Cloud Cover: A simple shmup: Play it now!

Discussion in 'Made with GameMaker' started by sitebender, Oct 23, 2018.

  1. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    I had the weekend off, and I chose to use it the only way I know how and that's make a quick game. At first it started as simple art, because I wanted to make art. Then it turned into a simple game jam sort of thing. This project helps me get better at art.

    WHAT IS IT:

    Cloud Cover is a simple shmup with limited movement, as in you can only move left and right, but you get a dash to move in an instant to the left or the right. With this being my fourth shmup, I had to make it different, so this is the difference. There are no traditional levels, instead enemies drop randomly until you destroy enough of them to get to the next level. It takes about 10 minutes to see all the content. Then the game loops infinitely.

    FEATURES:
    - Full controller and keyboard support.
    - Infinite gameplay.
    - 3 lives and a lot of health to combat an intimidating amount of bullets.
    - 10+ items to collect including weapons, magnets, bombs, points, health, and lives.
    - 10+ enemies and 5 bosses.
    - 7+ selectable ships to pilot, each with their own stats.
    - 20+ selectable pilots with their own perks, pros and cons.
    - 3 challenging difficulties.
    - 2 player support with various input methods: both on keyboard, 1 on keyboard 1 on controller or 2 controllers.
    - 6+ songs.

    DOWNLOAD IT NOW:
    DOWNLOAD IT NOW ON ITCH.IO

    CURRENT VIDEO:



    ORIGINAL 2 DAY VIDEO:



    SCREENSHOTS:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    THE CONCEPT ART:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
  2. Carloskhard

    Carloskhard Member

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    The game looks amazing and of this was made in a weekend I need to take my hat off 'cause the overall feeling and graphics are great!
    Looks like an old classic game: Simple looking but smooth,consistent art and nice feeling.
    Congrats
     
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  3. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    Thanks for the compliments. They mean more now that I'm the person who did the art. :)

    Now for the update:

    MORE ENEMIES & NEW BOSSES

    I spent yesterday working on more bosses and enemies. The game used to drop a random pickup every 5 enemies, but now the game will spawn a carrier enemy with a mounted turret to drop the pickups. Player needs to destroy the turret, then the enemy itself to earn the pickup. So in a way it's a lateral movement, as you still need to kill an enemy for a drop.

    There are more bosses made, but not put into the game yet. With that said, there was a bomb layer that was made and dumped into the game as a second boss:



    SUBTLETY & MORE WEAPONS

    It's still a basic shmup, but I added 2 weapon pickups that will give the player a dual or a triple shot. These extra weapons have a 10 second limit, otherwise the game gets to be far too easy. Plus, the other power ups / pick ups have the same 10 second time limit. If there's a logistical question behind a timed weapon vs a weapon with ammunition, the game lets you juggle a pickup without collecting it, so there you go. If the player already has a weapon and they get a new weapon, that's an extra bonus.

    As for the subtlety, the player can now fire a triple shot if they don't shoot for a fourth of a second. That will make the game a bit easier to get the faster enemies and get the big foes that slowly fly by.

    EXTENDING THE GAME

    Before this update, each level was completed by killing 10 enemies or a boss. This made the game go by fast. I could see both bosses within 6+ minutes. While the game is infinite, it's probably best to stagger the content a bit more. So now each level requires the player to kill more enemies, until each level maxes out at having to kill 30 enemies. At first it was having to kill 10 more enemies per level, but having to kill 60 enemies at level 6 felt like far too much of a chore. Even having a maximum of 50 enemies per level felt like too much of a chore and if it's that bad with me playing it, it will be worse with anyone else playing. So I went with a maximum of 30. Perhaps 2 players will be double that, but I will know that when I add the main menu and let there be a second player.

    I am still on track for wrapping up the game within the next week.
     
  4. afilionComposer

    afilionComposer Member

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    I'm absolutely in love with the art style! <3
     
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  5. Amon

    Amon Member

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    Now, this looks awesome. The art is brilliant.
     
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  6. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    Thanks for the compliments. Art and style makes it all come together.

