Blastaway, 16-bit style arena shooter

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  • saimo 20 Aug 2019 12:33:33 159 posts
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    Hi everybody,

    back in May I started developing a new game called Blastaway, heavily inspired to Wizard of Wor gameplay-wise,
    and vaguely inspired to The Chaos Engine as regards the graphics.

    Here's the latest video:



    If you feel like trying it out, you can freely download the latest build anytime from https://retream.itch.io/blastaway (the game is for Windows and AmigaOS 4). You can follow the devlog from the same page and from:
    * Twitter
    * LinkedIn
    * Patreon
    * TIGForums
    * YouTube

    Enjoy and, if you want, let me know!

    Edit: only now I've realized that the forum bug that doesn't allow to put several links on the same line had hidden part of the initial text; that's the reason of the odd line feed.

    Edited by saimo at 17:34:57 12-11-2019
  • pyper777 21 Aug 2019 22:28:48 234 posts
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    Had a quick play and got to 10th stage, but then got stuck as keys for door were in locked off area (not sure if bug, or demo end).

    Looks nice and you're quicker at developing a game than me.:D

    Tweaks I'd make
    [You may have these already, but I didn't reach]
    - Make movement grid based like PacMan, as I sometimes got stuck on walls trying to navigate
    - Exploding stuff kills enemies (not sure if does already)
    - Powerup to speedup player
    - More weapons
    - Traps in arena
    - More loot randomly spawning around arena
  • saimo 22 Aug 2019 11:44:07 159 posts
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    pyper777 wrote:
    Had a quick play
    Thanks for trying the game and the feedback!

    and got to 10th stage, but then got stuck as keys for door were in locked off area (not sure if bug, or demo end).
    There are no unreachable areas or limitations of any sort, so I guess you wasted a key to open a useless door or you didn't notice that a teleporter could take you to that area.
    By the way, there are currently 3 stages / 30 arenas, and all of them can be played.


    Tweaks I'd make
    [You may have these already, but I didn't reach]
    - Make movement grid based like PacMan, as I sometimes got stuck on walls trying to navigate
    Sorry, but that would radically change the gameplay: it would make, at the same time, both easier to kill and to be killed, while taking away freedom of movement from the player. Not even Wizard of Wor had grid-locked movements.

    - Exploding stuff kills enemies (not sure if does already)
    - Powerup to speedup player
    - More weapons
    - Traps in arena
    - More loot randomly spawning around arena
    All my other games have tons of innovative and intricate features (which most people fail to understand, despite the very detailed documentation), so for once I'm trying to do something "easy", familiar - and I'm having a hard time refraining from doing things my usual way (just think that the initial prototype had walls that changed dynamically all the time: I loved the idea, but I realized that it was one of the usual twists of mine that only few would appreciate).

    That said, regarding your suggestions:
    * exploding stuff killing enemies: the core of the gameplay is killing wors directly, and all the gameplay parameters are set according to that; moreover, the exploding stuff is not supposed to be destroyed, as that gives more freedom to wors (thus increasing the difficulty); finally, if explosions were lethal to wors, then they would necessarily need to be lethal to the player as well, which is not desirable as the exploding stuff can be destroyed by enemies, too, and it would be way too difficult to keep track of all the bolts fired by enemies; in conclusion, nope, I'm not going to add such feature (by the way, it's I something I had already done in BOH, one of my other games, but I had already discarded it in this case precisely because of the reasons illustrated);
    * speed up: I had considered this as well, but it would require making also enemies faster (otherwise the game would become too easy) and, believe me, the overall speed would be too much already at stage 2 or 3;
    * traps: that would make the game more difficult, and I don't want that - after all, the game becomes challenging enough already in the next stages (just as a point of curiosity, BOH has traps, too);
    * loot spawning around randomly: I prefer to limit the luck factor as much as possible, but the random loot would actually increase it; moreover, "loot" could only be points (i.e. not much), as powerups would instead affect the difficulty balance (again, all the gameplay parameters are set so that the difficulty increases progresively in a balanced way).

    Edited by saimo at 11:54:19 22-08-2019
  • saimo 22 Aug 2019 11:54:51 159 posts
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    Wizard of Wor, the game Blastaway inspires to, has a DOUBLE SCORE bonus: if the player manages to kill the Worluk before it flees, the next dungeon will award a double score. Blastaway just had to have something similar: it has it now, and it has even a TRIPLE SCORE bonus! If the player kills the Dmewor and Exxwor with the first shot, he achieves, respectively, the DOUBLE and TRIPLE SCORE bonuses, which, as their names suggest, double or triple the current arena score.



