In the far distant future, humans have been forced to deploy satellite space stations as protection against hostile alien races. Now, the Zeta Outpost is under attack by a vicious species of Bugs!
Use the mouse to aim your searchlight. Bugs will be detected audially the moment they come within range, but the searchlight is the only way to pinpoint them and counterattack!
When the meter is full, click the left mouse button to unleash a devastating laser attack, instantly incinerating any Bugs caught in the searchlight!
Increase your score +1 for every second survived, +5 for every Bug zapped, and +100 bonus for completing a round! Survive until the end of the round to earn an upgrade!
"Observing The Star" by yd of OpenGameArt.org
"Starlight" by KLY of OpenGameArt.org
sound effects by Dustyroom of the Unity Asset Store, rubberduck of OpenGameArt.org, Little Robot Sound Factory of OpenGameArt.org
This game was made for simmerjam, a weekend-long contest to create a game with a two-color minimalism theme. My initial concept was to have a single point of color on an otherwise dark screen, and from there I came up with the idea of enemies that blended in with the background unless you could illuminate them directly. Everything else just sort of fell into place from there.
Now, there are two main approaches to doing a game jam: you either play it completely safe with something short and simple that you already know everything about going in, or you go nuts and use it as an opportunity to experiment with and learn things that you wouldn't otherwise. For the most part, I took the first path; the round system is lifted directly from Daycare Disaster, the offscreen-spawning code featured in Circuit Wars, and the mouse-follow was something we first did in OWL. Not to mention how every one of the game's sound effects came from the pile that didn't make the cut for Alien Cow Farm, and there's no way that I could have done everything as efficiently and effectively as I did if I hadn't been working so hard on similar stuff recently in my other game. However. I would be remiss not to mention that I've really been feeling like I needed a break from ACF lately, as it's truly been a full-time job for almost a year now - longer on some days, and especially considering all the weekend hours. I'm in the home stretch, but it felt really good to start something fresh and subsequently knock it out in an afternoon and a couple hours. 2D games are just simpler, and I think I've come to enjoy working on them more. ...My point, as it relates to this post, is that I may not have done anything earth-shattering with Zeta Outpost Defense, but it was still different and refreshing.
The only note I have on the code is that the hardest part was what it usually is: balancing, and especially with the creep associated with all arcade-type games. For the player upgrades, I started with the maxed-out values, setting them to what I thought would make the most powerful player and the most fun game. Then I took it all away, actually going ahead and making the game linearly more frustrating to play. I knew that the game would be amazing if you could survive long enough to build yourself up, but I gambled that I wasn't making it too hard or too annoying to get to that part. But that's just like any game where you can unlock skills or level-up, and as long as it isn't too overwhelming, it's great. To temper the player getting stronger, I was going to boost the enemy Bugs' speed and spawn rate both over time, but that's a lot of variables, especially since the player can take upgrades in whatever order they like, for drastically different results. Instead, I decided to keep speed constant, with the effect that later rounds feel more like you're playing a zombie game than Space Invaders...you're fighting off a huge swarm, just not one that moves particularly quickly. What I did do was increase the length of each subsequent round, because I felt like it kept cutting off just when things were getting interesting.
Alright, time for a little bragging. I posted this one on Newgrounds as well, and while it's sitting at a score of approximately 3/5 overall (about the same as my other games there), the comments have been all positive. "Pretty addictive gameplay, and a good job for completing in a game jam." "Pretty sweet for a game jam game!" "Simple and brilliant and it actually gets me pretty freaked out right around lvl 8. Good design, good difficulty boost, well made. Easy bit of fun with a challenge. Like it." "The game is really fun. I played it for ten minutes which I don't usually do for Newgrounds. Keep going and making games." Newgrounds is by far the easiest way for games to reach a wide audience, and this feedback is extremely encouraging.
I'm very pleased with this game. It's the best kind of stressful to hear the Bug spawning audio cue without having any idea where onscreen it's coming from, and only being able to sweep around painfully slowly to try and find it. The 15 odd hours I spent on this were certainly worth it. And something I only realized just now, this is officially the first game released under the ZWOLYA company name. Here's to many more!