Gaming Your Way

May contain nuts.


An update to the progress of Orbs is well overdue.


Some big changes. I've re-done the collision routines. They were a simple brute force method ( Checking bullet 1 against each baddie, checking bullet 2 against each... ), now they're based on a grid system. I've done simple sectors before in my old asteroids clone, X, but that was just splitting the screen into quarters, this uses smaller sectors ( So it's more of a grid than just sectors. Moot point I know ).

I've also altered how the particles were plotted. I always wanted to use the Add blendMode as it looks so good ( The Orb itself is a sprite and uses that blendMode ) but the particles are blitted into a bitMap using copyPixels for speed.
I bit the bullet and changed it to use Draw(). Slower ( As it uses Flash's vector renderer ), but I think the visual pay off is worth it. I'm panting to code the smart bomb as it should look great a whole screen full of baddies blowing up in go, with the blendMode it should nearly white up the screen.

With the collisions, I've had to code a bounce routine for the orb, so when a baddie hits it, it moves. Added to that the player bullets now hit the orb and bounce off realistically too ( As opposed to a pong still rebound where the direction just changes ).
In doing this I was badly anal and coded up a faster version of atan2, just to save a handfull of ms
I'm really pleased with how it feels, you can shoot the orb and push it into a baddie to kill the baddie. It feels great being able to move it around the screen by shooting it.

The title screen is in place, and I used papervision for the background. Having never used it before, I was blown away! Really straight forward, and stupidly fast. I now totally believe the hype.
As part of the title screen stuff I've started on the stats page, and got some medals in there ( Achievements with a different name ).


Going back to the collisions, I knew the player > orb collisions were going to be a bit of a mare. I was toying with using Box2D for them, but realised that was overkill for this game.
The solution ? Give the player a shield ( As seen above ) and then it's just a simple circle-circle collision check. Much quicker and much easier. With the Orb already being able to rebound it was just a case of making the player ship do the same. So now you can push the orb around the screen as well as shoot it around.

The shield also sorts the problem of a baddie teleporting on top of you. If that happens, the shield will just kick in, and the baddie dies. Two birds with one stone, great.

There have been quite a few more updates, but time talking about them is time not adding new stuff. I'm hoping to post an alpha here in the next 2 weeks, just to get some nice early feedback.


Comments (7) -

  • Daniel 'Viza' Vandali

    4/4/2008 1:30:55 AM |

    Nice post! It sounds like the game is progressing nicely.

    Something that I noticed looking at the screenshots is that your game bares a close resemblance to FK's 'vector' shooter.
    Here's a link if you don't know what I'm talking about:

    So without spilling the beans too much, what exactly do you have planned to make yours 'stand out amongst the pack'??


  • Jeff Fulton

    4/4/2008 5:35:21 AM |

    Squize, you said that you are using Papervision for the background. Did you create a 3d background with a tool like 3DSMax or did you create it in code? I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds like the dogs .....

  • Squize

    4/4/2008 9:22:22 AM |

    Hey V.

    Yeah I know Mark did that great game, it almost stopped me working on Orbs it's that good ( We were chatting just the other night funnily enough ), but it plays a lot different than Orbs.
    In terms of look & feel, Orbs wears it's heritage on it's sleeve, there's no getting around that, but it should play very differently from Marks game ( Controls are totally different for a start ) and from all the other games which imploy a similar look.

    Jeff ( Sorry I owe you a mail mate, I'm playing catch up as ever ) I just used a simple bitmap, and then wraped that to a sphere for the sky box effect ( And everyone whose not seen it is still none the wiser now :) ).
    It's only on the title screen, not in-game. Maybe with Flash 11 that could be possible ;)

    Thanks for taking the time to post guys.

  • Jeff Fulton

    4/4/2008 4:33:53 PM |


    No problem. I really want to test out papervision too. Maybe I'll do something like that too. Just take a bitmap and use it as a texture on a sphere or a cube.

    We don't get any Fulham, Blackburn or Hammer's matches on my TV this weekend (even though I buy channels like you buy heat). We have a Reading Match, and I think Newcastle. I'll watch so I can catch some high/low lights of the teams I follow.

    nGfx might be interested that I follow a lowly B2 team from Jena because I have family there and visited the stadium. Such is the life of a footie fan who grew up in California.  I do the locals proud and cheer for beckham and co also (Galaxy). It's pain to love such terrible teams as much as I love 80's games.

    My wife puts up  with A LOT!

  • Dark Vyper

    4/6/2008 12:50:18 PM |

    This is amazing! I almost forgot that you were working on this. How about a teensie weensie demo for us? Or maybe just a short video showing some of the features. Pretty please...

  • Squize

    4/6/2008 6:35:15 PM |

    Thanks for the interest, and the good words mate.

    A video is quite a good idea. The game is going to have a recorder built into it, so you can play back a level when you've done it ( And I plan to allow players to save their favourite kick ass goes ).
    The main idea behind this, rather than it just being a nice to have, is that when the alpha comes out and someone breaks the game, they can send me the saved replay ( It'll just be some xml I guess, I haven't thought it through yet. It could even be a png ), so that's what needs to be added before I can release a demo.
    If people are going to break my baby, I need to see how :)

    ( Also it's really interesting to see how people play your games, see what tricks they come up with to get a huge score or to make it easier. I'm hoping if I get enough replays sent back then I can get a real feel for how people are playing it and close down any loop holes, or tweak the gameplay if it's not right ).

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