Space Compass [GAME PRODUCTION]

Second Prototype
Last update: Mar 9, 2020

This second playable prototype acts as a fleshed-out version of the rough prototype. Based on observations and players’ feedback, I was able to solidify the core mechanics of the game. First, by adding a recoil to the main laser weapon of the ship. That said, if the player holds the space bar, the ship will only shoot five beams (not continuous).

Also, I integrated a second class of asteroids, containing rare material (blue ones). If players destroy these kinds of rocky bodies, they will be granted with a bonus amount to their global score. That way, it would give them more reasons to navigate the 360 compass fully.

What’s New?

Aside from the asteroids, players can now encounter structures. Those are mainly represented at the moment by massive purple walls, that spawn on random sides of the compass.

Assembling a level now is painless with the sequence builder I created. With this tool, I can make a stage by composing different parts one after the other. A sequence has a type (objects that will be populated) a length and a difficulty option. Each kind of space also has unique settings.

I gave the player the ability to slow down time, making it easier to dodge any incoming object. The slow motion power up has a cooldown so the player can’t abuse it. Also, the global score is affected by the slow down effect.

Visually, nothing really changed. The ship now has a mesh, and the compass has angles all around it to keep track of the current orientation.

The Space Map

The biggest add on to this prototype is the space map. The new scene acts as a level/mission selection before jumping into the gameplay. I wanted to make the UI with a lot of data, even tho, all of it is not mandatory to be known by the player. I just like data visualization in general.

From the space map, players will be able to choose different missions that will bring them to unique destinations. In this prototype case, only two tasks are available and have the same endpoint. One requires to simply transport goods while the other involves mining or collecting rare minerals (while on the road to the destination).

The space map for me is the key to make this space shooter weirder, and experiment on a management mechanic.

A & B

This prototype is in fact composed of two different versions. Indeed, I wanted to test out two iterations of the basic mechanic. Version A is similar to the rough prototype. Player moves their ship around the compass while the camera stays in a fixed position.

Version B however, makes a little change that provides an all-new perspective. Instead of having a fixed position, the camera follows the ship’s rotation. This gives the illusion of being behind the ship and having the environment rotates around it. I like it better than version A because it feels more immersive, but I wanted to have players’ opinion of the matter before making a decision.

What’s next

The next prototype will be the last one before working on a first released version. The goal is to polish the visuals, add sounds and create a boss battle. I feel like the mechanics of space compass screams for some old-fashioned boss battle. It would also be an excuse for me to combine up some lore and form weird entities.

I have a list of bugs that I also need to fix (as always). I hope to have the final prototype available in the next two weeks (now that level creation is a simple process).

Players’ feedback

Here’s the feedback from players on the current prototype:

 

  • Shooting all 5 lasers should be when the space bar is clicked instead of holding it.
  • Very difficult (especially the structure sequence)
  • Add feedback effect (explosions and hit effects)
  • Version B is by far the most popular one
  • Add a distance limit to the player’s lasers
  • I might need to add an option to invert the controls (left/right)

Prototype Status

 

Project linked: Space Compass
Prototype Version: Second
Playtested: Yes
Collaborator: 1

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