OctorSpace Power-Ups for Players and Enemies

Someone asked me yesterday what the progression and upgrade system will be for OctorSpace and well its a game where people can make levels themselves. Introducing upgrades suddenly turns into a whole other beast as then the game gets more challenging to test. Rather than dropping in and testing a level you need to incorporate giving upgrades to anyone making their own levels.

To compensate for this and to again make it different from AquaNimble there are now power-ups in OctorSpace. Players can hold one power-up at a time and taking damage will lose the power-up. When you have a power up your vessel has an aura around it indicating what you have. This could be a temporary visual solution. What you picked up also pops up in the corner. Having the pop up should solve AquaNimble’s problem of no one understanding what they just collected even when they’re marked with letters.

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OctorSpace’s in Game Level Editor

The original OctorSpace had a mere four enemies with a few bosses. For the deluxe version there are 20 more enemies, 10 large and 10 small. When it was time to add them into the game I realized that my levels are made up of strict code. There’s no way for me to see a visual representation of levels. So I made a level editor for OctorSpace.

This is my fifth level editor for various games and this one feels the most complete, finished and polished. It is so polished that it will be part of the game. I took what I learned from making previous editors and put it into this one. Then as I make real levels for the game I add to the editor. Useful features like deselect multiple items rather than only selecting multiple items.

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Balloon Popping Pigs Update: A Lot of Little Things

In this update there are a lot of little things that people have suggested that should enhance the game:

– Added friends leaderboard to single player game over screen.
– Added secret duck mode.
– Added secret pony mode.
– Added a balloon bonus if all cakes are caught during Catch the Cake bonus. This should make catching the cakes feel more satisfying.
– Added control scheme for mouse only (mouse and arrows had worked before).
– Added coin sound.
– Added exit button to game over screen.
– Added game over to give you coins for every 250 points.
– Modified title screen menu buttons to move at 2x the speed.
– Replaced difficult to read box font with easy to read, typical font.
– Modified cakes in 2 player mode to drop mirrored on each side of the screen.
– Modified the dropping cakes to spawn closer to one another to give the player a better chance at  catching them.
– Modified star balloons to appear starting at 200 points and then double the amount plus 100 for each star balloon after that. So 200, 500, 1100, 2300
– Modified the frog to stay away during catch the cake bonuses.

Here is a photo of the new single player game over screen:


OctorSpace Sound Design

Invasion from OctorSpace already had sound it was done by Pixel-Boy, but to make the game more of my own product I started pulling his sounds and music. Sound design is always painful in shmups because of the shooting. Blasting bullets is constant between the player and enemies so it can get annoying.

Sound design in general is difficult for me with my limited knowledge of audio engineering. Even composers who make music tend to avoid sound design as well. A few have tried and I appreciate their efforts, but its something I need to do myself and hear it in game to tweak the volume.

For AquaNimble, I chose for no sound from bullets. It felt like the right choice after playing 18 months and hearing them. You can still hear the impact and that had to be tweaked or else it became painful to hear with bosses as dozens of your bullets hit all at once.

Because I am making OctorSpace as different from AquaNimble as possible, shooting will make sounds. It could be dreadful, but so far so good. Nothing is annoying or high pitched. One of the ways to keep the audio sounding fresh is pitch modulation and volume modulation between 90 and 100%. I have noticed that higher pitches are more audible rather than getting lost in the background.

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Animating OctorSpace Pixel Art

In another attempt to make Invasion from OctorSpace look different from AquaNimble, I have been animating the enemies. The animation to the artist’s beautiful sprites makes the game feel more alive. As you will see I have been recording the animation process.

Before I begin, AquaNimble’s animation is all code except for the player’s vessel. Everything in that game consists of layers of sprites that are stacked on top of one another. It starts with the basic enemy and then a skin is added on top. Several enemies have different skins to make them look different. Then the cockpit is a different piece and the guns are different pieces so they can swivel and aim in different directions. Everything feels very solid.

For OctorSpace, everything is getting pixel animation so things can feel more fluid and juicy. Even the solid non organic vessels are getting animated. I have animated things before, just never to this scale. With that said, its easier animating top down things because it allows for symmetry.

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Adding Cheat Consoles to Games

Many 3D first person games have consoles that allow people to spawn in items, grant themselves full health and warp to different levels. These are all helpful things to both players and developers. With this in mind, I decided to come up with a standardized cheat console system for my games going forward.

Making the cheat console itself was a daunting one or two day process that I made for the AlienVania remake. It was a notable experience because I had only experimented with text capturing before. Depending on the method it can turn into a beast for the inexperienced, but I had run out of fresh challenges with programming so I was happy to tackle the mini mountain.


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Balloon Popping Pigs: The First Week on Steam Updates

The first week of Balloon Popping Pigs: Deluxe on Steam has been a busy one. Here are all the updates from the first week.

Game Launches to the Sky!

Oh and there are updates too:

– Added a new song and a jukebox button in the pause menu.
– Added achievement icons.
– Fixed a leaderboard issue for names with special characters.

Version 1.1 Update:

– Fixed the leaderboard so you can scroll through more than 20 scores.
– Fixed “Double Point Pork Power” achievement.

Version 1.2 Update:

– Fixed “Just One More Minute” achievement. It looks like it was broken for the past 2 days.

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AquaNimble: January 2017 Updates

While January 2017 is still going, its been a while since I posted on the official website. So here are the updates for the past 5 weeks.

Update 1.5.8 Spinning Shooter Skulls & Scrapyard

– Added 4 more achievements based on XP (XP is score added up over each play)
– Added achievement “S3x10” for killing 10 Spinning Shooter Skulls.
– Added a new ship skin “Sentinel.”
– Modified the scrap yard shop menu to move faster when you hold an arrow key from 1/4th of a second to 1/10th.
– Modified all menus to allow input presses to move the cursor faster rather than only holding inputs to move the menu cursor.
– Fixed Hyper Jolt vessel always saving as locked.
– Fixed achievement for “That’s Quite a Showcase.”
– Modified spinning shooter skulls to shoot half as many projectiles at greater angles so its easier to weave between projectiles.
– Modified some player projectiles to look more fierce.
– Modified achievement “Fit as a Flounder” to be 100 points rather than 1,000.
– Modified a few achievement icons.

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Balloon Popping Pigs: Deluxe for PC

Balloon Popping Pigs has fun, challenging, and rewarding gameplay with an addictive “one more try” feel.

You have 3 balloons to stay a float. With each one lost you’re in greater risk of danger. The longer you survive the clock ticks down and the only way to add more time is to pop balloons! Collect coins to take all pigs to the sky! Each pig has its own unique style that lets you say who you are.

Balloon breaking gives you points and extra time on your journey. The more balloons you have means the higher your jump. Collecting 200 points rewards you with a star balloon to replenish a balloon if you need one or give you a full minute on the clock. Every 1 minute spawns a double point balloon.

DrinkingNails, LLC.

Release Date:
January 30,2017



Balloon Popping Pigs: Deluxe is on Steam
Watch Balloon Popping Pigs on Youtube
Watch Balloon Popping Pigs Game Development on Youtube

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