DarkSide (ArkLight 2)

Discussion in 'Feedback Requests' started by Pi Eye Games, Nov 2, 2007.

  1. Pi Eye Games

    Indie Author

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    Hi all,

    I've just finished off the beta of my next shooter 'DarkSide' : )

    Technically it's a follow up to my first shoot'em'up 'ArkLight' although the gameplay is very different. This game has you hurtling around 3d asteroids blasting anything that gets in your way ... not a cube in sight!

    Screenshots (click to view) :
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Download (13MB) :
    www.PiEyeGames.com/DarkSide/DarkSideSetup.exe

    PC Requirements :
    Modest PC with a DirectX8.1 compatible card.

    There are a bunch of small things I'll be tweaking over the next month but I think the game's far enough along to stand some constructive criticism ... all feedback is welcome, and it's always good to hear what PC/Cards the engine works or fails on.

    Hope you like the game =D

    Cheers,
    George.
     
  2. Maupin

    Original Member

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    Please add keyboard control. I played the first mission but didn't do well because the controls aren't to my liking. Maybe I'm getting old, but in my book it's a crime to release an Asteroids clone without keyboard support... (Anyone using a laptop touchpad like I do will likely have a hard time with your game.)

    My impressions in the three minutes I played is that this is a gorgeous game with great presentation. I liked the computery female voiceover on the intro and the way you rotate around the pock-marked asteroid in the first level.
     
  3. zoombapup

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    Ok, just played through to level 30, here's my observations:

    1) You give away too much I think.

    Not a bad thing, but getting to level 30 took a fair chunk of time. It feels like youre giving a lot away, not sure what would be left after that.

    2) Great presentation

    really like it. Feels smooth, no slow downs or crashes.

    3) Good variation on tactics

    I liked the smart bombing, I stayed in close to buildings on later levels to stop getting pulped by roids.

    There are a couple of things I'd look to see:

    Make sure you arent going to get pulped by a roid when you spawn. Give them a second at least!! :)

    More variety in the enemies. At least make them fire differently or something. Those walkers could do something a bit more interesting when firing at you etc.

    Great game though! lots of nice polish in there.
     
  4. Jamie W

    Original Member Indie Author

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    Presentation is excellent George, game looks ace.

    I esp. like the somewhat dis-orienting flying around the asteroid, sometimes upside down. Would have been nice to have more variety in the size of the asteroids (i.e. bigger ones) with more installations and buildings you can fly about and weave in between (think 'uridium' ... hmm ... kinda). Generally, and IMHO, my main critisism is that each level / asteroid feels quite simular in terms of game-play, more variety would have been a really good thing.

    Really impressed with the look and feel of the game, not sure how 'casual' it is though, you should be making games for XBLA! :p
     
  5. cyrus_zuo

    cyrus_zuo New Member

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    Can't get past level 15...keeps crashing to desktop...must destroy boss...UGH!
    Please help! :)

    First impression...so like 3D asteroids?
    Second impression, these smart bombs are the most rewarding in any game I've ever played
    Third impression...VERY COOL!

    Not sure if it is as good a game as Scavenger, but I'm having more fun playing it...

    AND seriously George, you make so many cool games in such a short time that I think everyone is envious. Amazing what you can do...and this game has cool written all over it!

    (probably not the most helpful feedback, but I agree with the XBLA thought...this game deserves to be enjoyed by more people!)
     
  6. Midnight Synergy

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    This looks VERY nice - well done. The 3D effect was completely unexpected, I was thinking it would just be a standard asteroids clone. Very neat idea!
     
  7. lennard

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Boo-Ya! That's smokin' cool. I liked the style of Scavenger but had issues with the game play - not with this one. Straight up Grade-A arcade action - looking forward to seeing it on Reflexive so I can carry it as an affiliate. Nice job!
     
  8. zoombapup

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    Yeah, its damn good really. I'm kinda sad there isnt really more of a market for this kind of game.

    Anyway, great going George!!

    PS: Please dont do the match 3 thing!!! please please please!
     
