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SCRAPSHIP (Still going!)

A topic by 40wattstudio created Feb 16, 2020 Views: 7,787 Replies: 276
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(1 edit) (+6)


Solo dev. Very first time trying to make a finished game (Key word here is finished!)

I have a week off so I'm going to start simple but consistent. 

I recently read Jason Schreier's "Blood, Sweat and Pixels" and one of its many lessons I learned was this:

Don't waste time making fancy game assets until the very end of game development. You could literally find yourself trashing hours of work because you change ideas halfway through. That's why you see that nice boring blue square in the screenshot. :) The good stuff will come later.

Ultimately this will be a top-down shooter where each level has a different theme or goal.

Some of the features I'm aiming for:

Up / Down / Left / Right movement

Parallax scrolling

Enemies and Objects with random sizes and spawning locations

Counters

A simple storyline to make it a little more interesting than just mashing buttons.


Mystery: What programming language is this being developed in???

Wish me luck and thanks for reading!

(+1)


UPDATE 16 FEB 2020: 

The game now generates a fixed number of objects that appear in random locations. The next major hurdle is going to be the hit detection.

I also played around with the Parallax scrolling. While I got it to work, one issue is that the background covers the other objects that are supposed to be in the foreground. So I got to figure out how to de-conflict the different layers.

Thanks for reading!

(+1)

UPDATE 17 FEB 2020:


Lots of progress today!

Player can collide with objects to collect them. Counter keeps track of quantity.

Objects can also move across the screen instead of just sitting there.

Parallax scrolling works!

Also made a transition to the next level.


I experimented with screen resolutions (default of 1080x1080, 800x600 and 1920x1080). While all of these work, it makes a mess of where objects are placed and the player is a bit slow on 1920x1080. Of course I can change variables to compensate, but I'm thinking it might just be better and simpler to just stick with one screen size. What do you think? 

Thanks for reading!

(+1)


UPDATE 18 FEB 2020:


"Finished" levels 2 and 3. They work, but I'm not sure they are exactly as I want them yet, but both levels do add functionality which will be seen across the game.

Gameplay from Level 1 is what is shown in the video. Everything you see on screen is hard-coded. No game engine used at all.

Stay tuned for more and thanks for reading!

(+2)

I'll have to check out this "blood sweat and pixels" book, sounds like great advice.


It's cool that you update this so regularly, send me a message if you want a playtester or 2nd set of eyes.

Thanks, I'll keep you in mind! I'm probably about a week or two out from having a demo ready.

(+1)

I have a demo out now if you want to try it out. :)

(I didn't see any options to send a direct message so posting this here instead).

(+1)


UPDATE 19 FEB 2020:

The player can shoot now! Even better, the player can shoot a string of 5 lasers. 

One challenge will be figuring out how to get one unique shot with each press of the spacebar. 

Unique shots basically require an array (dimensioned based on presses of the space bar), but of course the catch-22 is that the computer doesn't know how many elements are in the array if the spacebar has never been pressed before (empty array).

I also made sure that .exe and game files could be exported properly for when the game is finally done and ready to be put in a .zip folder.

Thanks for reading!

(+1)


UPDATE 20 FEB 2020:

This morning I set up some "playgrounds" and experimented with different weapon types. Still can't get unique shots with each press of the fire button but I did find a nice workaround that simulates the desired effect.

And then it got more interesting!

I found some code for how to implement scaling and rotation. Ooooooh! The possibilities!

After playing around with those for a while I went back and rigged up the hit detection for my bullets and tested them against waves of fighters.


Thanks for reading; views keep me motivated!

(+2)

keep posting man!


It will defiantly help you finish your first project!

(+1)


UPDATE:   21 FEB 2020


Some fun and ambitious updates! After submitting yesterday's Devlog I realized that the hit detection left a bit to be desired. The spaceships (as seen above) look like inverted T's but are actually just square images with transparency. So if a laser hit any part of the square it registered as a hit, even if the ship's hull is not in that region of the drawing.

To amend this, I turned the fighter objects into two unique rectangles. Now the small cockpit of the fighters can be individually targeted with greater accuracy.

I added another weapon and experimented with getting smoother shot animations. Though I can accomplish this on my computer the real question is how will it look on yours? I imagine a PC at 2GHz might run the game a bit differently than one at 3GHz, etc.

My favorite addition so far are the dynamic fighter animations, as seen above. The fighters actually change their appearance based on how much damage they've sustained! You can see a couple with their cockpits shot up and a few more with some wing damage. 

Those are still placeholder graphics, btw, just slightly better so I could better judge how it would turn out.

Lots of things on my to-do list, but three that are more important:

1) Letting the fighters shoot back

2) Giving the fighters better/random logic

3) Cleaning up my 500+ lines of code so I can follow the program easier!

Thanks for reading and TGIF!

(+1)

UPDATE 22 FEB 2020:


Good news! I was able to successfully merge my two files that had different features. What this means is that a DEMO is now on the horizon! 

Today I worked on the main game loop, ensuring that the game restarts or ends as desired. The last big hurdle for this demo is getting the logic to trigger a certain event. Will probably have that figured out Sunday or Monday.

Thanks for reading!

(1 edit) (+1)


UPDATE 23 FEB 2020:


Demo is now released! 

Only changes are the addition of an instructions screen and changes to the internal logic. Player can also select to restart the game or exit.

It's been a busy week making this during my Staycation! I intend to keep improving it, slowly but surely, posting updates as I go along.

If you give it a spin I'd love to hear what you thought of it!
https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

(+1)

UPDATE 24 FEB 2020:

I'm back to my normal job which means I'll have less time for working on this game . . . but I am determined to keep working on it and get it done.

Thanks to everyone so far for viewing and downloading it. I've already heard feedback that the screen size is a bit too big and the second weapon will not fire if you have the Caps-Lock key on (my 7-yr old discovered that one!).

So I've added those two things to my "To Do"s.

The awesome people at the QB64 forums have given awesome pointers on how to fix the firing logic so that I can have one shot fire with each press of the spacebar, just like in a normal top-down shooter. I've been working on that this afternoon. Once I get it to work I'll be able to implement it in the game and add better weapons, which I'm really excited about!

(+1)


UPDATE 25 FEB 2020:


TADA! Thanks to the QBasic gurus at the QB64 forums I was able to figure out how to get multiple unique shots with each press of the fire button! 

This means I'll be able to create better weapons since the player is no longer restricted to firing one shot at a time.

Next step will be to slowly integrate this into my latest build, testing along the way to make sure the hit detection still works. 

I've also been scouting around for music for the game. Audio licenses can definitely get pricey, especially for the better sounding music. 

If you'd like to help with this aspect of the game please see the link below:

https://ko-fi.com/40wattstudio

(+1)




UPDATE 26 FEB 2020:
New firing logic is now integrated into game!
There is hit detection, but it seems just a little bit off, causing the enemy ships to get blown away a bit faster than usual.
Before I get too carried away with enemies and weapons, I need to dedicate some time to cleaning up the code. If it works as planned, I'll have one section of code that just imports the settings for different weapons before running a second section that checks for hit detection against whatever enemies are on screen.
Thanks for reading!
(+1)

Hey man!

Good to see you still at it, actually on a staycation atm as well.


I had a problem with the game window big to tall, i couldn't fit the very bottom of it on my screen even tho i had the top of the window at the very top.


Cool to see your progress tho.

Awesome! Glad you got to check it out! 

The bottom gets cut off because the screen size is 1080 by 1080. In the future I plan to implement different screen resolutions.

Thanks for the feedback and enjoy your staycation!

UPDATE 27 FEB 2020:

Cleaned up the code and fixed an issue where the player shot was originating inside the player ship instead of directly in front of it.

Now I'm working on an issue where the new lasers are looping the damage calculation instead of just running it once.

UPDATE 28 FEB 2020:

Progress! Fixed the "looping damage" issue in the code, so now I'm ready to move forward!

What are some things that you think would work well in a top-down shooter? Or what are some things that you've seen that don't work well?

(+1)

Are you thinking more "bullet hell" or "explore world" type game?

Closer to "bullet hell". That being said, I'm not a huge fan of the top-down shooters where there are so many projectiles on-screen that the player gets lost trying to figure out where they are and what's going on.

There are  plans for levels with no combat, especially towards the beginning of the game.

Good questions and thanks for reading!

UPDATE 29 FEB 2020:

Today's progress: 

Pressing ESC key on any screen exits the game.

Fixed issue where pressing lower-case letter prevented one from changing weapons.

Fixed another issue where the last enemy ship wasn't populating on-screen.

UPDATE 1 MAR 2020:

Fixed an issue where the enemy ships were occasionally spawning off-screen.

One of the things I've learned so far in this gamedev journey: Don't expect major progress on a daily basis (especially if you're just a one-man show that's also working a normal job). Days might pass where the game doesn't really change a whole lot. But the key thing is to just keep grinding away at it and try and make some sort of daily improvement.

At this point I could rush ahead and start coding other things -- more enemy ships, more weapons -- but that doesn't really make sense when there are still other game-breaking issues that need attention.


UPDATE 2 MARCH 2020:


Changed the logic for the enemy fighters so that they stop halfway down the screen. This made it easier for me to code . . .

. . . the enemy shooting back!

Yes! Now random enemy ships actually fire back at you. In the above screenshot the enemy shot is symbolized by the red square (with the slightly rounded edges to make Apple proud).

(+1)

Keep up the good work!

Can the bullets damage your ship yet?


I've started another project of my own on itch!

Would be cool if you could tell me what your thoughts were :)

Yes, ship damage is a feature I plan on adding, as well as different skins to give a more visual representation of how shot up your ship is.

I tried your Roopit n' Boopit demo and can give you more feedback if you email me at 40wattstudio@gmail.com. I really liked what I played so far though!

(+1)

I will definitely do that :)

Cheers hey!  To making games!


UPDATE 3 MAR 2020:


A top-down shooter just isn't much fun without different enemies so that's what I worked on today. Using placeholder graphics I quickly made a different type of enemy ship and tweaked the code so that not only is a random number of enemy ships generated (spawning at random coordinates), but those random ships can potentially be one of two different types: The one-piece pentagonal "cruiser" or the 2-piece fighter.

Also made the enemy shot a little more obvious (red triangle) and used an old .png file I had from previous projects as a more interesting placeholder graphic for the player ship.

There are a few issues I have to work out, but it's good to see this game coming closer to a second demo!

(+1)

Looking forward to the second demo!

UPDATE 4 MAR 2020:

Behind-the-scenes changes today. Organized the code to be more modular. Should be easier now to make  levels by calling only the subroutines that I need.

At this point in the game (ha! no pun intended) I have about 1100 lines of code and lots of variables to track. I tried the "concise code" route and while that made the program slightly smaller, it was causing more issues than it was worth. So now I'm favoring more explicit statements and subs to keep things functional.


UPDATE 5 MAR 2020:


Made some graphics for the player's second weapon. Also made a second weapon for the enemy. The enemy weapons aren't firing as expected but I hope to sort that out shortly.

At this point I'm also starting to consider my options for sfx/music. I got a couple good leads already.

UPDATE 6 MAR 2020:

Let there be sound!

Today I worked on getting the game ready to play audio. For now I have some generic audio but I'm working on getting some of better quality in the near future. You'll be able to hear it in the second demo when that's released.


UPDATE 7 MAR 2020:

Lots of progress today! The enemy ships now move forward at random speeds, stop at random points and fire at random. Also added player health. In my playthrough's I see lots of little adjustments I need to make but overall it's getting pretty close to how I envisioned it!

UPDATE 8 MAR 2020:

Made some adjustments to the firing patterns and logic. Since enemy projectiles is such an integral part of the game I'll be doing lots of  experimentation and tweaks until I feel I got it right.

Also started work on an Options screen where the player will be able to change screen resolution and volume.

(+1)

UPDATE 9 MAR 2020:


- Got rid of the old title screen and replaced it with a new one.

- Learned how to changed the window name so it doesn't just say "Untitled".

- Added a cheat mode to aid in game testing.

You may have noticed that I haven't given a solid release date yet for the second demo. That's because I'm a bit of a perfectionist and want to make sure the second one is better by leaps and bounds. 

Even if I focus only on the second demo, there's a lot to be done: Shot and movement logic needs tweaking, sounds and graphics need to be implemented, to name a few of the major things.

So the closest thing I have to a release date is this Devlog right here, updated daily.

Thanks for reading!


UPDATE 10 MAR 2020:

It's inevitable that when you're making a game you're going to say, "Wouldn't it be cool if . . . " 

So yesterday I was playing around with background textures and effects. I was able to implement them, but found that it slowed the game down to a point where it's not playable. Hmmm. So now it's a matter of deciding to scrap some of those ideas or see if there's a workaround I can use.

On a more positive note, I was able to spend some time with the sound effects today! It is definitely going to take some tweaking to get them synced up with the appropriate actions but the results will be worthwhile!

UPDATE 11 MAR 2020:

In most top-down shooters I've seen, the enemy doesn't specifically target the player. Instead they just fill the screen with bullets and hope that something works. 

Scrapship is not going to be like that. Enemy ships will only fire on the player when it is practical for them to do so. That was today's progress.

Pattern-based waves is another staple of top-down shooters I've never really understood. Great for memorizing levels for a high score, but not so great if you're going for replay value. So my plans are for Scrapship to have random quantities of fighters, of random types, spawning at random points and moving to random locations. No two playthroughs will be exactly the same.

But what about you? Is there anything you like or dislike about top-down shooters?


UPDATE 12 MAR 2020:

- Scrapship now has 5 sound effects thanks to the talents of mariosello1! You can find him on the Job board here. I was very pleased with the sounds he was able to create!

- Originally the pentagonal "Cruisers" were going to shoot a 3-round burst at the player; doing that caused the game to lag significantly. Instead, I changed the logic so that the Cruisers shoot diagonally at the player. You can't really tell in the screenshot, but the effect looks really nice. (Also makes the level brutally hard!)

(+1)

Looks like everything is coming along nicely for you mate!

Keep it up! :D

UPDATE 13 MAR 2020: 

- What's worse than black ice? Flying around and crashing your spaceship because you flew into some space where an enemy once was! Thankfully I got that nasty bug figured out and the void of space is a little more friendly now. ;)

UPDATE 14 MAR 2020:

The game runs much smoother after taking out the 3-round multishot (see post dated 12 Mar), but there is still a little bit of lag when the screen first starts to fill with enemies. To remedy this, I've started restructuring the code so that things that are more lag-inducing are loaded first. So far the changes seem to be a step in the right direction. The real test will be when I try and implement some of the more dynamic backgrounds I have in mind.

(+1)

Sounds like you know a lot more about coding then I do hahah x

UPDATE 15 MAR 2020:

- Finished 1 animated background

- Fixed bugs where player would crash at 0,0 coordinate and enemy shots would originate from there as well after first cruiser shot down.

- Restructured the main game loop (again) and have it about 90% working. It's a lot of work but the payoff has been that the game doesn't lag anymore and I'm able to implement animated backgrounds which will bring a lot of life to the levels.

- My 7-year old son made a spaceship design using Pyxel Edit so I added that to the game. :)


(+1)

hahah I love the spaceship!  xD

Good to know I'm about as good at pixel art as a 7 yr old!  :P

UPDATE 16 MAR 2020:

- Started work on a New Game + feature. I've always loved games that continued after they ended, a great example being Lunar 2: Eternal  Blue.

- Fixed an issue where player was unable to select options if CAPS LOCK was accidentally left on or pressed during gameplay.

- Fixed an issue with player hit detection.