    NEWZ ON MENUZ

    I've moved into my 2 hours a day phase of the project and made a menu for it. There's a title screen menu with no title on the screen, a pause menu and a game over menu. Hopefully these icons should be self explanatory. Please let me know if they are not.

    [​IMG]

    This pause screen looked a little dull as my pause screens always do... so I added a system to make enemy silhouettes fall, drop and float on by. When the game is unpaused, they all shrink and disappear. The player is given 3 seconds before the game is active. This should give the player a better chance of survival to think about things.

    [​IMG]

    I still need to setup a menu for the settings, game difficulty and the amount of players.

    Here is a video of the 3 simple menus:

     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
  7. IGameArt

    IGameArt Member

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    This looks pretty promising, honestly. Is love to see some terrain under those clouds, but you're headed in a great direction
     
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  8. kupo15

    kupo15 Member

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    I really like the long explosion effects!
     
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  9. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    SETTINGS MENU

    Yesterday's session created the settings menu, along with a more elaborate game over, a game save system, a game load system, and keeping track of the high score. The settings are simple, sound volume, music volume, full screen toggle, screen shake and controller rumble. Not that the game has music, sound or controller rumble at this point, but the ground work for each has been laid. Music and sound come last for my games, because I try to make the games feel good before they have audio frills.

    I added more style to the menu itself as now it's yellow with orange rather than transparent with black.

    [​IMG]

    With the high score, I made the game show the previous high score when you get a game over. That was a big thing about one of my previous games, people enjoyed seeing the previous high score so they knew by how much their own score had beaten it.

    WHERE TO GO FROM HERE

    The next steps should be adding menus for 2 player configurations, a difficulty menu, and making art for a title screen. I've had the art in mind for a while now, but will I be good enough to make it look good? I hope this all can be done in a day.

    With 2 days remaining...

    What would you prefer more of?

    - Backgrounds ( I saw @IGameArt ask for terrain under, which would add for more visual diversity )
    - More enemies (there are 6 it would make the later parts of the game feel more fresh)
    - More bosses (there are 2 instead of having a boss every 5 levels, it would be every 4 levels with more bosses)
    - More vessels to play as ( I assume this will give the game more replay value )
     
  10. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    To my surprise, I was able to finish all that I intended to yesterday.
    - 2 player menu + input method selection.
    - 3 difficulties. I thought about 5, but eh no one will play more than one difficulty anyway.
    - Title screen.

    TITLE SCREEN

    [​IMG]

    The title screen took the lion's share of the session yesterday. It was a dull session. In game, the logo bobs up and down. It's perhaps too big for the yellow buttons below it, but making the logo smaller on the title screen feels unimpressive. To make the title screen less ugly that having a yellow background with red orange silhouettes, I modified things to be aqua with purple.

    PLAYER SELECT + INPUT METHOD SELECTION

    [​IMG]

    This took the bulk of the actual programming time. The game detects the controllers you have and you assign who uses what. Player 1 can be on the right side of the keyboard, player 2 on the left. Player 1 can have the second controller and player 2 can have the full keyboard. It's nice and hopefully self explanatory. Having two players makes the game far easier, so to beef it up, the players now have to destroy twice the enemies before the next level. That way both players have a chance to kill the same amount of enemies.

    DIFFICULTY

    I will spare you the difficulty selection screen as it's simple. The three difficulties start the player off with less lives, the player takes more damage, the items are dropped less. From 5 enemies killed to drop an item to 15 enemies killed to drop items. Since the harder difficulty is so much more of a handicap, the players are rewarded with bonus multipliers at the end of the game. 1x for easy, 3x for medium, and 5x for hard. Even if on the hard difficulty I fail to reach the same place when I get a game over on easy, my final score is far greater than it would be on easy.

    2 MORE DAYS TO GO

    So I ask again...

    What would you prefer more of?

    - Backgrounds ( I saw @IGameArt ask for terrain under, which would add for more visual diversity )
    - More enemies (there are 6 it would make the later parts of the game feel more fresh)
    - More bosses (there are 2 instead of having a boss every 5 levels, it would be every 4 levels with more bosses)
    - More vessels to play as ( I assume this will give the game more replay value )
     
  11. IGameArt

    IGameArt Member

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    Looking smooth so far. Is that water under the clouds of your title screen or more sky?
     
