Jetboard Joust Devlog #35 – Abductions & Mutations

Now we have our alien babies it’s time to make something horrible happen to them – seems cruel but this is a videogame right?

First step was to get the enemies to abduct them. This was rather harder than I thought as it required some reasonably complex changes to the AI in order to get the ‘chasing baby’ code to play nice with the ‘chase player’ code. Picking up ‘cargo’ in Jetboard Joust is more complex than in Defender as the terrain in Jetboard Joust can be interacted with whereas in Defender it’s just for show.

I didn’t really run into any issues I hadn’t come up against already when writing the ‘chase player’ code though so thankfully I could pretty much reuse the techniques I’d come up with there and blogged about earlier.

One thing I have implemented in order to get things to look vaguely ‘realistic’ is an ‘aggro range’ parameter for the enemies. This is the range within which enemies will actively chase the player – outside of the aggro range enemies will idle or attempt to abduct babies(!) When the aggro range is activated it becomes larger so the player must run a certain distance away from the enemy in order for it to go back to ignoring them.

If an enemy is in the process of abducting a baby the aggro range is shorter, however if the player shoots the enemy or strays too close it will still go on the offensive.

Another issue with the abductions was having the baby ‘jump’ to the middle of the board when picked up. In order to make this look decent I had to implement some code to check whether the enemy had passed ‘through’ the baby at the last update. This raised another issue though in that if a baby ended up positioned right next to a building it was impossible for the enemy to pass ‘through’ it – this was a pretty rare occurrence but impossible to avoid so I’ve implemented a necessary hack for these situations where a ‘pass through’ is not necessary. The baby jumps slightly but it’s better than it being impossible to pick up.

Next step – design a mutant! This was fun and I’m pleased with the results, I didn’t take me too long either. For inspiration I had in mind Space Invaders (of course), Cthulhu, and the aliens from District 9. The mutant animates slightly differently to other board-riding enemies but it wasn’t too tough to get this working OK – I’d already set the relevant methods up so they were easy to override.

Fortunately the actual transformation happens offscreen so this part of the sequence was very easy! Part of me thinks I should do some kind of onscreen transformation – or will that look a bit odd?

Dev Time: 1 day
Total Dev Time: approx 37.5 days

previous | next

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Stay Away From My Babies!!

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Babies Aren’t So Cute When They Grow Up

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Mutation!!
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