Saturday, September 5, 2009

Shield Breaker, making something sellable.

It started sometime last year during a local competition at, although I can't recall the entire details of the contest, it was to be limited by time and several factors like the inability to regain life, thus play til you drop. This gave me a great idea of making a game were you try and survive as long as possible and rack up points. Within the first day I had already drew up the basic concept on a half-sized piece of note paper and then constructed a simple monotone version. Thus Shield Breaker was born.
The concept was simple, a new spin on BreakOut so to speak, were losing the ball wasn't the problem, but being hit by it was. Blocks were draw in unique ways for a specific reason, pixel-perfect collisions. Throw some rotating and shifting blocks in and you have a very unpredictable field for which your ball will bounce. Bonuses were awarded depending on how long the ball was in play and how many blocks it hit or busted. Technically the game had no end, except on slower computers the frame rate would begin to drop as levels contain blocks equal to the level number *20, take in Game Maker's limits, you can expect to see slowdowns in levels past 50.
After your shield is gone, the game is lost, except for Hardcore mode, you are allowed to restart the current level minus half your score.
The original will remain free, but unsupported.

Now I've began to recreate and improve it, going by Shield Breaker EX, ex standing for extended, I'm going to attempt to create a sellable game. Aside from some basic graphic overhuals, new elements are being added to the game including more bonuses, powerups and the addition of 'Pandora Boxes' which randomly release obsticals that can either trap or destroy your ball, or put offensive projectiles into the playing field. In addition your maximum balls in play is now dependant on your score and the ball launch speed has been increased, although it still isn't quite finalized.
To save some time, I've began using graphics I had made for Rick Jason, a space shooter, but at twice the resolution. Originally I had made the graphics in raw form twice the size of what they were to be in RJ, although not everything will be used like the ships. Mostly just tiles and some background art will be used.

Another concept I am playing with is game created music, to a certain degree. I have yet to fully decide if this is what I shall do, mixing loops between levels and having beats added in by certain blocks. I half like how the experimenting has gone, but may do something slightly different. Recently obtained some mixing software to make some more complex/longer loops. Of course the added stress of audio will have an effect on the speed of the game, so I've resorted to trying out two indie dlls for audio. I'm not quite sure what the authors positions on commercial products are fully, but I strayed away from ones that request license and down payments as I don't have income for making this game.

Keeping in mind that this is a casual game and nothing too advance I'm looking at a maximum of $10 charge for the final version to sell for. I've also been using my Acer Aspire(8.9") laptop to produce the remake so I can use the laptop as a benchmark to keep the frame rate stable and the amount of computers that can play it high. Adding the music mixing has caused some slowdowns but that just bugs and the fact that its using Game Maker's audio system. Luckily GM6.1 has the ability to use a dual-core, as during some test I use an attached monitor to play and the laptops screen to display task manager's CPU and Memory logging, I noticed that it used both cores while running. So as long as I maintain the course on how much the game consumes in processing and memory, any computer as fast as an Atom should run the game fine.
I've had less success testing in the GM8 beta release when audio was involved, and no noticable difference in running speed. Just another reason to stick with what I'm using. There are issues reguarding running GM6 games on Vista but a converter easily fixes this problem.
There are limits of producing this in GM, and thats mostly protability. Although GM is going to Mac, I don't have a lot of faith in the new company that runs Game Maker and may move to recreating the game again in C# or another more portable language.

To see prior versions check my side panel under my shamelessly added ad space(we all need some income) and let me know what you would like to see. Additionally you can ring in your opinions on whether or not this would be something you'd buy for the stated price above.

No comments:

Post a Comment