So for this week (11th – 17th January) I decided to focus on weapons, a pretty important element of twin-stick shooters. I didn’t want to stick with using one weapon for testing, so I decided to see if I could make a few more for the game. This should explain how I approached the problem and what the weapons system currently looks like for Gemstone Keeper.
In my original notes, I was originally going to use just one weapon and the player can upgrade it overtime (more damage, higher fire rate, more bullets at once ect) but you’d lose all of them if you died, because perma-death. While I do plan to keep the permadeath to keep with the roguelike aspects, I felt like the player should at least be able to choose how the weapon acts when they come back, so they don’t have to start entirely from the beginning. Therefore I decided instead to allow the player to choose from set weapon types that can be unlocked, although there will probably be some upgrades in the near-future that could be lost in perma-death.
So I started working on implementing seven weapon types, and I was showing them off during #IndieDevHour on Twitter with GIFs like these:
It was around this time that I noticed that I realised I could extend the behaviour of the bullets (which were simply sprites with a few specific variables) to do stuff like create a bullet that changes direction. It was showing off these gifs and talking to other developers that I realised (specifically from this tweet below) what I could do with this ability to extend both the behaviour of the weapon and the bullet.
One feature I really liked in Gunstar Heroes that I’ve never really found in shoot’em ups since is the ability to combine weapons, using four basic weapons (Force, Lightning, Fire and Chaser) to create an additional ten unique weapons to try out. I’m not sure why I haven’t found another game that has this mechanic (not even Gunstar Super Heroes has this as far as I recall), but I like the idea because it could lead to multiple unique combinations. Because the bullet group requires a class that inherits bullet, then any new bullet behaviour simply extends the bullet and can be loaded into the weapon!
So currently, the player can unlock and choose both the type of weapon and bullet, that way choosing what kind of weapon they want to suit their style of play. So if you want a homing bullet you can use it on the handgun, but also a sword!
Alongside that, you could use a machine gun, but use either laser or ricochet bullets!
Obviously one drawback from this is that there maybe some severely overpowered combinations, and while I would like players to figure out which combinations lead to the best impact, it would be too easy to beat the game with weapons that instantly kill enemies, so I’ve got to work that out. Hope the graphics are still decent for the time being, I would like to get some effects working on them.
So that’s how the weapons system work in Gemstone Keeper, combining weapons and bullets. Feedback is welcomed!