Lately, in my GAM111 class we explore and learn new programming concept by using them to make games. The first of many games we will make in class is a SHMUP – otherwise referred to as a “shoot ’em up”. If you didn’t know, a SHMUP is a top-down shooter where the player – usually a spaceship or aircraft – fights against an onslaught of incoming enemies, the ultimate goal being to defeat a boss at the end.
In the first week returning to class, we worked on a shoot-em-up, otherwise known as SHMUP. After working on the game Cookie Defense! during the Make a Thing 2016, this was another excellent opportunity to stretch my legs in Unity. The game was a very simple endeavour – enemies will spawn on the screen opposite to the player and slowly creep toward them. The player, a lone ship, can shoot projectiles to destroy the encroaching ships.
For the first lesson, we created the framework for which we will build upon in later classes. Starting the project was simple, given that many of the gameplay and programming concepts I already used in Cookie Defense!, meaning I already had a good understanding of how to approach the project.
The version of the project completed during the first class finished with a simple game made of blocks and no visual or aural aesthetics whatsoever. Creating basic levels like these ensures that we can accurately test the gameplay without any distracting elements – thus making sure that we are giving players the core experience we want them to have.
The question that lies herein is what the direction the game should take will be. Popular SHMUPs in the market today include Raiden and Ikaruga. Both games are familiar to SHMUP fans but provide distinct gameplay quirks. For example, Ikaruga features a system where the colour of the player’s shield will allow them to absorb similarly-coloured bullets to charge a laser. This system adds a twist to the usual SHMUP formula. Raiden is the classic SHMUP formula and roughly represents the baseline for the sort of game I will be creating. For this project itself to be fruitful and attractive, it may need a gameplay twist to set itself apart.
Ikaruga and Raiden – Two extremely popular SHMUPS
In the coming weeks before release, the game will need to be polished and refined. Proper artwork needs to replace the primitives to stylise the game, and sound effects need to provide feedback to the player. The player needs two more weapon types to compliment their arsenal, and the enemies need to be able to return fire to the player. To make
the game more difficult, I’ve decided to add a sawtooth curve to the enemy ships so they move left and right as well as towards the player. As we continue to develop the game, I will keep you all posted about my progress.