Jetboard Joust Devlog #73 – Hammer Action!

At last – the final weapon is done! If I think of a cracking idea for another one I might add more but I set myself the task of designing sixteen from the outset (seemed like a nice binary number) and this is #16!

This one’s called the ‘Gravity Hammer’ – much like the ‘Black Hole Blaster’ I didn’t really have much of an idea what I was after from the outset so was pretty much making this up as I went along.

The name comes from a weapon in ‘Halo’ that I came across when searching for weapon ideas – I’ve never played Halo but had a quick look at some footage on YouTube and the Halo version seems to be more of a melee weapon, like a massive axe or something. This isn’t what I wanted.

My version fires a kind of massive ball of gravity that sends anything it comes into contact with plummeting downwards with extreme force. It does damage not at the point of contact, but when the ‘hammered’ enemy hits the ground.

It took a while to code as, not only did I have to worry about the weapon visuals (which were pretty complex) but also the effect the ‘hammer action’ would have on other game sprites. I thought about having the ‘hammer’ just do damage when it made contact and skipping the ‘smashdown’ effect but I’m glad I went through with it as it’s really satisfying in practice. It’s particularly amusing when you have to hit an enemy several times as it looks like you’re playing basketball with them or something!

The visuals are comprised of three key elements. There’s the ‘gravity ball’ itself which consists of concentric eight-pointed stars drawn using my geometry pixel shader, a trail of particles left behind by the ball as it travels, and a larger ‘mandala’ type pattern which is actually a series of concentric six-pointed stars spinning very quickly so it looks like a more complex shape. There’s also another trail of particles left by the ball as its first ‘fired’, two particle effects for a ‘muzzle flash’, a simple animation for the barrel of the weapon when it’s active, and another particle effect for a kind of ‘pulse trail’ when the sequence is over. Altogether fairly involved, but as it was the last weapon I thought I’d go to town!

I also add a six-pointed star when the ‘gravity ball’ comes into contact with an enemy to exaggerate the ‘smash’ effect, a particle trail of ‘speed lines’ as enemies are smashed downwards, and the ubiquitous screenshake to make things seem more visceral.

You’ll see on some of the GIFs that the action swings ‘up and back’ first. This is how I originally had it as I was thinking of hammer throwing in the olympics. Twitter user @Sky_Armada helpfully pointed out that this seemed a bit arse-backwards so I tried it the other way and he was right! It feels much more natural and ‘hammer-like’ travelling downwards first.

At the moment I have this weapon destroying explosives and projectiles when it comes into contact with them, though it flips the affiliation of explosives (so one’s that would destroy the player now destroy enemies and vice versa). I’d like to add the ‘smash’ effect to explosives and projectiles too, or maybe reverse their direction or something? That’s on the ‘nice to have’ list though.

Next step is to do the audio and ‘upgrades’ pixel art for all the futuristic weapons, then I can get on with adding some more extreme enemies.

Dev Time: 2.5 days
Total Dev Time: approx 146 days

previous | next

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The ‘Final’ Visuals With A Downwards Smash

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Having A Smashing Time

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Playing Basketball With Your Enemies
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2 Trackbacks

  1. […] the trickiest thing was deciding how to treat a batch of invaders when attacked by the ‘Gravity Hammer‘ weapon. Moving the whole batch at once would just look dumb so I needed a way of having […]

  2. […] General Testing Then I went through all the bosses testing them against the Flamethrower and Gravity Hammer weapons as these operate rather differently from the other […]

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