Thinking about JavaScript shoot ’em ups

I’m inbetween game projects just now. Have been for some time. I keep picking up my adventure / RPG game idea and tinkering with it and then it all seems a million miles away from starting so I sit back in my chair and ponder other ideas. As much as I love the thought of getting my hands dirty with a large scale game it’s the smaller games that give me a real buzz as a game designer.

So I’m looking around and piecing together some ideas.

I’m currently thinking vertical scrolling shooter. The manic type. Think Ikaruga, Radiant Silvergun, Border Down; that kind of thing. They are the single reason I own a Dreamcast and it’s still plugged in and used. Manic shooters like this are just the epitome of awesome in my opinion. My all time favourite, Bangai-O, is just too mental. I couldn’t begin to think about the mechanics of representing something like that in JavaScript. But a vertical shooter might just be on the cards.

In my teens I was a huge fan of 1942 in the arcades. In recent years it’s undergone a few facelifts but ultimately it’s the same game. I’m pretty keen to use the model for my own shooter.

I put together a few tests for scrolling a patchwork static background that worked well. I refer to it as the moving stage. At various points on the stage I position sprites and scenery that slowly scroll in to view as the stage slides down through the play field. As soon as any adversary sprites hit the playfield margin (typically CanvasOrigin – 128px) they come to life and start to move in their own particular way.

Better still I put a starship (actually it was a helicopter since I wanted to animate it convincingly and I LOVE Border Down) at the base and had it shoot dozens of bullets around the screen at once.

Aliens would come in to view, fire their missiles and swoop off out of sight never to be seen again.

It was pure chaos and just what I’m after. The mechanics of a game like this are pretty simple. The skill is in the staging to actually make a decent game out of it.

More theory to follow as well as a working title for the game. Exciting times :)

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