  12. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    That is just art and colors. Neither water or sky. The menu was a little dull having just a dimmed background of what is in the game, so I made enemy silhouettes fall. Then that looked ugly with the dimmed background of what's in the game. So now it's just a color.

    Now for the update...

    TEST AND PLAY THE GAME

    Due to social functions, I am and will be unable to work this weekend on the game... so I'm just kicking it out the door. Game in 9 days.

    DOWNLOAD IT NOW ON ITCH.IO

    Hopefully I get more feedback on this than the last game.

    A CURRENT VIDEO:

     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
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  13. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    I forced a friend to play it... so a few updates were made:
    - Added control instructions for keyboard and controller.
    - Added player outline when the mini charge is charged 1/4th of a second.
    - Added background scroll speed setting. So you can make it scroll fast or not scroll at all.
    - Fixed music volume setting not adjusting the music volume of the active song.
     
  14. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    The game jam is over, but the game still continues. The last session or two felt productive.

    NEW BOSS AND HOW OFTEN BOSSES APPEAR

    During the game jam last week, I did start the art of three bosses that were never added to the game due to time constraints. I finished up one of the bosses, gave it a basic animation and added it to the game. The boss that was sitting around was added to the game. It sits on top of the airborne aircraft carrier and belches bullets. Two more bosses to go... a giant slug and some mega winged boss.

    With the third boss and the fact that I can barely make it past level 10 of an infinite level game, I modified the bosses to happen once every 3 levels. So, enemy level, enemy level, boss. This replaces the previous boss on every fifth level. This makes the game feel faster like there's more progress, while still letting the player see all 3 bosses without having to be all that good.

    Other than that...

    3 NEW ENEMIES

    The game had six or so enemies, but I made art for three more and dumped them into game in the later levels. Well one enemy appears in all levels after the first. Having three new enemies adds more content and dynamics to the game. So now I feel like there's enough intense combat and original enemies for 10 minutes rather than 5 minutes.

    THE PUSHER

    [​IMG]

    This enemy comes in chains of 10 and is designed to restrict the player. If the player rams an enemy, the player takes far more damage than a mere bullet. The player can still get in front of the chain to kill the pushers, but there's a catch. It's risk reward, how many can you kill before you need to move? Each kill gets you that much further to the next level, so standing in front of a chain of 10 can get you up to 30 kills for that next level real quick.

    THE RAMMER

    [​IMG]

    Marked with a skull, it will appear quick and bluntly ram forward. They aren't really an enemy to kill so much as an enemy to dodge. You can kill them and possibly get hit trying. There are bigger weapons and 2 players, that might work out better to actually kill them.

    THE SHOTGUNNER

    https://twitter.com/DrinkingNails/status/1057640945129324544

    Why have one shotgun when you can have two? This broad winged beast requires the player to destroy both cannons before obliterating the body. There's a nice effect when the cannons are destroyed that involves fire and smoke. As for why it's the called shotgunner... it fires clusters of bullets at a wide spread. It is perhaps the most delicate enemy to destroy that should be destroyed.

    THE VIDEO

     
  15. Nehemek

    Nehemek Member

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    Allright, here are my thoughts:

    I really like the iconography. I navigated through the money withouth the need of the word. That was cool. The color pallet is also interesting but, right out of the bat I had a problem and it's the background. It makes me dizzy and it's really hard to see with it. There is so much noise on the screen that it becomes hard to see what is a bullet and what is not.

    The movement felt painfully slow and it's limited to just the horizontal axis. Dodging felt more like a luck game of being properly positioned rather than skilluly moving away. It's not really satisfying.

    The "WARNING" message stood on the screen so long there were enemies under it and I couldn't see them coming towards me.
     
  16. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    MORE PLAYABLE VESSELS

    For the sake of diversity, I started adding more playable vessels with a way to select them after selecting the difficulty. It's becoming quite a process to start the game with having to select the amount of players, their control schemes, then difficulty, then the player selection.

