It’s all about the movement

Movement is crucial in shmups. Planning the steps to be taken according to the position of enemies and their shots is one of the most important and difficult things to master this kind of game. As shmups happen in real time, the difficulty comes from managing all the information regarding shots and their movement patterns.

Next Jump is a reinterpretation of the shmup genre. As such, its movement mechanics had to be very carefully thought and tested. Because it is a turn-based game, rather than a classical real time shmup, the players have plenty of time to observe and decide their next move. Therefore, if the movement mechanics doesn’t work, nothing else does.

Thousands of things went through my head during the development of the game – almost all of them demanded a superhuman programming ability which I don’t have. For that reason, I did what I always do in these cases: I turned my eyes to the classics.
In this case, Checkers (or english draughts) and Chess.

Checkers is an interesting case study because it’s a game where movement and attack are combined in the same action. Better than this: you can form “combos” using these “attacks” (best known as “multiple jumps”). Such simplicity inspired the main mechanics of movement and action of the game:

next-jump-movement-2

Situations like this “naturally emerge” in the game.

In NEXT JUMP the ship has some attributes, among them the Batteries, which are the ship’s energy reserve. This means that each action the player does will cost energy, in a similar way to the classic “action points” of turn-based games. Thus, both movement and attacks cost energy, and when the energy reserve ends, the player’s turn also ends. But that’s not where the inspiration from Checkers came from.

In the above GIF, we can see that an enemy, when destroyed, releases two things: Scrap (“money”, the rotating space dust) and Energy (the blue ball). By picking up these “energy balls”, the ship recovers at least part of its energy reserve, enabling movement combos. Now add to this equation the following: The number of turns that the Ship has inside a “jump” is limited to three. This makes each move very valuable, specially in a game where “score” and “scrap” are so central to the gameplay loop.

next-jump-movement-1

Okay, the basic movement mechanic is this. But there was something else missing: an “incentive” to make the player think about movement during the attacks. That is where I introduced the concept of “recoil”:
Most weapons, including the basic ones of each ship, have a “forward recoil” or a “backward recoil”. This means that every attack is ALSO a movement. To illustrate, as seen in the GIF above, when the Balista shoots, it also moves backwards. These two mechanics, added to the procedural “Shmup Boards” generator, makes the movement itself a series of interesting decisions. In addition, they also guide the rest of the design, such as different enemies (and their movement / attack patterns), Ship types (there are four) and the environments of the Boards (Solar Wind, Nebula, Meteors… to name a few).

I hope you have enjoyed this approach of design. In the future I will talk about the board generation and combat mechanics. I would also be glad to answer any questions you may have.

Thank you!

Introducing: “NEXT JUMP: Shmup Tactics”

Since last years #StencylJAM15, that I won third place with “The Next Jump”, I have been working on a follow up to that game: NEXT JUMP: Shmup Tactics.

Warning: post with heavy gifs! :]

next-jump-title

Despite following the same premise as the former JAM game, I took into account all the criticisms and compliments made to that game and rethought several of its systems and basic mechanics: As a consequence the game is much more dynamic, fast and focused on carrying the main features of Shmups for a Tactical and Strategic gameplay.

next-jump-jumpin-2

In addition, all enemies have been revised and new ones have been added (more than fifty in total). New mechanics and behaviors were introduced to then and all art was redone.

next-jump-combat-1

The interface has been completely revised and rethought to not only work better but also be more beautiful.
next-jump-upgrade-1

A lore was created around the hunt of the player to the mother ship. (more details on that later!)

There are up to four ships to choose from, one from each race in this universe (Elves, Humans, Dwarves and Orcs).
next-jump-ships-1

Here is the  (current) official description of the game:

NEXT JUMP: Shmup Tactics is what would happen if the pillars of the “Shmup” genre were translated into a “Tactics and Strategy (with a bit of a puzzle in between)” game.

  • Be a pilot of the Bastards Federation:
    A group formed by the Dwarves, Elves, Humans and Orcs who used to live in peace, sharing their love for all Beverages. One day their galaxy is visited by the vicious Dragons who fool everyone and steal all the alcohol stock of the UNIVERSE!
  • Your mission: JUMP! Chase the Dragons and stop them from running away with all that is most sacred to the Bastards by jumping from sector to sector, facing hordes of enemies in turn based battles!
  • Each Sector is a Board! Each given “jump” represents a new combat board generated procedurally, simulating combat situations only seen in Shmups!
  • Not only inspired by the classic Shmups and Bullet Hells, it’s also influenced by tactical games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Jeanne d’Arc.
  • Equip and Upgrade your ship with different weapons and accessories that change the combat dynamics!