 

17 MAR 2020:

- Added a way to adjust the sound up and down at the title screen.

- The enemy now shoots even if the player stays idle.

- Some of the enemy ships move around the screen based on the player's position and their current health. If the enemy ship is near full health, they'll aggressively chase the player. If the enemy ship is wounded it will retreat away from the player. This part especially is a work in progress as I experiment with other movement logic to see what works best.

18 MAR 2020:

- The code was getting ridiculously messy and hard to follow, even with comment notes to myself. So once again I restructured the code to make it even more modular and easy to follow. The upsides are that it will be much easier to add in enemies and I won't have to worry about a change in variable x conflicting with a bunch of other factors.

19 MAR 2020:

Some days I feel like I'm not making a whole lot of progress. Then I went back and played the first demo I posted here on Itch. What a difference! It may not look like much when comparing the two screenshots above (first demo on the left, current build on the right), but the current build has far more features that can't be properly communicated in a screenshot (window resizing, sound effects, better AI, planet rotation, etc).

Today I reworked the logic for the enemy fighters. In the demo, they would just fly straight at you and that's it. Now, they constantly adjust their position relative to the player and, if they're still alive upon reaching the bottom of the screen, loop back around for another pass. Once the last few bugs here are worked out I'll be able to start on something else, something I'm eagerly looking forward to. 

(+1)

"Once the last few bugs here are worked out I'll be able to start on something else, something I'm eagerly looking forward to. "

Do you mean a new project?  

Just a different aspect of the current game. Don't worry, I'm not abandoning this one!

20 MAR 2020:

Had to go Starship Troopers on some of the bugs in my game. They were nasty! It's amazing how just a few numbers and variables can totally mess with your head.

For the curious, the bug was that the enemy fighters wouldn't align properly if the player was flush with the right side of the screen. Left side worked just fine, but something about that right side logic was eluding me until literally just a few minutes ago. 

Anyways, glad that's over with. Onwards!

21 MAR 2020:

- Enemy AI improvements. Enemy fighters now move away from the player if the player is firing a weapon.

- Added particle explosion effect when player dies.

- Player spaceship skin changes based on damage sustained.

- Started replacing PRINT statements with real text.

22 MAR 2020:

- Enemy cruisers now actively target the player ship.

- Added more colors to the particle explosion effect.

- Added a  "Press Enter to Start" instruction to the title screen

23 MAR 2020:

A while back I introduced some sound effects into the game. The sound effects are excellent, but the tricky part is getting them to sync up with the action. Currently the sound starts to play again before it finishes playing the first time, resulting in a "overlapping" sound. I made a little bit of progress on this today but there's still some work to be done.

The particle explosion also needs some work. It triggers properly, but the background doesn't display at the same time, resulting in just a black screen with the explosion. Same as above, progress was made, but still some work to do . . .


24 MAR 2020:

Finally got tired of looking at square boxes so I replaced them with some scrap-looking objects.

Today I also did lots of work on the audio. The "overlapping" sound issue is almost nonexistent after adding an extra delay to the code. Next, I added some voice audio which I might use to inform the player what weapon is currently selected and when health is critical.

I also got the background to display properly with the player explosion.  Looks very nice!

(+1)

"Finally got tired of looking at square boxes so I replaced them with some scrap-looking objects."

Lol!  

It is "Scrapship" afterall.

xD

25 MAR 2020:

- Started fixing a bug where the "Cruiser" ships wouldn't target the player if the player flew above them on the Y axis.

- Experimented with fonts. Apparently QB64 is not too fond of fonts because the demo .otf file I loaded really bogged the game down. Checking to see if there is a workaround . . .


26 MAR 2020:

Today I learned how to make a .gif! End of update!

Just kidding! But seriously . . . in addition to that, I also fixed the bug where the Cruiser wouldn't fire if the player was above them. 

All the text in the game now has a custom font instead of the default that is used with Qbasic PRINT statements.

A second demo is very close now. There are a few more features I'd like to add . . . I just need to be careful of being a perfectionist. Like one of my favorite quotes reads: "Perfection is the enemy of done."

27 MAR 2020:

Lol, if the gameplay above looks a bit frantic it's because I'm rushing to save the ship after I had switched windows to press the Record button in GifCam.

Anyways, it shows off the latest two features: Improved Cruiser ship graphics (thanks to @another_blender_user on Instagram) and some fiery explosion effects that I made myself. 

The explosions can use a little more work, but overall I think they turned out quite nice. The blasts appear at random points on the ship so that no two blasts are the same.


UPDATE 28 MAR 2020:


- Reworked the title screen considerably, simplifying the sound settings and added a credits selection. Plus some graphical changes. 

- Reworked some of the projectile graphics for both the player and the enemy.

- New player ship "Blender sprite" added to the game, thanks to @another_blender_user.

Second demo coming soon . . .

(+1)

Nice!  There's a title screen and everything now!

It looks like its all starting to take shape for you mate.  Well done!  :)

Get that 2nd demo out for me!

29 MAR 2020:

- Increased planet resolution and rotation animation

- Added Credits reel

Demo Monday ???

30 MAR 2020:

Second Scrapship demo is out now! https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

I'm really pleased with the progress made as you can see from comparing the two screenshots below.


So what's next for Scrapship?

New ships, new weapons, levels, level transitions and creative ways to make the game look a little less 2D.

I still plan on posting daily updates to this devlog . . . that being said . . . the last 20% of this game will take longer and be more difficult to finish and polish. I've enlisted help for some things such as sound effects and graphics assets, but there's still much to do that creates quite the workload for a solo developer.

Finally, I'm announcing a new approach to how I release demos: A new demo every month until the game is done!

For those those that played the demo, what did you think? Anything you'd like to see or stay the same?

Thanks for reading and thanks for playing!

(+1)

Played through the new demo!

I think I found a bug in the end!

Also I made it lag a fair bit at one point, not sure what i did, but the video shows it for you at least.

I found the machine gun weapon to be way better than the first weapon, was I missing something?

Anyway I hopt the video helps, if you got questions don't be afraid to ask.  :)

Thanks for sharing the Youtube video! 

The lag at the end is intentional to give a more dramatic effect.

The rapid laser fires faster and farther but does less damage. The single laser is slower and has a shorter range, but does more damage. I'll be adding an upgrade system at some point to make all the weapons more powerful. :)

(+1)


31 MAR 2020:

I've noticed that a lot of the better quality top-down shooters have a "banking animation", so I added that to the game. More 3D and less 2D!

More graphical assets, sound effects, fancy fonts, music, voice acting -- there are lots of things that can be added to the game to help bring it to life. I have a few ideas as to which are the most practical and important, but what do you think?

(+2)

I think sound effects, music and graphics are the most important of the ones you listed.  :)

(+1)

1 APR 2020:

- Above you can see an early prototype where the player destroys an enemy ship, comes in contact with the power-up (W for wide shot). The upgraded green laser is wider and does double damage. 

(+1)

2 APR 2020:

- Lots of planet work today! Made the planet smaller for slightly faster load times. Next, I rendered the cloud layer separately from the terrain layer and raised it slightly off the main sphere. What do you think, is it less marble-like now? 

- Started added some voice overs to signal key events (health low, etc). Audio level can be set independently from sound level as seen in the title screen options above.

A new demo will be out toward the end of the month, but in the meantime the latest demo can be found at the link below . . .

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

(+1)

3 APR 2020:

- Continued work on the laser powerups. Laser upgrades twice, getting wider and dealing more damage each time.

- Player ship now has mini explosion animations when it gets hit.

(+1)

4 APR 2020:

- Added a new ship today! It flies across the screen and fires a projectile straight down as it passes over the player.

- Slight modification to the weapon power-ups icons and effects.

- Almost forgot, yes, I'm still playing around with different planet effects.

Currently I think the new ship (in black) looks a little bit too big compared to the Cruiser (in blue).

What do you think, does the new ship need to be scaled down a bit? 

(+1)

5 APR 2020:

- Improved the hit detection. Instant death only in very obvious ship collisions. "Grazing" causes minor damage and gives the player a chance to evade.

- Added a pause button. Play resumes after any keypress.

(+1)

6 APR 2020:

- Further hit detection and bomber movement improvements. 

- Several more spaceships are ready to be added to the game. No more pixel graphics! These spaceships are all made in Blender!

While I'm waiting for certain things to get accomplished, I'm basically just making minor improvements. To that end, it would be very helpful if I could get some feedback either here or via Roast My Game. I've already made a couple adjustments based on feedback from my Instagram followers and readers.

Help roast my game: https://roastmygame.com/game/scrapship #gamedev

(+1)

7 APR 2020:

- New fighters! These were created in Blender by @another_blender_user.

- The game now has 3 functional enemy ships (fighter, bomber, cruiser). Just need to refine hitboxes, damage, image size, etc.

- Had more voice-over audio recorded last night.

- Added stats to the end of the game showing how many of each type of ship was shot down.

(+1)

8 APR 2020:

- Added shields to the fighter ships. The shields get smaller as they absorb more hits.

- Cruisers now warp into action!

- Fixed an issue where the player ship wouldn't touch the top of the screen. Also fixed enemy spawn placement issues. Fixed another issue where player ship would explode at the top of the screen.

(+1)

Are you using your own engine, or GameMaker or something? Well done either way!

(+2)

Thanks! This is programmed QB64 which is basically an updated version of Qbasic.

Qbasic is the DOS language yeah?

That's the one!

(+2)

9 APR 2020:

- Added some frames of animation to show that the player's bullets were hitting the shield of the fighters.

- Currently tweaking the explosion effects and implementing some logic so that some shots will be misses.

(+1)

10 APR 2020:

- Power-up update!
In previous versions (including the demo) the player could change the weapon by pressing the "C" button. Now, destroyed enemies drop icons that can change weapons for you!

11 APR 2020:

- New weapon: The Scrapcannon! All the orbital scrap that the player collects ultimately ends up becoming the ammunition for the best weapon in the game. 

(+2)

I survived!! Im still trying to collect all of the scrap though. I found it very fun to play, and prety intuitive overall. Maybe you could make the restart when you loose a little faster? Im very bad at top-down shooter, but I enjoyed  it. Please let me know when the third demo is out!

Awesome, glad you enjoyed it! The slow restart is due to the planet rotation graphics loading in the background. I hope to address that issue in the third demo when it comes out towards the end of this month.

Thanks for the feedback!

(1 edit) (+1)

12 APR 2020:

- Above GIF shows the icon-based weapon-swap mechanic. Seconds are indicated by dots and weapon type is indicated by the large letter. 

After shooting an enemy down, an icon appears. If collected in the first 5 seconds, one switches to the default single laser. If one waits for the R, they then have 3 seconds to switch to the rapid laser. (And if one waits still longer, they have 2 seconds to switch to the Scrapcannon). 

What I like about this design is that it prevents the player from having to press a button to change a weapon and also injects a little bit of strategy -- you can get any weapon you want, as long as you can get to it safely and are willing to wait a few seconds for it.

The icon vanishes forever after the last weapon icon cycles through . . . so you got to get it while it's still active! If you need to change weapons again you'll have to destroy something else to spawn another icon.

- Right now the game has 5 sound effects (created by @mariosello1) and some voice-over audio. I'm currently working on getting some music created for the game.

(+1)

13 APR 2020:

- The rotating planet now moves down and off the screen slowly as the level progresses. As a result, I was able to cut down the game's file size from about 50MB  to 20MB and reduced load times from 10 seconds to 3 seconds.

- Enemies are now gradually introduced. The hard-to-kill Cruisers do not join the fight until all of the fighters or bombers have been shot down.

- Bombers fly horizontally below the Cruisers but above the player's default starting location. Helps prevent getting side-swiped.

- Slightly decreased the default SFX volume.


14 APR 2020:

- Redid the planet terrain texture and brightened the clouds. Terrain and clouds now rotate one degree at a time. I've done lots of little adjustments but I think I finally have the planet looking and behaving the way I'd like. 

15 APR 2020:

- Enemies now show damage based on their current health.

(+1)

The ships are looking good!  :)

(1 edit) (+1)

I love going back to the beginning of this forum and seeing just how far you've come with this project. Suggestion: Make the cloud rotate slightly faster than the terrain, that way it looks like there is a bit of wind...

Thanks! It's definitely been a lot of work.

In the current build the clouds rotate independently in the opposite direction of the terrain. I'll have to check and see what the rotation values are. Thanks for the suggestion!

16 APR 2020:

- Rapid laser and scrap cannon increase firing speed each time they're leveled up.

- I've been using Pyxel Edit, Paint and HeliosPaint at various times for certain graphics. Though some of these programs are pretty good, my artistic ability is lacking, even if I'm trying to make something as "simple" as a pixelated explosion. So now I'm using BlastFX for my explosions and already I can see improvements in appearance.

17 APR 2020:

- Most top-down shooters rely on patterned waves of enemies so I'm experimenting with giving a little bit of AI to the enemy ships. I'd like for them to react based on factors like how much damage they or another ship has sustained or what the player is doing. So far it's going okay, but I have lots of little bugs I have to work out.

18 APR 2020:

- The enemy AI is a little bit closer to how I'd like it and I have a better idea of what changes still need to be made. The bomber definitely needs some work. I'm thinking about having it come in from the top of the screen instead of the side.

- The explosions I made with BlastFX were too large (60x60 pixels or larger) so I reduced their size by half and adjusted their placement on the enemy ships.

- Mini-milestone: First demo had 45 views and 15  downloads. Second demo has 57 views and 17 downloads. Not as much as I'd like, but it's still progress. As the demos get better in quality I expect the counts will increase even more.

Speaking of which, if you're reading this devlog and thinking to yourself, "He should really do X or Y" feel free to comment on any features you'd like to see in the game or things that need changing. I've already implemented a few changes recommended from other players (screen adjustments, pause button, increased difficulty, etc).

19 APR 2020:

- Bomber now comes in at an angle from the upper-right corner of the screen and fires a larger pulsing projectile straight down at the player.

- Made some changes to the Title screen but not sure if I'm going to keep them or not. 

- Updated the player ship sprite  by using the Blender Cycles image instead of Eevee. Has a little more definition to it now.

20 APR 2020:

- Bomber shots now home in on the player -- thankfully they only stay active for a limited amount of time. 

- Further adjustments to the title screen.

- Fixed a bug where the player was crashing against the top of the screen.

New demo out 27 April !


21 APR 2020:

- Added a really cool "drop" animation when the game first starts!

- Updated the bomber graphics so they're actually banking to the right now instead of just leveled off. Also changed the skin color.

- Added a new game mechanic last night: Enemy ships will rush towards unclaimed power-up icons. If they get to them before the player does, all of the ships of the same type get increased firepower!

(+1)

Lovin' the drop at the start!

Also, having enemies steal your power ups is classic!  xD

22 APR 2020:

- Scrapped the idea of enemy ships stealing power-up icons. Enemy ships snag the power-ups too quickly meaning the player would rarely get to use different weapons. Instead, enemy ships will get upgraded based on other conditions.

If there's one thing I've learned in this gamedev journey, it's that there are no perfect plans on paper. You could spend a week drafting up "the way it's going to be" and then three weeks into development you realize that some of those ideas you had for your game need to be scrapped. Maybe they increase loading times too much, maybe they're too hard to code, or maybe feedback from testers is making you rethink things. 

- Simplified some of the game logic. Previously I had it where both the enemy and player ships could have missed shots. Though it adds some "realism" to the game, I think it's more likely to be frustrating. For the player, any shots that graze an enemy will deal normal damage and any shots that hit the central "hitbox" will deal extra damage.

