Dev Diary 024: Two Player Dog Fight

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Matt Barton's picture

Two Player!Two Player!This has been a rough day for me! I finally got my space duel game working with two players. That is, it worked fine in the EDITOR. However, when I made a build of it, the fire buttons wouldn't work! I spent hours looking into the input functions to no avail. Finally, I discovered the problem had something to do with the update speed of the editor vs. the build. I'm still not exactly sure what the problem was, but it had something to do with the way I instantiated and positioned the bullets. I figured I'd check to see which fire button was pressed, then check to see where the corresponding ship was located. The big complication here is that I need to impart an initial velocity (set by each player) to their bullets. But how to get the right variable to the bullet? I'll spare you the details, which I don't really understand, but the short of it I managed to kludge through it.

At any rate, I think there's enough here for you to finally see my vision for the gameplay. You've got a two-player dog fight, ships orbiting the planets. Each time you fire, there's a cooldown period before you can fire again. You have to hit the enemy ship head-on to blow it up, and, yes, you can blow yourself up if you're not careful.

The keys are below:

Player 1: A,D, - rotate. W,S - adjust power. Space - fire.
Player 2: Arrow keys for rotation and power, right ctrl for fire.
Mouse - move camera, zoom. (hold down middle mouse button)

The game automatically restarts if a player dies. Just re-select your starting planets if you want to play again.

Give it a spin, preferably with a friend or loved one, and let me know if this project is worth taking further.

Unity Web Player | WebPlayer


Chris Rasmus (not verified)

Really cool. Couple things:

Why does the player's ship have a rotation? If I'm rotating around a planet, why do *I* keep rotating? If this a gameplay decision to make the player have to keep adjusting his aim, well, ok I guess. Still annoying. :P

Cooldown. I miss being able to fire a storm of bullets. Any chance for 2 keys to adjust cooldown?

Sounds! This game needs sounds so bad. An ambient (fire sound, like the sun slowly burning), bullet firing, bullet hitting, ship exploding.

When I first started reading about this I assumed we could travel around the system in our ships. Obviously I've discovered otherwise, and it's still cool. However! It would be suuuuuuuper awesome if we could navigate in-system. Perhaps allowing us to "break orbit", then power away under our own thrust. "Orbit" could be an option too...if the player's velocity was low enough it would throw them into a standard orbit around the nearest body (including moon?) Save this for later if too complicated, and I realize it would be super easy to leave the system thru bad piloting, but it would be so cool. Split screen would be needed too I guess. Just tossing out ideas.

So yeah, definitely keep working on this. Really cool stuff. Makes me want to stop working on my current project and try something similar! I've always wanted to do something like this.

More, MORE! :P

Take care.

Chris Rasmus (not verified)

And we need multiplayer! You better have plans to make this client-server or something with tons of players able to join the server (solar system).

Different ship types! More weapons! Why are you reading this and not programming more?!!!!!!!


Take care.

Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006
Thanks for the comments,

Thanks for the comments, Chris. If you saw the earlier dev diary, you know there is a package out there that supposedly reduces online multiplayer to a few convenient scripts. It's $100, though. My plan is to see if I can get this looking good, then ask people to donate the necessary funds if they want it bad enough. :)

I gotta be somewhat careful with the orbits, since that's the concept. If I let you just fly your ship around, that's Star Control. I wouldn't mind some kind of option to let you go to another planet, though it might indeed quickly get too complicated.

I basically just want something like Scorched Earth in space. That said, I really do need to get working on the weapons and ships, since that's going to be the really cool part. MIRVs, hell yeah!

Rowdy Rob
Rowdy Rob's picture
Joined: 09/04/2006
Some thoughts....

Ok, overall, there's a very cool look to the game, even at this early stage. The "Scorched Earth in space" idea is actually an awesome idea full of potential!

Here's some things I noticed, which perhaps you've already considered. I realize this is at a very early stage of development, but in case you haven't thought of these points, I'm posting this.

1) I'm with Chris Rasmus on the "cooldown" aspect. I liked the storm of bullets effect in the previous version, although it's understandable that you toned it down in this version. The bullet trails were mesmerizing when there were dozens of them on the screen at once! The current amount of bullets allowed due to cooldown seems to limiting, since it's very difficult to get off that one great shot with the constant changing of the planet/gravity positions. If the player has to build up his combat abilities via power-ups (like Scorched Earth), then the current bullet limitation (as the player's beginning point) is understandable, assuming it can be upgraded as the player progresses.

2) Currently, the player who chooses an inner planet as his base is at a severe disadvantage, especially if his opponent chooses the most outer planet! If the player chooses the planet closest to the sun, their bullets have extreme difficulty escaping the gravity of the sun, much less reaching the outskirts of the solar system and hitting the opponent. Their bullets travel much slower, and may fade out before getting close to the opponent. There's also much more risk of their bullets orbiting the sun and hitting their own base! Meanwhile, the player from the outer planet can take potshots at the inner planets, with their bullets sped up by the pull of gravity towards the center, and much less likely to orbit back into them!

Well, that's it for now. My two points might actually be worked into the gameplay's favor and not have to be changed. "Cooldown" can give the player the incentive to work towards upgrades. And if the player's base is randomly assigned to the innermost planet, they will have to fight their way out of such a disadvantage. I don't think a player would choose the innermost planet on their own, though, in the game's current state.

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