    The new playable vessels have a variety of shooting speeds, projectiles, alternate weapons, dash or no dash, speeds, firing patterns, attack damage and defenses when shot. Oh and sizes, they all have different sizes. This also helps with one of the testers preferring a quicker vehicle without having to remake the game based on the fact the player is so quick they can dodge most anything. Just crank down the defenses and boom, a balanced vessel.

    The default Patriot ship has moderate attack damage, the highest defense possible, fires a straight forward pattern and has an alternate triple shot. The Belcher have weak projectiles, but fire more of them. The alternate fire is a wide shotgun spread, but has limited range. The shotgun can take out bigger enemies to the side, while other vessels would have to let enemies pass by. The downside is there's no dash, so you'd need to weave between bullets.

    Based on the attack strength and speed, enemies that used to restrict the screen become a smorgasbord of destruction. This allows certain vessels to burn through the levels at the cost of less defense.

    The selection screen needs a bit of work, but the players can select their vessel, move around, dash and test things before they confirm:

    [​IMG]
     
  17. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    Not to double post or anything, but you wrote while I was writing the update.

    Thanks for playing and the feedback! The red things are the bullets. You can stop the background scroll in the settings. The player movement is slow when shooting. You can stop shooting move faster. Plus there is a dash if you need to dodge some bullets.

    To quell the player speed, the new version has different playable vessels.
     
  18. Nehemek

    Nehemek Member

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    Sorry I didn't make myself clear:

    • I had indeed toned down the scrolling through the setting, but are the many elements contrasted with the patterned cloud background that makes it hard to read the bullet positions sometimes.
    • I played again and you are right, you move faster when not shooting, but the difference is quite small and I hadn't noticed before until you pointed it out. I think the mechanic is interesting and makes it so the player can't be just holding the shoot key, however the small speed difference didn't stop me from holding it.
    • I didn't know about the dash, but after experimenting with it, while it's indeed faster than the normal movement (while not shooting) it seems to have a fixed length and I often rammed into other incoming projectiles or ships (not that it's a bad thing, it could be the payback, but it still wasn't a viable dodge option to me).
     
  19. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    Yeah there's a lot of on screen fluff that most shmup players would condemn since the bullets can get partially obscured by clouds and the clouds are fast. I tried something new with this and it failed. I wanted to give the game a sense of speed since this is my fourth shmup and the others have very slow backgrounds without any obscuring elements. With this being my fourth shmup, I stapled the player to a Y axis rather than full movement.

    Good thing you have a lot of health to get better at dodging those bullets. The speed doubles when you aren't shooting, but I suppose if the speed isn't very fast for precision already, double the speed won't be helpful then. On the plus side, there is a new, faster ship with less defense.

    The dash is a fixed length yes. It's more so to get out of the way of projectiles. My first shmup had a dash that was infinite so the player could literally do circles around enemies... but if the player hit them the player would explode and die.

    Again, thank you for playing. I'll do some more tweaking based on your feedback and feedback from the game jam judges which was harsh at the time. "In an era where we have controllers with two thumbsticks, why does this game only shoot forward?"
     
  20. Nehemek

    Nehemek Member

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    I see, then I have some suggestions that you maybe would like to consider:
    • Maybe the ships can move faster but they have acceleration and decceleration, that way if I lightly tap I can do fine motor movements and if I hold I move at a fast speed.
    • The dash could be canceled if I stop pressing the key, but I have to wait before I can use it again, that way players won't keep using it constantly.
    • Alternatively when the player dashes the ship is invincible and takes no damage, however it takes a while for the dash to reload.
    Regarding the "shooting forward", I don't agree with that. That's your design and that's what also adds difficulty to the game, they didn't understeand your game
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
  21. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    Thanks again for the feedback.