- Adjusted the layers of the enemy ships. Larger cruisers will always be in the background, medium-sized ships will be in the middle-ground and even smaller ships will be in the foreground. This ensures that no ships can hide behind another.

23 APR 2020:

- Adjusted all the damage that is given and received. The player can take a couple of hits before dying which is important because YOLO! I don't really want to call this game a "roguelike top-down shooter" but you will only have one life.  So don't get sloppy Space Cadet!

- Fixed some of the cruiser graphics.

- Currently working on the explosion animations.

Maybe you should have just one enemy that can steal powerups, and they are appear rarely and dont attack, more like a thief.

24 APR 2020:

- Increased the number of enemies for the demo. Also made power-up drops more random. Some last minute bug fixes. 

Although I say that the new demo will be out 27 April the actual release date will be around 7-8pm EST (Eastern Standard Time) this Sunday.


25 APR 2020:

- Above you can see a comparison of the second demo title screen (Left) and the upcoming third demo title screen (Right). Which one do you prefer?

- Made some gameplay videos and gifs in preparation for the third demo release. See you tomorrow!

(+1)

I prefer the left, because the words are cluttered with scrap in the other image

I have to agree, it does look more cluttered that way. Thanks for the input!

(+1)

The left menu looks cleaner and easier to read, but the right one could fuse real nice with the drop animation (wich turned out REALLY cool). You press play, the menu UI goes away, the ship drops and the game starts. It could be a really cool looking transition! Maybe you could make a "options" menu to put the sound configurations and the credits so the main menu looks cleaner. I'm really looking forward for the third demo tomorrow!

Totally agree, I've been leaning towards an Options (or Settings) menu to condense the amount of text. As you'll see in the 3rd demo (out now, if you haven't seen it already), it does the transition you describe. Great feedback, thanks!

26 APR 2020:

The third monthly demo is out NOW for followers and those that are reading this Devlog!

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

(+1)

I just played it and it was great! I liked the transition between the main menu and the level a lot. The game restarts much faster, so i could do five or six rounds in minutes helping to mantain the pace. And you have fricking voice actors now? I loved it, it contributes to the atmosphere a lot! I also liked the bigger ships that appear as if they were jumping out of hyperspace!!

At first I missed the rapid fire gun, but as soon as I got my first power-up everything was forgoten and forgiven. The only issue I had was with the screen size. Im playing on a laptop and every time I open the game I have to readjust the window so I can see everything. 

I could collect all of the scrap! Maybe you could add some extra congratulation if you manage to do it so it feels extra rewarding. Just like the "that was some great piloting" you have when you survive, but more! Also, is the final ship supposed to render on top of my ship?

Keep it up man, I liked it a lot and its impressive the ammount of things you managed to improve since the last demo!

Excellent, glad you liked it! The game restarts faster because it's loading fewer graphics in the background (the previous demo loaded a lot of images that didn't even get used or were partly off-screen. It's a good tip if you're looking to reduce load times even in your own game).

I'll make sure to keep the voice-acting in and add more to it!

The power-ups are dropped by enemy ships randomly and then the player has 5 seconds to upgrade the single laser, 3 to upgrade to rapid laser and 2 to get the scrap cannon. If you wait past that the power-up is gone forever. I mention this because this is one of the key things I'd like to know if it's a good idea or not. Trying to avoid having the player press a button to change weapons and I think this adds a little bit of strategy to the game (you can get better weapons if you're willing to wait and if you can get to them in time).

The player ship should be above the final ship, so I'll fix that for the next demo.

Thanks so much for the feedback!

27 APR 2020:

- I call the day after a demo release "Marketing Monday" because that's pretty much all I do: Upload to Youtube, update my website, make sure my game has a presence on Itch.io (of course), but also IndieDB, Gamejolt and Roast My Game. So far feedback has been positive and the numbers are an improvement over previous demos!

- Even with all that going on, I still found some time to tackle the game itself. Today's focus was on . . . code restructuring. I'm close to 4000 lines of code and it's getting messy, so before I add any more features I'm going to condense sections that are unnecessarily redundant.

- My plan for this next month (always subject to change) is to focus on AI/logic, better bullet patterns and the addition of 2 new ships -- the Battleship and the Carrier.

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

28 APR 2020:

- As you've probably noticed in the demo, the enemy ships only shoot individual shots, which doesn't make for very challenging gameplay. To remedy this, I've been working on how to use arrays to shoot multiple shots. Not a very exciting update, but one that will pay off if I can get it figured out.

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo


29 APR 2020:

- Spent most of the day wrestling with arrays. Thankfully I got some decent results that I can play around with. Above was one of the more promising ones. I like how the lasers shoot faster and cover a larger area. 

I'm still not sure how they make the crazy bullet patterns you see in more hardcore shooter games (like Touhou), but I hope to figure it out shortly. A Touhou-style bullet-hell game is not what I'm going for, but some of the shot patterns and concepts are still good to keep in mind, especially for boss fights.

30 APR 2020:

- Made some progress with the "waves of enemies" system. But unlike most top-down shooters, the waves will be conditionally triggered, so one playthrough might be very different from another depending on what you do (or don't do).

- Also made some adjustments to the "spread laser" that was previewed in the last post. The new one has a more even pattern.

- I'm aiming for a release date of around 29 May for the next demo. That should give me enough time to at least get a "Lite" version of the Arcade Mode working.

(+1)

Its was a good idea to make an even pattern for the spread, much of the subconscious appeal to games like these are the pretty patterns the bullets make!

1 MAY 2020:

Is it me or are the weeks just zooming by? Seems like Friday is coming around faster and faster.

- Continued adjusting and experimenting with the "waves of enemies" system.

2 MAY 2020:

- Experimenting with setting the rapid laser as the default weapon. The single laser is slow, but much more powerful -- and looks better when fully upgraded. Only problem is that for some reason the rapid laser isn't wanting to work properly so I'm busy troubleshooting that.

- The download count for Scrapship seems to have plateaued. It's interesting to think about what could be the causes:

1) Am I posting certain content (demos, Devlog tab updates) on days where Itch doesn't have a lot of traffic? 

2) Are people just not interested in top-down shooters? (Realistically speaking, it is a very over-saturated genre).

3) Are my thumbnails and summary descriptions not "eye-catching" enough? 


Anybody else have interest in their game level out? What did you do to re-engage your audience? 

3 MAY 2020: 

- Rapid laser (as the default weapon) is now working properly!

(+1)

I think this was a really smart choice, one I upgraded my single laser I had really no incentive to change to the rapid laser. I'm very sorry for not responding earlier, it's been a rough couple of weeks. About the upgrading system (that you have to wait in order to have better upgrades) I think it does give you some strategic depth, but I didn't understand it until you explained it to me. Once I understood it, it was super fun to try them all. Maybe there is a way to make the icons more understandable? Maybe its just me tho.

Excellent feedback! Ironically I'm in the middle of making more design decisions regarding the weapons and how that all works. Feel free to email me at 40wattstudio@gmail.com if you'd rather contact me that way. How's your game going along? 

(+1)

Im glad I can be of some help. My game is coming along, maybe slower than I wanted to, but its gaining traction again. I just uploaded to the devlog. I added you to my mail contacts, mine is sepi.gamedev@gmail.com

4 MAY 2020:

- I signed up for my first Game Jam today! It's the Finish It Jam and I'll be using this time to get the "arcade mode" of Scrapship finished. The jam doesn't start for another 4 days and ends on 24 May. So basically the monthly demo of Scrapship will be released a week earlier than anticipated.

https://itch.io/jam/finish-it-jam

- Spent more time condensing the code. At one point I was at 3600 lines and now I've shrunken it down to just under 3000. Also fixed a few other minor bugs.

- Final version of Scrapship will have a soundtrack! I've enlisted the help of Tyson Cazier to create 5 tracks for the game. I just received the first 2 today And. They. Sound. Awesome!

https://www.tysoncaziermusic.com/video-game-music/

- The vast majority of my focus this month and during the game jam is going to be mostly stuff that won't translate well into screenshots and gifs or are things I'd rather leave as a surprise. So for that reason I'm deciding to refrain from my daily Scrapship updates and resume them on 24 May when the Game Jam is over.

But don't worry! I'll still be around on Itch and I'm still working on my game daily!

In the meantime, if you haven't given the third demo of Scrapship a spin, you can do so here:

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

Thanks to everyone following this devlog and I'll see you all around 24 May with an update and a new demo!

22 MAY 2020:

Back as promised!!!

Just a quick announcement that the Finish It Game Jam ends 11pm this Saturday, so the latest demo of Scrapship should be available around that time!

Download link should be the same as usual (below), but if not, I'll post an updated link.

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

In other news, I just received the last 2 tracks of the soundtrack today. They won't feature in the next demo, but they will in the final version.

Some things you can look forward to in the newest Scrapship demo:

- Approximately 3x more gameplay

- A Boss Fight against the Battleship!

- A  New Power-up System . . . if you don't claim them, the enemy will!

- Detailed Weapon Stats and Info on the Pause screen

Looking forward to sharing it with you!

23 MAY 2020:

Tada! Just submitted the 4th monthly demo to the Finish It Game Jam here on Itch.io.

https://itch.io/jam/finish-it-jam

I got a lot of my "wish-list" features added to the game. This is definitely one of the more "experimental" demos of Scrapship. There may be bugs. In particular I am curious to hear feedback on what you think about the new icon system. If you recall in the last demo, the icons had "timers" on them and after a set number of seconds, would change to a different weapon/powerup. In the current demo, I've scrapped that and gone with powerups that stay on screen until the player takes them . . . or the enemy does.

The latest demo can be played here:

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

If you liked it, please feel free to drop a comment on the game page :)

27 MAY 2020:



It took a long time, but I finally found a good Youtube tutorial (by DevilFX Lasse F) for making a model of the Earth in Blender using the  free hi-res NASA textures. As a result, I was able to render out 40 frames of animation and put it in the game in place of the pixelated planet I was using earlier.
So what do you think?

In other news, Scrapship Demo 4 tied for a fitting 4th in the Finish It Game Jam. Although there were about 22 participants there were only 4 other entries, so participation in the Jam was rather low. Still, I got a lot of good feedback which will go towards making the next demo even better!

And what about the next demo?
Not sure if I can entirely pull it off, but the next demo should see the game pretty close to done in terms of the "Arcade Mode".
"Story Mode" which will only be for the paid version will take considerably longer to finish, but aiming to have that done by the end of the year.

As far as these devlogs go, sometimes several days pass without any major updates. So for that reason I'm going to experiment with weekly devlog updates, every Wednesday. I'm hoping a whole week should give me enough time to have something interesting to report, maybe even a screenshot or gif.

For those that have already tried out the 4th demo, Thanks! and for those that would like to try it out please click the link below:
https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

(+1)

3 JUN 2020:

Above is the new titlescreen for Scrapship! No more placeholder graphics for the title!

I finally learned how to install fonts and then used HeliosPaint to make the letters. There is still some tweaking I can do (thinking about moving the menu item stack up a bit), but overall I think it's a much-needed improvement.

A quick word about the planet background: It's definitely very good-looking, the only potential problem I see is that any future planets I make won't be as detailed because NASA only has hi-res textures for planets in our solar system. So if I want to make a hi-res alien planet background it might have to be a lower resolution, meaning that the textures won't be consistent.

I also figured out a way to make the health appear near the player. Not sure if I'm going to keep this feature, but it does make it easier to keep tabs on how close you are to getting blown up. Below is a pic of what that looks like:


Finally, I improved the weapon upgrade path for the player ship. It's more linear, but solves the issues I've been having with the 3 weapons not being diverse enough.

As you can see, some upgrades now let the player fire a "main shot" (center) in addition to 2 smaller side shots. Instead of separate icons for boosts to Damage, Speed and Width, I just lumped them all into a single Weapon upgrade. There are no longer icons for changing weapons.

That's all for this update. Thanks for reading and for those that have tried the demos, thanks for playing! Haven't played it yet? No worries! Just click the link below:

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

See you next week!

(+1)

"I also figured out a way to make the health appear near the player. Not sure if I'm going to keep this feature, but it does make it easier to keep tabs on how close you are to getting blown up."

How about a system where the health appears next to you for few seconds after taking damage, then fades away.

This way the player has an easier time knowing when they getting close to death, but you also don't have the numbers awkwardly following the player at all times.

Haha! Great minds think alike! This is actually what I was wanting to do all along!

But!

In order to do that, I'd have to figure out how to properly adjust alpha values to make the health transparent and fade away. 

I've also been thinking about getting rid of a numerical-based health counter and implementing a color-coded one: Green means you're healthy, yellow is beat up, red is close to death. This color will appear on a circle or square on the player ship, which will also happen to be the primary player hitbox. 

17 JUNE 2020:

Supposedly the "average" lifespan of a laptop is about 3 years and I unfortunately got to experience that firsthand when my Windows laptop died while on a business trip. RIP Asus gaming laptop!

Thank God I was wise enough to back up all of my important files about a week or two prior, so this should have minimal impact on the development of Scrapship.

In the meantime, I still have a Mac Mini 2018 -- but it doesn't have the development tools I use.  So while I wait for my new ***desktop*** to arrive in about a month I've been honing my Blender skills and other things pertaining to game development.

So have no fear fellow gamedevs and players, Scrapship is still in production, it's just temporarily delayed. 

Meanwhile, feel free to check out my Instagram (@40wattstudio) to see what other projects I'm working on.


29 JUNE 2020:

Scrapship Demo 4 is now available for Mac!

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

It took a while, but I finally figured out how to get QB64 to display properly in OS X.

Yes . . . yes, there probably are not that many Mac gamers out there . . . but who knows! I'm just glad I know how to publish it for two different platforms now!

Woot!

In other news . . . my new Desktop is still in "Confirmed" status so it's just a matter of waiting for it to ship . . . hopefully by the middle of next month . . .

25 JULY 2020:

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

My desktop finally arrived about a week ago -- an Alienware Aurora R8! Unfortunately I wasn't able to spend much time with it as I had to work 12 hour days for a good stretch. But now that another weekend has arrived, I got it configured to my workflow and liking and have started working on Scrapship again!

As I type, my Mac Mini is busy rendering a background scene for the full version of Scrapship. About one and a half hours to go! It's  a giant scene -- about 1000 x 3000 pixels -- so it's going to take a while.

During this in-between time, I have been learning lots more about Blender and recently used my latest knowledge to make this new titlescreen text: 




I imported my desired font into Blender and then used the Text Extrude feature to give the letters a 3D look!

Finally, a preemptive Q&A:
Q: Will I be posting daily Devlogs here on Itch.io?    
A: Probably not. Most of the work at this stage is going to be coding which doesn't translate well into devlog material (in my opinion). If you feel differently just let me know! In the meantime, feel free to check out my daily updates on Instagram (@40wattstudio) or my website https://www.40wattstudio.com/.

Q: When will the next Scrapship demo come out?
A: Late-August.

Thanks for reading and I'll see you next post!

(+1)

Dude, the new title screen looks awesome! I very happy to hear about scrapship again! So about a month until the next demo, that's not a long time fortunately. I'll be waiting as always!

1 AUG 2020:

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

This week's updates:

1) Graphics. Previously I was using paint programs to create transparent sections in the ship models. Now I'm utilizing a similar concept with Blender to give the spaceships 3D damage and then using the 2D images in the game. Boolean modifiers allow me to make more unique "subtractions" from the original model.

2) A new Title Screen Menu!

I finally hunkered down and got working on a feature that has been very much requested -- a difficulty level setting! 

