Indie game storeFree gamesFun gamesHorror games
Game developmentAssetsComics
SalesBundles

Star Shaped Bagel

A turn based shoot-em-up with a ship made of blocks stealing blocks. · By st33d

Features, and Stupid Ideas Sticky

A topic by st33d created May 19, 2018 Views: 173 Replies: 20
Viewing posts 1 to 7
Developer

S.S.Bagel went through many revisions in its former form as East Bagel Ship. Certain weapons like the Launcher were ridiculous. The repair block required adding cool downs to the engine because no matter how I tried I couldn't nerf the damn thing.

You might have your own ideas about:

  • Cool down timers - from bullets to how often bugs lay rocks.
  • When you should encounter a block (bear in mind a game should progress not as a slope, but with spikes of activity and recovery).
  • The availability of fuel.
  • Better tactics from large enemy ships.
  • Bizarre wild life.
  • A new type of block or better version of an existing block.

Be as ambitious as you like, some ideas might just be crazy enough to work. I will also post ideas - more mechanics generally involves a lot of nerfs and boost to other systems (I've just added mines at the time of this post and you can totally confuse the AI with them).

Buff the Gauss.

The idea of having a weapon that can directly remove blocks from a ship is cool, but the Gauss seems a bit under- powered and doesn't always work as intended. Although you did add the mechanic that allows you to remove all the blocks on a ship in a single hit, I find it much easier to just snipe or ram the core when its exposed for a kill. 

To fix these problems, i think the Gauss should function like a gun, and shoot a degaussing projectile that lasts 3- 4 rounds. I also think that when a block is removed, it should be pulled out a block (opposite to the direction of the degaussing projectile) so that the recipient ship doesn't repetitively dock it over and over again while the other ship just spams it with Gauss projectiles. This way the recipient ship will have more freedom of movement when getting hit with a Gauss, and the attacking ship (with the Gauss) will have a better chance of stealing the block. Maybe the one hit kill mechanic could be compromised for these changes, but the Gauss would still be a lot more useful and fun to play with.

Buff the asteroid factory

The asteroid factory is infamous for blocking player movement, and I know it as the worst block in both East bagel ship and in this game. I don't have any good suggestions for this, but the Astro- Fac would work if it either had a way to place the asteroids away from the ship, or if there was a way  for the creator of the asteroids to easily move through them.

Developer

I feel what you're getting at, though the solutions make things a lot harder to understand for new players.

I want bullets to basically say - "I destroy". It's easier to read. Gauss doesn't do that, hence the melee approach.  I've added the ability for gauss to feed the new gauss clouds I'm adding. They are small benign clouds that will detach blocks, so you can use them to rearrange your ship. This lets you create a defensive net or disassemble your ship completely. Perhaps the block could also have a 2 tile range and use the new pushing code to instigate a pull, I will experiment with this. I agree the block needs support but projectiles is too messy.

The astro-fac has its uses. When the fac is pointing at your rear, it provides the perfect defense against pursuers. Hopefully, the new opportunities to rearrange might make this block a bit easier to use. Perhaps a charged state for rocks would let them glide for a turn - but I want to keep it consistent with the bomb-fac, which is hard to do when the top use for bomb-fac is pump-and-bump. I think the block is more situational than outright bad, but the situations definitely insist on one direction only. For now, I'll keep an eye on it, perhaps try to come up with new synergies with rocks  so that they can have more utility.

Developer

Someone on reddit mentioned an energy shield and reflective blocks. I said, what about a block that can parry bullets and send them back?

Dunno how to approach this. Perhaps it has 1 hp of reflective layer it gives to surrounding blocks and you can pump fire to restore it? Or does it bat in front of you? It would have to hit a decent space in front of you but is that OP?

For the block that can parry attacks, I think that it would have to be "Ready'd up" before reflecting a shot; the player would have to press space on the round they reflect a bullet/beam. If this is too OP, then maybe the parry would come out one move later, this would have to create a cooldown, but it could be used when the player moves a space after activating the parry block. 

Example: the player sees a bullet coming towards them and they activate their Parry block. If the bullet was 2 spaces away after they activated their parry block, then they would move up towards it and it would run into the parry. If it was 1 space away after they activated their parry block, then they could either press space again, or move into the bullet and have it run into the parry block. However, the bullet will not be reflected if it hits the parry right after the player activates it, due to the delay 

This example is assuming that the parry only works if the bullet runs into the block itself, not the block in front of it. 

The reflected bullet will probably have to spawn inside of the parry block to prevent bugs.

Developer

This parry effect you're describing sounds like some kind of force wall you're lumping in front of you. I think it would have to exist on the solid layer so it can absorb effects and operate independently.

I'm saying that a bullet would have to hit the parry block attacked to the ship 2 turns after the block is activated to be reflected

Developer (1 edit)

Sounds complicated. How would you figure out what it does and how would the enemy AI be able to predict several turns in advance to use it? What happens if you just spam it?

As an example: The ships spam astro-fac for two turns when they use it. I found that simply reacting wasn't enough to block a threat - the gun that made the bullet is still aimed at the ship. But add a load of other blocks and the ship starts tooting it's guns like crazy, just to feed the astro-fac's demands.