    - Added a second speed where if the player is moving left or right for half a second, the extra speed turns on. This gives the player precision with small movements and necessary long range speed. The extra speed also prevents momentum sliding, as that was a big complaint from testers in previous shmups. They'd end up sliding into bullets and didn't like the icy feel. With the new speed, it makes the alternate triple shot a bit obsolete.
    - Modified the dash to wipe bullets without taking damage. If the player dashes into an enemy, the player still takes damage. This does make the game considerably easier, and the player can plan out to wipe bullets with a dash for points. The points stack / combo. 100 points for wiping one bullet, 200 for the next, 300 after that and so on. There is now a maximum time of a third of a second rather than a fourth of a second. Half a second or longer felt like I could greatly abuse it to the point where bullets were no longer any threat. Plus, when a dash stops, you can just dash again, but you have a split second to still take damage.
    - Modified shield to stack points as well for getting hit by projectiles. The shield always gave the player points for getting shot, but now there are more points! Points now stack in hundreds rather than tens.
    - Modified the warning to be up higher toward the top of the screen so the player can see more of the lower half and any bullets coming at them. There is also 25% transparency.
    - Added a body damage stat to the vessels from ramming enemies. Default is 5 damage. The Flier takes 8 damage and the Belcher takes 1, as it's bigger and weird like that.

    There is so much explanation that I should dump it into a manual.

    As always, the new download is up at: itch.io
     
  22. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    A few fixes and two new enemies highlight the latest update. The two new enemies make up for more variety and now the player might take 12+ minutes to see everything in game. Who knew that dumping enemies into a game with no real levels could be such fun?

    LASER MOUTH

    [​IMG]

    Since the player can now dash for longer, it was time to create an enemy that would make use of it. Laser Mouth is just an enemy that scrolls across the screen with a giant laser that never stops. The player can dash right through the laser to not get hit, but for the vessels without a dash, the foe can be carefully destroyed. Laser mouths appear every 45 seconds after level 3.

    TRISHOT

    [​IMG]

    The trishots have an unimpressive size, but they are quick and pack faster bullets. The twist here is the enemy flies to the player's face, shoots one, two, three rather than all at once. The three shots have a set trajectory and the projectiles are faster. The first shot is away from the player, the second shot is forward and the third shot is toward the player. The trishots have low health, but they collect in numbers.

    OTHER FIXES:

    - Fixed the title screen getting paused after a game over. This was only visible when the player would select vessels.
    - Fixed music not playing or playing incorrectly.
    - Fixed bombs being able to sail the player through entire levels with a single bomb.
    - Fixed a crash at level 10.

    VIDEO:


    NEW VERSION IS AVAILABLE AT:
    itch.io
     
  23. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    After two weeks, I am just declaring this project done. It's a week after the end of the game jam.
     
  24. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    It has been almost a week since I worked on the game since I am content with it as is. Since someone new played it, I had a chance to improve the game with certain shmup standards such as now the bullets are always over clouds and explosions. This should be true of any shmup, but wanting to make this game different from my other shmups, I tried to obscure bullets behind clouds. I also felt like the bullets were patterned enough to be predictable.

    The explosions now have a setting to reduce or increase their transparency. This increases the player's visibility to their liking.

    NEW SHIPS

    Beyond that there are two new playable ships, raising the total to seven. These two new ships bring the most bullets, but the least damage. Then again, more bullets, slightly more damage, so it balances out. While they have similar stats, the amount of bullets alone should make them discernibly different.

    [​IMG]

    NEW ENEMY

    The final news to report is there is a later enemy in the game that amounts to a small octopus that blasts big laser beams. The octo will blast one, then hop, blast another, then hop. All the way up to three blasts, before it jets past the player. They are easy to dispatch as they have a giant dome to shoot and low health. The long lasers will restrict the player, even if the player can dash through them.

    Ease of life update:

    - Added a new enemy for the later stages.
    - Added 2 new playable vessels.
    - Added automatic anti-aliasing and V-sync to full screen to prevent screen tearing and rippling.
    - Added a smoke transparency setting.
    - Modified bullets and projectiles to always be over explosions.
     
  25. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    It was a productive week.

    NON TRAILER



    PILOTS


    [​IMG]

    First you select your ship, but then you select your pilot. Each of the 20 pilots has different pros and cons. Some increase the likelihood of specific things being dropped from enemies. Others increase attack power or give dash to ships with no dash. Since this project is about me getting better at art, I made art for the different pilots. While they are each similar, using the same template and then modified, they turned out well. These pilots offer more diversity to players to tweak things more.

    Some pilots have no bio, so expect tweaks and more pilots to come.

