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 Aeroslash - Blast'em! Bomb'em! Slash'em!



Preface

Much of my product has been accomplished through many trial and error tests. Between balancing college, family, my job, and life in general I've been working on this game for quite some time. I am actually pretty nervous about releasing a fairly playable demo as this is my first serious effort. I do not claim to be an expert by any means but constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated. If you like it enough, you will certainly see some updates on my project. I figured, posting a thread here would be more productive than yammering on about it on my facebook.

Introduction
Blast'em, bomb'em, slash'em! Aeroslash is a vertical scrolling shooter that allows the player to really get toe-to-toe with the enemies in intense battles. Players can actually fly over enemies without dying and furiously rain death down upon them. However, players still need to be particularly careful not to let their health deplete. If this game ran by traditional shmup rules (one-hit death), I dare say even the most skilled player would not survive the volatile waves of bullets.

Without further ado, I give you Aeroslash!

Download Link (51.4 mb): aeroslash_test.zip
Test Version 0.16034_37

Media
Youtube videos showing my development progress.




Images
Super cool pictures and gifs from the game!












Dev Notes

Certain features that are not yet available:
-Cheats
-Store
-Player Profile
-Options

Certain features that are limited/incomplete:
-Endurance Mode only has basic enemies and will be edited later.
-Level 2 boss does not die yet.
-Training Mode needs some work.

Features set to be removed or included in the Special Edition:
-Classic Mode
-Challenge Mode


Controls
Movement/Menu Control
W - Up
A - Left
S - Down
D - Right

Toggle weapons
1 - Weapon 1
2 - Weapon 2
3 - Cataslash

Attack
Left-Mouse Click - Quick Weapon
Left-Mouse Hold - Charge Weapon
Right-Mouse Release - Bomb

Other
Enter - Pause/Select
Esc - Exit
I - Toggle Interface

Any questions or comments will be answered here! Beyond that, I hope you enjoy what I have brought to you and thank you for allowing me to present it!
 
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mariospants

Member
This looks... WICKED! Beautiful enemy design, great sound fx... downloading it now, I'll give you my 2 cents once I play it, but the videos look really promising!
 

JCJ

Member
I am very impressed just looking at the pictures. The amount of detail is astonishing, how long has this taken you to do? :O
 
@Hamed I am glad you enjoy it!

@JJcupcake Good question! Honestly, this took me a few years to reach this level of detail. I would have to say the slowest part of development was earlier on between 2012 and 2013 when I was struggling with real life issues. Other than that, it usually takes me anywhere between an hour to make an enemy to several days for something as complicated as a mini boss or an end-level boss. I have to conceptualize, sketch, pixel in every detail, animate, program, and test. :)
 

JCJ

Member
@Hamed I am glad you enjoy it!

@JJcupcake Good question! Honestly, this took me a few years to reach this level of detail. I would have to say the slowest part of development was earlier on between 2012 and 2013 when I was struggling with real life issues. Other than that, it usually takes me anywhere between an hour to make an enemy to several days for something as complicated as a mini boss or an end-level boss. I have to conceptualize, sketch, pixel in every detail, animate, program, and test. :)
I can imagine, this must have been absolutely painstaking to do. I'm doing something much simpler, but still have been finding myself grinding away on my project every single day and nowhere near completion! I'd be proud if I managed to make something as stylish as this. So well done! love the designs. keep up the good work :D
 

Artwark

Member
So I played the game and I am definitely going to praise you for the beautiful visuals here. There is no doubt that a lot of effort has been done on this side!

Now for the gameplay.......

When you move fully up, you can't see your main ship and when you move down, and move left and right, it feels jarring to see the player interfere with the game icons.

I love the option that I'm given three ways to shoot. But the spread seems to be the most overpowered compared to the other two powerups to the point that there is no reason to want to have to use those choices. I wasn't able to beat the second boss without the spread as I tried with the vulcan first but I failed beating the boss on normal.

Sure, it does help on certain parts where the first boss gets killed faster with the vulcan but the spread can eliminate nearly everything and while it may take some time to beat the first boss with the spread, the same can't be said for the second one....

