We did a game jam last Monday, and it went very well! We made a simple, fast shoot-em-up (shmup) game that can be played alone or with a friend.
Try it out:
- For the smoothest experience, download the Windows installer.
- For a quick look, play the Flash version.
This plays ok, but might stutter a bit here and there.
Mind you, this is very much a work in progress. Let us know what you think so far, and what you’d like to see added!
Read on for a bit of background.
Why a shooter?
Gijs and I love oldschool shmups, from old classics like Space Invaders and Galaxian to stuff like Raptor in the 90s, then Ikaruga on the GameCube (and now on Steam as well!) and DemonStar and more recently, Jamestown. We especially enjoy the cooperative variety: two intrepid spaceship pilots battling against an unending horde of horrors from beyond.
The thing is, we’ve played these games a lot. We’d like some new ones, but it’s quite hard to find one that’s just right. So… why not create our own? We’ve been toying with this idea for a long time now, and it was always the plan to start one after completing Together Alone.
Together Alone was our first ‘real’ game, so we tried to set our targets fairly low. We succeeded admirably on this from a technical point of view: a puzzle game is a gentle entry into the scary world of graphics, sounds and input devices. From a content perspective, of course, we failed spectaculairly to keep our goals realistic – 75+ levels with a bit of story in each, hand-drawn animations for three characters, many portraits with different expressions, achievements, a level editor… That’s why it took us three years to deliver the final game. Fortunately, people seem to like it, and we’ve learned a lot, so it was all worth it.
For our shooter project, we’ll try to swap things around: we have a lot of technical ambitions, but we’ll try to address the content problems that made Together Alone such a long-lasting project. One way to do this is through procedural generation of levels. Another advantage of this (well, depending on who you ask) is that it takes away the memorization aspect of most shoot-em-ups, and keeps even veterans on their toes. This demo gives a first little taste of what that could lead to, but we have many more ideas for this. We’ll also dial down the story aspects a bit, as that took up a lot of both my and Gijs’ time last time around, and in the end, it’s the gameplay that counts, isn’t it?
Anyway, we hope you like the demo, and we hope you’ll check in on our progress from time to time. Happy shmupping!