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

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Risk, Reward, and the Plasma Auger

Offering gamers a choice between less risk but lower rewards and higher risk but higher rewards is what offers the fundamental addictive and exciting element in many games.

In Shoot 1UP, as you maneuver your ever-growing phalanx of ships you have some options controlling them. You can draw them together to be as small as a single ship, lowering the likely-hood that you'll get hit, or you can expand your fighters, increasing the possibility of one them being destroyed.


Collapsing your ships is easy with the left shoulder or trigger. But you have even more control in the form of the X button which puts on the ships' air brakes, causing you to move a third of your normal speed and granting you finer movements to dodge incoming bullet swarms and enemies.

If you do choose to expand your ships, which is easily performed on the fly via the left shoulder or trigger, you are rewarded in several ways.

First, shown on the HUD via a row of icons is the "spread gauge" which directly reflects your "spread multiplier". Each enemy you kill grants you a given amount of points. But if you kill an enemy with your spread multiplier active (showing at least one pip), you now cause them to drop a "points medal" which you can catch for higher scores.
The bigger your spread, the higher the multiplier can get--all the way up to x30.

As your ships spread out more, it makes it easier to catch the point medals, but again scarier because you're more likely to crash.

The most exhilarating reason to expand your ships is to activate the Plasma Auger. Once you've gained at least two ships, you can now fire the Plasma Auger by holding down the fire button though it takes a moment to warm up. You must have your spread multiplier (and your ships) expanded to the fourth pip, signified by being brighter and whiter.


This giant stream of destruction can go from very small to very wide, and increase in damage all based on how you use it.

For the more skilled player, the Plasma Auger doesn't require more ships to increase in size and damage--it only needs a bigger spread multiplier. The best way to get that is to keep your ships circular (or simply diagonal) and watch your hud for feedback.

The Plasma Auger is available in 2 player as well, and even possible with the Ghost powerup. Grab a buddy and start playing for a total of 3 enormous pillars of alien-rending energy!
We avoided launching the game this week (Jan 25th) so as not to be devoured by ME2. With that in mind, Shoot 1UP should be firing it's way your Xbox 360 by early February (possibly within a week)!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Feedback Incorporated

Shoot 1UP's playtesting sessions have been going really well and already yielded some nice changes. Thanks for testing everyone! It's been great trying to fold various suggestions into my overall design of the game in order to create an even stronger version.

Here's some new features that weren't initially in the game but were influenced through the recent playtests.
  • Awards system: Originally I hadn't planned for it, but it is great fun to have little extra challenges for which to strive in addition to "just beating the game" or a high score.
  • Story paintings: I had a story in mind as I was creating the game initially but wasn't sure if it was going to fit the final game. Dean Dodrill suggested I add some story element to make the game feel "complete".
  • 1UP super-bombs: Initially if you hit the 30 ship single-player max, the 1UPs just added to your score. Players wanted something more, so I decided the extra 1UPs could be triggered to act as super-bombs instead!
  • More Bosses and monsters: I love making monsters. That shouldn't be a surprise after Weapon of Choice. But initially Shoot 1UP was going to be pretty small. It's not a giant game now, but it's definitely filled out, and so far everyone's really loving all the new bosses!
The game is getting close to finish and I'm sending out preview copies to the press. It's wrapping up really nice and should be in your hands within the month!