Thursday, March 17, 2011


        There hasn’t been much activity on the WebClockdar (I need a new term) of late and that is because we’ve been hard at work completing a commissioned project for Deakin University; where Greg and I both studied once upon a winter’s moon. They wanted a game that could be shown at open days and we wanted a short break from developing Call Connect. The project that this resulted in is NeoTank 9000!

       We wanted to make something that would be quick to develop and quick to play. We also knew it had to be multiplayer. We first thought of making a tank game similar to the top down tank game that comes with the WiiPlay bundle (you know the one) but as I started developing with Unity (more on that later) it evolved into a two player homage to Geometry Wars and other modern twin stick shooters.
I’ve personally been keen to make a twin stick shooter for quite some time and Geometry Wars is one of my favourite games so making my own version was a lot of fun.

          A lot of the design is very similar to what has come before in different twin stick shooters but our plan wasn’t to try to rewrite the genre but to just create a solid gameplay experience in a complete and polished package. Especially as this is to be shown to lots of people wherever Deakin sets up a display. 

         We took sprinkles of design from several of our favourite twin stick shooters:
-          The collection of shards to increase your multiplier from Geometry Wars 2
  •        Shooting spray from Geometry Wars 2.
  •        Enemy spawning from Geometry Wars (Have I mentioned I love this game?)
  •       Multiplayer shooting from, well, a few a lot of modern shooters
  •      Powerups from Super Stardust HD
       As well as ideas from some other of our favourite games like the awesome counter-operative mechanics of Legend of Zelda: Four Swords on the Gamecube and the coin battles in Bomberman Generation, also on the Gamecube (Best and worst game mode ever!). We combined these ideas along with our own to create a solid, if a bit derivative (yes, I’m willing to admit it), twin stick shooter. And for our first effort in the genre I’m very happy with the result.

         So in the two player mode both players want to clear the screen on enemies but at the same time each player wants to collect more shards than the other whilst ending up with the highest score. Shards increase your multiplier but when you die not only is this multiplier lost but you also lose a chunk of the shards you’ve collected. This allows the other player to dive in and quickly boost their shard count whilst increasing their multiplier. Shards also count towards your final score on the game over screen so ending the game with more shards than the other player greatly increases your chances of winning too.
This combined with the Multiplier swap powerup means that a swift player can turn the tide of the game in an instant.

         Using Unity allowed us to concentrate more on the gameplay part of the process and less on the rest which was very handy and made for a much smoother creation process than we've been having with Call Connect; a lesson which has been learned for future projects. It also allowed us to make some bitchin’ 3D menus.

         We hope to have a web build of the game on our website in the next couple of weeks so look out for Twitter and blog updates when that happens and let us know what you think of it.


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