Mommy's Best Games, Inc. is an independent game developer founded in 2007. Our seventh game, currently in development, is Pig Eat Ball on which we started working in 2013. This is behind the scenes thoughts about game development and marketing.

Nathan

Friday, October 30, 2009

Shoot 1UP (7 day sketch)

Shoot 1UP is my entry into the Experimental Gameplay Project contest for October entitled "Numbers".
(Note: this is version is free, but unpolished--read about the nice, fancy version of the game here.)

In Shoot 1UP, you control a fighter attacking enemy aircraft infected with creepy, machine-controlling alien parasites. Your ship harnesses the alien power and is using it against them!

The twist on the vertical shooting action is that instead of gaining extra lives and taking them in turn, any time you gain an extra life that ship comes into play right then!

Inspired by the Numbers theme, when you kill an enemy ship, a new 1UP powerup is released based on the total number of player ships currently available.
For example, as you start the game you have one ship. Shoot the first alien, and you get a 1UP! Now you have 2 ships, and to get another 1UP, you have to kill 2 enemies ships... with 17 player ships, you have to destroy 17 alien fighters to increase to 18 ships!


Controls are simple with a Xbox 360 controller or the keyboard.
  • Shoot: A button / Space bar
  • Move: Left stick/ Arrow keys
  • Menus: Start and Back / Enter and Escape
  • Contract phalanx: X button / M key
  • Expand phalanx: B button / N key

Try to beat your high score with higher points, but the real challenge is getting more simultaneous ships!

Here's the free PC download for Shoot 1UP.
(Sorry folks, my ftp ate my file and it's not longer available--long story. If you have a back-up copy of this email me so I can get it back online--thanks!)
(And here's the winrar download if you need it.)

Install walkthrough:
  • Open the folder and click Startup.exe
  • This is an XNA game, as such it will need to download a Redistributable from the web.
  • If needed, it will download the Microsoft XNA Framework 3.0 Redistributable (takes a few minutes).
  • Then it asks you if you'd like to Install the Application or not. If you click yes, the game will start running.
  • If you have any tech problems, I'll try to sort them out. You can write in the comments or email me.
Shoot 1UP gameplay tips
  • The longer you play the faster the fighters attack.
  • Always collect powerups if you can squeeze through the bullets.
  • If a fighter dies, it explodes in a cyan fireball for a few seconds. This explosion destroys enemy fighters and their bullets--hide inside for temporary protection!
This version of Shoot 1UP was made in 7 days, as per the Experimental Gameplay Project contest rules.
A more polished, prettier version will soon be making its way to the Xbox 360 Indie Games section. Read about the ALL NEW pretty version to be released in January 2010!
Please enjoy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin flavored Air Bladder.. mmm.....

Oh, and the new, fancier version of Weapon of Choice just entered the "peer review" stage.. should be updated on your Xbox pretty soon!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Controls play-test drive

Version 1.08 of Weapon of Choice has just entered the "Playtest" phase in the XNA pipeline. In this case it means the finished update should be out for gamers to play in a few short weeks.

If you're an XNA developer (such as this Short-fused group) please consider giving the game a spin while it's in Playtest! I'd love to hear comments about the new changes (in the Playtest forums of course, but you can also share thoughts here). There are new control schemes, new difficulty settings, and several other fancy options to try out.

I'll do a post shortly detailing the various new changes to Weapon of Choice once it's available on the Indie Games channel.
And in related news, Weapon of Choice is now only 240 MS points! Yes, just three US bucks will get you more alien guts than you can stir with a jet engine, so go give it a try today! (And just think you'll be getting even more cool stuff in Weapon of Choice version 1.08 soon!)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Illusions of Control

I've been working on a new update to the original Weapon of Choice, which doesn't sound as fun as working on something new like Grapple Buggy, but I think it's necessary. Weapon of Choice is currently still in the Top Rated list, but as other new, fun things become available it might lose footing (rate WoC high if you haven't already, thanks!). To make the most of the higher exposure, I'd like to do as much as possible to continue to refine the demo experience and the game in general.

One area that could use broader support is the controls. I've heard various podcasts, seen forum posts, and gotten emails that wished the controller layout were different. Weapon of Choice uses a modern take on the side-scrolling, "Contra-style" genre in which the left stick controls the character and the right stick controls where he shoots. Since your thumbs are on the sticks, you can't reasonably operate the face buttons for jumping or switching which are moved to the shoulder buttons.

Throughout the post here, I'll show each of the three current layouts planned. I'm certainly open to hearing feedback in the comments on these new layouts.

For me, and thankfully the majority of gamers, this is a perfectly natural extension of the Contra-style genre and works with modern controllers. But since the genre itself is old, some gamers have expected and requested face button controls for jumping and shooting. I'm working on an update that should be available shortly, with these new control schemes.

But why would I have not allowed for such configuration from the start? It seems obvious in hind-sight. The main issue is, I couldn't imagine it any other way! Oh, and probably a dollop of hubris. Yes, some of that too. But in general I think I was standing too close to the painting for too long. To light-heartedly pick on the very snazzy developer Halfbrick, their recent game Halfbrick Rocket Racing seems to have suffered from a similar control issue also, as is evident in these reflections from XNPlay. Though they already did offer several control layouts, it looks like from the comments some people still couldn't find the best fit.

With more time and thought, Weapon of Choice will shortly have more control options, and some new difficulty modes (especially for the masochists out there!)

The lesson here is, if you're pushing a new control scheme, at least offer the original, expected layout somewhere in the game (even if it's buried) to temper the delivery somewhat. Otherwise, you'll end up looking like this.