Chapter 20 - The Weaponizer
For this chapter, I've added The Weaponizer! ... a special device that upgrades your firing capability.
images on the right show the graphic design I did for the weaponizer.
The 4 frames are cycled to create the rotating plane around the central
red Orb. These fall vertically from the top of the screen and need to be collected to be awarded the weapons upgrade.
- When you begin, your Gunstar is equipped with single-fire energy shots with 3 total shots onscreen at a time.
- Upon collecting a weaponizer, you are switched to a double-fire energy shot with 3 total shot pairs onscreen at a time.
- Collecting another weaponizer, switches you back to single-fire energy shots but with 6 total shots onscreen at a time.
double-fire shots have the advantage that they cover a wider area than
the single shots but have the disadvantage that they are wider apart
and spaced out away from the centre of your Gunstar. This is good for
shooting moving aliens but not so good for precise targeting of smaller
vertically moving targets.
6 shot multi-fire is the best one because it allows you to send a spray
of shots with almost no waiting for shots to disappear offscreen. It is
also better for manipulating the Glyph objects in Level 2 required to activate the warp gate.
The weaponizer needs to be collected by navigating your GunStar into them. Shooting
the weaponizer will make it explode and the resulting energy wave
disrupts your weapons, knocking them back to the original single-fire
As well as these firing modes, you still have the Fusion Bomb which
requires you to collect Fusion Charge before it is available. This was
explained in Chapter 12.
The Weaponizer - Graphics design.
Game Pause and Game Abort
I have now added the Game Pause and Game Abort functions.
The game may be paused during gameplay by pressing the P key on your keyboard. Pressing any key or the joystick button resumes play.
The current game in play may be aborted by pressing and holding down the BREAK key on your keyboard for about 5 seconds whereby you are returned to the game Title screen.
Warp decoder enhancements
I have done a few cosmetic
cleanups of the Alien warp decoder I showcased in the previous blog
chapter. I have removed the code progression bars from being a separate
display at the top of the screen and combined it into the 4 glyph
decoder boxes at the bottom of the screen. I have also expanded the
activation code to be a 4 code sequences of 4 glyph symbols or a
16 glyph character code in total. These boxes are green but as you
progress with the code, they change to yellow. When all 4 boxes have
turned yellow, the warp is activated and you are taken to the Alien
Later, I plan to add a simple warp effect here and on arrival to the
Alien system, you will confront an Alien boss (the Gate Keeper) before
entering the Alien home world... Level 3.
Feature Creep !
With Level 3 coming
up next, the amount of background detail I have planned may make the
display very busy and make it harder to see things. So I decided to try adding a small shadow to the GunStar to highlight its outline a bit.
It worked and it improves the contrast of the GunStar over a detailed backdrop.
I am now considering also adding a shadow to the Aliens to improve
their contrast also. This will add a few more cycles to each Alien
sprite so I will need to optimise a few areas of code to reclaim a few
Level Progress Bar:
Levels 1, 3 and 4, I will add a Level Progress Bar to show the player
how far they've covered and how far they have to go.This will be a
simple bar display layed over the action underneath.
This graphics engine makes such things so easy to add. Not bad for an engine I devised in 1984 for my game Escape Zone (TRS-80 Model 1).
Don't you just love feature creep! :)
Click on the YouTube link below to see the actual game so far.
Video Blog #9
The next stage is to design and add the Level 3 background graphics.