Aaron is a Code Monkey!

Wait…I’ve been a girl the whole time!?Another image for Bottleneck Gallery’s 3NES show. 


Wait…I’ve been a girl the whole time!?

Another image for Bottleneck Gallery’s 3NES show. 

What is Space Rig Ultra?

This is the announce post for my latest project; a comprehensive upgrade to Space Rig Zeta that will include a bevy of features I wasn’t able to add onto the base game.

Here’s a tentative list of ideas I’m going to try out:

  1. An all new, unique menu system. [IN PROGRESS]
  2. A new launch sequence. [IN PROGRESS]
  3. Comprehensive training mode that covers all of the rough edges of learning how to play such an odd game. I got a LOT of requests for this.
  4. Completely new set of upgrades for your ship, enabling more open-ended part and weapon customization. Such as the articulation powerup shown above.

And general, stretch goal stuff that I really want to add, but may give me implementation troubles, so no telling what may be cut here. Dream big!

  1. Enemy swarms! Large collectives of single-part craft that flock and attack the player from all sides. Uses a variant on Boids AI (already got that working ingame).
  2. Other, unique enemy types besides rival, AI Space Rigs to fight, each with their own idiosyncrasies and strengths.
  3. Looting-based unlocks. Start with access to the UPGRADE powerup. Defeat huge enemy bosses to fill out your upgrade roster.
  4. Survival. Scour the map for water-bearing resources to mine for Oxygen-bearing water ice. Chew through metal-rich regolith to refill your ammunition banks. Nanites from fallen enemies will be converted into needed resources in an emergency but deprive you of upgrades!
  5. Ship sharing. Include the ship you used to make the highscore table with your entry. Pull a ship from the database to automatically guide your upgrades or save your own favorites so you can keep fighting and worry less.
  6. Procedural, explorable maps. Already partially implemented. Explore a boundless, borderless space. Keep moving once a resource node is depleted. Hunt down special events or secret shipwrecks using your RADAR to investigate grey/neutral signals.

Again, none of the stuff from list B is given and I may even cut half of it. But, only time will tell what I can and can’t accomplish with what’s at my disposal.

(Still thinking about what to do next)

I’m still futzing around with spaceships, guys!

I’m still futzing around with spaceships, guys!

Your freedom can be measured by how much you fight to keep it.

Zal, a user on RPS replied to an RPS thread on ownership of videogames with a smartly worded “A Modest Proposal” style absurdist parody.

I blame books for this (well and scrolls and tablets and other poorly designed medium)… if they’d been easier to erase, or if there’d just been a way to burn only their LETTERS, we could’ve avoided thousands of years of constant intellectual theft.
But no, they were terribly thought out. They could’ve used inks that faded, or deliberately added cracking schemes, to prevent people stealing their material hundreds or even thousands of years later.

But alas books were the only media available at the time to distribute information, and much like a cd-rom or a punch card it was what was in them that people were after.

Just remember, the harder knowledge is to share and obtain, the better off we all are.
Ignorance is the single strongest wealth generator there is.

Just wanted to show tumblr I’m not dead.

Here’s an early WIP from my game from the latest Ludum Dare game jam, space Rig Zeta. I’ll post a link to the LD page so you guys can play the old buggy version. Video and demo of the new one will hopefully be up by late tomorrow.

What Exactly is Periapsis, Again?

So I’ve been developing this for a year and am quite sure I still don’t have a planned features list. If I do, it’s older then radio. Let’s fix all that.

What’s the short answer?

Periapsis will be a sandbox, free-movement shoot-em-up with retro style and realistic substance.

What’s the long answer?

I don’t know yet. I guess we’ll see when I finish it. That’s the magic of brogramming.

But here’s what I think it will be about.

Periapsis is a game about making quick decisions with actual stakes. Everything from the map and stations to the enemy bosses will be randomly picked or generated, ensuring memorization will get you nowhere and analyzing reacting on the fly will mean everything.

