Wednesday, 10 June 2020

New game! It's those pesky aliens again!

Today marks the official "rebranding" of ACOB into a more alien/scifi/UFO style, and what better way to make this than with the release of my latest game?

Crater Base sees you play as the commander of a space colony on a remote asteroid in the Xyzaxia system. You've been here for five years without incident, but suddenly the Xyzaxians have decided that they don't want you around anymore and are determined to wipe you out.

The gameplay is heavily inspired by Missile Command, and you have to move your target around the screen to fire missiles that will explode in just the right place to destroy the approaching alien menace. At the bottom of the screen are six habitats that you must defend, as well as your main base and a rover that collects energy cubes that are dropped by destroyed aliens that replenish your stockpile of missiles.

Now on to the alien/scifi/UFO style "rebrand". I'm starting slowly with this, but the main changes you'll see at the moment are a slightly tweaked background for the blog and the addition of some alien text below the ACOB logo at the top (I may even change the logo design, but I've not really figured out what I want to do with it yet). I'm going to be using this text to display occasional cryptic messages from our "Alien Overlords" who will be making their presence known in future games. Rest assured that we are being observed!

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

I'm not saying it's aliens, but it's aliens... and Zen!

Things have continued to be a touch quiet on here just recently, so I thought I'd make a post to remind everyone that the blog is still here and I'm still making games.

Speaking of games, I made a bit of a discovery about my games this morning and I think it's a theme that I'd like to continue. I noticed, while I was creating the page for my latest game (more on this later) that most of my stuff has a space, alien or UFO theme. I think this is something that I could expand upon, and maybe make into an ongoing thing that runs through all of my games, in a similar vein to how Jeff Minter manages to get sheep, llamas and cows into pretty much everything he does.

Many people don't know this about me, but I do have an interest in space. I used to write an astronomy and science blog on Tumblr that had over 500,000 regular readers... Before I blew it and started using that blog for posts about games development and swiftly lost most of my audience. I've also got a passing interest in the UFO phenomenon and have read several books on the subject, with my current favourite being "You Can't Tell The People" by Georgina Bruni, which is all about the world's only officially recognised UFO encounter that took place in the UK in December 1980 just outside RAF Woodbridge, which was used at the time by the United States Air Force. I'm also a big fan of cheesy 1950's and 60's sci-fi movies like "Earth vs. the Flying Saucers", "It Came from Outer Space" and "20 Million Miles to Earth". I've a feeling that my interest in space, aliens and cheesy movies has caused me to subconsciously choose a space theme for almost all of my games so far, with the exception of Retroids, which is a bit more abstract, and UTS-187, which was really just a demo, and this theme is something that I think I could expand upon.

This is a pretty cool book, though a bit hard to get hold of these days.

So, yeah. Now you all know that I like to read strange books and watch weird movies, what else do I like to do? Well, I've been practicing Zen for around 10 years or so, and I was thinking that maybe I could try to sneak some of this into the games in some way or other. Not by being preachy about it, but by taking some of the weirder concepts and maybe including them in the games in some sort of trippy, psychedelic fashion. That's not to say that I'm in any way interested in the current Zen trend that some people have of using drugs to "heighten" their meditation practice, because I think that pretty much misses the point, but there's some really strange sounding stuff in Zen that could make some interesting concepts for games. Especially if mixed in with the whole aliens and UFO's idea.

This is also a really cool book!

So, Pete's finally flipped his lid and gone all weird on us! Quick get the guys in white coats and ready a padded cell! Nah, not really. I've always been a bit odd, but then most of us are, we just like to keep it hidden for fear of ridicule and to fool other people into thinking we're normal. I just think that maybe I can mix some of my other interests into the games I make and move them a little further away from being bog standard, generic, retro styled arcade shooters... I mean, they're probably going to still be bog standard, generic, retro-styled arcade shooters, but now with the aim of adding a bit more personality to them and make them a bit more me. I quite like the idea of making games with a weird space hippy alien vibe to them... It could turn out to be quite fun.

Anyway, speaking of games and space... I'm currently working on a little thing called Crater Base. It's a Missile Command inspired 2d shooter where you have to defend your asteroid colony from waves of aliens (yep, it's aliens again!) who are out for your destruction. It's designed to invoke the style of late 70's arcade coin-op machines, and it should be available to download soon. I've basically just got to do some testing and finish the page on I'll throw the links out to Twitter and the blog when it's ready for human (or in-human) consumption!

Crater Base coming soon!

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Something short and sweet.

I've been a bit quiet on the blog for a couple of months because I've been working on a few different things and have been neglecting the blog a little bit.

I was working on a game inspired by the Jeff Minter morning Sheep Time live streams, but I couldn't get the game to feel the way I wanted and I shelved it for a bit to work on it later. I still wanted to work on something so I decided to see just how little you could put into a game and still get something that's sort of playable. The game I came up with was Asteroid Rescue Run.

In this game the player takes on the role of a pilot who has to fly their ship into a dangerous asteroid field to rescue pilots in escape pods who have lost their own ships in accidents. The game is a sort of endless runner, and it becomes quite difficult rather quickly, and the aim is to simply try and beat your last run and see how long you can survive. You die and you start again and try to go a bit further.

It's not going to win any prizes for originality or depth, but I had fun making it and I thought I'd throw it onto for people to try out.