Speaking of the second boss, it has a second bar which regenerates and can only deplete faster when you use the spread. I didn't know that to get it depleted faster, you'd either have to use the spread or destroy the trains that come either left or right.

As for the controls. Now If this game is to be made for a mobile, I can understand the idea of using a mouse for that. If not, may I suggest to use one of the keys instead? I get that the options mode will probably fix this issue but if its not going to?

Lastly, while its very generous to offer a lot of lives, I feel that a health powerup is needed here. I may not have noticed it due to a lot of things happening in the screen so if it already is there, then ignore this comment.

Speaking of which, there is a bit of a slowdown here and there. I can understand that for games like this its really hard to make it smooth so I'm just saying that if you want to fix that, you can otherwise leave as it is as I don't see it ruining that much for now atleast.

That's all I have for now. Hopefully, this feedback is given in a good way.
 
I am actually very happy that someone played my game and offered suggestions! This made my day!

I was thinking about implementing a wider screen to carry all the icons or at least make it so that the ship cannot interfere with the icons. Perhaps make the power icons pop up from the side when activated and then slide back in after two seconds. Then I would need some kind of indicator to allow the player to know which power they are using.

Spread always seemed to be the most overpowered weapon as I tested. I may need to place a limiter on spread or nerf the damage output. I may need to set up a test boss or a sort of dummy that calculates the damage per second. That's another good one I can work on!

I was also impressed that you made it to the second level as many people had some difficulty with that. I'm guessing it depends upon the experience of the player. Well done!

With the health packs, I was debating on whether I should add them more generously or to keep them sparingly. As the developer, I never had that sense of urgency when low on health and I was curious about attaining information from a player's perspective. Your reply helped me understand what players need so I'll be sure to give players a chance at extra health if they're doing such a rad job killing enemies!

Fixing the slowdown is going to be a particularly interesting task to undertake. While I want players to feel awesome blasting tons of enemies, I'll need to experiment with just how many objects can be moving on the same screen simultaneously. I am guessing you've experienced the slowdown while fighting against the tiny tanks in Level 2? That is the only part I remember having occasional slowdowns on my old computer.

Overall, thank you very much for your detailed and objective critique! You did address some design issues I've been struggling with as well as a handful of new ones regarding the overall performance of the gameplay. I'll be sure to get to work on them and if anyone else would like to jump in and give their two cents on this, feel free to do so! I am listening! ;)

EDIT: And for clarification on the controls, I am guessing you would prefer using keys to shoot as well as to move. I can easily make such a configuration available!
 
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UPDATE:

The spread attack has been nerfed so it is only about 40% as effective as the stream/vulcan attack. I want the spread attack to be used primarily for clearing tons of small enemies but ineffective against large enemies or bosses.

The small tanks have also been weakened by 50% so they essentially become popcorn enemies.

Also cleared out several useless and obsolete variables I had leftover during my experimental stage so hopefully that will make the game run smoother.

I may need to work on the interface design a little so that it is more vertically oriented with information such as score, lives, player health, credits, etc get placed on the side out of the way. The boss meter may be changed to a vertical format as well on the other side but we'll just have to see how it looks first.

I'll be sure to play around with the control scheme a bit tomorrow and experiment with the health packs.

Cheers!
 
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UPDATE:

It's been awhile since I had been able to do any work on the game mainly due to my busier work/school schedule.

I noticed something goofy with the enemy generation on Level 2 when I toggled the interface off. They would pop right up on the screen AFTER coming into view so I had that fixed.

I'm also debating on whether I should just remove the dark bar along the top of the interface as this obscures the player or just utilize a transparency script that fades it away when the player gets near. I've already experimented with both options but I just cannot decide which one to choose. I was hoping to get some feed back about it if at all possible.

AND with some good news!
Effoharkay agreed to help make the music for Aeroslash! I definitely recommend listening to his tracks here: https://soundcloud.com/effoharkay

Right now I am funding the initial requirements on my own but may need to consider alternative financing for the project depending upon the situation.

Other than that, there will be more coming up in terms of new content within the following week! Stay tuned!
 

JCJ

Member
UPDATE:

It's been awhile since I had been able to do any work on the game mainly due to my busier work/school schedule.

