Steve from Quote Unquote asked me to give an interview for his site. I happily did so as he’s a really nice fellow. It felt a bit strange though since I was inactive on the scene for several years and there was no special occasion for the interview, like, heaven forbid, a new release… So we mostly talked about Rescue: The Beagles, destiny of yet unfinished games like Ablation X and I largely went on about minutia of my game creation process and design philosophy. If you’re interested into that kind of thing - check out the interview.
Well it was just an ordinary day when all of a sudden Aesqe popped up on my messenger wanting me to upload one of the Ablation X videos we did for music testing purposes. So I did. And after looking at it I knew it was time to update my freakin’ hibernating website. So I’m doing it.
Ablation X didn’t made it past the first circle at IGF. Rightfully so because the thing submitted was basically a rudimentary alpha. Anyway, I continued sporadically working on the game afterwards and hopefully will do so until it’s done. Slowly, slowly. That’s about all the PR I’ll emit at the moment :)
The video above is depicting a current state of the game. The level in the video was played by Aesqe. He kinda sucks at shmuping hence the lame action. But the musical track he did, albeit still in the early stages, is downright gorgeous.
There is only one primary weapon called… the gun (or lazer if you wish). I’m very creative with the names, see :) This weapon can be powered up by the collectibles that float around. Pretty much straightforward shmup issue. However, it can operate in two modes of fire: spread and concentrated. Switching between the two can be done at any time by tapping the fire button. Player’s now able to make some tactical decisions in every situation; should he go softening the whole attack wave or just piercing right through it, should he concentrate fire on most dangerous targets first and then finish off the rest of the scattered enemies using spread fire or maybe the other way around…
Now to something a bit more interesting - secondary weapons. When prototyping them, I’ve had three things in mind: to give them a lot of destructive power, to utilize game’s unique hull/bullet concept to a great extent and finally to make each weapon operate in a rather distinct way. The list of about ten ideas narrowed down to three that ended up in the game:
Singularity pulse - produces a strong negative gravity field around the player, deflecting all but biggest enemies away. Enemy bullets in operational radius are turned and fired back on them. By holding the detonate button player can gradually charge the pulse up to the wanted intensity. It’s predominantly a defensive weapon, very good for breaching out of tricky situations.
Sticky mines - Player can launch a number of mines that stick to enemy hulls. When detonated they’ll cause a massive damage to everything in radius. Similar to Singularity pulse each mine can be continually charged up. It’s up to player to decide should he attack with many small scattered mines or just fire a couple of big ones.
Bullet thief - This weapon sucks out the enemy’s bullet reserves. Stolen bullets “stick” to the player’s ship until he fire them back in form of directed or radial blast. Very effective because it will deprive the enemies of their firepower and simultaneously build up the powerful counterattack.
Bullet thief in action against the X boss (top:stealing, bottom:blasting back)
Only one secondary weapon can be carried at time. Prior to mission start, the player must pick the one he’ll be using throughout the mission. Unambiguous nature of each weapon require of player to deal with enemies in a specific way. This significantly changes the playing style for each weapon. Secondary weapons are powered up alongside the primary. Powering will increase the damage while optimizing the charge consumption.
Third kind of weapon found in the game is the floating bomb. These come in several flavours the players of original Ablation will probably be familiar with. They are detonated simply by picking up. Very destructive but there’s a fair amount of luck involved as they’re randomly spawned by the destroyed enemies.
As some of you may already know, Ablation X will participate in Independent Games Festival 2008 competition. Because of the late decision to finish it for the competition, deadline came quickly and I had no choice but to submit an early alpha.
Ergo the build that currently resides on the IGF server has a heavy “work in progress” aura to it. Some of the key gameplay features, like secondary weapons and the whole charge/powerup mechanic, needed to be turned off. They were not fully functioning at the time. Also the player cannot die and enemy attack waves are fairly basic so no real threat there.
The new version is coming in about two weeks. It’ll be much closer to a proper demo and probably available for public download. I just hope not many a judge dismissed the whole game after fiddling with the alpha thingy. Yet. Fingers crossed :)
For those of you who now sit and wonder “What the heck is Ablation X?”. There - It’s a computer game, currently in development, heavily inspired by the classic 16-bit arcade shoot ‘em ups. Specifically those of vertical scrolling, pre-bullet-hell flavour. Unlike it’s colourful role models, the game will use a sort of flat, minimalistic vector graphics. This allows for some interesting little gameplay twists although, in it’s essence, Ablation X is a very retro inclined game.
Apologies to everyone who visited before and bumped into a server error. I published this url but couldn’t find the time to actually put something here. This game is mostly a one man project and I was over the head busy with it’s development. The content is coming shortly. Thanks for your patience.