Chapter 25 - February 23rd, 2016

Gauges and Readouts

The next phase of development was to get all the gauges and readouts operating. This comprised the score display, fuel gauge and number of lives readouts in the green panel at the top of the screen . Also, the bonus, multi fire and zone LED indicators in the green panel at the bottom of the screen. All these indicators operate in real time as the game plays, refreshing the moment that indicator's data and status changes.

Balloon Scoring

Hitting a red balloon awards 20 points but also activates a 20 shot multi fire period which allows four shots on screen at a time. This makes hitting targets easier than the default single fire mode which requires more precision and is less forgiving when firing. Striking another red balloon during this multi fire period does not award you with an additional 20 shots until all the pre-existing shots have expired and firing reverts back to single shot. You are therefore on the constant hunt for red balloons to maintain multi fire mode.

Hitting a green balloon awards you with 40 points which are best for building up your score.

White balloons earn you no points when struck but they light up a bonus LED. Every subsequent white balloon hit lights up the next bonus LED. Striking any other color balloon resets the bonus display to zero.

So what's the point of hitting the white balloons?

Once all five LED's are lit in the bonus display, hitting one more white balloon triggers the bonus with screen borders flashing, sound effects blaring and a 300 points award!

Lives and Zone Indicator

The lives indicator displays up to four hearts each symbolizing a life. A life will be lost with each collision of your plane but a life is awarded when you shoot the box with a heart.

Zone Display

This readout indicates your position on the overall terrain map. The terrain will span about 80 screens. There will be various warp boxes that you can shoot that will transport you to another part of the map and you can see your overall position  with this readout. I will use this feature to add a level of puzzle and strategy to the level design.

Some sections of the screens can only be entered using the warp boxes. There will be times when you will span an area more than once by entering a passage way to obtain otherwise inaccessible objects, gain extra points and collect needed supplies to complete your journey. This will also make the play area seem larger than the 80 screens.

I'm even considering allocating another 8K MMU memory block for a second 80 screens as a pro level  Stage 2. Designing these levels will be both fun and time consuming but the game revolves around this level design.

Fuel Gauge

At the top center of the screen is the fuel gauge. This bar graph display drops slowly as your plane's fuel expires. When it does run out, the plane's propeller stops spinning, the engine sound stops and your plane starts to fall from the sky until it hits the ground below.

As a novelty feature, your gun still fires and if you're lucky enough during this decent to hit a fuel store first, your engine will burst back to life and you will be able to climb back up and continue your journey.

Coming up next

Coming up next is the actual crash routine. Up until now, for the sake of testing each element, my plane has been invincible. I have been allowed to simply fly through any obstacle in my path.

This will also mean that I need to stop the game and restart at the last tagged checkpoint.

It starts getting hard from here on!


Copyright 2013 by Nickolas Marentes