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November 13, 2019
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Phonics Shmup Progress, 4/15

by Lena LeRay on 04/18/16 11:38:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Originally posted on my personal blog.

Phonics Shmup, now with shields

It’s been a few days, including a Ludum Dare weekend, since I actually did some work on my phonics shmup, but it was a pretty productive time. As the screenshot shows, I got shields added to the enemies, but I also did a big reorganization of my Trello board.

Development Itself

Probably the biggest shift in my plans is how I’m planning to represent phonics as weapon to the player. Before, I planned to have individual bullets be aligned with specific phonemes, but that was going to be hard to pull off visually. Instead, I’ve hit on a more readable approach which I feel is more natural: instead of phoneme bullets being able to damage only certain enemies, the player will be broadcasting a phoneme signal that lowers shields on certain enemies.

This does two good things: one, it’s easier to pull off graphically; and two, I think this will result in greater gameplay depth. A player will potentially be able to fire bullets to hit something at the back that still has its shields up, kill something at the front with shields down, and then swap the disruptor phoneme in time for that first bullet/volley of bullets to hit the enemy at the back.

Getting shields on enemies had been my plan from the start of last session, but it was in making them that I came up with the disruptor idea. So once shields were implemented, I refactored the ship to support a disruptor instead of changing bullets. There’s no change to how the game works from the player perspective, but it’s very different under the hood. I’ll probably do more refactoring in the future, bringing player and enemy bullets into one class, like I originally had them, now that player bullets are no longer to be attached to phonemes.

Trello Reorganization

I love Trello, but it works best when everything is broken down into small tasks. I had things lumped together which worked thematically, but had too many things to do in one spot. I like what I have now much better. You can check it out if you like.

Godot Lessons Learned from Ludum Dare

This past weekend was Ludum Dare 35. I found the theme incredibly uninspiring and didn’t get to work until late evening on Saturday. This means that instead of getting gameplay sorted on Saturday and making levels on Sunday, I got gameplay sorted on Saturday and didn’t have enough motivation left over to do much else.

However, the game I made was done in Godot, and I learned some things in the doing that will be really helpful for this project going forward. I gotta say, though, looking up stuff about Godot is a mess — the old Github documentation pages are still the top results in Google and there don’t seem to be any advanced, in-depth tutorials on specific features.

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