You are a scientist. While doing some... risky experimentation, you have found yourself in an unknown place, leaving you stranded in the middle (or edge, you don't know) of space. However, being a scientist, you take it upon yourself to learn as much as you can about your surroundings, and place all else second to that goal, including your own survival. Unfortunately, the natives of this area of space don't take kindly to you, and you must fend them off with your mining laser. But with the help of a device you discovered on one of the enemies, hopefully you can survive, thrive, and most of all, discover. You start with absolutely no knowledge of anything, and take note of everything you learn in a journal, from where the aliens came from and how they're getting here, to the strange energy manipulation of the device and how to use it all to your advantage.
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And as you can see in the image gallery now, its gotten a lot better. So, that original image was actually a CC0 placeholder image, and the new one I made from scratch in Photoshop. Its Ultra HD (3840 by 2160), allowing an HD monitor to be able to see a quarter of the map at any time, and the camera actually centers on the player. The playable area is 1920 by 1080, and the player teleports to the other side if they go too far- and enemies do this as well. This change allowed me to make Space Game more resolution independent, now allowing any resolution or aspect ratio (although, the title screen and journal look stretched in certain aspect ratios at the time of this writing). I also ditched the rotating stars, as they were too difficult to make work on any size screen. In the future I hope to find a different way of making the background dynamic.
So, we added this giant new image, and the game size is actually smaller. This was done by using the scene2d feature of LibGDX. (it also made it easier to become resolution independence) What scene2D did is allowed me to make a skin for the UI- and it makes the UI much more consistent. It is very customizable, as well, using a .json file to make a diverse set of UI buttons and windows with a very small actual file size. Unfortunately I don't have any more pictures of Space Game alpha, but I assure you it was really bad. (so bad I kinda purged all the media I could- alas, that's the drawback to early access) A lot of the other graphics were updated as well, as well as the music. (I'm still not very happy with what it currently is, but I can't make my own music and haven't made enough money off Space Game to hire a producer yet)
Another key point was the balancing. Since the game is about discovery I feel alright with having some things purposefully unbalanced so the player can figure out which things work better than others. But, I did change some things, like adding a few more introductory waves. Before, the first wave had 100 level 1s, and now you have 10 level 1s, plus a few other levels that build you up to 100. If people seem interested I can go over the level generation in another article, as I've only hand coded about 15-20 waves. (which, to be fair, is very difficult to complete)
There were a lot of other changes as well, especially with compatibility and performance. Indeed, Space Game Alpha (just 2 versions ago!) was written without a game library! (using libGDX is what pushed it into beta, and in the 1.2 release I actually rewrote a lot of code a third time to use scene2d)
Anyways, that's all behind us, the game looks a lot more polished. Now lets talk about the future. These are the small things that will be pushed in a minor update along with any bug fixes I find that need to be urgently patched:
These are the things I plan to have in the next major version (1.3):
Every 10 notes, add a new game mechanic (smarter enemy AI, asteroids, more enemy types, etc)
Improve homing laser AI
Make the lightning tower's lightning strikes branch off (visually)
Add a visual effect when an enemy hits you (besides the rumble effect)
Make it clear you died when you die (as in graphically, not just zooming out and showing a restart button)
Add the last 4 guns
Add a bomb tower
Add a tech tower (basically a store that persists through playthroughs)
And eventually, I'll try and get better music, replacement player/enemy sprites (currently using CC0 images), and make a better story through the notes.
Thanks for reading all of this, I leave you with the trailer I made after releasing Beta 1.2:
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