    CHANGELOG
    * Extended arena end screen report.
    * Added DOUBLE and TRIPLE SCORE bonuses.
    * Reduced wors speed increase.
    * Added specific tune during the fight against the Dmewor.
    * Added 5 arenas.
    * Updated manual.

    Latest build download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway
  • pyper777 22 Aug 2019 22:27:33 234 posts
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    Fair enough :D
    I did indeed get stuck due to using all my keys up, so I kept one and got further this time.:redface:
  • saimo 23 Aug 2019 11:59:08 159 posts
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    pyper777 wrote:
    Fair enough :D
    I did indeed get stuck due to using all my keys up, so I kept one and got further this time.:redface:
    Well done!
  • saimo 23 Aug 2019 16:50:38 159 posts
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    New features added and a few bugs squashed! This releases puts together a few new nice features and some bugfixes.



    CHANGELOG
    * Added M.I.A. bonus - clearing an arena without losing a soldier awards 1000 points.
    * Increased milestone step to 30000 points.
    * Reworked texts colors.
    * Implemented DOUBLE/TRIPLE SCORE bonus assignment exactly as specified in the manual (i.e. when the Dmewor/Exxwor is killed with the first shot, whereas before it was when the Dmewor/Exxwor was killed when only one laser beam was shot).
    * Ensured that the MILESTONE bonus is assigned immediately also when the milestone is passed thanks to the bonuses assigned after an arena has been completed (otherwise the bonus is assigned after the beginning of the next arena, which was not that nice and could also make SOLDIER bonuses useless).
    * Fixed bug in laser beams initialization (which might cause erroneous collision detection).
    * Updated manual.

    Latest build download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway
  • DangerousDave_87 23 Aug 2019 21:31:45 6,573 posts
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    I'll have a go on this over the weekend. Is this entirely a solo project, then?
  • saimo 25 Aug 2019 09:57:29 159 posts
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    Yes, I'm taking care of everything (I just love it, in fact that's how also my other games are done).
    Have fun!

    Edited by saimo at 10:19:39 25-08-2019
  • saimo 2 Sep 2019 14:56:37 159 posts
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    Lots of new content ready! THE CONTROLS ROOM (formerly THE LABS) stage is finished, and so are all the 50 arenas!



    CHANGELOG
    * Fixed some shadows of stage CAVES tiles.
    * Added 31st color and improved graphics with it.
    * Added THE CONTROL ROOMS (formerly THE LABS) stage.
    * Added all the missing arenas.
    * Improved/fixed a few arenas.

    Demo download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway (please note that since I'm considering launching a Kickstarter campaign, for the first time the demo is limited to the first 3 stages / 30 arenas).
  • saimo 6 Sep 2019 11:00:12 159 posts
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    Stage-specific wors! This feature remained in the queue for a long time, but it finally made it to the game! At the moment, code aside, there is only one new wor (shown in the animation) that makes use of it, but three more will come in the future.



    CHANGELOG
    * Implemented addition of a new wor on each stage after the first one (consequently, the names Dmewor and Exxwor are assigned to new enemies, and the enemies that carries those names are now called, respectively, Hodwor and Ikuwor; the wors names are now: Akrwor, Baqwor, Czywor, Dmewor, Exxwor, Frowor, Gjawor, Hodwor, Ikuwor).
    * Created Gjawor (AI and graphics).
    * Written AIs for Dmewor and Frowor.
    * Touched up a couple of arenas.
    * Touched up some graphics.
    * Renamed THE CHAMBERS stage as THE MACHINE ROOMS stage and swapped it with THE CONTROL ROOMS stage.
    * Updated/improved manual.

    Demo download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway
  • saimo 7 Sep 2019 17:41:33 159 posts
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    Dmewor, the wor specific to THE OUTER WALLS stage, is done! (So now only two remain to be done).



    CHANGELOG
    * Added Dmewor graphics and sound.
    * Changed behavioural parameters of Czywor and Dmewor.
    * Added temporary AI for Exxwor.
    * Updated manual.