Right now it's just a menu option, but in the near future I'll be coding the logic behind it. In general I think the difficulty is going to be determined by the number of enemy ships on screen.  How about you, what do you think is the best way to change difficulty in a game? 

3) Finally, some news:

Scrapship is just my side hobby, but my real work has me going on a business trip for the last half of August and the first half of September (4 weeks). During that time, I won't have access to any of my computers -- no Blender for modeling, no QB64 for programming.

But! 

My current plan is to try and put out a new demo mid-August. It will have all of the previously mentioned improvements and however many more I can finish in the next two weeks.

So what about those 4 weeks at work? 

I know this sounds crazy, but I'm going to try and do some Gamedev on my iPad mini! I found this program called Hyperpad that uses a drag and drop interface to make games. Not the most ideal setup, but better than nothing. I saw that one person was able to make a 2D Grand Theft Auto clone with it, so that sounds promising.

Have you used Hyperpad? I'd love to hear what you think about it!

Thanks for reading and I'll see you next post!

8 AUG 2020:

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo


This week I fixed a few bugs like . . .

. . . the one where the player ship would sometimes explode at the top of screen after colliding with an unseen ship. 

. . . the one where enemy ships sometimes couldn't steal dropped icons.

. . . the one where sound would still play even if the sound was turned off.

Some of these bugs have been around for a while, so I'm glad I finally got some of them fixed. Right now I'm at the point where I'm slowing adding things back in and testing as I go so the next release will be as bug-free as possible. 

As for new features, I'm working on a "Warning System" which will simply inform the player what direction to expect attacks from. It would suck to be flying around the right side of the screen, only to get side-swiped by an enemy ship that you weren't expecting.

Look for the newest demo sometime next week!

15 AUG 2020:

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

Proud to say that I finally got a new demo of Scrapship released!

There are some key differences compared to the last demo:

-- I added the much-requested Difficulty Level. You can now play on Easy, Normal or Hard modes.

-- More variety in gameplay -- random numbers and types of enemies spawn from random origins.

-- This is the first version of Scrapship to feature the original soundtrack by Tyson Cazier.

-- A new power-up system that includes a Repair icon so you can fix your ship mid-battle.

-- Lots of graphical improvements.

The last 48 hours leading up to release were pretty hectic -- it seemed that I would fix something and then something else would break. Never a good thing! 

Fortunately I got most of the bugs fixed. Balance seems to be the tricky thing due to the randomization. For example, if you don't upgrade your main weapon at all, the boss ship is extremely difficult to destroy (but possible). On the other hand, if you get an upgrade then the boss ship becomes rather easy (I think).

So what's the roadmap for the rest of Scrapship? 

I see this as being the second-to-last demo of Scrapship. I'd like for the next demo to be "The final demo". After that I'll be working hard on Story Mode.

If at all possible, I'm aiming to have Scrapship completely done by the end of the year.

But we'll see about that because as I mentioned in a previous post, I have a business trip starting next Monday and lasting for 3-4 weeks. During this time I won't have access to my gamedev setup so I'll have to find something else to work on. Then after that there are other business trips I may have to go on. 

So I'll just take it in stride and see what I can do.

Play the latest demo here . . .

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

. . . or if you're curious what Hard mode looks like, I've uploaded one of my playthroughs.

As always, thanks for reading and I look forward to your feedback!

(+2)

6 SEP 2020:

Finally back from my NY business trip! 

I watched a lot of game design videos which led me to one major conclusion:

Scrapship needs a LOT of work!

In particular I hadn't even bothered with taking color palette's into consideration. Check out these two screenshots:

On the left we have the very first demo. Very primitive . . . but the colors really stand out because there are so few of them. 

On the right is the latest demo (5). Looks fancier, but the spaceships don't stand out as much as they should. There is also a severe lack of consistency: Why are the fighters red and the cruiser blue? Why is the player almost purple? Why are some projectiles red, purple or white? The earth background further complicates the image.

So with that being said, here are some of the things I'll be focusing on:

-- Color Color COLOR! Going to work hard to find combinations that work together and really stand out.

-- The player only has 3 weapons (because I only have 3 sound effects for them). Nothing inherently wrong with only having 3 weapons, but they each need to have more purpose than simply "this one does more damage". I'll be working on balancing these 3 out. 

-- Hit detection has always been a sore spot in Scrapship. Ideally I'd like "pixel-perfect" hit detection, so I'm going to see if that's possible or not. 

Lots more on my mind, but that's the main gist of my thoughts. Stay posted for more updates!

The latest demo can always be played here:

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

(+2)

Ah yes, I learnt that color pallet lesson the hard way as well, when I had to redo every sprite in Roopit and Boopit!  xD

Good to see you're still going man!  :D

(+2)

There are a lot of pre-made color palettes online. I think changing the colors of your game to match different color palettes is a great practice to understand color theory better. After trying a couple of pre-made palettes you can create your own palette by chosing the colors that work best together for your game. Anyway, I think you have a very solid gameplay and scrapship is super fun to play, so I think trying out new colors at this point is a great idea! Cant wait to see the results!

(+1)

Hi, Just to find out, I hit the hud wall in my game, how do you plan to do it in yours? because that cuts the immersion ...

(+1)

Are you trying to figure out whether or not to use a HUD in your game?

Not having a HUD can be a good idea if you're going for minimalism, but can be confusing if you need to show information to the player.

At the moment, Scrapship doesn't have a HUD, but I do plan on adding one in the near future so I can better display data like Player HP,  Score, Enemy HP, etc. I originally planned to not have one, but after a while I realized that it wasn't very practical.

In top-down shooters, most HUDs are a solid bar along the top or wider bars along the left and right sides of the screen.

If you have other questions feel free to email me at 40wattstudio@gmail.com

Thanks for reading my devlog, btw! :)

(+1)

I got a lot of thing to show and it happen i started a side bar left and right just before reading your reply xD (only solution i found if want keep all enemy move possible)

And thanks for the offer, if I had the information beforehand I would have spare myself some brain explosions for the main code. I take it ;D

12 SEP 2020:

This is the new look of the player ship!

I fixed the symmetry of the wings, added a transparent glass texture to the cockpit, changed the color palette and made lots of other changes to the mesh. What do you think?

After much thought I've concluded that the game is more fun when the player decides when to change the weapon. In addition, I've integrated little "indicators" into the ship's design to clue the player which weapon is selected.

Next, I finally added a feature that has been much-requested in Scrapship: Full screen mode! 

Finally, I fixed a bug where there was a missing frame in the opening animation where the player ship drops down.

That's all for this week! Don't forget to check out my Instagram for daily progress and motivation!

https://www.instagram.com/40wattstudio/

(+1)

The new model looks great! I love that a different light is turned on for each weapon, that looks amazing! Also the fullscreen mode will be a life saver for my supid laptop haha cant wait for the next demo.

(+1)

Thanks! I'm currently working on even more animations for the player ship. Right now I have about 20 of them.

(+1)

19 SEP 2020:

The player's ship now has 56 frames of animation! In addition, it also comprises of 4 hit-boxes and can now have chunks shot off in combat. Most shmups do not have this level of destructibility and I can see why: It's very VERY tedious to do! But I think the end result is worth the effort, how about you?

A new scoring system is also being tested.

Look for the next Scrapship demo late September/early October!



(+1)

26 SEP 2020:

Most of this past week I was on (another) business trip, but I did manage to work on something I've been meaning to do for a while:

Particle explosions! 

In the GIF above you can see the small explosions when you hit enemy ships, but I also have a new one for when the player ship explodes. 

It took a lot of figuring out, but now that I know how to implement it in code, I'll be experimenting with more cool effects along those lines. 

New demo out Monday! Additions/changes from the last version include:

  • Player ship can have different segments shot off.
  • Player can now change the weapon at any time by pressing "C"
  • Full screen mode support (press "F")
  • New scoring system

The new demo will be available at the same link as always:

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

(+1)

3 OCT 2020:

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

What a difference 30 degrees makes! This week I took the basic Fighter model and angled it for a more 3D look.

I also used the Fighter to create a new ship -- the Shield Fighter. The shield is still a work in progress.

You can see both of these ships in the GIF above. What do you think of the new look?

But wait, there's more! 

The Cruiser has always had a little notched area at the front which contains a gun. In past demos, I didn't make use of this and simply had the ship fire aimed projectiles at the player. Now, I've scrapped the aimed projectiles and replace that weapon with a beam. This is also a work in progress, but I'm hoping it will add a little more strategy to the game.

Finally, I just want to say thanks to all those here on Itch.io and Instagram and anywhere else that have given me feedback on Scrapship. Each comment (good or bad) has been most helpful in influencing changes to the game. 

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

(+1)

Hum, i will just steal your behavior' idea with the beam :  i hope it don't bother you (¬_¬)'

Ps : don't know why but your 2nd gif give me a surge of desire to play your game, maybe the beam, well done.

Beam weapons are definitely nothing new in shmups, so feel free to use that idea in your game.

Glad you like it! 

(+2)

Mystery: What programming language is this being developed in???
Is it C or C# or C++?

Qbasic

I was close....

(+1)

The laser beams on the enemies look cool.

(1 edit) (+1)

10 OCT 2020:

Cruisers now give a little bit of warning before firing their lasers. I think the animation turned out really well!

When the "pincers" are open it reminds me of this Toe Biter I took a picture of during one of my Iraq deployments:

(Fun side note: You would not believe the bugs in Iraq. They're all HUGE! Camel spiders the size of your hand. Ugly mole crickets. Toe-Biters the size of soda cans . . . )

I'm still adjusting the Cruiser firing animations and behavior but I feel it's definitely on the right track.

Then later this week I found a rookie mistake I was making. I corrected it and ended up reducing my code by 200 lines. Woot!

(+1)

Warn before shooting ???! but the object of the game is to KILL THE PLAYER, right? .... no ?

Ps:  Look great, congrat. 

(+1)

17 OCT 2020:

Lots of progress to report on!

- I fixed the "wave" system. More waves of enemies fly in every x number of seconds (determined by the difficulty level). This gives the player more variety of enemies to fight at any one time, but also ramps up the challenge significantly. I might have to rename Hard mode Brutal!

- That being said, I did fix an issue with the battleship boss being too hard. You can now shoot it with the green laser to permanently stop it in its tracks!

- I fixed the "bullet wiggle" that was noted on the battleship projectiles. It's a little hard to see due to the low framerate of the GIF above, but the new bullet animations are slippery-smooth!

- The icon-based system has been totally removed. Now, the only way to trigger a Scrapstorm is to collect all the scrap. 

- Cruisers don't overlap each other as much when they warp in.

- Player ship now fires all weapon types from the center of the ship.

- Fixed an issue where the bomber shots would sometimes "idle" on screen and not do anything. Now they track your every movement flawlessly.

- Worked on special animations for when enemy fighters get shot down.

A lot of this week's fixes and improvements were suggested by players like you, so please feel free and continue to leave feedback. Every word counts! I keep a spreadsheet of all the feedback given to me (items highlighted in green have been fixed):


(+2)

Nice! Being able to stop the boss with the green laser is a great adition, very cool!

24 OCT 2020:

This week focused mostly on the green laser that disables enemy ships (much like the Ion Cannon in Star Wars). 

I used BlastFX to make that, plus some other cool explosions that you'll see in the next demo.

Speaking of the next demo, look for it next Friday or Saturday! The game is slowly getting better and I can confidently say that this version is more fun than any of the others!

Keep the feedback coming! Scrapship has a dedicated Discord channel now too!

Have a good weekend everyone!

31 OCT 2020:

A new demo of Scrapship is out and I'm very excited to have you play it!

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

But first, let's deal with the elephant in the room.

The planet. 

This is the first demo to feature the new planet background graphics that I made in Unreal Engine 4!

Besides looking a lot cooler, it also gives greater contrast and makes for a better title screen. 


A brief list of improvements from the last demo:

- Fighters can be shot apart piece-by-piece.

- Cruisers have a brand new beam attack and animation.

- Explosion and stun animations.


If you give it a try, please let me know what you think! 

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

Have a good rest of your weekend!

(+1)

7 NOV 2020:



-- Added more player ship debris.
-- Added fighter debris.
-- Cruisers take more damage when their "beak" is open.

I'm also about 1/3 way done with better damaged versions of the cruisers. This part is one of the most tedious but will look very nice when complete because the cruisers will also be able to be shot apart piece-by-piece.

Finally,  a big thanks to everyone that has downloaded and/or given feedback on the game. The consensus seems to be that Scrapship is heading in the right direction!

Have a great rest of your weekend!

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

(+1)

14 NOV 2020:


-- Enemy cruisers can now be destroyed piece-by-piece!

Equally important is that I now have a better method for accomplishing the piece-by-piece effect that uses less code and disk space. I should be able to make in-game objects destructible much faster now.

Also, instead of using alpha brushes or booleans to deform the 3D objects, I now manipulate the vertices directly to give it more of a "twisted metal" look.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo


(1 edit)

well done, if i can give my advice i found it wierd on your gif that the big purple bullet disapear without any effect.

that's all good luck and peace <3

(+1)

The bomb is currently set on a timer but now that you mention it, yeah I probably should give more indication when it's about to expire.

How is your game coming along? I haven't  seen any updates in a while.

There is no update cause there is nothing done for a long time. I've been called for a job and everything followed it.

But can't wait have a definitive planning and work on it again :D

(+1)

21 NOV 2020:



- Cruisers now have debris that falls off after taking a hit.
- The speed of debris floating away is dependent on which weapon you use. The rapid laser has a smaller mass, so the debris doesn't fly off as quickly. The scrap cannon has more mass, so it causes the debris to fly off much faster.
- You can see some of the new laser graphics I used thanks to a laser asset pack from Wenrexa here on Itch.io. His prices are very Indie friendly if you're looking for game assets.



- I added a "!" to give the player a little more warning when a cruiser was about to fire - or was still firing.


- Finally, I angled the battleship so it looks more 3D. It's also larger which makes it an easier target to hit.

New demo on the horizon! Watch for it towards the end of November!

In other news:
I've been teaching myself Python programming thanks to an excellent brand-new tutorials series by the London App Brewery on Udemy. Right now I'm making a simple Blackjack game as one of the projects.
I've also been following the Beard Games tutorials and learning more about Unreal Engine 4.

Thanksgiving is coming up!
I'm thankful for all the support this project has received! Especially all my followers here on Itch:
https://yahiamoh.itch.io/
https://hammergames.itch.io/
https://wechenbetelly.itch.io/
https://seothen.itch.io/
https://codegnat.itch.io/
https://badeorne.itch.io/
https://pumky.itch.io/
https://valham.itch.io/
https://mobilelast.itch.io/
https://strvstraja.itch.io/
https://yousoldyourmind.itch.io/
https://vladyslu.itch.io/
https://hiddenoceangames.itch.io/
https://grimbag.itch.io/
https://grin-kin.itch.io/
https://itch.io/profile/mkrone
https://johnblood.itch.io/
https://georgelam6.itch.io/
https://peralta.itch.io/
https://kochetovatanya.itch.io/
https://night-clox.itch.io/
https://terrible-entertainment.itch.io/
https://charliecambray.itch.io/
https://sepigamedev.itch.io/
https://svperstring.itch.io/
https://powplowdevs.itch.io/
https://itch.io/profile/mariosello1
https://nuskadamo.itch.io/
https://thesneak.itch.io/

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!




(+1)

28 NOV 2020:

The latest demo of Scrapship is now available for download!

- Better battleship boss (larger and looks more 3D)

- Cruisers can be destroyed piece-by-piece.

- Better weapon graphics

What's next?