Who can you trust? How and when will you fight the goliath Overseer craft and their endless drone armies pursuing you? Its up to you.

Confront a randomized enemy in a procedurally generated world

The way you deal with the army pursuing you will matter. Get away before an enemy raid arrives. Destroy supply transports before they can call for help or face powerful reprisal.

The main path to beat the game revolves around defeating three randomly chosen bosses pulled from a pool of user made creations. The next boss could be bearable or a nightmare. It’s up to the player to adapt, upgrade and fight in the way they see fit to defeat the boss at all costs.

Acquire resources to defeat your enemy

Player ship and pursuit drone

Survey and mine randomly generated asteroid fields or conduct risky supply raids on enemy supply lines and mining operations to deny the enemy resources, then return to a station and outfit your ship with an array of upgrades and weaponry.

If you ever find yourself in a difficult situation, focus on upgrading your craft to better combat the threat. Veterans can attempt to speed through the game with minimal upgrades while more casual players can explore the extensive, modular ship upgrading system.

Build a customized, unique combat platform

Ships are built from modular parts in a simple staged upgrading system. The player can swap out their current upgrade tier or install a module of the next tier by docking with it, removing the need for obtuse and unimmersive menus and tabs.

There will be three upgrade tiers, core, first and second. The player will start with a core and will then be able to attach a first and second expansion to their baseline ship, unlocking hardpoints for larger weapons, extended fuel capacity, cargo and much more. The player can mix any combination of the separate tiers, allowing them to mix and match attributes.

There will be over 40 unique weapons to choose from in four classes, explosives, projectile, missiles and beams ranging across 3 size classes.

Navigate a randomly generated story

NPCs will have randomized agendas and alleigences, influencing the key choices they can or will make and making betrayals much more surprising, and repayment of trust all the more fulfilling.

Well, there you have it

I hope you guys got some useful or intriguing info from this post of things-yet-to-be. Anything you’re still curious about? Ask away!

New component ship concepts/mockup. I’ve had a lot of trouble designing static ships so I’m going to implement a ‘dock to upgrade’ system. Modules will be spawned on dockable platforms that will attach the module to the ship or swap it with your current one if it’s the same type. You’ll only be able to swap your base module (ie the last one you added) so you’ll have to make some permanent decisions each playthrough.

New component ship concepts/mockup. I’ve had a lot of trouble designing static ships so I’m going to implement a ‘dock to upgrade’ system. Modules will be spawned on dockable platforms that will attach the module to the ship or swap it with your current one if it’s the same type. You’ll only be able to swap your base module (ie the last one you added) so you’ll have to make some permanent decisions each playthrough.

Why I Did What I Did


My biggest concern has been that Periapsis is just a weird game. Throwing somebody into it is going to leave them blind. For some that’s great, but for a lot of people these days it can almost be an insult. “Well I’m throwing you right in so this game should be knowable. Oops! You never figured out the strafe keys. Oops! You never figured out the specific thing you have to do to dock. You must be stupid.”

Basically one thing people afford a game these days is you can figure it out on your own. This isn’t always the case (Minecraft, Spacebuild et cetera) but more often then not games give you a way to learn their core system. When they don’t then you usually assume that their core system should be inherent and play to your affordances.

The Changeling

But there’s a trick around Periapsis’ obtuseness. Periapsis has ships, guns, enemies, uses the arrow keys to move and others. Sounds like a SHMUP. All we need to do is confine the player to screenspace and unlock the camera from their position.

Since Periapsis shares affordances with fixed-screen SHMUPS, we can use such a modification of Periapsis to establish precedents like movement, firing and destroying a few types of enemies.

This does have the unwanted side-effect of making the remaining affordances, most prominently turning, the free camera and preserving momentum in movement,  sting a bit harder when they’re presented to the player after the SHMUP sequence.

However, I think this can be remedied with more dedicated teaching through play. By inductively introducing mechanics I hope Periapsis can be played organically. And, for those who already know what’s going on, consider jsut not playing ‘Patsy’ mode and skipping straight to ‘idealist.’