So much to talk about, so little time to write about it.

I seem to be falling behind on my plans to update this blog once a week.  Every time I implement an idea and am in the middle of writing about it, another idea comes to mind.  I end up holding off writing my post to execute the new idea so that I can put that into the post too.  I need to a way to synchronize my blog cycle and ideas cycle together…
Yeah, I  don’t think that would work very well with only one person.

For the same reasons, this update is just another text + screenshots update instead of the video update I had planned earlier, which would have shown the game as it is now in action and demonstrated the audio as well (mostly the newly added sound effects).  I guess that will have to wait for another time.

Anyways, there are four things I would like to talk about today:  New HUD, Title Screen, Vector Stuff and Shaders.


First up, I’ve made some changes to the gameplay and HUD (the two are related).  Below is a screenshot of the current in-game display:

HUD 3.0

You will see that the HUD now takes up both the topmost and bottommost portions of the display, making the levels themselves slightly shorter.  First, let’s have a closer look at the top HUD:

New top HUD

And for comparison, let’s throw up the old HUD here as well:

Old HUD is old.
Aside from the different colours and the fact the second player isn’t active, there two main changes to the new HUD, which also reflect changes to the gameplay:
  1. A score counter is now where the life counter used to be in the top-left.  Previously I wanted the score to be tallied at the end of each level (in the style of games such as Battle City and Ice Climber).  However, I’m making some changes to the scoring system that would make that tally system impractical, such as rewarding more points per spirit returned to the shelter/jail in a single trip (think along the lines of Pac-Man‘s scoring system when you eat multiple ghosts in a row).  I may still have an end-of-level score tally for bonus levels.
  2. Remaing spirit counters are now where the round counter used to be in the top-center (not to be confused with the in-hand spirit counter just below the score).  In the original round flow, all the “target” spirits you needed to capture for a particular round appeared at the beginning of that round.  There was a maximum of 5 spirits you needed to capture per round; I felt that this number was too low and made each round too short.  Increasing the maximum number made the level too crowded when you also take the “nuisance” spirits (i.e. the ones that you don’t need to capture) and hungry/vagrant ghosts into account. Also, it was also balanced out by the spirits clumping together, making it easier to capture more in a single “trip”. My solution for this is to have a 4-5 on-screen spirit limit and then spawn more when the number on-screen falls below the limit (much like Pengo and Battle City, again).  The remaining spirit counters show how many spirits have yet to be spawned.  

Now let’s look at the bottom HUD:

New bottom HUD
This is the new home of both the lives and round counters.  Also, the lives counter uses character icons now rather than hearts.

Title Screen

Next up, I’ll briefly show and describe the title screen, which is still under development:

What? It didn’t say “Coin chute required” in the system requirements!
I want my quarters back!
There are still a few things I need to add to it:

  1. A graphical title to put up top rather than just having “G O N N A   C A T C H A”
  2. in plain text.

  3. a score table (so player will know what is worth what in the game).

Vector Stuff

Next, have a few vectorized spirits:
Two down, four more to go.


Finally, if you haven’t figured it out already,

Shaders are coming coming to GameMaker: Studio 1.2, which is just around the corner.  I can wait to see what kind of 2D graphical hijinks I’ll get into when it does, such as better CRT monitor simulation. (Maybe?)

Well, so long. See ya next time.
Copyright © Quadolor Games. All rights reserved.

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