    NEW SHIP: DUCKY

    Ducky is similar to Slipstream. There is no dash, Ducky is quick, but frail. To make up for this frailty, Ducky does more damage than Slipstream. Oh and Ducky is clearly smaller than any other vessel the player can select. Everything combines to make it feel unique, even if there are similar ships.

    CHARGE SHOT

    But the game already has a charge shot. Wait 1/4th of a second and you get a triple shot, which is helpful for taking out faster enemies or hard to reach places. Oh but then if you wait five seconds, you get a second charge shot with a powerful projectile that does twice the damage and it pierces through enemies, but does less damage the longer it passes through enemies. It is basic, but easy to use. The ships with stronger attacks take longer to charge. One of the new pilots reduces the time it takes to charge a shot.

    3 VARIANTS TO THE LAUNCHER BOSS

    The launcher boss drops mines... but now, the further you go in the game, the more variety you'll see. It will also drop rammers and then replace its launcher with a giant laser. The laser is easier to dodge if you have a ship with dash, since the dash let's you go through even a fat laser with no damage to the ship. With that said, I'm lucky to make it past the third boss, let alone to make it to the fourth and then sixth.

    COINS ARE VALUABLE

    The coins now accumulate when you collect them. At a game over, you're given a bonus coin for each 1,000 points. So 450,000 points translates into 450 extra coins. It feels easy enough to get 500 - 1,000 coins in a single run between collecting them and bonuses. At the moment, there is nothing to do with the coins, but in the future they will be used to unlock pilots and ships.

    2 MORE WEAPON PICKUPS

    In addition to dual and tri shot, there's now triple and big shot. The big shot doubles the size of a bullet along with its damage while the triple shot fires three projectiles forward rather than in a triangle pattern. It should be noted that the collectables that get dropped from enemies have been broken into three categories, health, wealth, and weapons. Health contains shields, health and lives. Wealth contains projectile to coin, 1,000 point pickups and magnets. Weapons have all four of the weapons and the bomb. This category system is used for the new pilots. Extra lives happen more frequent in easier difficulties.

    COUNTDOWN CLOCK

    The clock starts at three minutes. For each level completed, a minute or more is added to the clock with a maximum of five minutes. On the easiest difficulty, players are granted more time, where running low is never an issue. The clock was added, because otherwise the player can dash wipe bullets through the entire game to rack up points without getting out of the first level or two. If the clock runs out, the living players lose a ship, but get an extra sixty seconds added to the clock.

    SLOWER ENEMY PROJECTILES

    With everyone I know playing a gentler shmup, I took the easy mode of Cloud Cover to a slower route. Enemy projectiles now move at half speed, at least for the first 10 or so levels. While this might seem like a good way to dodge bullets, this also means the player has more projectiles on screen for longer periods. The basic enemy that appears 97% of the time is also slower.

    LEVELS FOLLOWED BY BOSSES

    At the end of each level is now a boss, except for the first level. Bosses now have a level rather than the boss being the level. This should extend the game a bit while making the player more motivated to not run out of time. The enemy appearances have been tweaked so the player will see all the enemies in 9 levels rather than 11. Everything may still be tweaked, but the bosses were given levels as it was tough to justify a mini boss followed by a bigger boss with no level between.

    MINI BOSSES

    The mini bosses are all the same foe for the moment, but with each battle, the mini boss becomes more difficult. It goes from a forward shooting foe, to twisting and turning as it shoots. Then in later levels it gets two hyper lasers and later on even later levels, it will twist and turn the hyper lasers.

    THE BAKER BOSS

    With the game getting easier with the slower projectiles, there's now enough need for a fourth boss. The baker has a face, a shooting hat, fires toast and blocks with its arms. If you shoot the toast, it explodes into bullets. If you destroy the baker's arms, guns will come out. The objective is to disable the hat gun, followed by annihilating the face. The baker can be found at the end of level 12. Bosses and mini bosses now give a single health drop on their defeat.

    SMASHERS

    The smashers are a new collectable that spawns twin objects to smash into enemies. The objects also work as a shield as they will wipe projectiles. When shooting, the smashers keep a close distance to the player, but when not shooting, they extend out further and rotate faster to turn into a new and unique weapon. Like with the other weapons in the game, there is a time limit that starts at 10 seconds.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018

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