Beatbeat Arena

I’ve finished my second game for OneGameAMonth and this time even one day before the month ends ;). This game is sort of an arena bullet hell shooter. My initial plan with it was to make a game where the automatic shooting of bullets matches with the rythm of the music (as the theme suggestion in February was “music”). In the current state, this feature is rather a minimal electronic beat. So you can get the basic idea but it isn’t as nice as I’ve planned.

You can find the game here!

BBAAnother thing I didn’t implement is control with a gamepad. This would probably make such kind of game much more fun to play, so I will eventually add that feature later. Other things I can imagine to add are:

  • Increase the rate of bullets appearing with the escalation in a level (by collecting dark green blocks)
  • Add more sound effects and guitar made sound effects instead of the bfxr ones
  • Add a two player mode
  • Increase screen resolution to full HD for console like play on the TV
  • Add some particle like effects
  • More variations in enemies and their bullet types and directions

As you can see, there are still a lot of things to improve. Nevertheless I’m pretty happy with how the game came out. The development time was rather short (about 8 hours at all) as I recycled my game Watercolor Wheel Evolution that I’ve made for Ludum Dare with my 3 year old daughter (Just noticed the old game’s name is still displayed as the window title).

I even kept the evolution mechanism for the level progression, so if you come to playing more than one level you will eventually notice slight differences in player and enemy behaviour due to strange evolution effects.

One Game A Month, January Game and February Plans

Finally I found some time to write a blogpost about my participation in One Game A Month. To start with, One Game A Month is quite an open (rulewise) experience point based community motivator for game devs to make one game a month (as you probably guessed by the name).

I started quite early in January, as I had a vacation and some spare time for gamedev. But after one and a half week my enthusiam slowed down a lot as my spare time faded away pretty quickly. So all my initial plans to make a really interesting first game got crippled real soon. I was inspired by the theme and tileset suggestion made on the One Game A Month page and wanted to make a game with portculis including game mechanics based on Conway’s Game of Life. It should have been sort of a puzzle/action clicking game where you prevent a fire from spreading in a fortress by throwing buckets of water at it. Additionally you can open the portcullis by hitting a lever with a stone (if there is no fire around) which will add a lot of extinguishing water once in the game’s level.

First try at the level design. tiles are in place.
First try at the level design. tiles are in place.

Barely in time I managed to implement these basic mechanics (you can find the game here) but I couldn’t fulfil my plans to make multiple levels, nice graphical effects like steam appearing if you add water to the fire, and sound effects. Especially not having the time to add multiple levels bothered me a lot cause I wasted quite some time implementing a routine to load levels from an xml file at the start of the month.

This is how the final game looks like.
This is how the final game looks like.

To conclude my January attempts: Am I happy with my game prototype? Not that much. It does work as planned but isn’t that much fun to play and doesn’t look as good as I would have liked it to.

Have I learned something? Yeah definitely. And I guess this is the most important part about that One Game A Month challenge. I could improve my skills in storing level design in a file and load it into the game. Also I made some additional experience about how much effort different things need to get implemented and how much time I can spare in a month for gamedev.

For doing my second game in February I am comparably late to start. Again I am inspired by the suggested theme – music – but already know that I won’t finish my initial plan and idea. But nevertheless I am going to make a small game in February (mostly by converting an old one). So this is what I’m at:

  • Take my Ludum Dare game “Watercolor Wheel Evolution” to convert it
  • Record some handmade guitar music and sound effects
  • Change all the graphics to fancy colored rectangles
  • Try out to implement game control with a gamepad
  • Make it into an topdown arena shooter with autofire on and rather stupid auto-firing enemies

Even this is probably to much to acomplish. I will keep you updated what will come out of this.