Early Access V0.2.1.0 — “Ghosted” Power-ups

Hello everyone! This is just a small update to release a few features that I didn’t want to wait for a bigger update.

First, watching players at a local gaming event, and on YouTube, I fast tracked an idea I had for helping to identify power-ups that can be used. Now if a power-up can’t be collected, or wouldn’t be useful to collect, they will be drawn ghosted as an indicator. Cases where power-ups can’t be collected are when you’re maxed out on a capability such as bullet rate/velocity/strength, or for repair power-ups, when your already fully repaired. In the later case, previously it would collect it anyway, but I felt that was misleading since other power-ups would just fail to collect. I hope now it will be more clear when to chase after the buggers!

I also improved the ability to swap outriders for fresh ones. If you have a bunch of outriders and one of them is more damaged than the one your about to pick up, they will be exchanged. Previously it wouldn’t always swap them out.

Oh and one more. After watching Space Game Junkie do infinity circles around two of the early bosses trying to get their own missiles to hit each other, I just had to enable it. So now after a short delay, enemy missiles can actually hit enemies if your adept with the piloting skills!

I hope you enjoy the mini-update and have a great weekend!!

New Features

  • Drifting power-ups are now transparent “ghosted” if you will not be able to pick them up — for example if you have already maxed out the capability. This includes repair power-ups, so no longer will you feel like you have to chase something down to only find out that it wasn’t useful at that moment.
  • Adjusted floating power-up effects to make the central icon graphics more visible.
  • Enemy missiles can now be used against them. After a delay, their missiles can hit enemy ships including the source of the missile.

Issues Addressed

  • Swapping outriders for outriders of better health wasn’t working as intended. You should now be able to swap a damaged outrider for one in better condition.

Solaroids is available on Steam Early Access and is still being actively developed by Chad Yates as part-time Indie game developer.  Come try out the free Demo, join the Community HUB on steam, or join the ranks of brave fighter pilots defending the solar system and competing for high scores and prestige!

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Vandal Overnight Games Spring 2018

One of the greatest things as an Indie game developer is too be able to watch people play your creation first hand. I’ve been fortunate to be able to participate in several Vandal Overnight Games events here at the local University. The University of Idaho sponsors both Fall and a Spring semester event each year, and it is always loads of fun for everyone. I usually spend most of my time hanging out with players in the Solaroids area, but there is a lot going on all over related to gaming of all kinds. From board games, physical games, card games, VR, classics, tournaments, etc. there is something for every game lover. My Solaroids T-Shirt wearing kids have a great time too, whether they are playing Solaroids or board games in the nearby rooms.

This spring (April 7th) I saw both folks from previous events as well as some new faces. From early afternoon till close to midnight there was an almost constant stream of players coming, playing for a while, leaving, and then coming back, sometimes multiple times. I don’t know how many player hours were clocked that afternoon evening, but there almost wasn’t a time where the controllers didn’t have players both young and old at the helm.

One thing I learned this time is to not take your stuff for granted! I thought I had everything together and pretty much ready to grab and go from the last Solaroids event in December (a gaming themed Holiday party for work), but I spent way to long tracking down a “lost” Display Port to HDMI adapter that ended up getting misplaced in the rush. In addition, while setting up I discovered that my old XBox 360 wireless controller adapter was not going to power-up no matter how many times I unplugged and plugged it in, switched USB ports, or rebooted! Luckily home wasn’t far away with both a spare and XBox ONE variants, and my lovely assistant still at home was ready to save my bacon!

New Promotional Materials

This spring I decided to amp it up a bit and so spent the weekend before, and a few evenings, re-creating my box art in a a brighter and higher resolution format so I could produce a banner graphic and token cards.

The banner graphic turned out pretty good despite my nervousness of never having made one before myself. At 36×92 inches and exported at 300dpi it was a massive 10,800x 27,600 pixels. My original box art I created in the GIMP long ago but was never designed for print.  I went back to my source material and re-composed the original box art in Inkscape, my vector illustration program of choice, and then added a few of the more recent visuals and descriptive text. I even modified a game mode I have that just draws the background elements to only draw the stars so I could take advantage of my in game compositing to make a new star backdrop.  If you look really close you’ll see where I mirrored it to fill the bottom of the banner!! Well I’m pretty happy with it and it looked great at the event. Even the folks at the local FedEx printers payed me compliments, and I was able to give a token card to one of them that was really interested that it ran on Linux.

Speaking of which, the token cards turned out really well as well, and I was able to hand out a bunch throughout the event. In addition to the rest of the game, I wrote the Soundtrack myself over the course of development, so I decided it would be cool to include a “Free with Purchase” Steam Key for the Soundtrack as a Downloadable Content (DLC) that they could use or pass along.  Time will tell whether these get activated, but I thought it would be a good thank-you-for-playing freebie.