  9. Mikademus

    Mikademus New Member

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    Bloody good game!

    Still, some issues. First, the game crashed to desktop on the first boss level (15), I think it happened when I was destroyed, I also employed a smart bomb at the time.

    Also, your ship, you should remodel it to make it more obvious what is its fore and aft, and its exhaust should be a different colour than that of your main weapon(s).

    And please, for the love of Pete, add keyboard controls!
     
  10. Pi Eye Games

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    Thanks for all your comments ... the game's been in development for almost two years now (on and off) so all your positive feedback will really help me focus and get it finished ; )

    Ha, that is quite a powerful boss weapon, sorry about that : ) ... I missed that one as I've been testing in the editor mode which prevents the player from dying. I've got this fixed in the new build (same download location).

    I always find writing keyboard controls tricky, I never know how fast to make the ship rotate or whether to add momentum to the keys. I've added the controls in now, please let me know what you think. If they suck I can add some keyboard-control-tweakers in the options menu.

    Ctrl ............ Fire
    Up ............. Thrust
    Left/Right .... Rotate
    Space ......... Smart Bomb

    There is a shield, so at least you're not losing energy ; ) ... This was the easy way out though so I'll take another look and check/alter the initial asteroid trajectories.

    Good point, I'll try tweaking the tail section. The lights help a lot with direction too, they come on when flying on the dark side, so I'll try leaving these on all the time to see if it helps.

    Thanks, the idea flashed into my head when I saw a thumbnail of a 2d asteroids game, it had a planet in the background and I thought 'Damn, I wish I'd thought of that' ... unfortunately DarkSide's been in development for too long and another asteroid game was released not long ago with the same 3d mechanic =P

    Hmmm, did the game not time out after an hour? Level 30 means about 2 minutes per level, which is possible if you didn't die too often. I'll take a look into this as I haven't tested by DRM for a while ... it could be all my games are free at the moment!

    Asteroid size could be tied too much into the ramp at the moment. I'll add more variation into the first 20-30 levels to help break things up a bit. The colonies do get larger and it's fun flying through them but I can't add too many buildings ... it'd stress out the lower-end cards too much.

    That's a good point, the game could be too retro in this respect. The gameplay is defender/asteroids-like in that your actions are similar from stage to stage and it's the increase in difficulty that drives you forward. I've tried to mix things up with different mission objectives ... I'll try thinking up some more goals though : )

    Yay, three 'please's in a row gives you 5000 points! It's ok, it'll be cute and fluffy ... it'll all be good =D

    Thanks,
    George
     
  11. Maupin

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    Played through the the first ten levels using the keyboard controls. Thanks! They work well and I didn't notice any need for improvement. That is to say, I never felt like I collided with anything due to the controls as opposed to my own lack of skill.

    I really like the laser powerup. Would it make the game too easy to have the powerups last longer? The first five levels or so, I basically just held down the fire button so the powerups were depleted almost immediately. ;) Soon enough I learned to conserve them.

    Do the levels get any bigger? Even though the missions changed the constant size of the planetoids the ship is circling around made the levels all sort of similar.

    Once again I'll say the presentation is excellent - this looks like a very professionally designed game.
     
  12. princec

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    Hi George,

    it ran awfully on my brand new laptop :( (Which is a dual core AMD thing with Vista and some sort of Nvidia thing in it). Had all the symptoms of using an inaccurate timer - slow, fast, slow, fast, slow, fast, etc. And the mouse on the title screen was sluggish like it was in treacle.

    Cas :)
     
  13. oNyx

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    Ran butter smooth on my brand new super cheap 230€ office PC. The high res mode was sorta sluggish, but that's to be expected with onboard graphics (ati x1250).

    Got nothing to complain about. Awesome stuff.
     
  14. elias4444

    elias4444 New Member

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    Ran fine on my main machine (with an ATI 1900). I'll try to test it out later on my older box.

    The game is great BTW, but dang, did it have to be asteroids?!?! I'm only jealous because I can't handle the competition. :p

    Oh, and I admit that I'm the kind of person that can get queasy playing first person shooters, but this game made me downright motion sick after a while. That might limit your audience somewhat (to those with better equilibriums), but I love the 3D mechanics and wouldn't recommend changing them.
     