I'm probably misinterpreting your idea, but factoring multi-turn events into an AI that's looking after a group of weapons that do different things is a world of nope.

yeah, i should have considered AI in my idea.. Speaking of AI, what if you made a real AI? Like an AI with a neural network?

Developer

Most of AI is about assigning a score to your goals. You need to know what that score is before you can apply a solution to it.

The game currently uses several heat maps generated by "threats" and acting entities. The ships poll their blocks and react to immediate threats and opportunities.

The main flaw is that they act from the core and move towards your core. I need to add getting the whole glom to look at each direction it could move as well as what advantage is gained by firing. I'm thinking of a democracy. That's more or less what's currently happening but a lot of blocks have veto, and just override any other concern. By building a score for each block's possible actions, I could then adjust the vote based on which blocks have the best utility.

This is something I'd have to do before even considering a neural net because I need data to put into that neural net. I doubt I'll use a neural net, I wouldn't know where to start - and I say this having programmed several classic neural nets in the past.

(1 edit)

Having played some other space games, I think it would be cool to add a sort of trading outpost. It would look like the launch pad and when you move to the edge of it, a prompt would pop up, showing you the trade. Trades could consist of trading blocks, fuel, or maybe even repairs for the player to receive. If the player accepts the trade, then the trade station will glow red (some sort of indication), and either automatically  take fuel from the player or in the case of the player giving up blocks, the center block of the station would remove any of the desired block that moves over it. When the player has completed their part of the trade, the trade station would turn green (another indication) and spit out fuel rocks or blocks for the player to pick up.

Edit: I would have the trading stations be pretty rare, and only appear later in the game. They could maybe have a long range indication that they are nearby, and maybe they could be protected by challenging enemies.

Developer

I think I would like a second resource for trading. I can imagine green trading ships that spawn blocks on payment pretty easily. Ram them to pay them and they spit out a block on the other side.

Making it depend on fuel wouldn't be much fun though. It would force you to spend all your time mining. Cash should be dropped by something interactive like blocks - letting you crush them for resource instead of just abandoning blocks you don't like. Or perhaps you have to hunt worms or something bigger.

Developer

Figured out how to do a worm-gun. The worm would be like a chain of homing bullets. Splitting it just makes break up into smaller worms. Firing into an existing worm-bullet makes it grow. This would be distinct from wild worms, but I think I might change them up a bit to make this crazy idea possible.

(1 edit)

But maybe not 1 or 2 unit long worms. You would have to fire for at least 2 or 3 rounds to make a full worm

Developer

Plan is: Fires something like a homing shot - firing into an existing worm shot makes it grow from the head, only one growth per turn allowed.

It's mostly set up. There's quite a few animations still to do. It will be quite helpful if it works because it will allow Tholian Web style weapons to exist. Other types of shot could expand into nets or create structures.

seems like quite a powerful weapon. I'm guessing that the bullets don't die or have a longer lifespan than the launcher shot. if the worms don't have a lifespan then there could be problems with enemies just running off once a worm is chasing them.

Developer

All shot-types will have a life timer. Can't balance them otherwise.

I'm already planning on a cap animation for the beam. It's a bit unfair getting lazored off-screen and without a range limit I can't balance it against other weapons. It might be cool to see it earlier but at the moment it's OP and has a massive AI presence.

(1 edit)

buff the worm gun

instead of each segment of the worm having its own life timer, make only the front of the worm have a life timer. With this, the worm would lose one segment every few rounds so that the overall lifetime of each worm is proportional to its length.

Edit: I think you would have to add a length cap to prevent the player from making infinitely long worms 

Developer

What happens when something hits the middle of the worm? Why wouldn’t giving the other segments a timer that is relative to the head achieve the same effect? How is it possible to feed the worm with the worm gun to make it grow when its tail is disappearing first?

I get the intent of this suggestion, but I don’t see how to put it into practice. There would be no way to limit the snake that makes sense to the player. Even with a length cap you could keep the worm alive forever - how is the player supposed to understand they’ve reached maximum length? It would require more special animations - that would probably take me a few months to complete. Is it really worth all that effort?

Perhaps this would be better as a different kind of weapon.

hmm. actually, never mind adding a length cap. When I had the idea of adding a length cap I was thinking that the head of the worm would be that part that slowly degrades. But if the back of the worm is the part that degrades (instead of the head) , and each back segment disappears after 3 moves , then the player can only add up to 3 segments of the worm before the back segment pulls away from the payer's gun, making the lifespan of the worm 9  The player could still possibly add more segments to the worm, but only if it turns 180 degrees.


However, this does not solve your problem of having to make a new animation for the tail disappearing, and the head disappearing animation would only be seen on worms with 1 segment remaining.


Perhaps you could make the worm gun appear more often or sooner in the game.

Developer

I think the main issue with tail 1st decay is the weird effect on range. Without the head decaying you get this weird marching ants effect as you decide not to add to a worm because you don't want it to be infinitely long. Then it also creates a weird worm farming mini-game as you keep worms alive - which although fun, is a waste of fuel.

I would prefer a different type of block to the worm gun for something like this. Either something that unpacks itself, so tail 1st decay has less weirdness, or perhaps make a bullet based on bugs that has a weird effect on rocks (astro-fac could redeem itself).