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We're a small team of humans based in the UK who like to make games together.

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Ludum Dare 27

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Post Mortem: COSMIC COMMANDER

Posted by (twitter: @unorthodoxdevs)
Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 10:28 am

This was our first Ludum Dare as a team, and the first Ludum Dare ever for 2/3 of us, and we’re so pleased with how things went!

The idea of our game is that you plan out your turn and then watch it play our over the course of 10 seconds. You get to select your ships’ flight path, where to fire, and can divert/prioritise power between shields and fire-power if you like. Repeat. The first team to destroy the other wins!

Here’s a gif of our game doing some things:

Click the image to play!

Anyway, let’s dive in shall we?

The Good:

  • We’ve created a game that we find fun to play, and that will serve as the basis of a future project.
  • We’re happy with the overall visuals, including a parallax background.
  • We managed to implement ship variations with different characteristics. These include: differing health, movement, damage, and AI behaviours.
  • We find the ability to divert power between Shields and Firepower to be a really neat feature. We didn’t think we’d get around to implementing it!

The Bad:

  • As a team we weren’t always on the same page. It’s hard developing over Skype when tired.
  • There is no sound, which is a bit of a problem. Its lacking existence is definitely something we regret, and something we’ve all vowed to improve on vastly.
  • The planning phase is not the most intuitive system, and could really do with an overhaul.
  • The game would benefit greatly from a tutorial, or more in-depth instructions.
  • Multiple levels with a difficulty curve would have been an ideal way to introduce game systems and slowly ramp up the amount of units.
  • The screen is a little too tight. A wider view, or the ability to zoom in and out, would be a greatly beneficial.

What we’d like to add:

  • Music and sounds – Bleeps and bloops and perhaps electronic “target selected” voices. That sorta thing!
  • Improved Movement System – one that shows you how far the ship can move in the period of 10 seconds, to allow for more precise planning.
  • Ship upgrading and purchase – An upgrade or ship purchase system between missions, perhaps with each ship having a certain amount of points to allocate between various stats and slots for upgrades.
  • More specialised ships – We’d like ships to to able to use special abilities, or provide some kind of bonus when in the radius of certain other ships (or sometimes if not in a radius).
  • Friendly Fire – We’d like to find a middle ground. Not too much damage dealt to yourself, but there still should be the penalty. We’re very into the idea of having the smallest ships not deal friendly fire to one another when fighting as a close unit.
  • Improved Power diversion – The ability to divert power between Shields, Firepower, and Thrusters would be pretty rad.
  • Multiplayer – Yes, multiplayer would be grand.
  • Radar – This would be a nice way to figure out location of enemies and allies really quick, or incoming asteroids.
  • Slight Auto-aim – It would be worthwhile for us to investigate a slight bias towards the bullet flow.

So there we have it! We’re so chuffed with the feedback we’ve received, and we can’t wait to work on the game further, right after we get another project out the door first.

Ludum Dare has proven to be such a great community, and the weekend was so motivating and inspiring. It’s been a growing experience and we’ll be back for more!

If you’d like to play Cosmic Commander, you can do so HERE. Bonus points to anyone who spots a rare cameo!

– Unorthodox Games

We’ve submitted!

Posted by (twitter: @unorthodoxdevs)
Monday, August 26th, 2013 5:53 pm

We’ve submitted our game, which we’ve called Cosmos Commander, because alliteration.

The idea of the game is you give your ships commands before the conflict and then watch 10 seconds play out. Then you give them new commands for the next 10 seconds and repeat until you’re victorious. Or defeated. Preferably victorious, though.

The orders you give your ships are where they move, where they fire, and whether or not you’d like to prioritise shields or firing-rate with a slider bar. You give these commands to your ships one by one, sequentially.

Here’s a gif:

We like gifs

The pre-combat phase is not as intuitive as it ought to be, but I’m really happy with the way the game has turned out. Ludum Dare has been such a great experience, but mostly so for us as a team. We’ve learned a lot about working together and it’s been so much fun, and we’re really eager to work on more projects together.

That said, I really can’t wait for sleep… and then to play so many games. I’m really looking forward to the feedback!

Update #5 – Almost there!

Posted by (twitter: @unorthodoxdevs)
Monday, August 26th, 2013 3:03 pm

A bunch of hours ago we finally implemented the ability for the player to divert power between Shields and Attack-power (or rather, the firing frequency!) Increasing the one lowers the other, though you can never be fully shielded/damage immune.

In addition to that, when the shields power is boosted a subtle blue glow surrounds the associated ship.

You can see this in action in this here gif:

We also have menus now!

As you can see, you can click anywhere on the slider bar, or drag the slider itself to achieve the desired results.

Other additions that really make quite the difference include spinning  asteroids, as well pixel perfect collision, though you can’t really see that here. The asteroids are lurking. Waiting.

Hmm, well, I’d better shoot off and get some polish in before we submit! Craig is currently fleshing out the AI a little more, and there’s a wee more balancing to be done, time permitting.

