Sorry about the bad mic quality. A new headset mic is on my shortlist. In today’s alpha video, we get to see the following new features:
The wingman plane is a friendly plane that follows you in formation. Right now, he just moves to match your current vector while flying close, top right of your current position. I’ll add in the ability for the wingman to find a position relative to the player’s current rotation, so we can have multiple wingmen flanking your sides and flying behind you. These wingmen can also follow other wingmen, so I can mess around with setting up cool attack formations. Fun stuff!
Aggressive Enemy Plane
Now the enemy plane will try and hunt you down. He’ll do his best to fly directly behind you at a certain distance which correlates to whether he wants to lock missiles from afar or pepper you with bullets from up close. At first, he was tenacious and could NOT be tracked for missile lock, so I added the ability to confuse your opponent by flying too close and breaking off. This makes him wander aimlessly while he tries to ‘find’ you, giving you plenty of time to swoop in from behind and…
Missile lock and FIRE!
Heat seeker missiles have been added. You now press the right thumbstick to activate the target reticle. If you can get it to hover over a particular enemy, missile lock occurs and heat seekers will use it seek and destroy your target. AWESOME!
Object pools for all projectiles and particles
It is INCREDIBLY important to watch your memory and complexity in game, especially for weaker platforms like the OUYA and older mobile phones. So I’ve implemented object pools for all bullets, missiles, and particles that will keep memory consumption constant. Now the screen can me filled with hundreds of bullets with no ill effects on frame rate.
It’s not much to look at right now, but the game now supports animated particles. I’ll have to MAKE some awesome effects to stress test it, but expect to see a lot of cool stuff. Smoke from damaged planes, shrapnel and fire from missile/bullet strikes, clouds, birds, etc.
Here’s a look at the first video of alpha gameplay for TigerHawks.
As you can see, you can play as a Player Plane against a single Enemy Plane. The plane will roll depending on which direction you’re turning. The enemy plane AI is just on a random, dumb algorithm that makes him change speed and direction every couple of seconds. The Player Plane is fully controllable by both an Xbox360 GamePad and and OUYA gamepad. It also builds perfectly to the OUYA device, and plays at a beautiful 60 FPS. You’re capable of firing a handful of weapons, such as 3 different machine guns and a dumb-fire missile.
I’m VERY pleased with how well this build is going, and how well Starling is performing on both PC and the OUYA, which is arguably a moderately powered Android device. Keep an eye out for more updates in the future.
Here are a couple of assets for the hero and enemy planes. I needed full turn-arounds to really give the player a wild ride when it comes to evading missiles, performing evasive maneuvers, and crash diving after being destroyed. There was a short time when I considered building this game in 3D, but I like the 2D look. I feel that it lends a little more soul to the game.
I now have initial build installing to PC, Android, OUYA and iOS. I’ll be using the Citrus engine to better handle asset management and Stage3D rendering. If Beards and Glory taught me anything, it’s that reinventing the wheel can be a colossal waste of time. Gamepad support is enabled on PC and OUYA, but Android and iOS will have the option of using controller overlays on screen. Not my favorite thing in the world, but what are you going to do… that’s the hell of building for touchscreen. Keep and eye open over the next few weeks for some rudimentary gameplay. This is all so exciting.
I heard a lot of good critiques from you guys stating that the female pilots weren’t feminine enough, so I’ve done a second pass at them and posed their previous iteration next to them for reference. The ladies now have more slender necks, wider hips, more slender arms, and less androgynous hair styles. Let me know what you think. That’s why this is called ‘Concept Art’.
So, I had a really interesting idea to add a different aspect of gameplay to TigerHawks. You would assume the role of a fighter pilot, and based on your interaction with other pilots in-between missions, you may receive boosts in abilities, weapons, missions, etc, OR… you may end up pissing off your wing man, thereby making them less eager to help you out with bogeys on your tail.
Here are some concepts of your fighter colleagues. Female pilots are coming soon.
Some people like seeing how I go about drawing this kind of art. Here is a quick Photoshop sketch of the first pilot. From the sketch, I traced and colored him into Flash, then did a TON of touch-ups to get his color, line-weight and proportions looking good. The other pilots use the same body (albeit scaled), and their faces are slightly perturbed from the original (hair color, facial structure, eye shape, mouth shape) until they have their own look.
Here’s some concept art on combat and landing on a carrier. The combat is more open than most shoot’em-ups, where you rely more heavily on radar to track your opponents. Landing ends up being a little mini-game, which helps you build experience. Building experience increases your rank, which allows you to fly more capable planes.