ULSG V14 is underway! Slowly, but surely…!

Before I start with the ACTUAL topic of this post, I recently finished the trailer for Katu Toka, so I might as well post it here, for your viewing pleasure. Here you go:

Extreme professionalism, right there. 😉 Anyhoo…

Yes, I’ve started working on ULSG V14, thanks to me running out of things to play. 😛 I’d love to say I’ve done a ton of stuff and show you some prototype gameplay, but sadly, since this is XNA and I’m coding in a proper language, the “progress curve” is the exact opposite of when I’m using Multimedia Fusion. MMF projects can be prototyped retardedly quickly, but it gets insanely difficult to manage when the game gets too large. An XNA project is REALLY hard to get off the ground when you’re working from scratch, but it speeds up over time. 🙂

The reason for this is because MMF literally GIVES you everything. If you don’t have something, you can probably download an extension for it and start using it right away. The XNA framework, on the other hand, does gives you a very nice set of classes, but the functionality is quite basic, really. You don’t get animation or game state management – you’ve got to do those yourself. You get something that can help with saving data, but the implementation is up to you. Same with input and sound. This might be a pain, but it’s a hell of a lot more flexible and powerful than MMF. Plus, when the basics of the JetSquirrel Engine are done, I won’t have to do them again, so any future projects will have a much faster setup. And as JetSquirrel evolves, games will get easier to make. 🙂

So, aye, there is technical progress, but nothing I can really show. I’m at almost the same visible point I was about 3 months ago:

The only differences are that there’s now flashy text that says “Press any button!”, “Press a button like you MEAN it!” or some other phrase along those lines, there are two new classes, one for input and one for saving data, and the audio class is fixed. So just imagine that’s there in that video, and we’re all on the same page. 😉

The biggest problem I can see so far is the fact that XNA doesn’t support game controllers that aren’t Xbox controllers. That’s alright for me, and a lot of people I know (not like they’ll play the damn game or even test it), but some people don’t like them. I was going to forget it and just suggest people with other controllers download an Xbox controller emulator, but that’s such a massive pain for them – if I were them, I probably couldn’t be bothered to do it either. 😛 So, I’ve gotta look for a solution to that. Hopefully I can find one. 🙂

Other than that, it’s all going pretty smoothly! 😀 I’ll keep working on it, and I’ll update when I make some visible progress. 😉

A little ULSG V14 mockup.

Well, I was originally going to make ULSG V14’s resolution 1000×625, but then decided that that’s a retarded resolution, probably no monitors support it, and my monitor doesn’t like trying to scale it to the nearest resolution it can support (it decided to change to 1024×768, which is a completely different aspect ratio and therefore looks like a poo :P). So, I’ve decided to go with good old reliable 1280×720. 🙂 Plus, I’ve had a good experience using that resolution with XNA in the past – it scaled perfectly to a 1024×768 monitor when I was working on Fluidity, without messing up the aspect ratio. 🙂

However, the res change means I’ve had to rework the ULSG V14 HUD. It’s a bit tedious having to do it again, but it’s really nice having 280 more pixels of width to work with. 😀 I did a little mockup of what I imagine a 4-player game of MultiQuadrillion Mode would look like:

(Just realised that the Psycho Chain should really be x4 in this mockup. :P)

I think it looks quite nice. 🙂 I used the extra width to extend “LV” to “Stage” for clarity (I’m calling the current “level” the “stage” now, to avoid confusion with Experience Level. :)), and merged the Power Weapon Display into the main HUD, too (Nukes are still in the game, they’re just a type of “Power Weapon”. This gives me more room to experiment with new weapons – for example, you’ll be able to replace Nukes with MediLinks, which let you heal other players. :)). There’s room for 5 Power Weapons now – you can increase the maximum amount with a Booster. 😀

Remote players are shown on the mini-status bars, where the Nuke Display used to be. They show important info, such as Callsign (A 5-character name to make it easier to identify your buddies (and also protects against me needing to make MASSIVELY long name boxes and taking up HUD space (for people with names like MongMaster Grumblkumbatung ;)))) and HI (Hull Integrity), and also show nice-to-know info, such as Power Weapon count and Level. 🙂 If there are other local players, Player 1’s status is shown on the main HUD bar. As for Powerup bars, other players’ powerup bars are shown near their ship, whereas yours are still in the same place – top left, just under score. 😉

The combo counter has a sleeker look, and there’s the new Psycho Chain counter – that increases when you own Failiens in quick succession, terminating after about 1/4 of a second without a kill (it can give LOTS of points out ;)). The combo milestone display is faded out because there’s a player underneath it, but that’s got a new look too. 🙂

The Destructometer in the bottom right looks a bit nicer, and has a label, for clarity. Also, instead of popping out every minute with the game time, that’s always on display just over the Miss Counter, now.

The Miss Counter is a li’l bit different – the more enemies get past, the faster it increases. When it reaches 100%, it gets reset, you lose multipliers and your Awesometer is emptied. The Awesometer is different, too – it increases smoothly up to x100 instead of “jumping” between multiplier levels. 🙂

The Choclit Bar is smaller, so it won’t get in the way of the Fruit Frenzy bonus text, which appears in the same place as always. 🙂 It’ll also come up with a notification when your ULSSLU (Ultimate Lame Ship Special Laser Unit) is ready. 🙂 The Fever Meter is brand new, and comes up with a timer when activated. 🙂

The only thing missing (apart from the Fruit Frenzy bonus text I mentioned earlier) is the Drone Display. Kinda struggling with where to put those, since there’s going to be up to 4 of them this time. Might colour-code them and put them to the left of the Mini-HUDs, or, if you’re playing solo, where the Mini-HUDs are (since they won’t be there ;)). And of course, the HUD for the Challenges and Infinity Mode will need to be different. 🙂

But ya, that’s pretty much all. 🙂 Lemme know what’cha think! 😀