I noticed something goofy with the enemy generation on Level 2 when I toggled the interface off. They would pop right up on the screen AFTER coming into view so I had that fixed.

I'm also debating on whether I should just remove the dark bar along the top of the interface as this obscures the player or just utilize a transparency script that fades it away when the player gets near. I've already experimented with both options but I just cannot decide which one to choose. I was hoping to get some feed back about it if at all possible.

AND with some good news!
Effoharkay agreed to help make the music for Aeroslash! I definitely recommend listening to his tracks here: https://soundcloud.com/effoharkay

Right now I am funding the initial requirements on my own but may need to consider alternative financing for the project depending upon the situation.

Other than that, there will be more coming up in terms of new content within the following week! Stay tuned!
I quite like how the health/power/bomb/charge bars stand out with that dark contrast along the top. Without it, those bars may not be as easy to look at. But apart from that, I don't see any reason to keep it. If you do remove it, I think it's a good idea to put the information on the side. As you and Artwark said, I agree the dark bar is obscuring the player object. I'd also like to point out, while I was playing the endurance mode, one of the big blue helicopters was hiding right at the edge behind it too at one point.

Just one other thing, about the training mode, the game froze everytime after I did the the part where it tells you to use the left mouse button to fire 10 times. Music was still playing but the screen and controls were stuck. I had to bring up task manager to close it.
 
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I quite like how the health/power/bomb/charge bars stand out with that dark contrast along the top. Without it, those bars may not be as easy to look at. But apart from that, I don't see any reason to keep it. If you do remove it, I think it's a good idea to put the information on the side. As you and Artwark said, I agree the dark bar is obscuring the player object. I'd also like to point out, while I was playing the endurance mode, one of the big blue helicopters was hiding right at the edge behind it too at one point.

Just one other thing, about the training mode, the game froze everytime after I did the the part where it tells you to use the left mouse button to fire 10 times. Music was still playing but the screen and controls were stuck. I had to bring up task manager to close it.
Oh yes! That's a good note! It's been awhile since I worked on the alternative modes.
 
UPDATE:

+Fixed the glitches in Training Mode
+Changed the movement logic in the helicopters so that they do not stick to the edge of the screen
+Fixed some depth issues with some of the sprites
+Removed the black border in preparation for a redesign

Upcoming Improvements:

-Change in control schemes out of one of the following:
--Keybind mode; user set controls
--Alternative Preset Keys; two different control schemes available at the same time
--Switching between Control Mode 1 and 2; two different control schemes can be alternated in the options menu

-Graphical Update for the Interface
-Elaboration on Training mode
-Player Naming
 
Another neat little addition I've added to the game. This is the Piranha, one of the smaller enemies that will be introduced in Level 3. The design has been greatly improved and I'm debating on making this bad boy into a playable jet. What do you think?

piranha_before_after.jpg
 
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JCJ

Member
Another neat little addition I've added to the game. This is the Piranha, one of the smaller enemies that will be introduced in Level 3. The design has been greatly improved and I'm debating on making this bad boy into a playable jet. What do you think?

View attachment 2789
The re-design looks great, I say yes to making it into a playable jet. Giving the player a choice is definitely a plus imo, the more the better! I welcome the choice on the control schemes too.
 

mariospants

Member
This is one of my favorite genres, and your game definitely holds its own with regards to freneticity, sounds, music, graphics, playability... it all works great. Now that I've played it, here are a couple of comments for ya (sorry if others have already beaten me to the punch, but it's probably good to hear it from more than one person):
  • full screen mode is a must, the game is too small in that window
  • when I start the game and hit Enter when it asks, nothing happens, I have to click the screen first before that works
  • when I start the game, it takes a while to start (clicking screen seems to set focus properly) so I sometimes hit Enter twice. When I do, it goes to the next menu item and it's a bit confusing as a result.
  • if I hit ESC at the menu to quit, sometimes it restarts the game by itself...
  • I find the power ups that are left behind are really difficult to pick up... and I was playing "Easy" mode. When I defeated the first guardian/boss (large green aircraft) the pickup just flew by me at an angle at high speed, there's no way I had a chance in hell of catching it
 
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