Jetboard Joust Devlog #34 – Making Babies

I’ve been thinking for a while that the basic ‘destroy all enemies’ objective in Jetboard Joust was a bit too one-dimensional and that I needed to add something to give the gameplay a bit more depth.

The obvious source to look for inspiration was Defender, to which Jetboard Joust is pretty much a homage, so look to Defender I did!

In Defender you protect these little coloured blob things which get carried off by a certain type of enemy. If an invader manages to get a blob to the top of the screen it mutates and becomes a lot more dangerous. I thought I may as well go the whole hog with the Defender homage thing and replicate this scenario – maybe I could have the player protecting radioactive cannisters which enemies carry off and then use to mutate themselves?

This seemed to make sense to I went about designing some radioactive ‘cargo’. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, it was shit! The little cannisters were OK but drawing a decent radiation symbol in about 5×5 pixels proved beyond my abilities, and the cannisters on their own just looked too boring. Time to rethink!

According to the Wikipedia page for Defender the little coloured blobs that you defend are, in fact ‘astronauts’ (not that you’d guess it from just playing the game). This triggered a memory of them being referred to as ‘humanoids’ in the original game instructions (though i could be wrong about this).

Something with a bit more character seemed a good idea so I thought I’d go about designing the most basic ‘humanoid’ form I could in as few pixels as possible and see if that would work. What I came up with kind of looked like a baby version of ET so I thought – what if you were protecting alien babies? This seemed to make sense! Babies are inherently something that warrants protecting, they look cute and have character, and having them carried off by aliens has overtones of the whole alien abduction/conspiracy thing which I liked.

So now I have alien babies! I created a little ‘idle’ sequence for them and a ‘panic’ animation for when they’re abducted. I think they’re pretty cute! Glad I was so bad at drawing radiation canisters! Now to work on their abduction…

Dev Time: 1 day
Total Dev Time: approx 36.5 days

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Alien Babies – Panic Animation


Alien Babies – Idle Sequence
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