With this year coming to a close (thank God!) I've been giving a lot of thought to the future of Scrapship:

- Numbering the demos is getting a little silly at this point. All future demos will just be titled "Scrapship Demo" with distinctions for Alpha, Beta and Final versions.

- Have an idea for Scrapship? The game is still in its Alpha stages so feel free to mention anything you'd like to see!

- Demos will still be released towards the end of each month.

- Watch for the final game sometime in 2021!

https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

(+1)

5 DEC 2020:

Shooting at the battleship now shows different levels of damage!

To create this effect, I divided the battleship into 11 different segments, each one having a default state and 3 damage states. It's basically the same principle as the flipbooks you may have played with as a kid.

As a result of this segmentation, the gun that fires can now be destroyed, which should make the battleship fight a little bit easier.

The bomber now has a new pattern and greater contrast. The old one was very hard to see against the black space background.

Segmented damage for the bomber is currently in progress.

BEFORE:


AFTER:


Finally, the next Scrapship demo will be released early! Watch for it sometime before December 17th.

In the meantime, the latest build can always be played here.

12 DEC 2020:



The Carrier is now in the game!
-- It spawns at a random moment and location
-- Your ship is instantly destroyed if you collide with this monstrosity!
-- You can damage it and even destroy it, but there are no "Levels of Detail" for damage just yet.
This brings the total enemy count up to 5.
The carrier doesn't have an attack yet, but I do have one in mind.
This carrier model was made by @another_blender_user using Blender. Colors have been modified from the original.

The latest and a final demo of 2020 is on the horizon! Watch for it within the next few days!
This will be the download link (same as always!)
(+1)

The final Scrapship demo of 2020 has arrived!


https://40wattstudio.itch.io/scrapship-demo

(No, this is not the final Scrapship demo. Still much work to be done in 2021. Hey, that rhymes!)

This time around it is available for both Windows and Mac OS.

What's in store for 2021?


My goal is to completely finish Scrapship. The only thing that might delay this is if my regular job has me travel too much away from my gamedev computers.

Views and downloads have tapered off significantly -- which I'm honestly not surprised about. Top-down space shooters are an over-saturated game genre and hard to generate interest in. Frankly, I consider myself blessed to have had any downloads at all. I also suspect that some might be suffering from what I would call "Demo fatigue". Unless there are major updates, there isn't much point in playing every single demo release.

So with that being said, I'm going to try a slightly different strategy in how I work on Scrapship:

Instead of holding myself to a somewhat arbitrary goal of one demo a month, I'll only update the game when significant progress has been made.

I will still do the weekly Devlogs you are reading here to show that I'm still active.

And of course you can follow me on Instagram for my progress in Scrapship and other game dev projects I have going on in Unreal and Blender.

As this is my last Devlog entry for the year, I'd like to finish off by sharing a screenshot from the very first Demo back in February . . .


. . . and this screenshot from the latest demo in December . . .

Lots of progress has been made and I look forward to sharing the final result with you next year!
Thanks for reading and Happy Holidays!

(+1)

DESTROY 2020!!!

That's right, I've re-skinned Scrapship to bring you this end-of-year version where you can shoot up 2020 to your heart's content!

I'm only going to leave this version up for ABOUT ONE WEEK, so if you want to play it, please click here and download the SCRAPSHIP2020.ZIP file for Windows.

And just one more thing . . .

Congratulations on surviving 2020!

(+1)

2 JAN 2020:



I've long had a suspicion that the game lags when too many enemies and objects get on screen.

To prove and put numbers to this, I coded up a simple counter that keeps track of how many times the main game loop runs in 1 second. Optimal is 60 to 62, but I've seen it get down as low as 45 on very busy screens. Obviously this is not ideal.

To fix this, I've reduced some of the quantities of enemies and also optimized some of the code so it's not checking conditions that are irrelevant in the first place.

This will be my main focus for the rest of the week because there's no point creating more enemies and adding to the code if the game has lag issues.
But fortunately this is one of the "easier" things I'll have to fix, more time-consuming than anything.
(+2)

9 JAN 2021:

This week I found the primary reason for the lag: Nested loops. One block of code alone was checking around 600 calculations. Thankfully I found a way to reduce this significantly by re-ordering the code.

With that issue out of the way, I also started work on a "new" enemy. The shield fighter. There were a few early demos with this enemy, but this new version will be completely redesigned and destructible.  I'm really excited about this one because it will add a new level of strategy to the game!

Click here for the latest demo

(+1)

16 JAN 2021:


No, Scrapship is not getting a TRON makeover . . . but it might be getting a makeover.

I'll explain:

The past week has been very busy with my regular job. There is still plenty of time in the day to work on Scrapship . . . except that now the game is getting to a point where even small percentages of progress are taking much longer to finish than I anticipated. 

It's not hard to see why: Scrapship is now over 5000 lines of code that could definitely be organized better. I now probably spend more time playtesting the game than actually fixing it or making significant changes. 

So I've been thinking to myself: What if I start "fresh"?

If you look at the two pictures above, that's basically what I did with my Tron tank I modeled in Blender. I made it the first time (top picture) -- it looked okay, but not great. But I learned from my mistakes that time to remake it as you see in the bottom picture. I think we can all agree that the bottom version is much more accurate.

"Starting fresh" on Scrapship does NOT mean starting back at 0. While the code would be re-written, it would be done in a much more logical way that would prevent a LOT of the issues I'm encountering now. Some code might even be transferable as-is. 

Graphics, music and audio would all be pretty much unaffected.

In particular, I would be able to solve the following problems:

Framerate / Game loop iterations -- I hadn't thought about it too much, but too much background-math and file-loading can really can bog things down.  Nobody likes to play a game that lags.

Aspect Ratio -- I have much to learn about this still, but it is important to make sure the game looks good at different screen sizes. 

Debugging -- This one is HUGE! I could have saved so much time if I had better built-in debugging tools.


The other side of the argument is that I could stick with what I have and "make it work", but that would be like trying to "fix" the top Tron tank model to look more like the bottom one.


I think the analogy makes sense. I'm not 100% decided yet, which is where you come in. What are your thoughts? What would you do in my situation? Have you ever started a project and realized over halfway through "You know, I could do this sooooo much better if I just started fresh?" 

Whatever I decide, be assured that Scrapship is not going to be abandoned!


(+2)

I have had to start an 18-month program from scratch because I made it so poorly that it was no longer functional.  It feels bad, but ultimately it was the right thing to do.

The new version of the game was only similar to the old one in spirit, but it actually got finished, and I guess that's the main thing at the end of the day.

I'd suggest you do try and start again, it's just a learning experience after all.  

it's hard to not get emotionally attached to your work, but if this is the correct move then you have to push past that feeling.

(+1)

That is one element that probably distinguishes accomplished game developers from unaccomplished ones: An accomplished game developer will make the hard decision to start from scratch but keep going to completion . . . but the lazy one will just throw in the towel and call it quits.

Like you say, finishing the game is the ultimate goal and it's awesome to hear that you were able to finish the game after a rebuild. (Which game was it, by the way?)

This could probably be a great Youtube topic for your channel! I'd like to hear the story behind your game restart.

As for me, I've already started rebuilding and have a much nicer game screen now that allows me to see debug information. As I suspected, there is a lot of code I can just copy-and-paste over, but at the same time I'm making sure the logic behind it all is a little more clear.

Thanks for your story and comments!

(+2)

The game ended up being Upload Soul.

https://thesneak.itch.io/upload-soul

I do touch on this story at the start of this video!

(+2)

23 JAN 2021:

As I mentioned in my last week's post, I had a major decision to make and this week I made that decision:

Starting fresh! 

Surprisingly, I got quite a bit accomplished and I feel that things are moving in a very promising direction.

Here are the most important things I got done:

A NEW ASPECT RATIO

Scrapship will now use the 16:9 Aspect Ratio (instead of 1:1). The game will still take place in a square-shaped arena, but the far left and far right parts of the screen can now hold all my debugging variables, as seen in the partial screenshot above.

THREE SCREEN RESOLUTIONS

Instead of a screen sized 1000x1000, the options are:

1280 x 720

1920 x 1080

2560 x 1440

I think those three will be adequate for most players. Will one of those work on your computer? Please let me know in the comments!

BETTER SCALING

Most of my time was spent here. In previous demos of Scrapship, going fullscreen resulted in a very stretched and pixelated image. I've since learned a LOT about proper scaling techniques in video games. There is still a lot of testing I need to do here. I have code that will allow for automatic scaling, but it's very math-intensive (lots of sin and cos). If it bogs the game down too much, I'll have to look at other ways to achieve the same effect. 

========================================

My strategy this time around is to make sure the menus, screen resolutions, scaling, etc are all working as intended before putting in the actual gameplay. I like to think of this as the "canvas" for the game. You can have a great game, but if the screen the game is played on is not optimized, it's not going to look very good. By analogy, you could be a good painter like Da Vinci or Caravaggio, but if you suddenly have to paint the Mona Lisa on a canvas the size of a postage stamp it's probably not going to look as epic as you imagined.

One of the biggest things I've had to get used to this time around: Referring to screen positions as percentages instead of absolute values. If you place an object at coordinate 100, 800 and then resize the screen, things will look out of place. But if you make that coordinate a percentage relative to the screen size, then things fall into place where they're expected.

Thanks for reading!

Play the old version of Scrapship here.

(+1)

30 JAN 2021:

Scrapship got its first donation!

This is really exciting for me and definitely motivates me to see the game through to completion!

One of the most important things I learned this week: Scaling works . . . but it also causes the image to "tear" a little and look a bit more jagged than usual. Scaling also sets the x and y coordinates to the center of the sprite instead of the upper left-hand corner. Basically this means that scaling will make hit box calculations much more tedious and complicated to write in code. So with that in mind, I still plan on using scaling, but only in specific instances.

Automatic monitor resolution: I also learned that QB64 has a command that returns the width and height of the current display. Using that, the game now automatically detects your monitor resolution and picks the most applicable window that will fit the screen! I tested this with my BenQ monitor at 2560x1440 and then tried it on my smaller Sceptre monitor at 1920x1080.

A proper pause button: The original  pause button stopped the game -- and that's it. The new one I'm working on shows a "Paused" indication while still showing all the frozen action on screen. Eventually I'll integrate a menu system of some sort so that the player can change things like sound and display settings mid-game.

Hide / unhide debug tools: Allows me to see the game as the player would see it, without all the variables cluttering the side of the screen.

Like any game, Scrapship uses a lot of pictures in various formats and I'm also learning a lot about how to display graphics as "cheaply" as possible.

Imagine you need to make a black box with a thin white border. I did some experiments with Aseprite:

A 1280x1280  .jpg of a black box with a white border -- 33kb.

A 1280x1280 .png of a transparent background with a white border -- 5.8kb

A 1x1280 .jpg of a vertical white line and a 1280x1 of a horizontal white line -- A dirt cheap 452 bytes!

So definitely look at all your options! I was surprised to see that the first .jpg was more "expensive" than the .png.

Thanks for reading!

Play the old version of Scrapship here.


(+1)

6 FEB 2021:




Using all of the things I've learned in previous weeks, I now have a really good "canvas" for my game. There are two modes. Game Mode shows a narrower windowed screen where all the debug information is turned off by default. This is how you will play the game. Then there is Debug Mode which is wider and allows me to see the values of different variables in real-time. As you can  see in my Youtube video above, the sprites scale and reposition correctly, regardless of the screen resolution!

I've also made progress with a text-centering function. In all the previous demos of Scrapship, the text was never truly centered, just estimated based on how it looked.

What's the small spaceship on the left for? That's a reference image I imported to make sure the scaling was working properly. That sprite measures 64x64.

Thanks for reading/watching and have a great week!

Play a demo of Scrapship here.

(+2)

I'm glad to see you're still going!  :)

(+1)

Thanks, likewise!

(+1)

i love this gameplay, bigger -> smaller -> bigger, where it will end ? a playthrough pls :D

.

.

no offence <3

13 FEB 2021:



This week I thought of an even better way to do the opening animation for Scrapship. It also incorporates my idea for a better Settings menu.

The previous versions of Scrapship animated the ship dropping to earth by cycling through about 30 .png files. I recently learned how to accomplish the same effect just by scaling the image! This means I only need one .png file to get the animation started. With these savings in file size, it also means I can make a longer and more dynamic animation without adding too much to the total file size of the game.
I'm not ready to show it off yet, but it's looking promising. Above you can see a small preview of the cockpit of your Scrapship. I added the chair, monitor, joystick and cockpit glass transparency. The rest of the ship was modeled by @another_blender_user on Instagram (who just got first place in a Blender art competition hosted by @polygonia.development).

I also played around with the text-centering feature . . . and ended up having to scrap it. It works if you use QB64's default font, but using a custom font causes the text to never center properly without doing a ridiculous amount of manual adjustments. But I did learn that I can work around this by just making my menus and text in Powerpoint (which is GREAT for centering and aligning text and adding colors and effects) and then using pictures of the text and then centering the pictures.

Side note: Scrapship is programmed in the QB64 version of the QBasic programming language and the first-ever QB64 Game Jam is right here on Itch.io! Of course I was too busy with Scrapship to join in on, but I'll definitely be checking out the game entries. It will be interesting to see what the more experienced programmers at the QB64 forums are able to come up with!

Thanks for reading! May the muses find you working!
(+1)

20 FEB 2021:

It's coming together nicely!

This week I made the new settings screen which is shown above. What I like about this design is that you can view ALL of the settings on one page (the original version had sub-menus and back buttons that didn't always work properly).

A most welcome surprise was figuring out how to get the text centering feature to work after all! 

The "Intro" of the game is now almost back to its original state. When I run the program it goes like this:

Basic Controls guide (while game assets load in the background)

Settings screen

Opening animation

Start of main game loop

I still have some work to do on the settings screen and the opening animation, but once that's done, the "foundation" for the game will be set and I can start on the fun part: Putting the enemies back in!

Fun fact:

24 February was the release date of the very first Scrapship demo -- it's been almost exactly a year that I've worked on this project! I realize my progress is a bit slower than some indie game developers I follow, but I'm just happy that I'm still going. I usually start projects, get burnt out and then never return to them again. So daily small improvements has absolutely been key to my progress so far. 

As I look back at the condition of Scrapship last year and compare it to today: MAJOR improvements. 


Something special for those that have followed me this far:

A lot of indie game developers here on Itch.io ask: What are "typical view / download" rates for my game?

Of course that varies from game to game, depending on the quality and genre. Shmups or Shooters may be one of the most traditional types of games to make, but they're not as popular as FPS or platformers, etc.

For an unfinished space shooter I think these are some really good numbers. Keep in mind that some of these views and downloads are from the same people since I was releasing new demos every month.

What do you think about these stats? Are they more or less than you expected? Please let me know in the comments below!

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

(+2)

27 FEB 2021:

I might make some minor adjustments later one, but I pretty much finished the new opening animation for Scrapship. For such a short "scene" it's actually quite complicated:

The planet background is a high-resolution .jpeg image rendered in Unreal Engine 4.

The spaceship (with cockpit transparency) are a sequence of .png renders using Blender.

The "dropping down" part of the scene was done by scaling down the image programmatically.

What's crazy is that most games made with Qbasic or QB64 look like this:

It's very exciting to push this old programming language to its limits!


I also learned how to scale and move the background objects, even at different resolutions. I don't have a preview for this yet, but let's just say that it ultimately allows for some very cool background effects.

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

(+1)

that's quite impressive... but who still uses QBASIC?!

