I have started implementing the basic controls for both the keyboard and joysticks and to test everything out I added basic thrust and torque controls, and while this is really hard to control as each torque requires a counter torque from stopping to spinning I started thinking. The WebGL version of lander and I recall the original (I still can’t get it to play on my win7 system) let’s you enter the desired orientation and let a AI controls the torque thrusts. This is a much easier control scheme as you don’t have to compensate for the rotational adjustments.
Going a step further one could add another AI layer to control the main thruster and let the player use a fps-like control to control the lander. With this control system a couple of issues arise on how the camera, the input display and, most important, the aiming should work, and I’m thinking time and testing will only tell if this is a feasible input system, I believe it’s a good way to testing the AI that will be controlling the enemy landers.
Development on the game engine has been slow this past week so this week I’ve been thinking about the background music for the game. I don’t know the actual graphical style of the game just yet but I think I narrowed down the musical style to either some slow form of swing/jazz like this:
Or some some ambient 80’s style electro music like this.
Given the I’ve already found some electro music that seems to be fitting and that lander used some similar music pieces, it’s safe to assume that I will be using that electro music during the early alpha builds.
This week I’ve been thinking a lot about the different skirmish and mission types. The original lander basically had fetch an object and destroy missions. Hopper introduced “challenges” in the form of land without taking any damage and races, and while this could be expanded upon with acrobatical challenges(move through a narrow gap) and survival challenges (survive a meteor rain) I want to expand further in the mission and challenge/skirmish varieties.
As mouse and keyboard controls are more common now since the original lander was published and hacking in basic mouse support as a test in the WebGL I realised something. Controlling the craft isn’t as hard as I remembered. So adding a few enemy landers could be fun and all the standard shooting would apply such as deathmatch, capture the flag, king of the hill etc. This calls for more weapons than lander had (more on that in a later post) but I’ve been thinking about special mission types where there are intense dogfights but with a lander twist.
One twist that I’ve been entertaining is that the player pick up object with the tractorbeam, swing and then release at the enemy.
The other twist is a little more acrobatical, but the general idea is that only thing that can hurt the enemy is the flames from the major jet engine . While this might not be feasible it is an interesting dynamic that needs to be explored.
So I decided that I need to make a bigger game, a game that I can work on for a few months at least and not get bored. I shouldn’t have any complicated animations and should be “easy” to make. A basic renderer on the top of a physics simulation won’t be that complicated and could be fun.
I thought about remaking a previous game of mine, lolball, but all the design I could come up with was way to complicated for what I had imagined. All hope seemed to be lost and my motivation for creating something was low.
However, last week, I finally cracked the case. I’m going to make a spiritual remake of Lander by Psygnosis. In it the player controls a lander spaceship and navigates tight corridors and sometimes shoots down turrets. The twist is that the only main thruster is directed down so to move around one has to orient the ship and move around by combining the thruster and gravity.
This should be a perfect game to make and expand upon. Lots of possibilities for explosions and particles, easy models to make, basic shapes doesn’t detract from overall look and feel various fun control options and accessories and to investigate and most importantly it doesn’t seem to be anyone that is actively making a clone.