Jetboard Joust Devlog #4 – Enemies and Explosions

When I code I have a tendency to ‘potter’ – that is, I’ll start off with the aim of doing something and end up getting distracted by various side-tasks along the way. Much as one might do when gardening!

So in this case I started off trying to get my first simple enemy done and ended up getting sidetracked into writing a particle generator to handle explosions and other FX in the game.

Consequently my initial enemy is still looking pretty crappy. I’m not happy with it at all actually. God this pixel art stuff is harder than it looks! All I wanted was a simple spinning ‘mine’ type thing that will remain largely static as a dumb target. The first attempt was OK but somehow looked wrong compared to the main character – like I was using too many colours or something, not contrasty enough. So I tried again giving it two ‘eyes’ this time and adding another frame to the animation. Still looks crap and now the animation looks all wrong too, like it’s not really spinning correctly. I know – even with four years at art school I should stick to code!

Anyway, in order to feel as if I was making some progress I decided one of these would do as a placeholder and moved on to implementing a simple ‘enemy’ base class and some basic collision detection for when the board is ‘fired’. Easy.

Next I needed explosions, and as this game is partly ‘Defender’ inspired it seemed some kind of particle-based explosion would be the way to go. I’ve never written a particle generator before so have no idea whether I’m going about this the best way (maybe I should have read up about it first) but am pretty pleased with where I’ve got to so far.

A ‘generator’ is instantiated with a max number of particles and a lifespan and chucks out max_particles/lifespan particles per frame.

Each particle has a velocity, decceleration and lifespan (defined at the generator level), each with a defined amount of variance. there’s also the option to set up a tween on the opacity of each particle. I calculate the tween values in advance.

So not much is being done per particle per frame other than calculate the new velocity and draw it. Thinking about it I could probably calculate the velocities in advance as well if I really needed to but not if I add additional factors like gravity which I plan to do. It should prove a very useful class throughout the game.

Another thing I’ve been a bit stuck on is getting the ‘camera’ on the scrolling world to perform to my satisfaction. Still not there on that one yet, hopefully have it resolved by the next installment!

Dev Time: 1 day
Total Dev Time: approx 7 days


‘Mine’ Type Enemy Attempt – Rubbish

Tried Again – Still Hopeless!

First Draft Particle Explosions – Look Like Fun?

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