This is very cool. I would greatly appreciate an option to invert the mouse.
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Menard conceived of his Asteroids in September of 1998, a mere 9 months after the release of Robotron 64, a typical, even paradigmatic, reimagining of the seminal 2D classic Robotron: 2084 using the 3D graphics of the Nintendo 64 console. As such, Menard's Asteroids can only be seen as a deliberate rejection of the turn-of-the-century videogame zeitgeist which saw the entire history of video games through the lens of the new 3D graphics processing technology.
In 1999, making a video game was widely seen as a work of translation. Landmark works such as Mario 64, Tomb Raider, and Ocarina of Time reimagined traditional 2D gameplay in 3D spaces. Even games like RayForce, Yoshi's Story, or the aforementioned Robotron 64, confined as they were to a single plane, could only conceive of video game graphics in terms of polygons. Games that continued using sprites for technical reasons such as Doom, the Donkey Kong Country series, or Mario Kart 64 based their sprites on pre-rendered 3D models so as to affect the appearance of polygonal graphics.
In this context, Menard's Asteroids stands athwart the march of history and shouts, Stop!
The design of the 1979 Asteroids was clearly an attempt to escape the confines of a single flat screen, to create a space that is boundless, if not endless; planar, but topologically toroidal. Menard's 1999 Asteroids, however, represents a flattening, a confinement. The player's viewpoint, accustomed in other games to following an avatar as it traverses space, is now locked in place, able only to witness the ship's endlessly wrapping path, a futile attempt to escape the bounds of the single screen.
In the 1979 Asteroids, space ships, asteroids, and even letters and numbers are composed by the direct motion of an electron beam from vertex to vertex. But Menard's game is composed of jagged sprites, groups of discrete pixels, using thousands of colors to alias those pixels into approximations of pure, straight monochrome lines. This futile attempt to create vectorized lines with crude pixels stands as a reproach to the video game industry of 1999's attempts to create smooth shapes with the even cruder polygons.
But in 2018, Ben Bittner's re-invention of Menard as a video game developer comes after the indie game Renaissance of the 2000s. Steam and Humble Bundles, Xbox Live and PSN, websites and cell phone app stores overflow with games that celebrate, recreate, and build on every era of video game development.
In graphics, Flash games produced a fusion: vector graphics rendered on pixelated screens. The Playstation 3 showcased its high-resolution graphics with flOw, producing figures nigh-indistinguishable from straight lines. AAE and VectorMAME developed techniques for emulating the vector graphics of Asteroids itself on high-resolution displays.
In the context of a video game landscape that contains everything from Pong to Overwatch, from Zork to Skyrim, the impulse to create Asteroids, choosing elemental gameplay, well-defined scope, simple shapes drawn with straight lines: all these are purely aesthetic and ludic decisions. In the modern video game color palette, red and green, gold and purple, black and white, are all equally available and the artist may choose according to her taste. In 2018, all that is necessary to create Asteroids is the desire to play Asteroids.
Wow, you guys! The performance and other improvements are fantastic. On the previous version I had to run at lowest quality and low resolution to get a steady 60fps. This one gets steady 60fps on high quality and my monitor's highest resolution. The collision is much better and I like all the added details. Thank you so much. I love this beautiful game. It might be the best flying game I've ever played. Got me to give itch.io my credit card number for the first time, cause you deserve it.
Having played a little more, this game reminds me a lot of Grow Home, which is one of the highest compliments I can give to a game. I adore the simple, untextured polygon look, but it sometimes makes it pretty difficult to judge the scale of the landscape when you start getting close up and trying to pull off tight maneuvers. I wonder if some sort of texturing might make it easier, when you're plummeting toward the ground, to get a sense of when you're getting close and need to pull up. I would often feel like I was just about hugging the ground but then pass well over one of the fruit. Anyway, great relaxing game. I'm glad rockpapershotgun refered me to it.
I think maybe it's a v-sync issue? If I lower the resolution enough to get 60 FPS, the medium and high settings are perfectly smooth. If the frame rate drops below 60, I get awful hitches. (Unfortunately there's no wide-screen resolution option low enough for my PC to get consistent 60 on Med/High). Also, weirdly, if I try to force v-sync through the control panel, I get low frame rates and hitching even on the low setting, but as soon as I go into the game's menu, the frame rate shoots back up to 200+ (Forcing v-sync OFF through the control panel doesn't seem to work, or at least has no effect on the hitching at Med/High.)
Not really expecting technical support for a little game like this, but thought maybe you'd be interested. Thanks again for making it.
I really love this. Is there any chance you could include any other graphics options? I get like 200+ FPS on low but a choppy/unsteady 30-40 on medium. Fortunately low looks pretty great, but it would be cool to have a setting between those two somehow. My computer is i3-4130, GT 740, 4G RAM.
But this game is great and beautiful even on low. The flying feels really good. Thanks so much for making it!