Chapter 20 -  The Weaponizer

For this chapter, I've added The Weaponizer! ... a special device that upgrades your firing capability.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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 mode.

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.

Firing Modes

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 home system.

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 !

GunStar Shadow:

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 cycles.

Level Progress Bar:

In 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.

Copyright 2017 by Nickolas Marentes