Development Log

Written and conceived by Matt Lloyd 2018


Star Scavengers - 06th of October, 2018

Star Scavengers

In the first week of September a website I visit regularly hosted a game competition with the theme of a maze.

I had an idea the night before it began of something I could create around the theme of a maze and so designed on paper a game involving a squad of space soldiers exploring a maze and fighting enemies and so on.

I was inspired by Team 17s Alien Breed but also wanted it to be squad based not a single hero. At first thought the game was going to be turn based but early in development the direction changed to be real time.

I started with the interface and title screens which went through some stages.

Also I experimented with having a mix of heads and bodies to allow for unique character designs.

I also went for a cartoony look of the squad characters rather than realistic with extra big faces.

I took screenshots during development.

Early stage of interface was this:

The maze started off fairly featureless. Initially it was just walls and squad members.

Before long I reduced the draw distance based on the light range of each squad member and added hud elements.

I then added terminals like computer terminals the player could access to reveal the map and allow other abilities to be actioned,

I also added gas clouds..poison gas clouds that can damage the player and also later exploding zombies that filled the area with the same gas. The gas is alpha blended and expands and contracts sinusoidally.

The gas cloud technique would be used for setting things on fire too later on.

The first enemies would be zombies. I kept them for too long I decided in the end and should have introduced other monsters earlier.

I painted a backdrop for the game over and credits screen taking a ship I found online and a planet and arranged them as I liked for inspiration then drew my own version.

To enhance the experience I added squad chatter that the squad members perform between themselves throughout the mission.

They chat about random topics and have scripted conversations.

The initial interface changed although it was still rather simple. A bit neater though. New buttons and panels.

The dungeon generator went through a few iterations before I found one I was happy with. What it does is carve rooms and corridors coming off them to ensure no isolated sections. It then carves out random cells adjacent to empty cells.

I then added doors that open and close and also block line of sight. The actual door graphic is very simple and assumes most of the door can't actually be seen.

I added more monsters or enemies and rather than using bullet animation added zaps, splats and bangs to indicate what was happening and give a sense of action.

Enemies with flame throwers were added.

The final step was to add a simple tutorial or instructions after receiving some feedback.

I learned some useful things developing this game such as how to do simple isometric tiles which I developed further in my next game.

I haven't shown the title screen but I used a similar method to what I've learned which is to design a rough layout on pencil and paper first and then find suitable references, layer them and then draw my own version over the top. The finished title page is here:

Thanks for reading my development log for star scavengers.