  15. Twitchfactor

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    Really awesome! I'm amazed by how prolific you are and the quality keeps getting better and better.

    Not quite sure why you'd call it Arklight 2, since it really has nothing to do with that game, except the ship. It's really a top-notch Stardust (Amiga), Super Stardust HD (PS3) clone.

    I haven't tried it with a 360 pad, but if it flies with a pad, you got my $$$.
     
  16. Pi Eye Games

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    Hello, thanks again for all the feedback, very much appreciated ...

    Glad the keyboard controls worked okay ... I was a bit worried they'd be too slow, but any faster makes it really hard to aim at specific targets. I might still add the keyboard-tweakers to the options menu though. Thanks.

    Yes : ) It's all about conserving ammo then letting rip at opportune moments. The laser power up is way too powerful ... so much so that I had to restrict it on the boss levels to give them a fighting chance.

    They do get gradually bigger (due to the ramp), but I'm going to vary the asteroid sizes from level to level right from the start in the next build.

    Nooooo! It could well be the timer, I did have a bug related to this a few months ago. I'll send an email about getting log file off you : )

    Good stuff ... it was developed on a cheap Celeron laptop with onboard intel 945 graphics so I'm hoping most PC's will handle the game okay (within reason of course).

    This happens on a few of my games ... Cubology used to be the worse until I got complaints, now you have to turn the motion back on from the options menu : ( But yeah, not much I can do on this game ... I might be about to make it worse however cause I'm going to experiment with moving the camera even further in front of the player =P

    Thanks : ) I'm using *a lot* of the same code between games now (about 90%!). Also the $14.95 games are quite small really, so the numbers are a tad inflated.

    Well ... for the record ... I started DarkSide almost two years ago, so I don't really see the game as a Super Startdust HD clone. I first saw Super Stardust HD about two months ago when someone told me about it, after I had showed them some DarkSide screens.

    I'm flattered at the comparison of course. Although I haven't played Super Stardust HD, the YouTube videos look awesome, far more polished than my humble attempt at an asteroids game. Btw, I once wrote a C64 game demo (never finished/released) called Stardust =P

    It was a shock to see Super Stardust HD ... this is the second game in a row that's been similar to something that's just been released. The first was PyraCubes which has a similar game mechanic to Chocolate Castle. In both cases I have contacted the game's authors and decided to release my games as is.

    Honestly, I am trying to be original here!

    So I could use the same ship models ... I'm cheap! Also, I like how the two names sound together 'ArkLight' and 'DarkSide' : )

    Damn, no pad support at the moment I'm afraid ; ) I'll have a look at getting some in there ... it would be nice to add this for a couple of the games.

    Cheers,
    George
     
  17. Twitchfactor

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    BTW, I didn't mean any slight mentioning Super Stardust. It's A LOT MORE than Stardust on the Amiga and even Super Stardust on the PS3, so don't worry. Plus, those are on platforms that only a handful of people have. ;)

    Well, if you need some help, I love your stuff, I'd be really happy help (even though I'm SUPER BUSY finishing my game right now). Music, graphics, design, experience... let me know.
     
  18. Pi Eye Games

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    Sorry, I didn't mean to rant : )

    I'm glad you brought up Super Stardust and I'm really flattered by the comparison ... it's just the games do look similar so I wanted everyone to know I didn't just see the game and think 'hmmm, I'll make one of those'.

    Originally DarkSide was going to be set round a planet too, so I'm glad I went down the whole scenery/buildings route!

    Hey, thanks for that ... and I hope the game-finishing goes smoothly, always fun ; )
     
  19. fezztah

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    Fantastic arcade game, this would be very much at home on a console (as stardustHD showed). I wonder if this will be successful on PC though, I hope so, it deserves too.

