Re: [stella] Robot City (alpha)

Subject: Re: [stella] Robot City (alpha)
From: Thomas Jentzsch <tjentzsch@xxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 10 Aug 2002 22:47:24 +0200
B. Watson wrote:
> It's pretty impressive so far. Really challenging, especially the second
> (green) maze.

Yes, I find myself very often trapped without escape. Now I must find
out, what makes a mazes harder than others.

And many thanks for your suggestions, they are very inspiring.

> - Another type of enemy (think of the pterry in Joust, or the mothership
>   in Space Invaders), maybe he only comes out every once in a while and
>   is really hard to kill and/or avoid.

Hm, an additional object won't be easy without redesigning the kernel
(or more flicker). But maybe I could use the tank missiles and the tanks
can't shoot during its appearance.

It could be something that is 'flying' above the maze, so it's movement
is not restricted by the playfield. It could remove or add parts of the
playfield or revive already destroyed tanks. 

> - Fuel that runs out, and a way to collect more fuel. You could just have
>   `fuel dumps' appear randomly in the maze for a couple of seconds, or
>   have an enemy supply truck that the tanks guard, when you shoot it it
>   turns into a fuel dump (which is on fire, so you only have a few seconds
>   to refuel).

Maybe it would even work without refueling. Then it would be more like a
countdown and you have to eliminate the tanks before it ends.

Another idea I just got is, that the tanks are only stunned for some
time and can get repaired (by time or by being touched by other tanks).
Then you would have to hurry to kill all tanks in short time.

> - Smarter or faster-shooting & moving tanks as the levels go up (a la
>   the robots in Berzerk)

Yup, that's a must. I already had planned that.

BTW: Does anybody have a good idea how to seamlessly increase the
speed of frame timed actions?

> - Hostages you have to rescue? Or is that too much like Choplifter? I
>   always liked the idea that the whole point of the game in Choplifter
>   and Defender was to rescue the hostages, and killing the enemy is a
>   secondary mission goal.

The idea is good, but I don't know how my kernel should handle that. The
only idea I got is, that the hostages are trapped inside the tanks. When
a tank is hit it gets stunned and I have some limited time to rescue the
hostages before it finally explodes (or recovers/is hit for the second

> - When some certain event happens, you lose the ability to fire your
>   gun for a few seconds. It could be combined with the new type of
>   enemy above, when he shoots you, you don't die, you just lose the
>   ability to shoot. Or maybe your movement rate gets cut in half. Or
>   two different enemies, one that stops you from shooting, one that
>   makes you move slow. Or you could only give the player one life, and
>   being shot by the regular tanks damages the helicopter (your guns
>   get damaged & only fire sometimes, then they get destroyed & don't
>   fire at all, then your engines get damaged... Like Star Raiders or
>   Blue Max on the Atari 800).

The slower speed is a good idea. The helicopter gets some damage, making
it harder to react. And gun or radar (you can only see the corridors you
are in) damage are another nice option.

> - Bonus items. Maybe one allows you to shoot through the maze walls
>   temporarily, and one gives you a shield that will deflect one enemy
>   shot, and one gives you the ability to shoot through the tank shields
>   (or temporarily destroy the tank shields, which regenerate a few
>   seconds later. While a tank's shield is gone, you can shoot it from
>   the front, of course).

Yup, those are nice options too. And you could find some repair sets for
a damaged helicopter. Now I must have an idea how to graphically realize

> - Bonus screens between levels. Maybe you play through 2 or 3 levels of
>   tanks, and then you get a maze full of hostages you have to rescue, with
>   a time limit (like the treasure rooms in Gauntlet).

I haven't played Gauntlet yet, but simple collection sounds a bit like
Pac-Man. But bonus levels are a good idea.

> ...hmmm. All the ideas I've come up with are ripped-off from other classic
> games. Maybe it's better to think of something completely new? (Is that
> even possible? Sure it is, but maybe not for me? Or maybe just not for
> me right this very minute...)

I don't think that there are many still undiscovered original ideas. The
right combination makes a good game.

> Anyway, it's pretty impressive so far, especially for a <2K binary.

Thanks! Now, with nearly full 2K for extras and those many good
suggestions/ideas from above I'm much more optimistic I'll continue this

Have fun!
Thomas Jentzsch         | *** Every bit is sacred ! ***
tjentzsch at web dot de |

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