SEPTEMBER 2019Chapter 21 - Levels 3 and 4
For this chapter, I began the Level 3 graphics design. It went so
well that I decided to keep going and also did the Level 4 graphic
Level 3 sees the Gunstar having reached the Alien home world. For this
momentous event, the Aliens have pulled together their military might
and afforded you a most glorious welcoming celebration... with guns
The Alien home world is a dry harsh environment. For this, I have
chosen a landscape predominantly red in color with a few yellow lava
trails. The Alien's civilization is very industrial in appearance, certainly no place for a holiday! And they are alerted to your arrival and determined to keep your stay
short. Their firing intensity and numbers have been increased.
This level is similar to Level 3 in that it retains the dry harsh environment but
highlights the industrial environment as a large food processing
plant... a slaughterhouse for the humans they abduct from Earth!!
design takes it up a notch with the inclusion of large animated meat
grinding machines and alien workers can be seen, some eating remnants of
human flesh! (simple palette animation)
It's a morbid concept but that's what the Aliens are doing to survive
on their inhospitable planet where the environment was abused and food is now of limited supply. It's like
that movie starring Charlton Heston in 1973, Soylent Green but with aliens and none of the food coloring to disguise the fact. Soylent Red if you like. :)
is a montage of the four levels of graphics in GunStar. I will be
keeping people in suspense by not showing a video of levels 3 and 4 but
I will say that the animated machinery in level 4 look fantastic and
I'd like to thank L. Curtis Boyle and Brian Palmer for suggesting it to me.
LEVEL 1 - Earth Exodus
LEVEL 2 - Stargate Activation
LEVEL 3 - Alien Home World
LEVEL 4 - The Abattoir
Tweaks and Optimizations
Before progressing further, I had several improvements and tweaks I wanted to apply.
all the moving background graphics, there were a few things that would
become difficult to see. The player has a lot to look at on the screen
and often the alien's fire was not immediately apparent which made it
difficult to spot from the edges of you immediate point of focus.
I therefore changed the alien fire so it had a simple animated wiggle to them, making them look alive in themselves.
Also, the Shield and Fusion Bomb charges would also blend in with
all the moving graphics and it was easy to shoot them rather than
collect them so I made changes to the colors I used so
that they stood out better and were easier to identify amongst the background.
I made some changes to the weaponizer operation but I wasn't happy with
the results and had to revert it back with some minor changes.
In this final configuration, you must collect it with you GunStar craft
to obtain the next level of weapon firing capability. Shooting it
merely destroys the weaponizer and you don't obtain the weapon upgrade
and it's downgraded (this was as it was before).
But now, when you have obtained the highest weapon (6 shot multifire),
any future weaponizers obtained will fully charge your Fusion Bomb
allowing you to destroy all aliens onscreen with a single blast.
As before, utilizing the Fusion Bomb depletes all it's energy and you
must collect Fusion charges to fully recharge it or obtain another
I also found that when shooting frantically and sending a spray of
shots ahead of you, that sometimes you will hit and blow up a
weaponizer just as it's beginning to enter the screen. This is good
reason to not just shoot frantically without thought but I figured a
lot of people will do just that so now, the weaponizers are immune to
your fire until they at least fully appear on the screen. In this way
it is clear that you destroyed a weaponizer with your wild and
thoughtless firing. :)
On Facebook, Tom Lindo made a
suggestion that I make the GunStar roll left/right when moving
left/right. This was an idea I had at the start but didn't know if it
would really be wanted (and I was feeling lazy!).
So I added a roll and it looks better for it. Thanks Tom!
Along with the Title Page credits and the High Score display, I added a
short story synopsis. I figured that a lot of people may not read the
instructions and therefore not understand what the game is about or the
main game objective.
And lastly, I have been playing Levels 3 and 4 intensely to get the
right balance of gameplay and doing adjustments. This tweaking will
continue right up to the end of development.
Coming up next
That's it for this chapter. Next I'll add in the Boss aliens. There
will be two, one at the end of level 2 after you activate the Stargate
to the alien home world. This one will be called The Gate Keeper.
The second and final Boss with be at the end of level 4 and be called The BMF... for reasons that will become obvious later. :)