Coming soon: Laser Sky



Funny how much morale matters in game development. While this weekend I was in no condition to work on Laser Sky, the game was in a condition to be seen by a few early testers, and that gave me the energy to go on. Not that the feedback was so great: everyone's first reaction was to call it sluggish and unresponsive. It didn't feel that way to me, but when three people say you're drunk...

So the first thing I did on Monday morning was to make the player's ship accelerate just a little faster. Which, to my surprise, improved the game balance, and subsequent testers merely remarked the game is slow-paced. In other words, exactly as intended. Success! Most of them also praised the graphics, though one tester was put off by the same "paper airplane" enemies another loved. There's no accounting for taste. And hey, both of them recognized the inspiration despite the abstract shape. Go me.

Anyway, as predicted last time, the rest of the day was spent adding sound effects. They're from the same Creative Commons pack I used for Attack Vector, except a different selection (twice as wide, too), and with no additional sources. So the two games ended up sounding nothing the like. Couldn't locate any suitable music, but a friend offered to help with that, and from what we discussed it seems we're on the same wavelength. So this should be great.

On Tuesday, it was time to finish adding the content for level 1. Which meant creating one last enemy, then the end-level boss, adding more waves and remixing what was already there. Also some tweaking of the spawn range for two of the enemies, which at last made the second half reasonably balanced. This took all day, and left me terribly tired. It also caused me to realize I needed three weeks of work to have one complete level in the game. Laser Sky is shaping up as one of my biggest projects so far. Fortunately the gameplay is coming together very well, so working on it is a joy. If only the return on investment will be on the same level...

That said, on Wednesday I took it easy and settled for adding a mute key -- also a dedicated pause key while the hood was up. The latter isn't just good form, but also frees up the Enter key for a secondary weapon, at least once I come up with the right idea. One last tweak to the final boss, and it was time to take a break. These updates don't write themselves, you know.

What next, then? Most likely, the game will go live this weekend as-is; it's time for a public appearance. After that, adding a high score system, the music (whenever it's ready), and then either levels 2 and 3 or else the menu screen I keep promising. What won't happen immediately is the planned desktop port. Not only the effort would be too much so soon after release, I want to see what people think about the game before sinking much more time into it.