Re: [stella] Robot City (alpha)

Subject: Re: [stella] Robot City (alpha)
From: Erik Eid <eeid@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 22:40:14 -0400
On Saturday 10 August 2002 02:33 pm, Thomas Jentzsch wrote:
> The idea of the game is very simple:
> The tanks are trying to kill you with their missiles and you must kill
> them with your gun. But the tanks have a shield and can only be
> destroyed when hit at the back.

(August 10?  It's the 21st today.  I'm very behind!  :) )

It is definitely an interesting idea.  Having to shoot the tanks from behind 
makes this a game of strategy and patience rather than rushing in with guns 
blazing.  I rather like it.

> There are currently two mazes, which can be selected with... SELECT. :-)

I do hope there end up being more, not because I've mastered either of them, 
but just for the sake of variety.  (I was disappointed to find that Wizard of 
Wor for the 2600 has only three or four mazes.)

> Tell me, what you think about it. And I hope, you have some ideas about
> gameplay improvements, because I think it's lacking something important
> to make it a really good game.

I like the shimmering shields.  :)  I am also impressed by how little it 
seems to flicker on a real TV.

I am wondering if the collision detection is a little too strict.  There are 
times I catch a tank with a bullet just as it's turning and I could swear I 
hit it at the right time.

I'm not fond of the very squat numbers at the bottom of the screen.  They 
seem too wide for their height.  Would it be possible to make them taller, 
perhaps by taking a scanline away from each of the walls?

I like that the enemy tanks can shoot and disable each other, even 
(apparently) through their own shields.  That opens up another strategy for 
the player - try to force the enemy to do this.

Maybe what's needed is a little extra incentive to finish a round.  At this 
point you could conceivably just wander the maze and try to avoid combat.  In 
Dig Dig, after a certain amount of time, which grows shorter with each round, 
the monsters all speed up, as does the background music.  This intensifies 
the pressure, makes play a bit more difficult, and is an encouragement to the 
player to hurry up and finish.  Berzerk uses a similar incentive with Evil 
Otto.  Venture does the same.  Qix introduces more sparks onto the board 
after some time has passed.

I like what I see so far.  I look forward to more.
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