Soooo… turns out that the 1.1 update broke saving points for later unlocking. A bit of quick patching has bumped out Rubicon 1.2.
- Fixed the fact that the player’s progress no longer saved until a ship/component is bought.
- “Back” button flashes on death.
- Moved choose-ship buttons closer to center of the screen during ship selection.
- Fixed the game forgetting that it changed the resolution via the options menu.
- Tweaked screen size code to make it easier for me to port to Mac/Linux in the future.
I wish. Blitzmax is great in that it makes porting to the supported platforms really easy, but mobile is not on that list. Once I release the source code (I’m still putting that together, I promise!), I’d be overjoyed to see that happen by somebody who knows what they’re doing better’n me.
Just a reminder: if you’re feeling charitable, you can give me feedback about Rubicon via this short survey.
So! I’ve finally kicked my gears into gear and have put together the first update (1.1) to Rubicon. Here’s the changelog:
- You now must “bank” your points between waves to have them available to spend on unlocking stuff later. Everything is waaay cheaper to unlock, too.
- Joystick support (actually, I didn’t have a joystick on me for the final functionality-test-runthrough. If somebody could confirm/deny that joysticks work for them, I’d really appreciate it).
- Tweaked some stats, made everything cheaper to unlock.
- Gaxlid AI fixed; they no longer run off and hide in the corners.
- You now must buy extra lives between missions, instead of having enemies drop them.
- Nifty sliding animation whilst choosing your ship.
- Zen mode *actually* gives infinite lives.
- Pressing the close button while in windowed mode now closes the game.
- Blink is now a near-instant teleportation instead of a weird buggy phantom-zone thing.
- Added the Overcharge special ability, which causes weapons to do more damage, fire faster, and have longer range for a short time.
- Other minor bugfixes that I’ve already forgotten about.
And one I’d like to particularly call your attention to:
- Strafing is now as effective as normal thrust, but afterburners are now 25% better and still only work in the directing the ship is facing.
Which is actually a result of having added joystick support. I’ve generally tried to avoid just making another twin-stick shooter, but of all the ways that I played around with joystick input, using a stick to control your direction of thrust felt the best. However, it felt awkward to start going different speeds once you used the other stick to aim in other directions, so I had to make base thrust independent of the direction the ship was facing.
Something I liked about the old system was that it forced you to compromise between steering and aiming; if you wanted to aim at enemies, you couldn’t just strafe around like you were playing Geometry Wars
. I’ve tried to preserve this balancing challenge by making the afterburner better. Since it still only works in the direction you’re facing, you still have to turn around and focus on driving when you really need to haul out.
Blitzmax seems to have some problems with sound on the more recent versions of Ubuntu (is the distribution you’re using?). I’m looking through the forums and it doesn’t looks like there’s a simple fix for this problem, though here are a couple of potentially enlightening links:
And this looks like the best way to make sure you have all the lib dependencies:
Hope this helps ~
EDIT: The fix is:
sudo apt-get install libopenal1:i386 libopenal-dev:i386
Other linux distros need to modify that command accordingly (https://www.codeweavers.com/support/wiki/diag/missinglibopenal has a good reference sheet). You may need to reboot following the install.
Some screenshots from the shipped build.
This is, in my opinion, the weakest part of Rubicon’s current design. I ended up just copying the Asteroids model of infinite waves- if you keep winning, the game never ends (though the difficulty does scale up, but not quite at the rate that you get upgrades…). Quitting feels like just giving up the investment you’ve put in, and there’s no other end condition besides death. In game, beyond survival there’s just nothing to work towards.
Instead of trying to fix this through a save system, I think that breaking the missions up into discrete sets is the best solution. Either Star Fox-style, where you progress through missions until you fight the final boss and either win or lose, or Tower of Goo-style, where you can select and replay specific missions, would be valid choices. A save system would just delay the inevitable existentialist pointless end.
Problem is, these options would have taken a lot more level design time, which would have taken away from some essential core gameplay work. Until a whole bunch more time and resources suddenly get freed up and I’m able to release a patch that adds that sort of metagame, I recommend just playing on harder difficulties where death is more immediately inevitable.
Heh, here’s the juiciest one: if you put the right name in for the pilot, you actually get into “super-admin-mode”, which is how I modify the default configurations of the ships + enemies. It’s not that hard to guess what the right name is if you’ve been paying attention while playing the betas, but I’m not going to say any more than that.
I usually depend on my debugging tools to just be invisible by not telling people about them, but that doesn’t always work. There used to be a couple of keys that teleported your ship around and whatnot, but a couple of beta testers apparently took their job to mean “randomly mash the keyboard” and soon discovered my secrets.
Blitzmax. It’s a really excellent object-oriented programming language that comes with a bunch of directX goodies like dynamic object rotation and scaling. There were a couple things I did to make the rotated images a bit more crisp (like manually calculating the center pixel and using that as the graphic origins, since the automatic one futzed things up a bit) but a lot of the eyecandy I was able to do was enabled by the power of its graphics library.
Wrote a thank-you and wrap up over on the Kickstarter update post machine.
Long story short: I’m done with actively developing Rubicon (EDIT 2014: HAHAHA SO NAIVE), you can download it from this dropbox.