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Could someone test my game?  RSS feed

 
Mich Robinson
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It's an old style arcade shoot them up. Actually this is a new version of a game I wrote a while back. There's global high score tables. Obviously you'll need Java on your PC. It should run on pretty much any PC or laptop. Does it work? Does it play in full screen? Can you write your scores to the high score table? If anyone manages to get over 100K then can you work out how to go to the next level of the game? Tell me what you think (I honestly don't mind a little constructive criticism).

Alien Swarm

Hope you enjoy it and thanks for playing



Mike
 
Mich Robinson
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Thanks
 
Jude Niroshan
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Nice one bro..... what are the technologies you used? i mean libraries ?
 
Mich Robinson
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It doesn't use any special libraries - I just draw stuff and move things around. Gravity, explosions and AI etc are all home grown. There might be special libraries available to do all sorts of stuff but it takes me longer to learn how to use them than it does to just write my own. I understand this is the wrong approach but what can you do...

What sort of score did you get? Did you get on the high score list? Anything that needs improving?

Many thanks for trying it out.

Mike
 
Mike Matthews
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Hi,

It's not exactly my kind of game, but since everyone's so nice in this forum, I decided to help out.

FULLSCREEN
It doesn't work correctly in my case. First I get a pop-up notification about resolution that's not optimal so the game doesn't go into perfect full screen:


After I deal with it, it's still not as it should:


If you want to keep your resolution, I suggest that you allow windowed mode; I actually like playing mini games this way.

OTHER
The game plays fine, but I have a few suggestions:
  • It would be nice to add a normal menu. If you insist on yours (which is fine, too), then at least add a short message to the main screen that would inform the player that they can slide between different options with left/right cursors.
  • Add more features. I noticed power-ups in the menu, but I haven't seen them in-game. Is it something you wish to add in the future?
  • It would suit my liking more if the graphics were more retro. The game could be all black-and-white. This would be lovely. Or get an artist that would create artwork for you.
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    Mich Robinson
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    Full screen: There appears to be an issue with Linux and with Windows Aero mode which doesn't allow full screen using the current resolution. I could change the resolution but then I'd have to alter all the graphics and a fair part of the program. I use a standard Java method to get full screen but sadly it doesn't seem to work on all systems. Did you try starting the game by double clicking the .bat program or the .jar program directly. Could I know what operating system you're on?

    Menu system: Which menu system? Is it the pause/preferences menu? The game is actually meant for arcade cabinets (MAME) and users only have a joystick and a few standard buttons available so users wouldn't be able to operate a normal menu system. Users can move up and down the preferences menu with the joystick (or cursor keys or WASD) and cycle through setting values by clicking fire (space or CTRL). Most users shouldn't need to go into the preferences menu as it's set up for PC usage by default. The entry of names into the high score is simply the way names were entered into arcade machines - they don't have keyboards etc. A modern menu system would also detract from the retro nature of the game.

    Power ups: The red mother ships allow you to power up your weapon or add lives or add shields. These appear every x number of screens. You also get 3 mothers on screen every 100K. Every 200K then the motherships allow you to have a "super" power up which can be a very fast shooting gun or shields that turn on automatically when you're hit by enemy fire or even a nuke which can be launched to destroy everything on screen (obviously you can only use them once). Most folk try to gather any weapon power ups available before going for other options.

    Other features: There are boss screens every 100K which can be very different to other types of screen - ie you may need to just shoot the aliens walking on the surface or perhaps survive without shooting any aliens. Then there are actually 6 modes the game plays in - you start in the "campaign" mode where you need to earn your power ups etc. There's a "hard" mode where the aliens start tough and get tougher but you start with a fully powered weapon to fight back. Then there's a boss mode where you only get boss screens - this can require a lot more thinking than shooting. There's also extreme modes of each where you only get one life and no chance of adding extra lives.

    B&W: I suspect that a black and white game in windows mode would only appeal to a few. I did try using an artist for the moon and aliens but it's difficult keeping people interested in a project especially when you can't afford to pay them.

    Many thanks for playing it and for offering your thoughts.

    Mike
     
    Mike Matthews
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    Fullscreen
    I tried both .jar and .bat. They give the same results. I'm on Windows 7 x64. It wouldn't be the first time Windows Aero messed something up so I guess you got it right.

    Menu System
    I mean the menu that is displayed right after you start the game, where you can switch between Trophies, Hall of Fame, HUD Explanation, Controls, List of Enemies and List of Power-Ups. It's been a long time since I played arcade games so I don't remember what they were like, but maybe you could somehow inform the player that they can steer left/right in the menu to learn more about the game.

    Power-Ups
    At first I looked at the game from a more modern point of view. You know how almost each and every game nowadays has an option to upgrade your weapon or whatnot after a level ends. But since this game is supposed to resemble an arcade game in all details, it's natural to implement a different power-up system, i.e. one such as yours.

    Other features
    I don't think I can add anything to what you wrote. I like the concept and the simplicity. (Well, simplicity is what we loved arcade games for.)

    B&W
    It wouldn't appeal to everyone, that's true, but the same goes to arcade games themselves. In games like that I like graphics to be simple, like in good old Pacman. You're right that it might be difficult to find anyone willing to join a project if all they can get in return is satisfaction.

    I'm sorry I can't give you any special advice, but hopefully the little feedback I offer will be any helpful.
     
    Mich Robinson
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    Menu system: I finally understand what you're talking about In modern PC games you tend to click an icon on screen and just start the game up. This isn't the case with traditional arcade games as they run permanently 24/7 and try to attract customers to the game so they'll spend their money. These screens are called "attract screens" and tend mix advertising the game while showing information about the game, high scores etc. They are actually an appreciated part of traditional arcade games - when I first released this game, those playing the game on their arcade cabinets were upset they didn't have an attract screen! I had to compromise a little as I need to display what the controls are on a PC (WASD and space to fire or cursors and CTRL). I also have different playing levels for the player to progress through which is fine on a PC but isn't possible on an arcade machine where many different people of differing abilities will play.
     
    Mike Matthews
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    I've just remembered what arcade games are like. It's really been a long time since I last played one… but I'm repeating myself.

    Don't attract screens often automatically change every few seconds? Maybe it'd be a nice addition? (Unless it's already there, but I simply haven't noticed since I start the game as soon as I run it.)

    Anyhow, I think you had it all thought up. The game runs fine, there's nothing to add that I can think of. The only changes that can be made are some cosmetic improvements to make the game all candy and dandy.
     
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