Best of luck on the final run folks, don’t leave things too late! Just 3 hours to gooo!

Update #4 – 13 hours to go!

Posted by (twitter: @unorthodoxdevs)
Monday, August 26th, 2013 5:02 am

Today is mostly about polish, and we’ve gotten off to a great start.

We’ve added stars with a parallax scrolling effect which has given the game a nice sense of depth. Then we’ve added arrows to help the players locate enemy ships and their movement off screen, as well as lowering the glow of non-active phases on the Phase Bar.

You can see this stuff in action bellow:

Aren’t gifs fun.

We’re currently working to implement one more priority feature – the ability to to adjust a ships use of shielding vs attack power. At default they’d sit at 50% power each, though if you desire you could ramp one up at the cost of the other.

We’ll have a small toggle bar located in the lower left corner. It looks like this:

power screen

Then after that it really will be full time polishing and tweaking. A lot of that will be in order to make the ships feel more unique.

Best of luck to all those still going! I’ve been seeing some really rad games floating about, they’re quite the distraction!

Update #3

Posted by (twitter: @unorthodoxdevs)
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 3:14 pm

Development is getting there slowly but surely, though we can definitely say we’ve got gameplay!

The enemies have been implemented with some rudimentary AI, health, and the ability to have their personal space filled with bullets, resulting in their death. To make sure the ability to initiate their demise was totally fair we implemented player death too.

Other updates include the asteroids being given “health”, so you can maintain those hazards if you desire, alongside the general balancing of weapon power, and ship movement and speed.

Then we’ve thrown in some UI to help you during your planning phases, though there are a few changes to be made there in regards of the wording.

Here’s a .gif of some stuff in action:

The clip shows the planning phases, going through each ship sequentially, selecting their where they will move and where they will aim. Then we watch that 10 seconds play out.

That will be all for tonight. We’ve got lots of polish and some potential features to address tomorrow. See y’all then!

End of day post!

Posted by (twitter: @unorthodoxdevs)
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 4:29 pm

I feel our first day has gone really well, and I’m really happy with our progress so far for our teams first game jam. The games coming together nicely, and Craig’s done a really neat job constructing the engine.

Tomorrow will be all about turning that engine into more of a game – something a little more exciting to show you folks! Here’s a quick peek:

IMG_25082013_001848

I feel there’s more to say, but our brains are barely functioning right now, so we’d better not touch the game. Time to sleep and get back to the action early tomorrow!

 

So far this has been so much fun!

Update #2

Posted by (twitter: @unorthodoxdevs)
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 1:12 pm

Hey guys, code-duck here.

After a some what rocky beginning to the programming, progress is finally being made! The core of the turn system has been integrated and ships can now be given commands and carry them out.

Now that’s out of the way progress should pick up from here, next on the agenda is to implement some sort of threat to the player, meteors and enemies incoming!

 

Here’s a GIF of the current version:

command

This clip shows the basic phases of a turn, it goes through your ships sequentially, on each ship the first click sets the position the ship will move to and the second sets the firing target.

Update #1

Posted by (twitter: @unorthodoxdevs)
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 8:55 am

We’re making steady progress on our game. Each round takes place over 10 seconds and you draft out your battle plan and watch it go down.

The stuff you can plan out is fairly basic, it’s mostly just movement and the direction of the attack, as well as being able to toggle between focus on shields or attack power – attack or defence. Different sized ships have different speeds, turning radius and attack strengths.

Here’s some early sprites:

Our game may or may not involve ships.

On top of that there will be some hazardous objects like meteors and space junk floating around that will deal big damage to ships on collision.

There are a few other ideas were have lined up though we’re saving those for “later”, just in case we find ourselves the time (though unlikely, as we’ve got plenty on our plate!). For now our programmer is hard at work getting this games backbone in place while the rest of us mess with pixels. I’m really looking forward to throwing up an actual screenshot or demo!

 

Time for sleep.

Posted by (twitter: @unorthodoxdevs)
Friday, August 23rd, 2013 7:11 pm

It’s just past 3am now. We’ve sat around for an hour brainstorming. Got some pretty rad ideas brewin’, but I think we’d better sleep on it; see what mad visions our dreams conjure!

See y’all early tomorrow. Best of luck!

Us right now… (ᴗ˳ᴗ) zzz

We’re in – This will be our first game jam as a team!

Posted by (twitter: @unorthodoxdevs)
Friday, August 23rd, 2013 12:07 pm

Only one of us has entered LD before, and he insists that we don’t link to his profile. He’ll be programming, and two of us will tackle art and design. We’ll be using:

Language – AS3

Engine – FlashPunk

IDE – FlashDevelop

Photoshop, GIMP

Ogmo Editor

If we decide to go 3D:

Language – C#

Engine – Unity3D

IDE – Visual Studio

3DS Max

Maya

Photoshop, GIMP

 

We’re super pumped, and wish you all the best! Let’s goooo!

Otter gotta make a game!

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