AUGUST 2019

Chapter 19 -  Level 2


Before embarking on the graphics design for Level 2, I received some valuable feedback from the last chapter.

Erik Gavriluk made a suggestion to have the energy pods as a collectible rather than a shootable. In this way, you had to play as the hunter collecting these important items by piloting your craft over them rather than shoot them from a distance. If you shoot them, they still blow up but you lose the reward of any energy obtained. This forces you to think first before firing. A very good suggestion which I have now implemented. Thanks Erik.


Graphics Design

While Level 1 had you flying over an Earth cityscape, Level 2 has you flying through space, complete with asteroids and a parallax scrolling star field, as you make your way to the Alien home world.

You must avoid colliding with any asteroid debris while shooting aliens and dodging their alien fire. The aliens strangely enough can fly over an asteroid and my only excuse for this was that it was easier to code and faster to execute than trying to create an intelligent alien AI so they can navigate around the obstacles.    It's just a game folks!  :)

Jump Gate Activation

As an added goal to this level, you have the task of deciphering an alien code needed to activate the intergalactic jump gate which will warp you to the alien home world.  This code is composed of three code numbers encrypted as four alien glyph symbols in each.

At the bottom of the screen are four green boxes where the code is assembled. Each box contains a glyph symbol which flashes to indicate which box is being decoded. As you decode each glyph, it stops flashing and you are moved to the next green box. When all four green boxes are decoded, you are moved to the next four-glyph code.

At the top of the screen between the score and energy displays are three indicator lights to show you your progress in obtaining these three codes.

To decode each character, you must collect the code boxes which you will periodically find. These boxes are blank when they start but as they travel down the screen, you can shoot them to activate and cycle through a series of alien glyph symbols. These symbols have a fixed order of rotation and once you have matched the falling code box to the current flashing code in your decoder boxes below, you collect that box and it is added to the code. Incorrect codes are discarded.

This process is not too difficult... if it wasn't for the need to also avoid the asteroid debris and pesky aliens who are trying to stop you.

I will continue to test and adjust this level to ensure the level is not too difficult. With my previous game Pop*star Pilot, I found many people felt level 1 was hard. This surprised me because I designed that level to be introductory and could almost be played blindfolded. Level 2 was the opposite and was too hard too early and I have since provided a patch for people who bought the game to swap levels 2 and 3.

Click HERE to go to the Pop*Star Pilot patch.

I guess we're not the young arcade game playing teenagers we use to be so I need to design GunStar to be wary of this.    "Get off my lawn!"   :)


Click on the YouTube link below to see the actual game so far.


Video Blog #8


Since creating this video, I have made a few minor cosmetic changes to the screen. The code decoding is better explained on this web page and is easier to understand than the video.

The next stage is to add the weapons upgrade object then following that, I will begin with the Level 4 design.



Copyright 2017 by Nickolas Marentes