Status Report

It’s been almost a month since my last post and almost three since I last put out a release of Shootah, so here’s where I am.

The new controls are working nicely, and gameplay has been tweaked accordingly. Instead of your weapon energy continually draining, it now only goes down while you’re actively firing. This kinda came about as the result of an eavesdropped Twitter discussion regarding controls for shmups on touch-screen devices. Autofire makes sense on a platform where using anything more than a single-finger can be fiddly and annoying, but the case was made that ALL shooters should work that way, because “why would you ever stop firing?”

Well, that’s a good question, but on a regular controller I kinda *like* the sense of agency that comes from “pulling the trigger” to unleash hot electric death upon your enemies. Hence, Shootah gives you an incentive not to keep the button held down the whole time, and to use your weapons sparingly in order to save energy and power up. BUT it will still throw waves of enemies at you against whom your only defense is to spray lasers into them, because that’s just fun. Said lasers are also a lot prettier, with a nice hot glow rather than the indistinct blur of the last build.

I’ve been doing some work on the sound front as well. Among other things, energy crystals now make a pleasing tinkle when you collect them, pitched according to how far they’ve decayed. It can get surprisingly musical at times, and reminds me of both Electroplankton and the undeservedly-obscure Spheres of Chaos. I’ll probably revisit most of the existing sounds at some point, as they’re really just placeholders. I especially dislike the hard “thump” of the enemy explosions, but I don’t have a clear idea of what to replace them with just yet.

I want to do another release build soon, but I haven’t really touched the level layout, and I feel bad doing a build in which a lot has changed but there’s no new “content”. I’m thinking of adding a boss to the test level and rejigging things to make level one a bit easier with a controller before putting it out. I also need to test the controller stuff on OSX and Linux. But I’m sure it’ll all work fine. Ah-ha. Ah-hahahahahahahaha.

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