(+1)

Surprisingly, quite a few! There is a new "version" called QB64 that has some extra commands and features that actually make Qbasic gamedev more practical. In particular, the _PUTIMAGE command lets you drop in graphics instead of having to create graphics with LINE and CIRCLE statements. There is a BASIC Game Jam currently in progress as well.

Now all that being said, yes, Qbasic is perhaps still a bit primitive for modern-day Gamedev -- I've certainly seem some of its limitations. But for those like me that grew up with Qbasic and already have a good understanding of it, it sometimes makes more sense to stick with what you already know than to start from scratch with something else.

Thanks for the comment!

(+1)

Quite interesting. I haven't used QBASIC since my middle school/junior high days so I probably won't be delving into this anytime soon or else I'd have to go dust off my old BASIC guidebooks from back in the double-aughts and the nineties... I don't even know where I keep them, or if I kept them.

(+1)

I know how that is. I only got back into Qbasic because I found an old harddrive with all my old programs still intact. Trying to find a way to play them again led me to QB64.

If you ever do decide to check it out again, this Qbasic series by School Freeware is perfect for getting back up to speed (it had been 20 years since I last used Qbasic). It covers a lot of the old commands and concepts plus a lot of the new ones.

6 MAR 2021:

The "foundation" of the game is nearly done. Screen resolutions now scale properly. I've also improved the Settings screen so that it only shows valid screen resolutions.

Important Game Dev lessons learned this week:

1) When programming, you can often do things in a very concise manner (less code to read), but the downside is that it might be harder to understand what those lines of code are supposed to do. Sometimes your program makes a lot more sense if you code things out in a longer, more explicit form. This is what I ultimately had to do to solve my issues with screen resolutions and objects not scaling properly. Of course you can always condense/consolidate the code again after you're confident that everything works and you understand how it works.

2) "Boring" work can really make your game a lot better. You've probably noticed that the past few weeks there haven't been any updates on enemies or actual gameplay features. But taking this time to allow for different screen resolutions makes the game look more professional and accommodates players with smaller monitors/laptop screens.

What's next?

The main game loop! As a quick test, I'll see if the player ship can properly collide with another object and "die" before prompting the player to quit or try again. 

Once that works, the "foundation" will be stable enough that I can confidently start re-importing enemies and game logic.

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

13 MAR 2021:

Simplified main game loop is complete! This means you can start the game, crash into a test object and then decide to keep playing or quit. If you decide to keep playing it loops back around to the beginning -- with no loading times!

The riskiest addition this week was copy/pasting the code so the player can shoot. Thankfully it worked! Up to now, most of the new features had to be programmed from scratch.

I also shortened the opening animation by nearly half. Each frame is a 1 to 1.5 MB .png file so they add up pretty quickly.

There is still some work I have to do on the sprites and the other two weapons still need to be added back in.

HAHA! I literally just now figured out how to do something I've been wanting to do for a LOOONG time: Render the Bloom effect while maintaining a transparent background. This is a game-changer! Now I'll be able to add a natural "glow" effect to anything that needs it. 

For those that are interested, here is how I set it up in Compositing (using Blender 2.9x).


Have you used Blender in your indie games? Feel free to share your experience in the comments!

In other news:

I got a small job doing the English Localization for a game on Steam called "Destroy the Demon Army -- Modified". It was an educational experience because I had never worked with .xaml files before and the game itself was fun to play! 

Although gamedev is my primary focus, I am also open to beta-testing and proofreading your game. If you're interested just contact me at 40wattstudio@gmail.com

Have a good rest of your weekend!     (and don't forget about Daylight Savings Time)

20 MAR 2021:


Two of the 3 weapons are now programmed back in. I also added a "hitbox" debug mode (shown above) which will come in really handy.

The debug mode that I added to this version of Scrapship has already proved useful: Earlier this week I was able to use it to troubleshoot some problems with the player bullets and I also discovered that my original code that I had copy/pasted over had an error in it that was causing a random stray shot occasionally.

In Other News:

I signed up for another Game Jam!

The BASIC Game Jam starts in 11 days and can be viewed here.

I'll still be working on Scrapship during this time, but this will give me an opportunity to "recharge" a little and, more importantly, actually finish something. So I"m really looking forward to it!

Thanks for reading! For more frequent updates please check out my Instagram @40wattstudio.
Have a good rest of your weekend (and for some of you, Happy Newroz!)

27 MAR 2021:


Making progress!

-- Added the scrap back in and the player ship can even collect it.

-- Worked on the player ship animations. This time the player ship can also bank forwards! (the weapon selection lights need fixing though).

-- Also added the Scrapcannon back in.

What do you think? Is this an improvement over the last version of Scrapship? 

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

(+1)

I really like the zooming away from the planet.   :)

Thanks! That's a new technique I learned.

(1 edit)

3 APRIL 2021:

-- Thanks to my excellent debug system, I fixed a bug where the game would crash if left idle for a few minutes -- a background function would keep trying to shrink down a graphic that was already reduced to its smallest size.

-- I've designed the code so that only ON-SCREEN objects check for collisions.

Hit detection can be VERY "expensive" in a shmup. Some bullet-hell games (like Dodonpachi Daioujou) are made so that hits are only calculated on every other game loop.  In all previous versions of Scrapship, I was checking for collisions whether the object was on-screen or not.

-- Just started to code this out, but Difficulty is now determined by how often the enemy spawns, not by the number of ships.  The previous "Wave" system I used for Difficulty definitely worked . . . but it was also nightmarishly complicated and some lines of code had to be written in very specific places.

If it works as I intend, the player will be able to change Difficulty mid-game -- something that could not have been done in previous versions.

-- The spawn-code for the Fighter enemy has been added back in. 

Thanks for reading and have a good Easter weekend!

10 APRIL 2021:

-- Added banking animations to the enemy fighters. 

-- Added some simple movement AI.

-- Started programming the hit detection for the different segments.

-- Lesson  learned: If you have an image you really like (with a transparent background), do NOT edit it in Microsoft Paint -- it will remove the transparency and turn it a solid white color.

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

(1 edit)

17 APRIL 2021:


-- Scrapship has hit a milestone! Over 100 downloads! Sounds small, but for an unfinished game in an over-saturated genre I think it's really good. Thanks to everyone for their support!

-- Finished the hit detection for the enemy fighters. In the above .gif you can see the AI at work and the new banking animations. What do you think? 

-- I fixed the player bullets after I messed them up in Microsoft Paint. They're a little different looking but pretty close. 

-- I had very briefly added the particle explosions back in, but it was making the code very complicated so I took it back out. I'll work on that more later. 

-- Added Credits option to the  main menu and started adding those screens back in. 

In other news, I'm about 40-50% done with my QBasic Gamejam game. Look for that one towards the end of the month!

Quote of the Week:

"A user interface is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it's not that good." -- Martin LeBlanc

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

(+1)

woah... Watching the game progress from a blue square to this is a sight to behold.. 

Thanks spacepiano! Glad you enjoy it. :)

(+1)

24 APRIL 2021:

- Added code for Difficulty! In previous versions of Scrapship, you could only change difficulty at the start of each game. Now the player will be able to pause the game and change difficulty as needed! Space shoooters sometimes have a reputation of being too hard, so this will make it better for everybody.

- Finished all the pages for the Credits.

- Improved enemy fighter movement.

- Started adding in the code so that the fighters can attack.

- Fixed the main game loop: If you died by crashing into an enemy fighter, there would be a sort of "screenshot" in the background even after the game restarted. Thankfully a simple CLS statement was all that was needed.

- Fixed an issue where the Game Title would not display during game restart. 

IN OTHER NEWS:

- My Game Jam game "Wallet Warrior" will have to be released early because next week I'll be on a business trip for work. So today I'll be rushing to finish it up. My goal is to have it uploaded and posted tomorrow. This game is part of the Jam for all BASIC Dialects.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

"Spend more time doing and less time to-doing"

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

(+1)

Nice!

Thanks for playing! All the demos on the page now are the old version from last year. The version I'm working on now will be better in just about every way.

(+1)

looking forward to it! 

(+2)

1 MAY 2021:

- Fighters can now attack and damage the player! The logic is still WIP which is why both wings are shot off instead of just one. But what is really cool is how the ship appears damaged even when viewed from different banking angles. 

In other news, my game Wallet Warrior has been submitted to the Jam for All Basic Dialects #1. Voting ends in about a week. It was a fun experience and I learned some new techniques that I hope to later implement into Scrapship!

Quote of the Week:

"No risk, no story."

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

7 MAY 2021:

- Better AI for the enemies! Each enemy type will have 3 levels of AI along the lines of Easy, Normal and Hard. At each level they get a little more aggressive. On Easy, the fighters just fly straight down the screen. On Normal, some fighters will now bank towards the player. On Hard, some fighters will rapidly bank across the screen.

- Fighter damage. If you shoot off the left engine of the fighter, you would imagine there would be a reduction in speed, right? That's exactly what happens now!

Player cockpit can now take damage! Still playing around with this one, but it looks promising. It will take 2-5 direct hits to destroy the player. Two hits only if the enemy manages to hit the cockpit twice. 

- Better Hit Detection. All "hits" from projectiles are based off the location of the middle-most pixel of the sprite. Not only does this make the hit detection more realistic, it is also more forgiving -- a projectile can graze your wing and still miss.


A QUESTION ABOUT DIFFICULTY:

What should make Scrapship "Difficult"? 

The level of the AI?

The amount of damage the player does? 

Both?

Something else?

Right now, not only does the AI get better, but the player damage is decreased the harder it gets. But perhaps this is going a little too far. 

Please let me know in the comments below!


Quote of the Week:

"The only disability in life is a bad attitude." -- Scott Hamilton


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

15 MAY 2021:


- Enemy fighters can now be stunned! Stunned fighters will continue on their last-known trajectory and will not fire back at you.

- Difficulty changes. Difficulty only affects the AI of the enemy ships, not the player damage. In the gif above you can see some of the new flight patterns the enemy ships take.

- Thoughts about scrap: I'd like to make the scrap in this game more meaningful and/or interesting. It is SCRAPship after all. One idea I've toyed around with is adding physics so that the scrap can bounce around when collided with. Another idea is that scrap can be destroyed with energy weapons by the player OR the enemy, but weapons with mass will propel the scrap.

Quote of the Week: 

"Don't show off, show up!"

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

22 MAY 2021:


New this week on Scrapship: 

- Fighter debris. Debris floats off the enemy fighters after a segment has been sufficiently damaged. 

- New mini-explosion animations! In previous versions, I used a particle explosion effect. Looked cool, but very math-intensive in the background. I spent some time the last two days using BlastFX to make some explosion effects (as shown above). It's "good enough" for now, but I might try and improve how it looks at a later date.

- More thoughts about scrap. I tried an experiment where scrap could bounce off of other objects. It looked a little interesting, but I decided against it for a couple reasons:

  • It makes the screen look ridiculously busy. The player should be focused more on their ship and the enemy ships and projectiles and that's hard to do when one's eye is constantly being distracted by scrap flying around. 
  • Collision-detection with the floating scrap was not very good. Sometimes it would bounce off of objects properly and sometimes it would get stuck. Overall it looked very messy. I could always try and perfect the physics and hit-detection, but my goal this year is to actually finish this game, not get nitpicky over minor features that might not even make it into the final version of the game.

Quote of the Week:

"You cannot improve something that you don't understand."

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

29 MAY 2021:


This week I added the bombers back into the game. They can move and attack but I still need to reprogram the bomb damage and some of the graphics need some improvement. 

We'll see how it goes, but I'm setting a personal goal here: I'd like to have most of the enemy ships back in the game by the end of June. If I can do that, then I'll have a solid 6 months for level design and to polish up the small things: Engine exhaust, more debris, better explosions, etc.

Scrapship has been in development for a little over a year now and I'd like to see it finished before Unreal Engine 5 officially comes out early next year so I can start learning that for other projects. :)

It sounds crazy working on a single game for over a year, but keep in mind that family, work and life often get in the way. Oh, and I'm very lazy, let's not forget that. 

But persistent!

Yesterday there was an awesome short film released by Ian Hubert. It's only about 20 minutes long. But guess how long it took him to make that project? 

THREE. YEARS. 

But the results are very impressive, especially considering that he did most of it himself and used Blender for the models. (Scrapship also uses Blender, btw). 

I say this just to show that it's okay if your personal project runs into a timeframe of years instead of months.

Stick with it!


Quote of the Week:

"If you set your goals ridiculously high and it's a failure, you will fail above everyone else's success." -- James Cameron


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

5 JUNE 2021:


- Fixed the bombs. They can hit the left wing, cockpit, or right wing of your ship. To prevent the bombs from clustering together, I also made it where each one has a random speed setting.

- There is more I could adjust with the bombers, but for now they're "good enough". My plan is to finish the Cruisers this month.

Quote of the Week:

"If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse."


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

12 JUN 2021:

- Cruisers are back in the game! They can warp in, attack and damage the player.  In return, the player can damage and stun the cruiser -- and crash into it. As with the bombers, I'll be making minor adjustments to everything, but the key thing is it's  currently "good enough" that I can move on to another enemy type.

All of the sprites in this newer version of Scrapship are a little big larger and I've also increased the contrast so the images "pop" more. Here's a picture from an earlier demo to give a comparison:

Quote of the week: 

"People that don't take risks end up working for those who did."


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

19 JUN 2021:


- Shield Fighters are now in the game! Their role will be to protect ships and to limit vertical movement of the player. Right now they can move, be collided with and take damage. As with all the other ships in this game, they'll ultimately have 3 levels of difficulty.

- In the gif above you can see a good example of the player damage. The player ship can take damage to their: Left wing, Left engine, Cockpit, Right wing and Right engine. I originally had it where loss of an engine halved the player speed. Realistic, but also frustrating, so I took that part out.

- I've been thinking a lot about the "MOSCOW" approach to gamedev. You categorize features in your game as "Must-have", "Optional", "Should-have" or "Could-have". I probably butchered the actual acronym but I remember seeing  it on Brackeys or some other gamedev channel on Youtube. The point is, when making your game you need to really focus on the essentials and leave the  "should-have" stuff for later. That's how you prevent scope creep. So with that in mind, I'll primarily be developing with the highest screen resolution in mind. I still plan on doing the other two, but only towards the very end of development when all the "must-haves" are done.

Quote of the week:

"The art of victory is learned in failures." -- Simón Bolívar


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

26 JUN 2021:

- Of all the enemies in Scrapship, the battleship is easily one of the most complicated. Not quite a boss enemy, but not a generic enemy either. Since I'm rebuilding Scrapship I decided I'd take this opportunity to take a more logical approach to the battleship design. The details are intentionally obscured in the above screenshot, but I might even use that as a cool "Stealth mode" . When it comes to graphics, I've learned that some things look "cool" but don't translate well in the context of a video game. The previous version of the battleship had a lot of geometry that looked out of place or looked like it should have served a special purpose, but didn't. Or the guns were different types and sizes which would mean that each gun would have to have different behaviors and projectiles. So this time I simplified things and made the battleship more consistent.
The last battleship also had an extremely complicated 11 segments, each of which could be damaged 2 or 3 times. This really increased the file size of the game and made programming  a lot harder as well. The new version will be much simpler. 

- How close is Scrapship to being finished? The last playable build I uploaded last year had about 70% of my originally envisioned content. Since I rebuilt the project this year, I'd say I'm at about 60% done.

- Don't you get tired of working on the same game for over a year and having to remake it? Yes!!! There are definitely days I just want to quit and start something new, but -- so far -- the secret to my success is this: Do just a little bit every day. Even on weekends. Even if you don't feel like it. Even if it's only a measly 15 minutes a day. Slow momentum is better than no momentum. I'm really hoping to have this game be done by the end of this year, but I also don't want to release it half-baked, either.

