Feature Friday : Alpha Gameplay

Hello and welcome to another exciting installment of Feature Friday!

As you can see, from the title, right up there, this week I’m going to wax poetic at you about the gameplay in the Alpha Version of Space Command One.  I know, gameplay isn’t technically a feature, but I’ve been thinking a lot about what is going to be included in the Alpha vs Beta vs Retail, I figured I might as well get some of this written out.  And, what better place to write it out than my blog!?

Some housekeeping stuff this Friday..  No new updates on Current Game Progress. Not so much I haven’t done anything, but I haven’t finished anything that I can legitimately cross off the list.  Tomorrow I should have lots of new updates and come Monday everything should be up to date on the site.  Other news, I figured out whats legitimately going to be in the Alpha.  Thats a step, and I decided that Alpha should be done by the end of January. Yep.  End of January.  Thats my plan at least.  That means, that on Monday, January 31st, I will be releasing the Alpha version of SCO on this here site! w00t!  That is quite exciting.  Though Alpha won’t be nearly as good as Beta, or Final (Retail) version, everyone can still get ready for it.

And whats the best way to get ready for something like that?  Obviously to read a Feature Friday entry on what to expect. So lets get right to it, Gameplay.

First of all, this is strictly a tower defense project when it comes to the Alpha.  That means all that cool stuff that I really want to do eventually… is going to have to wait.  Just turrets.  Thats all you get.  You barely even get enemies!  Actually, thats a lie.  You don’t get enemies.  You get obstacles.  But lets start from the beginning.

You start the game up, we got some sweet loading screens.  Actually, not that many and not that sweet.  Just the Unity loading screen.  Should be “fixed” by the time I can afford to buy Unity Pro, but, thats more for retail.  You’re going to have to deal with the Unity loading screen while I’m still in Alpha and possibly the Beta / Flash release.  You get to the main menu, and you’ll have some options.  Very simple options, either start game, or credits.  Credits will tell you all who worked on the game, and Start Game will start the game.  I recommend the start game option.

Artist's rendition of SCO Alpha's gameplay map.


You will be taken to the “staging” area for Mission 1.  From there, you can choose to either move rightward, toward the Blistering Skies, or to the left, the Isles of Loneliness.  Depending on which choice you go with, you’ll go in a different direction.  Whichever way you decide to go, the enemies and their patterns will be the same.  However, once you get into the 2nd stage (either the Blistering Skies or the Isles of Loneliness), they will be different.  Once you reach the end, and move to the 2nd stage, you’ll have more options.  In the Skies you will either go to the Pharaoh Asteroid Belt, or the Calm Sea Nebula.  If you went with the Isles, you will either go to the Stability Zone, or the Ancient Shipyard.

If you didn’t get it already, I’m putting in a branching mission structure.  That means on multiple plays you can take different directions.  Only the first stage is guaranteed.  I’ll call that Stage Homeland or something silly.  It doesn’t really matter in the long run.  Each “stage” will have a different theme, and for the beta that means it will look differently.  Also, depending on which way you go, the enemies will come in different patterns and such.

So, mission structure, what about enemies?  Well, as I said before, I’m only putting in one type of enemy into the Alpha, and to be honest, its mostly going to be flying at your ship.  And it will hit you, if you let it.  By that I mean, don’t build any defenses.  Now, I’m sure you’re all going to build defenses since its a tower defense game.  As the Alpha, there is no real fail condition.  You could build no defenses and the enemies will all run into your ship, and you won’t get any points, but, you won’t lose.  I know, its not very game like, but, its a work in progress.  Alpha is just there for the basics of the basics.  And Player ship health is not necessary yet.  Your enemies will have health, and you will destroy them, for points and resources, but you will just go on.  I’ll most likely put in a fail condition pretty quickly, but I want to do it right, and that takes time.  If I finish this before my deadline, I will see.

Points and Resources you say!?  Yes, like any good game, even alpha, we will have points and resources available.  I know I had talked about a salvage system and stuff, but really, thats not necessary for the Alpha.  As enemies spawn, they will have health, a point value, and a resource value.  With each subsequent wave, those three values will be increased. And, you’ll use these resources to build your turrets, you’ll use the points to try to beat your friends, and the enemy health is self explanatory.

So how do you get the points from your enemies?  You destroy them before they hit your ship!! HOW!?  With turrets! As I have stated before, and as you can see on my progress page, only two turret types made the cut for the Alpha.  The Machine Gun Turret and the Missile Turret.  Both are self explanatory, and, they have their own Feature Friday pages so you can read up on them. Not going to put much into an upgrade system for the Alpha, aka, no upgrade system.  But, they will shoot things, and it will be glorious.  Plus, its going to look as awesome as placeholder graphics can.

Other features of the Alpha that you might be interested in…

Pause menu!  Pause and resume your game – Also, view a map of the path you took.  Maybe.

Controls! Pick one of two different turrets to build in each expansion slot, or destroy the one thats currently there to build a new one!

Graphics!  They exist.  Pan around your ship, watch the action from all angles, and try to suspend disbelief as enemies spawn from nowhere!

Thats what we got this week for Feature Friday!  I hope everyone is as excited for this Alpha as I am.  Its going to be awesome.




About Bob5602

Just a dude.
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