Hello there.

First blog post of 2019, feeling like writing again. This time in english. I’m progressively moving from my native tongue for the lingua franca for multiple reasons -the main one being the desire to hone that skill- and what better subject I could start this year than talking a new project, right, right?

A tale of royalties of barren territories

Nuclear Throne is among my favorite games. It’s a quick’n’dirty twin-stick shooter in a post-apocalyptical setting where a ragtag band of mutants fight climate and hordes for the long desired and mysterious Nuclear Throne. It has lots of elements from roguelikes, making it a roguelite1 such as permadeath, random level generation and item/loot distribution. It’s a game mostly about guns, guns that spits fire, guns that launches other guns2, guns that shoots bouncing bullets… but also explosives or melee weapons (my favorite, it’s a real pleasure to play Ganonball with every enemy).

I find in it a cool balance. The enemies were tough to approach at first, the scorpions of the first levels felt like bosses by themselves, but I can tell you after 70 hours of playing, they become just a random enemy that spits more green bullets than a bandit would throw red ones, you understand how bandits try to not stay close to you, etc etc… There is a really good feeling of learning in this game and reaching the end of the game just makes you want to get more and to conquer even more.

A running joke with me is how I hate collision stuff. Well I got better since. Here's a performance benchmark with 100 enemies and a few dozen bullets.

The same, but less good (guaranteed with 100% more cubes)

So, enough selling the game, let’s talk about my newest clone project. Lately, Voxatron, Pico-8’s big brother, got an update allowing it to accept Lua as a scripting language to replace or extend the already present microscripting’s capacities, allowing you to make new game modes, explore new and unknown frontiers in the world of voxel displays, take new challenges… Aaaand I decided to make a twin-stick shooter, which was basically Voxatron’s main game genre. Bravo me, you’re reinventing the wheel.

As usual, I like to reinvent games I loved in many ways or many platforms. Of course I did a Mother 3 / Earthbound-esque battle engine mockup, who’re you reading the blogs of., anyway. That’ll just be the subject of another post. I already had the idea of cloning Nuclear a few months ago, wondering how it’d feel in fake voxels/layered sprites or in low-poly 3D. Never got past far the speculation that the art style wouldn’t apply welll in both cases, mostly because I’m a far better programmer than pixel artist.

I’m making a prototype that may become a demo. I’d like to have the Wasteland done with a subset of available weapons, all the enemies from the level and if possible Fish and Crystal programmed in the game. I have issues on how I’m basically copying a commercial game, down to the setting, instead of just copying the gameplay features. Unless I get personally approved by Vlambeer or they hire me (haaaahahahahahaha, as if they would), I’d like to stop there. The amount of work also would be too big for my level of attention.

Some level generation test

I got quite a few systems working : I got collisions, I got a basic AI structure, I got a prototype weapon system in place and the game is vaguely playable. I still have a lot to do, right now I’m working on level generation. There actually is a lot in this game I’d not have expected to be if I wouldn’t have pried the game apart.

I’m currently devlogging a lot on Twitter or Mastodon (that’s an alt account to my main) but I’ll try to get back this blog on rails as well as I can. Can’t promise anything, that’d be also a running joke, but here’s here, I even am touching up the portfolio bits!

Ah, time to sleep. I should better sleep as soon as I can, work won’t wait. See ya soon. Fläshyn!

Meta stuff that’s better there than in the middle of the devlog

Thus I’m starting to write down notes. Of anything. What a weapon could have as variables from what I can extrapolate from the game, the level generation, the AI states, the balance, the plan, The Game. Been a while I haven’t tried to put efforts in not scratching the paper and call the resulting ink mess “writing”. That’s a part of my job I like. The blank page is both a formidable opponent to inspiration but also an enabler of a thought process.

  1. I’m using this term but I saw a rise of the term roguelike-like too. Seeing this term makes me think more of Zelda’s Like Like than anything else. ↩︎

  2. Used to, but this weapon was removed during Early Access. ↩︎