    Demo download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway
  • saimo 8 Sep 2019 11:35:46 159 posts
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    Yesterday's northward-moving sprites were totally wrong and I had also forgotten to give all the sprites their own shadows. What a failure. Hopefully, I've fixed everything now.



    CHANGELOG
    * Improved Dmewor's graphics.
    * Given Dmewor its own shadows.

    Demo download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway

    Edited by saimo at 11:36:18 08-09-2019
  • saimo 16 Sep 2019 19:01:44 159 posts
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    THE MACHINE ROOMS stage is complete! A major step towards the completion of the whole game has just been made. Plus a few other little improvements.
    By the way, I made a final decision: the full game will be free!



    CHANGELOG
    * Added THE MACHINE ROOMS stage.
    * Touched up graphics of the other stages.
    * Touched up a couple of arenas.
    * Improved walls tiles selection logic.
    * Fixed handling of vertical doors shadows.

    Demo download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway
  • saimo 19 Sep 2019 12:56:34 159 posts
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    Stage-relative checkpoints added! When a new stage is reached, the whole game state gets saved so that it will be possible to resume the game anytime from the same state by means of a menu option.
    Side note: I had considered giving the option to resume from any of the stages/arenas reached previously, but that would have made it way too easy to finish the game (and make big scores in the process) with repeated partial sessions, whereas the best way to enjoy the game is to play it from start to finish. Therefore, I went for an alternative that sits in between the two extremes.



    CHANGELOG
    * Added option to resume from the last stage reached.
    * Refined the fix to the handling of shadows.
    * Made various other little improvements/fixes.
    * Updated/improved/extended manual.

    Demo download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway

    Edited by saimo at 12:58:44 19-09-2019
  • saimo 22 Sep 2019 15:24:45 159 posts
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    1 wor to go! The Exxwor, the wor that appears at THE WAREHOUSE stage, has been added, so now only one wor remains to be done!
    Additionally, this build comes with a major bugfix and other nice improvements.



    CHANGELOG
    * Added (new) Exxwor (the wor specific to THE WAREHOUSE stage).
    * Made score restart from 0 when a game is resumed.
    * Added 32nd (and last) color.
    * Touched up some graphics.
    * Changed (again) background of arenas title screen.
    * Fixed major bug that made the software-based 5x scaler crash (a whole line of code had disappeared by accident).
    * Updated/extended manual.

    Demo download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway
  • saimo 23 Sep 2019 14:22:26 159 posts
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    More steps towards perfection (that is, the perfection I'm able to reach).



    CHANGELOG
    * Made Exxwor shoot.
    * Reworked arenas start screen (darkened background, changed heading, added wors list).
    * Touched up a few arenas.
    * Touched up some Exxwor frames.
    * Replaced scrolltext with cycling strings.
    * Extended menu navigation controls with: [RIGHT] = select, [LEFT] = back.
    * Updated manual.
    * Made various other little changes.

    Demo download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway
  • saimo 6 Oct 2019 15:53:08 159 posts
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    Post deleted
  • saimo 6 Oct 2019 15:53:52 159 posts
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    All wors are done!





    CHANGELOG
    * Added Frowor.
    * Changed Gjawor sound.
    * Added points missing to milestone to HUD.
    * Reworked HUD.
    * Fixed Gjawor's AI (it could decide to turn when not allowed).
    * Fixed/optimized trimming of most shadows.

    Demo download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway
  • saimo 7 Oct 2019 12:11:08 159 posts
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    Maintenance release.



    CHANGELOG
    * Changed slightly darkening of arenas start screen background.
    * Fixed (again) Gjawor's AI (it might get stuck due to a missing check).
    * Fixed wor spawning delay calculation (it became negative on the last arena).
    * Fixed layout of last arena.

    Demo download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway
  • saimo 10 Oct 2019 14:02:15 159 posts
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    Another maintenance release. A complete playthrough and a revision of the code revealed a few things to fix/improve.



    CHANGELOG
    * Made WEAPON bonus less rare.
    * Fixed an AI-related bug.
    * Fixed milestone when resuming (it was restored instead of being reset, which made sense only when points used to be restored as well).
    * Made various other minor changes/optimizations.

    Demo download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway
  • saimo 11 Oct 2019 14:55:16 159 posts
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    One of my supporters found the menu item blinking a bit stressful, so I went for an old solution - check this video out:



    I'm not 100% sure yet: maybe I'll have to use a darker color for the unselected items.

