Misc.

Overall I'd give this 2/5.

I love text adventures, but this one needs lots of improvement.

- The main text box had good contrast, but the choices at the bottom did not. A blue capital letter is very hard to see clearly against a dark grey background. I highly recommend this website that helps you pick the colors with the greatest contrast.

- Lots of empty space on the main text block.

- Hard to visualize where the character is in relation to the environment. Some sort of graphics or at the very least more descriptive narratives would have helped here. 

- No sound effects or graphics.

- It wasn't very clear to me what the goal was. 

- The inventory system and stat screen were nice additions. 

- Being able to click on options with the mouse was a nice touch.

Overall I'd give this 2/5.

The opening screen says Copyright 2021. There's nothing in this game that screams "2022". But the game does have a complete loop and the ball physics and AI are fun. Pretty good sound effects and graphics, however I found it hard to tell if a player was facing forwards or backwards. But what this game really needs are instructions. I think the arrow keys to move and space bar to shoot are the only controls, but I'm not entirely sure. I was hoping that left-shift would make the character skate faster but that wasn't the case.

This is however, the first sports-type game I've seen in Basic and it reminded me a bit of some of the early NES sports titles.

Overall I'd give this 3/5.

This was my favorite game in this Game Jam. :)

I loved the use of full-screen and the voice-overs were fantastic! -- a great use of audio. 

The graphics are pretty standard, but it was easy to determine what things were.

Controls were a bit unconventional -- it felt hard to maneuver with precision. 

My  High-Score was 22.

Great job posting the instructions on the opening screen!

Good game loop.

Overall I'd give this game a 4/5

26 FEB 2020:

Still on my business trip so this weekend I’m going to post a checklist of what needs to get done to finish Scrapship. This is not an exhaustive list, but contains most of the major items I can think of.


THINGS IN THE GAME THAT NEED ADJUSTMENT:

- Enemy AI system

- Explosions and particle effects

- Scaling at different resolutions

- Music


THINGS NOT IN THE GAME YET:

- Cargo ship boss enemy

- Final boss enemy

- Background graphics (nebulae, more planets, etc)


Quote of the Week:

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” — Thomas Edison

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of your week!

19 FEB 2022:


- Scrapship has now been in development for 2 years! I started this devlog 16 Feb 2020. Definitely a LOT longer than I anticipated. But I'm determined to finish it, even if the progress seems slow at times.

- Experimenting with logic that will allow enemies to escape if they take too much damage.

- Various bug fixes. In particular, the game would crash by getting stuck in an endless loop. Fortunately it seems to be fixed now.

- There will be no real updates next week as I'll be on a business trip.


Quote of the Week: 

"Vision without execution is hallucination."

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of your week!

Hi Sneak! Yep, still going!

My work sends me out on quite a few business trips so that's been cutting into my development time. But I'm hopeful I can have something playable sometime this year.

How's your Cat-Powered-UFO game doing? Is that finished or do you have another game planned?

12 FEB 2022:


- What you see above is the screen when the player dies: (still a work in progress)

- First off, it tells you how many enemies you destroyed. It only highlights the applicable rows. 

- Below that, it shows your highest Threat Level, which just shows how hard the game was when you died. Think of the wanted system in the Grand Theft Auto games and you get the idea.

- Below that, the game always tells you exactly what killed you: A collision with a ship or a projectile. This has also come in very handy for debugging! 

- Finally, the player can choose to play again or exit to the desktop.

- Having the music stop when the player died was causing the game to crash. So I experimented with having the volume decrease on player death and increase back to the previous user setting when they chose to play again.

- I'm working on different backgrounds. In the gif above I'm experimenting with a green nebula between the two star layers. Ultimately I'd like to have randomly generated nebulae, but so far it's been a little difficult to achieve. Once you start stacking layers they have a tendency to cancel each other out which makes it less visually appealing.

- Carriers are done! You may encounter a carrier that spawns on the left side of the screen, or the right.

- The game currently has 13 different enemy configurations and there is almost always more than one configuration active at any one time.

- Fixed a bug where the cruiser "beaks" would still open even after the cruiser had been stunned.

- Bombers no longer slow down when hit (but the hit does contribute to morale reduction).


I have two business trips that will take up the rest of February, so there may not be much in the way of updates until March, but I will keep posting weekly out of habit and to share my weekly motivational quote. Speaking of which:


Quote of the Week:

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." -- Winston Churchill


Thanks for reading and have a great rest of your week!

I won't be able to finish this Game Jam -- got business trips until the end of the month. :(

Anyways, below is a montage of the game assets I was creating in Blender.

My theme was going to be Fruit (obviously) and I was going to do a sort of RPG where you fight different fruit enemies. The last enemy was going to be an Avocado because -- surprise surprise! -- it's actually a fruit!

The other fruits are a Banana, an Apple and a Rambutan (cool points if you know what a Rambutan is, they're actually really good).

In particular I was going to make it generate a random map each game and each screen would have random background elements. 

Excited for the new environments!

There's a game here on Itch called Space Chill that had a bit of the space tourism aspect to it. There was no travel in it, but you did have a spaceship interior you could walk around and see a really nice earth background. The screenshots don't really do justice to that part.

Don't worry about not having money, lots of developers -- including myself -- just make their games for the sheer enjoyment of it. So that leaves you with just the programming obstacle and even that can be surmounted, especially if you pick a good game engine.