Look and feel

Invaders from Mars - new screen shot

Invaders from Mars - new screen shot

Some times when designing games and characters you get Eureka! moments. Realising that I really ought to expand on the cartoon / B-Movie theme with the cutesy Spaceman Spiff inspired settings and creatures was mine.

I put some work in to defining the visuals a bit more and deliberately over-egged the classic blue/orange palette. I find that the player’s ship is much more of a joy to control and the big in-your-face laser bolts are much more what I had in mind when I first started the project.

I added “Squid” to the game, a splodgy tentacled monster that pretty much captures the kind of alien that I’m after. I also paid some attention to the level structure and the role that each level plays in the broader game. I expanded the level count to 24 (peviously it was 12) and broke the visuals down in to 2 styles. For the first half of the game you are clearly on Earth in a city setting and for the second half you are on a more remote alien setting.

The pack now also moves with consistency. I defined 5 pack styles with the first style a very familiar sideways shift. Later pack styles see them all pulsating and “throbbing” quite a bit more with one of the styles having the aliens drop pretty much to player level. To counter this I also stopped pack aliens from firing below a certain height. The player has to stand some kind of a chance :-)

Finally for this version I also altered some of the sound effects with the aliens dying with a much more satisfying splodge. Sound effects are something I’m keen to polish over time.

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  • Alejandro  On September 25, 2008 at 6:47 am

    Hi! Congratulations for yout nice work! Im unfortunately unable to play the game on any browser, given that the space key (fire) causes the page to scroll down and the game zone gets out of view. This is really annoying since i would like to test your game. I just thought I should let you know in case you are not aware, or perhaps im using the wrong key!

  • markw1970  On September 25, 2008 at 6:52 am

    Hi Alejandro,

    the keys to use are shown below the game window.
    You can use Z to fire, X for smart bombs and Arrows to move left and right.
    There is no need to use the Spacebar.
    Hope that helps.


  • Scott Schiller  On September 25, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    Well done! I’ve bookmarked your blog and plan to read through it when I have more time. Very cool to see JS and design work on the web from someone who came from the earlier days of arcade design. (If you have some stories from the era, that’d be awesome to read about too. ;) )

  • mrop  On September 27, 2008 at 8:16 am

    Nice work so far, though I must say that I spent a lot of time dodging power ups just because they just were too hard to differentiate in the heat of battle. Perhaps you should decide on a consistent colour and shape scheme for power ups and projectiles to avoid confusion, especially since the game can become quite hectic.

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