    I think you give way too much away in the demo. It took me 3 lunch times to get to level21 of the missions and complete them (~3hours). I haven't even looked at the two other modes! I'd stick a 30min timer on it and maybe restrict it to the first 10 levels. Even better would be a short demo that isn't part of the main game, first 5mins is tutorial, last 10mins is a big asteroid with a lot of enemy types and all the top power ups. Something to make the player really go WOW.

    Maybe I'm biased, having played StardustHD and MutantStorm, but I wish it had a similar control system. I suppose there aren't too many people with X360 pads plugged into their PC's (wow they are good pads) so maybe you can't justify it. WASD + mouse aim would be great, but that would mean a new ship model and total control overhaul I suppose - shame though. I could play ok using the mouse, but it didn't feel as fluid as I'd hoped. The mouse was constantly getting too close to the ship and then the sensitivity would go nuts and break the immersion as I'd realise what was happening and move the mouse away. I couldn't get on with the current keyboard controls at all, they seemed slow and disorientating for some reason.

    I played the first 10 levels with my finger firmly pressed on the fire button, which meant I had a sore hand quite quickly, I was sick of the "da da da da" laser noise and the power ups disappeared instantly and I had no impression of powering-up. After level10 I realised the weapons actually had ammo and I wasn't supposed to be firing all the time. Doh! You could try be more explicit about how weapons are meant to be used in the tutorial. Making the power-ups last longer is a band aid that would help a little but then you'd need to re-balance the whole game :( Once you realise you need to conserve ammo and seek out lasers then the game becomes very easy indeed.

    Even if you don't know about ammo and lasers the game is very easy, this is fine during the first 5 levels, but it didn't get hard for me until level 15. That first boss was crazy, I must have attempted that 30 times :(

    The game ran fine on my machine but froze on level 16 and level 21 for about 15secs with the sound effects jammed looping. It came back ok though. I was running in a window.

    The asteroid textures could do with changing more often, they all look much the same. In general it was quite dark, industrial and grimy - I don't mean it was bad, far from it. I think just adding more variety to the asteroid textures would make a big difference. New types of buildings and new rock textures would be even better, but I know that's a lot more work and a bigger download.

    That number of games at this level of quality though, amazing.
     
    #19 fezztah, Nov 28, 2007
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2007
  20. Pi Eye Games

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    Hi Fezztah,

    About 3 hours !? ... my DRM must have been very, very broken, it's only supposed to give an hour. When you start the game what did the DRM say the time remaining was? Very odd stuff. I've uploaded v1.0 now (I'll post below) which includes a weeks worth of work on the DRM so hopefully the issue is now resolved.

    I had the same feedback for Scavenger and the ASWD worked well so I'll add it to DarkSide (add some thruster jets for lateral movement, but still leave the mouse-button thrust available). I'll try add the pad support too, I've got some old pad code knocking around so it'll be good to upgrade the engine and get the shooters working with pads, good excuse to get an xbox pad too : )

    Good point, I'll add in an extra tip asap, thanks.

    That's what I've done for v1.0 (out now), the beta ramps were quite broken really. The ramp still needs tweaking (mostly on the story mode), but for the Arcade and Survival modes the action does heat up far more quickly. There are probably still too many power ups ... they work well on later levels, but for the early levels they make everything too easy.

    There are a bunch of easy levels in the story mode ... I'm always making the opening levels too easy because I'm worried about casual players getting shock ; ) I'll take another look at the number of easy levels and tweak the ramp up to the first boss (who is now 40% easier to destroy).

    I've no idea what that could be. Maybe outlook checking for email or something? There are no major loads etc. during the game.

    Yeah, I do tend to vary levels using color too much. There are ten rock textures, but I guess one rock texture looks pretty much like another when you're zooming around over them. I have tweaked all the asteroid and space textures for v1.0, but I've got a feeling this has made them more alike rather than less : ( Unfortunately I can't have anything too different for the asteroid textures because of the way the models are built, it'd show up the seems too much.

    Thanks again for the feedback, great having a MoonPod'er checking out the game. Can't believe you guys are only over in Sheffield, I used to live there for 10 years while I worked at Gremlin ... ah, the good old days ; )
     

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