Solaroids is available on Steam Early Access and is still being actively developed by Chad Yates as part-time Indie game developer.  Come try out the free Demo, join the Community HUB on steam, or join the ranks of brave fighter pilots defending the solar system and competing for high scores and prestige!

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Early Access V0.2.0.0 — Twin-stick support is here!

It’s finally here!! In addition to the expert control and challenge of the classic Asteroids® controls, Solaroids now has more modern control styles for you (or your friends) enjoyment! I’m happy to introduce Hybrid (single-stick) and Modern (dual-stick) control styles. Each of the four players can choose their own control style so no pilot is left behind.

If you enjoy Twin-stick shooters, now is the time to test your skills against veteran players. Just select the Modern (dual-stick) control style before joining or from the player options menu while in-game.

Use one thumb-stick to thrust and orient your ship, or both at the same time to perform advanced dodging and strafing.

If you almost like the classic controls but wish you could use one of the thumb-sticks to control the orientation of your ship, we have you covered too. Just select the Hybrid (single-stick) control style.

Another requested feature by several players has been to add “drum brakes”. While I can’t literally add them, it is space after all, I’ve done the next best thing. I’ve added lateral thrusters that you can use manually for advanced strafing maneuvers, but you can also activate all thrusters to dynamically slow your ship regardless of the direction it is facing. In Modern (dual-stick) mode this happens automatically whenever you release the movement stick. For Hybrid (single-stick) and Classic modes it can be engaged by pressing both forward and reverse thrusters at the same time.

But wait, that’s not all! All these control styles are also available using keyboard and mouse. Yes, that’s right, if you prefer to use the utility of the mouse to aim and fire, both Hybrid and Modern styles are augmented with mouse controls along with the ability to re-bind the mouse buttons to your liking.

In addition to mouse support in-game, the main menu and options menus have been re-written to support the mouse as well so click away. This also includes the control layout editor, so now you can click controls to re-bind them instead of having to hold the existing binding to activate reconfigure mode. Something that you may need if you have a controller that doesn’t have some of the default bindings.

With the exception of the mouse movement, all thumb-sticks and buttons are reconfigurable to your tastes so if you don’t like the default layout I’ve chosen, mix it up!

These are the big features, however there are a lot of other little features that have also been tweaked or introduced. Let me know if I hit something you like, or if the feature you’ve been hoping for is not available yet. I’m totally open for suggestions, and most have found a way into the game in one form or another.

I hope you enjoy the update. Let the blasting commence!

New Features

  • Alternate control styles:
    • Classic – This is the original control scheme as in the original Asteroids, aka “tank” controls.
    • Hybrid (single-stick) – Orient the ship with the left thumb-stick or use the mouse to both orient and fire your primary and secondary weapons.
    • Modern (dual-stick) – Orient the ship with the left thumb-stick and control your thrusters with the right thumb-stick.
  • Lateral thrusters for advanced pilots.
  • Increase power of all thrusters.
  • Dynamic braking. In Classic and single-stick mode, holding down both forward and reverse thrusters will slow the ship gradually to a stop. In dual-stick mode dynamic braking is automatically engaged when idle.
  • Basic score multipliers. They go up for each kill and go down gradually when idle — or really fast when you take a hit.
  • If the spawn location near the sun is congested, spawning will be retried at an alternate location.
  • Moved some options that were under Video to Gameplay and a new Effects menu as the video menu was getting crowded and too broad.
  • Allow changing game play options while in-game. Now you can tweak friendly fire/collisions after starting.
  • Early access reminder/disclaimer shown before title. You can skip it the same as the DynF/X Digital splash screen.
  • Early Access version is now displayed in the lower right corner of the title screen.
  • Beta is displayed when running an alternate build.
  • Mouse navigation support in the main menu and option menus.
  • You can use the mouse to pick the control to reconfigure which is especially useful if your controller doesn’t have the same buttons to “hold down”.
  • You can left click the mouse button to skip the splash screen and early access disclaimer screens.
  • Default parallax is now 200% instead of 400%.
  • Adjusted layout and flow of HUDs:
    • Forfeit dialog is now within the player’s HUD to not disrupt the flow of other players.
    • When joining, allow the introduction of minimal configuration choices before entering the game.
    • Move ship color selection to a dedicated step in the HUD.
    • Add control style selection as a step within the HUD using Left/Right on the D-Pad/Keys.
    • Add ability to navigate to next and previous HUD.
    • Display icons indicating which directions on the D-Pad/Keys can be used to change options.
  • Rapid fire power-up now responds to the recharge rate power up, increasing the rate of fire. Very satisfying!
  • Steam profile icon now displayed for the player tied to the steam account (player 1).
  • If stand-in machine translations are used, they will be indicated with an asterisk (*) until they have been reviewed and/or translated by a real human.

Solaroids is available on Steam Early Access and is still being actively developed by Chad Yates as part-time Indie game developer.  Come try out the free Demo, join the Community HUB on steam, or join the ranks of brave fighter pilots defending the solar system and competing for high scores and prestige!

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