Inspired by Donkey Kong, project Cannon Shot is a level-based puzzle game where the player blasts themself across the map using cannons. Skill is involved, but also a casual puzzle element: an element that gives the player choices and problems to solve. Moving barrels, enemies, and physics based objects give the player choice and freedom to explore the levels.
Hi Me Gamers,
I have started preparing assets for marketing Star Impact. This is a market splash screen I'll be using to hopefully 'hook' people. It uses sweet gravitational lensing effects I made to distort the screen like a black hole. Comment, Subscribe, and Enjoy.
Hi Me Gamers,
We have been working hard to balance the FTE (First Time Experience) of Star Impact. All ages have play tested at this point: five year olds, teenagers, adults, Grandma. The early game still needs some balancing, some people have claimed it's a tad too easy at the beginning. We'll be tweaking the difficulty in the early game over the next couple of weeks. Of course, we have to be careful and not over correct. This who process is a balancing act, an act that generates a lot of fun for us and our play testers.
What is your favorite part of this teaser?
While developing the concept for Star Impact, I had a deep urge to use gravitational lensing in the game. If the rare material Red Matter can warp the fabric of space-time to create the first interstellar spaceship, then player should be able to see it. i.e. gravitational lensing: "ooooo ahhh, cool."
Gravitational lensing is really just a simple distortion effect, and distortion effects are not unheard of in games, however they tend to be one-time post processing magic affecting the entire screen. Perhaps the the player gets hit, or it is a water level (gross). Red Matter is different, it can have multiple Red Matter collectibles on the screen at once. And, gravitational lensing needs to occur at every collectible on screen. Potentially, that is 20 collectibles, 20 intense calculations, and 20 passes on a post processing shader attempting to run 60 fps on mobile. A recipe for failure.
I needed a way to resolve this, and I will admit, I was stumped at first. But with time, anything can be solved, and the answer soon became clear. In games, we have light maps: a pre-rendered texture that describes how lighting should be applied a scene or object. This speeds up things, because the lighting at a location can now be calculated with only a simple lookup in your lighting texture. Maybe I could create a... wait for it, a distortion map...
Yes, a distortion map. That is, a texture that describes how pixels should be distorted (moved) on the screen. If it works, I should be able to render these distortion textures all over the screen and write some shader voodoo magic to interpret these distortion pixels and apply them in a one pass post-processing shader. Yes, the insanity is real and it works. *pats self on the back*
The encoding of the distortion map is simple, essentially it is uses RGB values to determine how many pixels a color should be shifted on the x and y axis. This can be optimized into more efficient encoding, but the principal stands: Pre-render distortion equations to distortion maps, draw distortion maps to a render texture at runtime, and use a single pass post-processing shader to bring it to life.
As a developer, and more importantly a problem solver, I find problems likes these a great part of making games. They start with a simple desire or dream, and although they may cause much initial pain and confusion, the persistence and creativity of the developer can lead to innovative and unexpected solutions. Plus gravitational lensing: "ooooo ahhh, cool."
See video below to see the distortion in motion, beautiful.
Red Matter is a 2D adventure platformer set in the distant future just after invention of the first interstellar spaceships. You play as lone pilot with the mission to find the mysterious "Red Matter," the only known material to warp the space time continuum. You are at the mercy of space exploration and the dangers of the new frontier. Using the power to warp space and time, it is the only advantage you have against the ever lurking dangers you will face.
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