Hang in there indie gamedevs!


Quote of the week:

"Pain will leave once it is done teaching you." -- Bruce Lee

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

3 JUL 2021:

- New battleship is coming along nicely! Each gun rotates individually to face the player. The guns can also be individually damaged and disabled.

- TO-DO: Damage animations for the battleship and projectiles.


Quote of the week:

"A person who dares to waste 1 hour of time has not discovered the value of life." -- Charles Darwin


Thanks for reading and have  a great rest of your weekend (and July 4th!)

(+1)

Nice work

Thanks Xcrypt!

10 JUL 2021:

Two major improvements to the battleship!!

- It can now fire all 3 guns and hit the player.

- All 3 guns can be damaged. Notice how the right-most gun looks chewed up after being destroyed.


Quote of the week:

"Normal people have great ideas. Legends have great execution." -- Anthony ONeal


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

17 JUL 2021:


- As I was looking at the gif from last week, I noticed something: The rightmost gun base hangs over the edge of the battleship. I quickly realized what caused this: The battleship is a composite of 2 layers, a base layer and the layer with all the guns. In Blender, I had to change some of the gun base geometry to make it flush with the deck and then re-render those layers. That part is fixed so that now the battleship looks like what is shown above (guns hidden for clarity). 

- I also created a damaged version of the battleship:




- For testing purposes, all the guns currently have 1000 HP each. The battleship is killed when all 3 are destroyed. What's really missing is a good explosion animation, so I'll be trying to figure that out in the near future.

- Finally, I revisited the opening animation: I like how it looks, but loading all those images adds about 7 seconds to the load time of the game. So right now I'm trying to figure out if there's a faster way to load graphics in QB64 or if there is some way to manipulate the images to make them smaller in size.

Quote of the week:

"The rarest of all human qualities is consistency." -- Jeremy Bentham

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

24 JUL 2021:

- Started work on the latest enemy: the Carrier! Above you can see a small preview of it. In particular, I simplified its color palette and added some emissive bloom in Blender.

- I also started working on the small fighters that the enemy carrier is going to launch against the player. 

- Finally, I fixed the laser animations for the cruisers. Still some tweaking to be done, but it looks much better now.

Quote of the week:

"Creativity is intelligence having fun." -- Albert Einstein

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

31 JUL 2021:

- Now you can see the new carrier fighter I've been working on! My son actually made the design for it:

It looks a little different in the game because I recreated its pixelated look in Blender and rotated it about 20 degrees. 

Getting these guys to function as intended will be the main focus of  next week.

Quote of the Week:

"If you knew how quickly people forget the dead, you'll stop living to impress people." -- Christopher Walken


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

(+1)

Hey!

I haven't checked up in a while!  Looks like the graphics are improving quite a lot!  :O

Really liking the look of that longer purple ship.  How long do you think before the game is finished?

Hey Sneak! Thanks for the feedback. Hopefully I'll be done with it by the end of the year. Is Cat-Powered UFO still in Alpha?

(+1)

It's in beta, there is still a lot to be done, but you can defeat the space devil and rescue your wife now!!  :D

How long has it been since you played it?  I reckon it would have changed a whole lot!!  :)

Cool, I downloaded it again and will give it try this weekend!

7 AUG 2021:

- Made a variation on the carrier this week! One type banks left and spawns on the left side of the screen, the other banks right and spawns on the right side of the screen. Both can launch fighters.

- The fighter logic itself has been improved. After launching, they quickly accelerate towards the player, kamikaze style. The player can currently shoot them down and be hit by them. 

- TODO: The carriers themselves need collision boxes and different levels of damage. Also the fighter logic needs  a little adjustment as I suspect they aren't always launching the proper number of fighters. 

- MILESTONE! Scrapship is now past 5000 lines of code. Besides being a nice even number, this is also about where I was last year when I decided to start from scratch. When the carrier is done to my liking I'd say the game is about 75% done.

Quote of the week:

"Someday" is not a day of the week.


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

14 AUG 2021:

- It took some work, but  each carrier now has its own complement of fighters. One of the reasons I restarted Scrapship is because the old version didn't have a good debug system. The new debug system I have now allowed me to figure this out relatively quickly.

- To make it look a little more interesting, I added a green launch light to alert the player to these new fighter threats.

- The carriers also have hitboxes meaning that the player can crash into them if they get too close.

- Carriers also spawn in a way that they don't overlap.

Once I add damage to the carriers they'll be pretty much done and then it's on to the next part of the game!

Quote of the week:

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald


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

21 AUG 2021:


- The carrier can now be blown apart piece-by-piece! I found some new Blender techniques for making damage look a little better. Previously I was using a lot of Booleans but now I find it's easier to just randomly delete vertices and see what part of the original mesh remains.

- The above screenshot was from a video that was too long to make a GIF of, but you can view the full-length video here: It will be the most recent post.

Quote of the Week:

"Indecision is the thief of opportunity." -- Cicero


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

28 AUG 2021:

- Ready to move on to the next part of the game! The carriers (left and right) are pretty much done. Collisions against the player? Check. Launching fighters? Check. Carriers can be damaged piece by piece? Check. 

Earlier this week I experimented with making each of the engines receive damage individually. It worked, but the damage animations looked very bad. So I brought the carrier from 5 segments back down to 3 and now it's looking much better (takes up less disk space, too!)

- I have business trips the next two weeks, so development will be a little slow during that time, but if nothing else, that will allow me to refine my concepts for the following areas to make the game complete:

(in no particular order)

- Boss enemy logic

- Level design

- Tutorial mode

- Graphics for debris, explosions, engine exhaust, muzzle flash, etc.


Quote of the week:

"Focus on the destination, not the distance." -- 40wattstudio


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

4 SEP 2021:


Above is what happens when I active all the enemies in the game at once! The game is not meant to be played this way (it's brutally hard!) but it was cool to see just the same.

- I've updated the game progress to 80%! And that's because . . . 

- I've started building out the game modes (Story mode, Arcade mode, and Tutorial). Still lots to do but at least now I have a framework to work with. Last night I was testing music transitions between levels of the game. 

- So when is Scrapship going to be finished? By the end of the year is my non-official goal. But the nice thing about being an indie game developer is that you can set your own release schedule -- nobody is pressuring me to hurry up and finish. I do want to release it within the next few months, but I also don't want to release a half-baked product. So officially I'm going to say this: It's done when I'm happy with it. And this segues in nicely with one of my favorite quotes and the quote for this week:

"Perfection is the enemy of done."


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

11 SEP 2021:

- Continued troubleshooting the music so it can transition properly from level to level.


Quote of the week:

"The successful do what the unsuccessful are unwilling to do."

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

18 SEP 2021:




My day job has certainly been keeping me busy! Had 2 weeks worth of business trips not too long ago and now I'm about to have 2 more weeks of business travel. So Scrapship development has been a little slow recently.
But it still goes on!

In spite of my busy work schedule, I've still made some nice progress:

- I've started work on the first level of the game and had lots of fun play-testing it!
- The music issue I was having before seems to be resolved. Music should now transition fine between levels.
- Just this morning I fixed a bug with the cruisers where the "beaks" were not opening properly. I also made a minor adjustment so that they "warp in" faster.
- I added logic so that only active objects on screen have their logic processed. This should make for a smoother gaming experience.

Above is a little teaser of one of the first bosses you'll encounter in the game. Lots of work to do on that one since I just forked the original Blender file.
Scrapship is just a few lines shy of 6000 lines of code!

Quote of the week:
"Be stronger than your excuses."

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

25 SEP 2021:

On my business trip this week I did a lot of brainstorming about different aspects of Scrapship and came up with some really cool ideas that I'm excited to implement!

- Menu improvements so that the player can see at a glance all the game modes available.

- Fighters that can attack from the bottom of the screen (with ample warning, of course).

- AI for the final boss enemy.

- I like the 3D animation at the beginning of Scrapship, but it does take up a lot of memory. I've thought of a way I could arrange the graphics that should allow for smaller file sizes. This should also minimize the original load time for the game.

- A new Game Tip system

- Then last night I made a really cool discovery! QB64 allows your programs to open websites using the SHELL command! I also learned how to make QR codes if I decide to use those. These two things open up a lot of possibilities!

- This morning I started work on the first boss enemy in Blender. 

I have another business trip next week and maybe another the week after that, but I've been able to use that time to think about some of my design decisions in Scrapship and refine them.  A big problem in games is that developers get in too much of a hurry to create and don't spend enough time thinking about how best to do things. Of course, you can easily spend too much time thinking and brainstorming as well, which is why I usually only brainstorm when I can't actually work on the game.


Quote of the week:

"Not everyone who chased the zebra caught it, but he who caught it, chased it." -- African proverb

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

You can view my latest stories and past projects on Instagram.

2 OCT 2021:

- Started development of the new AI system! Really excited about this one! A problem with many games is that difficulty settings are very subjective. What may be "easy" for you may still be too hard for someone else. This is a problem especially with shmups which are notorious for being difficult. At the same time, you don't want a game that is so easy that it becomes boring. But I believe I have found a way to keep novice players from getting frustrated while still keeping them entertained.

One of my favorite games is F.E.A.R. I've always been in awe of how good the AI was in that game. Made shoot-outs very realistic and satisfying. I'm trying to apply those same basic principles to Scrapship.  I've never been a big fan of the "pre-scripted popcorn enemies that come down from the top of the screen and pose no real threat" gameplay you find in most top-down shooters.

You can see a short video sample of the new AI system here on my Instagram.

- Have you noticed the new profile pic I have here on Itch.io? I used Blender to make a 3D version of my original logo and used emission settings to animate it.

Quote of the week:

"The key to success is to focus on goals, not obstacles."

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

9 OCT 2021:

- Still working on the new AI system. This will take time, but will absolutely make the game better as AI is not something most top-down shooters are known for having.

- Made progress on the first boss enemy animation.

- No business trip this week! And I have Monday off! So I'm definitely looking forward to using this time to catch up on Scrapship!


Quote of the week:

"If you don't sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice."

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

(+1)

16 OCT 2021:


- Scrapship is really getting FUN! That's a really good thing to say when you've been playtesting the same game for month after month. It's a good indication that the game is on the right track.

- The new AI system is SWEET! Most top-down shooters launch pre-scripted waves of enemies at you. Scrapship launches enemies based on a variety of factors, such as player performance. When the game is closer to completion I'll give more specifics as to how this all works. But if you think F.E.A.R (the AI aspect of it) meets top-down shooter than you pretty much get the idea.

- Lag has been significantly reduced.

- Enemy ships like the Battleship (pictured above) only fire their guns when their guns are on-screen.

- Improved and fixed some default enemy spawning behavior. 

- Lots of improvement to the code.


Quote of the Week:

"There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all." -- Peter Drucker


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

23 OCT 2021:

- Started making new background scenes so the player isn't just flying over the moon or earth. Mars, Saturn, etc. Earth turns out really good in Unreal Engine 4, but the other planets . . . not so much. So for the other planets I'm using Blender.

But making new backgrounds also revealed a new problem: Contrast

Here you can see a Mars background, but the default enemy laser color is a bit too similar. So I'll have to think of a way to make the laser colors compatible, not just with a Mars planet background, but with any background that I use in the game.

Good contrast in shmups is absolutely essential. Have you ever played a game where the contrast was so bad that you couldn't tell foreground objects from background objects? I've seen a lot of those. The worst ones are those with star backgrounds where the stars are white dots and the bullets or lasers are also white dots. 


Quote of the week:

"You may delay, but time will not." -- Benjamin Franklin

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

30 OCT 2021:

-- Check out the new menu screen! Still working on it, but it's coming along nicely! I added some buttons to inform the player what keys can be pressed here and I hope to add some effects to make them look animated. And literally just about 5 minutes ago I figured out how to highlight the current selection. 

-- I also worked on the planet background logic. "Story" mode will have scripted backgrounds while "Arcade" mode will have more randomized backgrounds. 

-- I forgot to mention this one earlier, but I halved the range for the rapid laser. This encourages the player to use the other two weapons that have full range.


Quote of the week:

"There are decades where nothing happens and then there are weeks where decades happen." -- Vladimir Lenin

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

6 NOV 2021:

- The player ship can explode (again)! This same effect was in the last version, but I initially had issues getting it to work in this new one. Fortunately I was able to figure it out. This is a huge step forward because the player explosion is part of the main game loop.

- You can also see the new Settings screen in action! Because of the framerate it's a little hard to see, but the keys at the bottom light up to correspond with the actual keyboard button you press. 

- Throughout this long process of making Scrapship, I've spent HOURS pacing around and pondering different design decisions. That has paid off as I am very close to a final vision for how I want this game to look and play. Just this week I've made key decisions about Tutorial mode and the difference between Story and Arcade modes.

- I have working shield fighters, but they still need some adjustments so I've been using Blender to  try and make better shield graphics.

- Scrapship now has over 7000 lines of code! What's the most code you've written? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!


Quote of the week (one of my favorites!):

"A winner is just a loser who tried one more time." -- George Moore Jr.


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

(1 edit)

13 NOV 2021:

- Using Asesprite, I finally was able to make some shield effects that I am pretty happy with. Edit-->FX-->Convolution Matrix is a nifty tool for making blur effects. It looks even better once I programmed in some animations.


- I added stars to the background with a little bit of parallax scrolling (objects in the foreground move faster than those in the background). It makes space a little less empty. But I also made sure that the stars were not so large or bright as to be mistaken for enemy projectiles. That is a flaw that I've seen in MANY shmups, even ones by professional game studios.

Ideally, background stars should be very inconspicuous and neutral.


- There is now a screen right after the player ship explodes that informs you what exactly destroyed you. I have plans to integrate a "smart" tip system and stats on either this screen or the next. From here the player can also choose to start the level again or go back to the main menu.



Quote of the Week:
"Your salary is the bribe they give you to forget your dreams."

(Here's another quote that really resonates with me. Have you always dreamed of making your own games? Don't wait for retirement!!! Chasing your dream at 40 (like I did) is so much more satisfying then never starting at all).

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

20 NOV 2021:

- Quite a bit of progress this week! In the GIF above you can see several new features in action:

  • The moving stars in the background
  • The rocket plumes on they player ship
  • The enemy shields flickering as they take damage (a little hard to see because of the GIF quality)
  • And most recent, a cool shield explosion effect I made using BlastFX (available on Steam).

- Started working on cards that tell the player a little bit about the different enemies and what strategies to use against them. Below is a sample:


- I also created some explosion animations using some free samples from Embergen. But there is a slight problem, for some reason Blender glitches out after the third frame tries to render. I updated my Nvidia drivers and that didn't work. Thankfully I have a Mac Mini so hopefully I can render the images there and move them back to my Windows machine.

- BlastFX is nice and somewhat simple, but there's no doubt that the effects that can be created by Embergen software are much more impressive visually. I'm currently trying their 14-day free trial (which allows you to do everything but export files). I haven't pulled the trigger on buying the software yet, but if I do, I might be doing some upgrades to all the explosions in the game. 

- Check out the new website for 40wattstudio! I'll be honest, my first attempt at a Squarespace site was pretty awful. So I spent a couple days and now have a website that is simpler and also serves as a landing page for Scrapship. In the future I plan on writing a monthly blog post about something gamedev or software related.

This week is Thanksgiving so I will have very limited gamedev time. I will probably spend most of that with Embergen to make the most of the trial period.

I am very thankful to all my readers and followers on this long-term project! Even a simple upvote or like on a post does a lot to keep me motivated.

