Adding the finishing touches

Over the past couple of months I’ve been playing around with a JavaScript Arcade Game which I call Invaders from Mars. It essentially borrows from the early days of arcade gaming (Space Invaders, Galaxians) and injects a feel of the SNES style games that I developed some years ago. The exercise was all about proving JavaScript as a coding language for arcade games and web browsers as delivery mechanisms. I’m fully aware that there are more contemporary methods of creating games with JavaScript and the wonders of HTML 5 but this project did not concern them. That will come soon.

So for Invaders it’s all about the action. I desperately wanted to force the player in to a battlefield where quick reactions and a flexible trigger finger won the day. Furthermore I wanted to offer bonuses and rewards a plenty and encourage the player to aim for the top of the high score table. To this end I think I succeeded. Whilst there are one or two “features” that I will aim to improve over time the game forms a reasonable framework for future arcade games. I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised with the speed of execution and Google’s Chrome wins any bench testing that I carried out. Apple’s Safari comes a close second whilst Firefox brings up a commendable 3rd position. Internet Explorer performance is to be frank woeful. In an age where we are seeing an increasing amount of browser delivery with rich user interfaces and a huge take up with AJAX I find it staggering that the largest IT company on the planet is yet again playing catchup. Staggering but not surprising.

Anyway, I don’t blog to bemoan Microsoft I blog for the games I create. I’m currently researching my next project which will probably still be a shooter but more of a pedestrain affair. As a kid I was a huge fan of Atari’s Berserk. The game has reappeared in several guises over the years and I aim for something as effective as, say, Gauntlet or Castle Wolfenstein.
The next project will most likely involve scrolling tiled backgrounds and improved animation handling. It will also utilise multiple object instantiators. (I hesitate to refer to them as classes since JavaScript has no concept of Class.)

IFM used just one “class” and I derived all sprite objects from it. It worked fine but I found I was loading attributes for simple non-essential sprites where they should really have had their own definition. The next game will have multiple “classes” which I will derive from a single base class by way of Cut and Paste :-)

The next game also won’t use a library or framework from the internet. I still haven’t found a reasonable use for them. That said I may well pay close attention to JSON in any research that I carry out.

Finally I wish to thank the people that have played Invaders and registered their score in doing so. I’m hugely grateful and hope that you enjoy the next offering.
Particular mention goes to “KMAN” who racked up some astonishing scores (presumably without the aid of a proxy tool and some l33t hacking sklz !) In honour of this achievement I reconstructed the high score table accordingly. Largely because the game dynamics had changed somewhat and I felt that the current batch of scores were not relevant anymore.

So Invaders from Mars is nearing completion. In a few days I hope to release version 1 to a new URI and promote it a little. I’m just tweaking performance and level structure just now and trying to balance the bonuses with the challenges.

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