It’s going to be released in early 2017 to PC (Linux, MAC and Windows. On Itch and Steam through greenlight). You can follow the game development here and some other places (including my Twitter):

http://nextjump-game.tumblr.com/

http://www.indiedb.com/games/next-jump-shmup-tactics

Don’t Talk to Strangers!

titulo

That’s the name of our entry to the #StencylGameJam 2016!  😀
It was made by me (code and a bit of game design, super average sound) and two other friends, the Illustrators and Comic artists (from Brazil):
Luís Felipe Garrocho  (game design and some art) and Ricardo Tokumoto (art and art direction)!

About the game:

You are a kid. You love candy. That’s basically your life.

You just arrived in a new city with your family after your parents changed jobs. And it’s Halloween.
Your mother warned to not talk to strangers your whole life. But it’s Halloween. You gotta get that sweet sweet glorious candy.
So you go. If you get to know them, maybe they are not strangers anymore? So it would be ok to go trick or treating then.
But be careful. If something looks strange, you can always leave.
Good luck.

You can play it on gamejolt:
http://gamejolt.com/games/dont-talk-to-strangers/197889

the NEXT jump! [stencyljam2015]

screenshot
This is my game to this years stencyljam2015!:
http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/657415
(it says reviewing, I dont know if you guys can play it)

the NEXT jump is a turn-based shmup with roguelike ingredients.

You are a pilot in pursuit of a Pirate Mothership  that keeps its distance from you. To catch the mothership, you use “Jumps” to cross long distances… and inside those jumps hordes of pirates (each one with their movement pattern) try to kill you.

Its a game about learning patterns, the enemies and yours!

Controls are mouse based:
To move your Ship, click on the tile next to you.
To shoot click on the shoot button… and the same to punch.

Every move (click on the tile you wish to move) costs energy, every punch costs energy… every shot… Once you make your move, the pirates around you make theirs and so on.
But you can pickup energy and Scrap (money) from fallen Pirates.

When the jump is complete,  the jump gate appears and you can buy upgrades on the shop and then jump again…

I made everything on Stencyl 3.3, GIMP and Blender. Sounds are public domain and BFXR (site).
Thanks for playing! I hope you like it! :]

.dilly

New Version / Nova versão

Just posted a new version of the game on GameJolt, v0.4:

http://gamejolt.com/games/shooter/glitched-spaceway/28941/

This version is basically what I wanted to do for the #glitchjam but didn’t have time to finish.
Now all the super basic systems are in place, we have some music, updated sprites for the ship and fixed all the major bugs.

I also reorganized the code to allow me to improve the game and finish it properly. In about a month or two it should be ready. :]

In other news my game pulled the #28 place on the #glitchjam! Super happy about this! Especially for the way I posted the game to voting [rushing everything]. Huge thanks for those who voted in the game!

.dilly

— português —

Acabei de postar uma nova versão do jogo, v0.4. Link para jogar acima.
Esta versão é basicamente o que eu queria fazer para a competição #glitchjam mas não tive tempo de terminar.
Agora todos os sistemas super básicos estão no lugar, temos alguma música, atualizei os gráficos da nave e arrumei os principais problemas no código.

Eu também reorganizei o código para me permitir melhorar o jogo e terminá-lo direito. Em um ou dois meses deve ficar pronto. :]

Em outras notícias meu jogo saiu em vigésimo oitavo lugar na competição! Estou muito feliz por isso! Especialmente pela forma que postei o jogo para votação [na correria]. Muito obrigado para aqueles que votaram no jogo!

.dilly

Glitched Spaceway little Post Mortem

During the month of June I participated in the Game Jam hosted by Game Jolt, #glitchjam.
I have studied a lot game development, all aspects of it, the programming itself to marketing… But this was one of the best things I’ve ever done (to help me study).

banner

Self teach to do something, be disciplined, is very difficult. Even more without an “immediate objective”. Join this JAM, with a deadline considered “long” (one month) ended up being an excellent choice for my learning. I learned a lot throughout the process and the results you can check here: Glitched Spaceway.
Took a look? Well now the rest of the post will make more sense.
Continue reading

I’ll post things here, I swear

Hello!

My name is Dilly and in this Blog I will post the development of the games that I’m doing or participating!
The first will be a SHMUP with some elements of fighting games.

Also, this is the logo blog / Conglomerate / Corporation / Studio / Label I call “Post Mortem Pixels“:

pmp_duo

PS: I will make posts in Portuguese and English, one right after another, always marked by tags and Categorized. So if you want to see only one language, use the categories! :]