Two from Itch.io that I want to give shoutouts to are

Sepi

TheSneak

All of us had projects going about the same time (early 2020) and their feedback has been extremely valuable. Sepi has made some amazing Game Jam games and TheSneak is currently working on a very ambitious Earthbound-like RPG that involves cats . . . and aliens.


Quote of the week:

"Judge the worth of an activity by how you will feel when you are done, not by how it feels at the moment."


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

27 NOV 2021:

Still here! Just now realized it’s Saturday. 

I’ve been on vacation all this week so no updates to the game itself. But I have been listening to a few more episodes of the excellent Game Design Dojo podcast — they have 26 great episodes covering all aspects of game development. 


Side note: Still trying to find a gift for someone this Christmas? I’ve been playing the board game Terraforming Mars most of this week and having an absolute blast!


Quote of the week:

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” — Wayne Gretzky


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

4 DEC 2021:

- I was able to get a discounted Embergen subscription! For those that don't know, Embergen is a software package that exclusively has to do with explosions. Previously I was using BlastFX, which was much cheaper and more intuitive, but also more limited and the final results were usually only average. From the little I've played with it, Embergen has a significantly greater learning curve -- but fortunately it comes pre-packaged with 100 sample projects. So I was able to find one similar to the effect I wanted and -- voila! -- you have the explosion that you see above. I like how it looks more random and asymmetrical. Another cool thing is that you can render out your explosions in Embergen . . . or render them out in Blender if you so desire.

The annual Embergen subscription is a little pricey for a solo inde developer like myself, but I think the ability to make high-quality explosions will be a multiplier in Scrapship and future games.

- That was the major highlight from this week -- I was on yet another business trip that ate up all my time. But I did get to listen to several episodes of the Game Design Dojo podcast. Highly recommended! The episodes on Puzzles and  Physics were very educational. 

Quote of the Week:

"Today I will do what others won't, so that tomorrow I can do what others can't." -- Jerry Rice

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

(1 edit)

11 DEC 2021:

This week I learned some important lessons in game development:

#1: Sometimes you need to take a step back before you can move forward. 

I had this idea that the fighters would launch in semi-random waves of about 5 fighters per wave. Initially things were going well, but then I found some bugs with ships not behaving properly. Furthermore, the fighters were now way too powerful and the game wasn't fun anymore. 

So I scrapped the fighters.

At least that version of them.

The fighter code alone was 1500 lines, so it simplified things significantly. But more importantly, it gave me an idea for a more efficient way to handle enemies in the rest of the game. As a test, I tried this idea on a few other enemies and liked the results.

#2: Pay yourself before paying others applies to time as well.

If you've been following this devlog, you know that I've been working on this game for almost 2 years now -- bearing in mind that I nearly started from scratch early this year. Part of the delay is because of my sometimes very busy job in addition to my other obligations. 

You've probably heard the saying "Pay yourself, before paying others." Well this week I found that the same thing applies to time. 

I'll explain.

Up to now, I was mostly working on Scrapship AFTER I got home from work, with the unsurprising result that I wasn't "fully charged" to give the game my 100% effort. Some days I would only put in about 15 minutes a day. :(

So I changed that. I adjusted my sleeping schedule to wake up at 0530 every morning. By 0600, I'm well awake and this gives me a solid and deathly quiet hour to work on Scrapship.

I've been most impressed with the results so far.

Like I said, I deleted the fighters, but in turn I also got the shield fighters pretty much in their final state. And the same concept I used with the shield fighters will be used for all the other enemies as well. Now I just need to apply it across the board.

#3: If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well

Some developers have an attitude of "I'll ship it now and fix it later. " Here I may be a bit old-fashioned. You see, back in the 80s and 90s, the era of the NES and SNES, game developers didn't have the luxury of patches or fixes after a game shipped. The game had to be pretty much flawless on release day. Very minor bugs of course may have been inevitable, but there would almost certainly be no game-crashing bugs.

You only get one shot to make a first impression. And if your first impression is a half-baked game, then it's very unlikely that people will be eager to try a fixed version. 

A good talking point here is the game No Man's Sky. I was really looking forward to this game when it first came out. But then it did and I played it -- and I was very underwhelmed and disappointed. Supposedly No Man's Sky has made astronomical improvements since then, but I honestly haven't had the urge to bother with it again. Again -- you only get one shot to make a first impression.

So as far as a release date for Scrapship, it'll be done when it's in a very polished state. Polished, not perfected. I'm trying very hard not to be a perfectionist here. But the simple matter is that right now Scrapship has a lot of MUST-HAVES that need to get done before it's ready for some sort of demo or beta. 

I have been restricting my vision on this game. Some players have asked for gamepad support. Others have asked for multiplayer. Others have asked if it will be on Steam. Obviously if I do all of these things the development time is going to extend by quite a while. But even without these things, I 'm  confident that Scrapship is going to be a very unique "shmup". It won't be the kind where you micro-dodge bullets and have to memorize level layouts to get a 1CC clear. If things work out as I envision them, the enemies will react frequently to how the player is doing. Is the player struggling? The difficulty will automatically lower. Is the player a pro? The difficulty will ramp up accordingly.

There are two possible outcomes I see with Scrapship: I can release it very hastily and "fix it later", but I fear the reaction will be, "You spent two years working on a game that's this buggy?!" Then of course I would have few downloads and I would feel like my time had been mostly wasted. 

Or . . . 

I can delay release until I am happy with it. I may have lost a few impatient followers along the way, but at least when someone does play it, they'll be able to say, "Wow, this game is really good!"


Quote of the Week:

"You won't always be motivated, so learn to always be disciplined."


Thanks for reading this (much longer!) devlog and have a great rest of your week!

18 DEC 2021:

- Shield Fighters are pretty much done! They attack in 3 different formations and it is possible for more than one formation to attack at once. By "pretty much done" I mean like the only improvements I could possibly make are ridiculously nitpicky in nature. There is a great chance I might not even change anything.

- I also started on the Bombers. They can attack from the left and the right sides -- before they only came from the right. 

- I brought my Mac Mini with me on vacation in the hopes of getting some work on Scrapship, but so far I've hit two snags. 1) My mouse wheel won't scroll in the QB64 IDE and some of the items in the game are misaligned since I'm using a smaller monitor than what I normally use. So hopefully I can work through or around those. 


Quote of the Week:

"One day or day one? You decide."


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

25 DEC 2021

Merry Christmas everyone!

No updates this week but I’ll be back on schedule starting Monday. Using QB64 with the Mac Mini didn’t work out this time. Not being able to scroll with the middle mouse is awful when your code is almost 8000 lines long. I also noticed that sound wouldn’t even work properly. :/

But this has been a nice week off so I feel sufficiently energized and eager to get back to working on Scrapship!

I got a 1TB SSD drive for Christmas, so that will help ensure my files are always backed up. Using Blender and Unreal Engine has really driven home the importance of having LOTS of harddrive space — it fills up fast!

 Quote of the Week:

“Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.”

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

(+1)

1 JAN 2022

Happy New Year!

Lots of progress this week thanks to my self-imposed new schedule: I wake up every morning at 0530 and from 0600 to 0700 I put in a solid hour of Scrapship. And what's more? I often put in an extra hour after that. By working on my game when I'm well-rested I am able to get more done and stay motivated for longer.

So here's what happened this week:

- I reconfigured my Desktop for more productivity by only keeping the files for projects that I'm actively working on.

- A constant fear is having a hard drive crash and losing all of my work. I now have two 1 TB SSD drives plugged in and I use the Windows Backup using File History feature to automatically save projects both locally and externally every hour. Triple redundancy!

- As for the game itself,  I got a LOT of programming done! I think at the start of the week I had about 7000 lines of code and now I'm over 8000 -- the most I've ever written.

- There are now three configurations of bombers: A single bomber from the left, a single one from the right, and bombers attacking from left and right simultaneously. 

- The bomb hit-detection is much more accurate now. I think last time a single bomb blast would just blow off an entire wing instead of just a segment.  See gif above.

LOOKING BACK AT 2021:

Lol, 2021 was *supposed* to be the year I finished Scrapship, but then I hit an impasse on my first version and decided to start all over. Looking back I still think this was the right decision. I know it's hard to tell since there has been nothing playable from the new version, but the new version is so much better in about every way. 

Even things peripheral to Scrapship got an upgrade, like my website.

My Instagram and Youtube accounts grew a little from the previous year and even here on Itch my follower count is now up to 45 -- thanks for following!

I also got a job or two doing game localization and editing. (If you need help with these in your own game, feel free to contact me.)

And all those motivational quotes I post? I shared one from Scott Hamilton (Olympic figure skater) and he actually reposted it on his Instagram. Very cool!

MY GOAL THIS YEAR:


Quote of the Week:

"No Zero Days!"

Thanks for reading and have a great 2022!

(+1)

Its great to see development is still ongoing! keep it up

Good to hear, thanks!

8 JAN 2022

This week was really fun and challenging because I started integrating the shield fighters and bombers into the new AI system. The AI takes into consideration not only where the player currently is, but where they are projected to be! So if you destroy an enemy on the left side of the screen, then the next enemy is quite likely going to launch on the left side of the screen . 

I also made tweaks to how difficulty is raised/lowered. Initially I was going to have the speed adjust in real-time, but after much thought and testing, I decided that this was a bit too arbitrary and didn’t give the player enough warning. So now enemies will only adjust their speed on their next iteration. 

Another important change was this: Before, if you stunned an enemy, that stunned enemy would come back around for another pass. This really didn’t make any sense — why would a crippled ship bother to make another attack run? So now ships only make one attack run — whether they survive or not — and then reinforcement come in after them (based off the AI system). 

In the future I’ll be testing a “Threat Level” system to calculate how “difficult” the game is it any given moment. The way I have it envisioned, it reminds me a little of the “Wanted” system from the Grand Theft Auto games.  

Ultimately this “Threat Level” system will be integrated into the AI to aid in determining which enemy attacks next. Is the player ship wounded? Launch a weaker enemy. Is the p layer untouched? Launch a tougher one.


In other news, I forgot to mention earlier that I finished listening to all 26 episodes of the Game Design Dojo podcast. VERY informative even though the material is a little dated. A new podcast series I started listening to is “Level Design Lobby”.

Quote of the Week:

“Difficulty is what wakes up the genius.” — Nassim Taleb

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

15 JAN 2022

I’ve been on a business trip all this week, so no Scrapship updates until I return. 

It seems kinda silly writing a devlog entry for a week where nothing happened, but a key element to success is consistency, even if the progress made is negligible. 

But for those of you reading that are making your own game or thinking about making your first game, here’s some inspiration for the rest of the week:

Quote of the Week:

“It’ s a slow process, but quitting won’t speed it up.”

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

22 JAN 2022:

Back at it!

- This week I learned something HUGE! How to print data to a text file in QB64:

The cool thing about this is that now I have a way of making logfiles for debugging purposes! It's already come in handy by informing me that a few of my variables were activating more often than they needed to. 

Whatever programming language you're working with, I highly recommend implementing some sort of system like this at the beginning of your project -- it can save you hours of frustrating troubleshooting.

- I started adding in the new Cruiser logic. Cruisers will be able to attack individually or in pairs. Also, they spawn relative to the player position.

- The AI system in general is coming along nicely. It's very good at "predicting" where the player will be and attacking that sector. 

- Scrapship is now over 9000 lines of code! What's the most code you've ever written for one program?

- I won't reveal them just yet, but I have 2 new ideas: One is for the Cruisers and the other is for the background graphics. These should be very easy to implement and will improve the game greatly I think.

Quote of the Week:

"Believe you can and you're halfway there."

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

29 JAN 2022:

LOTS of progress! I do a minimum of 1 hr/day but most days I was putting in 2-3 hours. So I was able to get about 14 to 21 hours worth of work done this week!

- The AI system is about 90% done! At the game start, it throws random enemies at you based on your desired difficulty. Once you start playing, the game is periodically evaluating your progress (and position) to see what it needs to do next to make the game easier or harder. I should have a video of this system in action next week.

- Very briefly the code got up to about 10,000 lines. But I realized I was doing a lot of unnecessary repetition so I found a way to refactor and condense it down to a little under 9000 again. Most of my time was spent doing this, as reorganizing the code introduced some bugs that I had to chase down and fix.

- Lots of minor bug fixes and deleted code and features that were no longer needed.

In the following weeks, I will have some major announcements about Scrapship -- and other projects!


Quote of the Week:

"If you can't yet do great things, do small things in a great way." -- Napoleon Hill

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

5 FEB 2022:


- When does a level end? What happens if the player only damages an enemy?

I was able to answer both of these answers by introducing a Morale system for the enemy. As you damage and destroy enemy ships, their morale goes down. If it goes down enough, then the level ends. Basically, the entire level is a sort of boss fight where you are always aware of how far you are from the end.

For ease of interpretation, I made analog and digital versions of the current Morale. 

- In this video you can see some of the newer gameplay in action as the player ship weaves in and out of the enemy formations. 

- There is now a second battleship! This one can enter from the right side of the screen. Here is a list of the possible enemies that can be spawned:

A brace of three shield fighters or a long row of one.

A single bomber or two at once.

A single cruiser or two at once.

A single battleship from the left.

A single battleship from the right.

- Still much to be done, but this is perhaps the first time where I feel like the end is really in sight. Pretty much all that remains are boss enemies, level design, fine-tuning adjustments and bug-squashing.


Still here? Good, because I have two major announcements:

- I've been spending a lot of time thinking about what to do with Scrapship when it's done. This is subject to change, but my intent is to make Scrapship a free game. Completely, 100% free. No ads. No "extra-features" or skins you can buy. Just the whole game up-front.  Why am I picking this release model? Sure, I could charge $5 for it and offer a free demo -- but let's be realistic here: Although Scrapship aims to be quite different, shmups are a very over-saturated genre. It's very hard to get people to play shmups to begin with. And in the end, I would much rather have lots of people play Scrapship for free than have only a handful of people play it after purchase. If people like it, then they're welcome to offer a donation. This will especially come in handy because of my second announcement:

- I have a new game idea for when I finish Scrapship! During the pandemic, I started watching sailing videos. There are already lots of sailing games out there, but most of them are focused on pirates, trading or racing. Most of these are very arcade-style with an emphasis on action. My new game will be heading in a different direction. I won't give out too many details, but my goal is for this game to be "a persistent and open world".

This is going to be incredibly ambitious, but I already have a lot of things figured out on paper and some aspects have even been tested in previous programs I've written. The key to getting this to actually work is to remain dedicated to an MVP (minimum viable product) and then scale from there. While a demo may be available in about a year or two, the complete game may take even longer.

Quote of the Week:

"80% of success is showing up." -- Woody Allen

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

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!

(+1)

Hey!  IT'S STILL GOING!   xD

Glad to see you're still at it!  It's been a while since I've been checking up on itch, how have you been?

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?

(+1)

Yeah Cat Powered UFO is still going as well!  altho it is 99% complete.

I'm hoping to have it up for sale by next month, there is just a few little things I need to do.

That said, it has felt like I've been "almost finished" for almost a year now!  xD

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!

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!

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!

(+1)

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!

(+1)

What the heck?! This looks SICK!! That nebula effect looks so smooth! Will there be another demo before release? I want to see all of this in action!

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!

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!

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!

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!

(+1)

This project is awesome! It's amazing that you've managed to keep going for multiple years. Best of luck!

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).

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!

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!

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!

(+1)

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!

(+1)

This game looks SICK!! Looking forward to it's completion. Keep up the great work👍

(+1)

Thanks for the encouragement hamwil! :)

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!

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