    Demo download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway
  • saimo 15 Oct 2019 14:00:11 159 posts
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    Video-related code improved.



    CHANGELOG
    * Changed rendering of menu items.
    * Added 6x zooming.
    * Reworked/optimized CRT filters.
    * Improved/fixed video initialization.

    Demo download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway
  • saimo 19 Oct 2019 14:19:33 159 posts
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    Getting ready for release!
    Development is complete (even the installers are done), so now Blastaway only needs to go through the final (and heavy) playtest. Then, if everything turns out to be OK, the game will be released - and for free ;)



    CHANGELOG
    * Made doors sounds of stages 1 and 4 louder.
    * Assigned the menu "back" function also to [DELETE].
    * Made some internal optimizations/improvements.
    * Fixed bug that caused illegal memory reads at initialization (and might crash the game).
    * Fixed/improved/updated manual.
    * Written installers.

    Demo download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway
  • saimo 29 Oct 2019 21:50:05 159 posts
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    Closer and closer to release.
    Work could not proceed at full steam lately, but still intensive testing revealed a few things to improve/fix (that subsequently were improved/fixed, of course). Further testing will tell whether the game can be released.

    CHANGELOG
    * Improved last arena.
    * Made a little optimization in shadows rendering.
    * Fixed collision detection bug (beams were handled incorrectly).
    * Fixed a recently-introduced bug in wors handling.
    * Fixed a newly-introduced bug in transparent tiles handling.
    * Fixed graphical quirk between soldier corpses and keys.

    Demo download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway
  • saimo 31 Oct 2019 22:01:10 159 posts
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    Release candidate ready!
    Some more heavy testing revealed only a little bug. While fixing it, the related graphic tiles were improved as well. Everything else was OK, so Blastaway is basically ready for release. Just to be sure, it will be played again from start to finish on two different machines before it's released. Stay tuned.

    CHANGELOG
    * Touched up blast mark tiles of THE MACHINE ROOMS stage.
    * Optimized a little bit the graphics of some blast mark tiles.
    * Fixed corrupted rendering of blast marks (a line of code consisting of just "do" had disappeared).

    https://www.retream.com/Blastaway
  • saimo 4 Nov 2019 12:19:51 159 posts
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    More testing, more improvements, and a new release candidate!
    Further testing suggested a few new little ideas that I found irresistible: it's definitely late for new features, but still I just had to implement them. Of course, I'll repeat the testing thoroughly to ensure that nothing got broken in the process. Also, adding one of those features revealed a little bug (that was subsequently fixed, of course).
    Overall, testing went very well, so I believe that the current release candidate is the one that will get released. More testing will tell.

    CHANGELOG
    * Added little screen flash effect while Hodwork and Ikuwor are active.
    * Made SOLDIER bonus award points when the maximum number of soldiers is already available.
    * Added MILESTONE bonus points to post-arena report when awarded thanks to the other bonuses.
    * Added randomization of menu background scrolling.
    * Doubled speed of menu background scrolling.
    * Fixed handling of dead soldiers sprites (they got erroneously re-linked to a list).
    * Fixed/improved manual.

    https://www.retream.com/Blastaway
  • saimo 6 Nov 2019 22:08:44 159 posts
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    Final build (?)
    In the last days, Blastaway was played from start to finish many times. Technically, everything was perfect. A few little ideas came to mind, though, and again I couldn't resist implementing them. Anyway, I'm confident that the current build is the final one. Of course, before releasing, it must be tested thoroughly to ensure that the latest little changes didn't break anything.

    CHANGELOG
    * Added ALIVE SOLDIERS bonus: awards 1000 points multiplied by the number of alive soldiers when the game is completed.
    * Added sound effects specific to MILESTONE bonus.
    * Lowered points awarded by the SOLDIER and MILESTONE bonuses to 5000.
    * Updated manual.

    https://www.retream.com/Blastaway

    Edited by saimo at 22:08:55 06-11-2019
  • saimo 8 Nov 2019 15:25:22 159 posts
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    On Patreon I've been asked to add "scanlines or other filters": well, the good news is that Blastaway has had a (simple) CRT filter since day 1 ;)
    Check out the picture below (zoom it 1:1 to see how the graphics actually look).



    Edited by saimo at 15:26:07 08-11-2019
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