Archive for February, 2011

an old photograph showing huge electric discharge

This old photo gave me the inspiration for a weapon covering nearby enemies with huge electric discharges. It shows Nikola Tesla‘s magnifying transmitter generating millions of volts sizzling through the air. Man, that rocks!

The first prototype of the “Tesla weapon” has placeholder graphics but it should illustrate the intention:

Tesla Weapon Prototype

This weapon has the advantage of spreading damage over a wide area. A drawback is the need for recharge. Destroyed enemies can drop charge items which have to be collected like weapon upgrades. So the weapon has to be used tactically to get the most out of it.

I hope to find the time polishing the graphics up to the procedural level I have in mind. Then Nordenfelt can provide some wowing moments.


Nordenfelt’s Core Mechanics

First of all I want to thank everybody who provided feedback for Nordenfelt 0.4. The overall response was quite positive.

One important lesson I’ve learned from feedback so far is that tastes are different. This fact makes evaluating replies sometimes difficult. Finally it is important to have an own position and learn which opinions can and should be ignored. Otherwise there is little chance to get such a project done.

Anyway, thanks to all of you. I’m appreciating the effort you expended in testing my game. Thanks a lot!

Death of the Demo

Version 0.4 was an important milestone. It marked the end of the engine demo phase. Nearly a year of writing the engine was too long for my taste. This experience belongs to the category “if I only had known…”. In case of a sequel of Nordenfelt I’ll exploit this engine as much as I can. That should distribute last year’s effort over one more project. But that’s all still up in the air.

The next few months are dedicated to making the game itself. Thrilling times ahead.

Core Mechanics

After collecting and evaluating all 0.4 feedback from different sources I started designing the core mechanics for the game. By core I mean irrevocable features and rules. It’s quite hard to decide which of the many ideas should be set in stone. Finally it’s good advice to go with mechanics players are familiar with. Therefore I’ve fixed the following points:

Rank System

Many shoot ’em ups have a rank systems. It can be imagined as some kind of automatic difficulty adjustment. For example when the player beefs his/her weapon up to a high level the enemies start to get angrier, faster and stronger. This way the player is kept challenged. Experienced players exploit the rank system by keeping their equipment levels low. There are many more aspects in the game which influence the rank system. Figuring out what affects the rank is essential for beating the game as well as the highscore.

Score Hunt

This should be self-explanatory: get the best score, on your machine or online.

Equipment Selection

There will be a few types of equipment like bombs or bots which can be used for strategical play. Each game level is different and therefore should be tackled with appropriate equipment.

Upgrading Equipment

Equipment can be upgraded throughout the levels. This makes your ship stronger but also affects the rank (speak difficulty). Only equipment mounted on your ship will be upgraded in levels. Therefore you have to choose wisely what to take with you in each level.


Nordenfelt 0.4 Released!

Download it!

An Appeal

Version 0.4 has two major improvements: a new GUI and frame rate issue fixes. Now I’m interested in your feedback for them.

Firstly I’m interested if the GUI works for you, what you like about it and what should be cut. I’m aware that it’s consistency is far from complete. This happened by accident but constitutes branches in style. So there is a degree of choice.

Secondly I’m not sure if the frame rate issues are completely fixed. Therefore I need some profiling data from other machines than mine. I’ve added a profiling system which creates a file named profile.csv beside Nordenfelt.exe. It would be great if you could send this file to Don’t worry, I don’t spy you out. You can inspect the file with any text editor, MS Excel or Open Office to see what’s in there.

I’m looking forward to your replies.


A Step Closer to Steampunk

I’m deep into GUI graphics these days. Get a brief glimpse over my sholder while I’m wearing my artist hat:

a partial screenshot of options

This is a partial screenshot of the options screen. IMO it’s a step closer to steampunk then everything else done before. My gut feeling tells me I’m on the right track.

That’s all. Blogger hat off, artist hat on.

>> Edit <<

Blogger hat on:

tehlexx pointed out that some details did not fit the overall quality. The problems were obvious but I could not see them from inside the Matrix. You lose the feeling for such stuff when you spend too much time at the backend of a game. Thanks to tehlexx mentioning the issues.

Fixing the issues was rather easy: simply turning off blur, touching up the “beauty spot” and replacing the polygonal pointer with a prerendered clock hand sprite inclusive shadow casting:

a comparison between old and new gauges

Blogger hat off, artist hat on. Changing hats starts to gall my temples… 🙂