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 Magnaut 
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So, here's something I've been working on for a while. I figured I'd stick a topic here since a few people seemed interested.

Way back in Ludum Dare 18, I made a game called Magno-Warrior. It was an interesting idea, but it was admittedly poorly-executed. This is my attempt at redoing the game with a lot of polish. So far it seems to be going well!

The game is a top-down arcade-style shoot-'em-up (needs more hyphens) with a simple premise: your defeated enemies can be attached to your ship, and they make up your only armour and weapons.

Key things that have changed since Magno-Warrior, in case you actually bring yourself to play it:
  • Ships attach and automatically arrange themselves in a nice equidistant pattern
  • You don't bump deactivated ships around if your attachments collide with them
  • Obviously, a lot more polish, features and enemy types

If you want more info, check out the development log over on TIGSource, or visit the Indie DB page:
Image

Otherwise, here are some videos to look at:







I'd love to hear any feedback you have so far! There isn't a playable beta version yet, but I'll let you guys know when I'm looking for testers.


Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:06 am
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Post Re: Magnaut
Looks like a neat concept. The enemy attachments being your armor, yet not colliding with other enemies, seems odd to me, but I guess otherwise, you'd be taking up too much of the screen.

I like the look of the bonus level, pseudo3d is always neat.
Something about the transparent flame overlapping the sprite's white outline is weird, though, it seems like a bit of a stylistic mismatch to me.
It was mentioned before (lounge) that the slow down is a buzz kill. To avoid that, decelerate slower, only getting to the minimum shortly before the first ring?
And/or, the minimum speed could increase after each segment of rings/obstacles. So for instance, stage start, 60, segment, 68, segment, 76, segment, 84, segment, stage complete. The feel of overall acceleration that this would give may be good.

Rearrangement ui and screen shake are spiffy.


Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:29 am
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Azukki wrote:
The enemy attachments being your armor, yet not colliding with other enemies, seems odd to me, but I guess otherwise, you'd be taking up too much of the screen.

Ah, okay, to clarify: in the original game, your attachments would collide with deactivated enemies, which made it a royal pain the ass to attach to new enemies since they would always bounce away. Your attachments do collide with active enemies, and the result is that both are destroyed. As you can probably imagine, this is best avoided.

Azukki wrote:
Something about the transparent flame overlapping the sprite's white outline is weird, though, it seems like a bit of a stylistic mismatch to me.

Yeah, this is a good point. I had toyed around with giving the exhaust outlines, but I never got it looking good. It's not a huge issue in the main game since the jets are all under the player, but the bonus stage really does bring it out. Maybe I should replace it with a static sprite in the bonus stage.

Azukki wrote:
It was mentioned before (lounge) that the slow down is a buzz kill. To avoid that, decelerate slower, only getting to the minimum shortly before the first ring?
And/or, the minimum speed could increase after each segment of rings/obstacles. So for instance, stage start, 60, segment, 68, segment, 76, segment, 84, segment, stage complete. The feel of overall acceleration that this would give may be good.

Those are both worth trying. Increasing the minimum speed also means that each section will be slightly easier to complete, though, so I'd have to balance that a bit.


Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:41 am
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Ah, okay, with the armor stuff, that makes more sense.

The trail waving about is a neat effect, though.
If you kept the effect, made the flames opaque, and put the outlines around the ship and flames as if they were one object, that'd probably look pretty good, although be more involved to make.
Image
Like this, but to have both the black and white outlines, if you wanted that, you'd need to expand on this thought with more objects.


Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:06 am
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Cool stuff TLB! Agreed about the bonus section slowdown. Azukki brings up some good points I think.

TheLastBanana wrote:
Increasing the minimum speed also means that each section will be slightly easier to complete, though, so I'd have to balance that a bit.

You mean getting one section of rings gets easier with a higher speed? I would think the higher your speed the harder it is to hit each ring? If difficulty at higher speeds is the reason for the slowdown, you could increase the distance between rings a bit the faster you go so it's still possible to catch them without having to kill the speed and flow.


Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:14 pm
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I think his point is that bringing up the minimum speed makes it easier to recover if you've messed up badly.


Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:33 pm
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Azukki wrote:
If you kept the effect, made the flames opaque, and put the outlines around the ship and flames as if they were one object, that'd probably look pretty good, although be more involved to make.

Yep, that was what I was originally trying to set up. It made the flames a little too distracting, though, since they really stood out. I could do it for just the bonus stage, but then that also seems like it would be inconsistent... Hm. I'll have to think about it.

CrazyMLC wrote:
I think his point is that bringing up the minimum speed makes it easier to recover if you've messed up badly.

Yeah, that's what I mean. It's harder to hit the rings, but you can recover a lot more easily if your minimum speed is closer to your goal.


Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:36 pm
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Post Re: Magnaut
The next actual update to the game will most likely be the first boss, but that's still half-finished. In the meantime, here's some new music for world 2 (laser-themed):



Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:05 am
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Here's the boss:



It siphons off your fuel, which slows you down and makes a terrible sucking noise to boot.
To destroy it, you have to flail with wild abandon and smash it into enemies, which causes it to move further away from you. The longer that chain is, though, the slower it reacts to your swings, so it gets messy towards the end of the fight when the enemies are spawning quickly and its movement is more sluggish.

Also, for the record, I've implemented your suggestions regarding the bonus stage feeling disappointing when it slows down. The minimum speed increases by 10 for every chunk of the stage, and the deceleration lasts until just before the next set of rings spawn.


Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:14 am
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Lookin' pretty rad man, i like how that boss forces you to play in a very different manner! Looks like a pretty awesome game already, i'll be looking forward to trying it once it's done and/or released. :)


Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:05 pm
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Post Re: Magnaut
Here's the latest update:


World 2 (Pew Pew) is now under construction! I've added a new burst-fire laser enemy, and the world also introduces the long-range laser enemies I implemented... well over a year ago. Good lord.
Also, it has a fancy background.
I'll probably post next when I have a new boss battle, or maybe just the boss music.


Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:55 am
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Have you considered making enemies that you can't assimilate? Maybe even ones that debuff you or something. Your game has a very neat level up kind of system, but I feel like you build yourself up far too quickly and it diminishes the good feels from becoming more powerful when it happens so frequently.


Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:08 am
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I have one enemy like that at the moment, but I'm actually considering getting rid of it, because it's kind of annoying. It attaches to you, and you can't boot it off (unless you smash it into something). After a few seconds, it explodes and deals damage to your ship.

I get where you're coming from, though. I think this game is taking a bit of a different path from the usual scheme of increasing power over the course of the game. If I were to go that way with it, I'd probably be doing something along the lines of Captain Forever.

Instead, I'm playing around with the idea of adapting as opposed to directly improving: you can easily get 5 ships attached to you, but they will inevitably be broken off since they are both your defense and your offense. As you progress through the game, you'll have to make do with the types of ships being thrown at you. So, the progression in the game is more a matter of knowing how to make use of all the types of enemies as opposed to just having a lot of them.

What that means for your "power level" within a single game, though, is that it's probably more of a rollercoaster than an upward ramp: as you can (sort of) see in the latest video, you easily go from 1 attachment to 5 attachments, then from 5 attachments back down to 1. My gameplay videos probably aren't the best examples of this, actually, since I've been playing the game for a very long time — I imagine that most people trying the game will see that a lot more. What that means, though, is that having pretty much everything be useful to the player is pretty essential, since it's key to survival. The one exception is bosses, because they're all unique and it would kind of go against that feeling of disposability.

One thing worth knowing is that I'm also planning on including unlockable ships, which won't be direct upgrades (more like... sidegrades?) but should at least give a sense of progression.

I dunno, maybe this is an awkward design. It's certainly a little unusual by modern standards. I could also be totally misunderstanding what you're suggesting, haha. But yeah, that's a rough explanation of where I'm going with it at the moment.


Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:27 pm
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I get what you're saying entirely and that's definitely good design. I'm sure that philosophy will become more apparent as you add more types of ships. Looking forward to the progress on this game.

edit: also ♥♥♥♥ me this captainforever game is addicting


Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:08 pm
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NEW VIDYA DAY! 'Tis a boss.



The video shows off all three of its attacks: red (warp to a random position and fire shots in 8 directions), yellow (warp to center and fire big lasers in all 4 directions) and blue (warp off-screen and send in 3 regular enemies).

The attack sequence is actually a bit more complicated than it looks. I hate it when bosses keep spamming the same move over and over, so there's a few rules to how it works. The red attack is the shortest one, and the blue attack is generally the longest, or at least the most flow-breaking. The yellow one is somewhere in between, though still considerably longer than red. So, keeping that in mind:

    The first attack is always red. I felt like it should be introduced first, being the most common one and the only one which doesn't have any warning aside from the red light — this way, players should be less surprised the second time.
    If the play doesn't have any attachments, the attack is always blue. That way, the player has a chance to grab one.
    Otherwise, the chances for red, yellow and blue are, respectively, 50%, 30% and 20%.
    If the randomly-chosen attack is the same as the last attack, then do the red attack instead.
    If the red attack has been repeated twice in a row, then do one of the bigger attacks: 66.6% chance of yellow, 33.3% chance of blue.

To the player, it's subtle, but hopefully it'll keep the boss fight a little more fresh.


Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:08 pm
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