Designing the default starting "Mothership" was pretty easy. The concept of the game is inspired by a long lost game by the name of Starscape from Moonpod. As an homage to the game I wanted to make the starter ship similar to the one you had in Starscape. Click here if you want to visit Moonpod's website and check out Starscape.
As one can see, there will be 4 turrets and 1 cannon slot in the middle and the ship will have a maximum of 6 orbs. Ships can have up to 6 cannons, 6 turrets, 6 orbs, and 6 cores. These will determine the capabilities of a ship and help balance it against others. One ship might have more offensive capability with more cannons while another has more defensive attributes due to its higher orb count. More on those later.
Basic Control and Visuals
Here is a quick test of movement using the arrow keys to move. There is also an orb being tested here. All ships will have the same default movement speed but this can be adjusted depending on your ship loadout, buffs, and playstyle. Ships will have Hull and Shield damage, generally it is easier to regenerate shields over hull, however, some weapon effects can ignore shields.
There are visual effects when your ship is hit and the shield is up. If your ship is hit while the shield is down you will notice a screen-shake effect. Also seen here is a test for hp bars and damage numbers which can be toggled on or off. Now that I have the underlying structure for these basic game mechanics in place, I have room to try extra effects and animations. First I needed to finish the default "modules" for the Mothership.
Modules are items you can equip on your ship to help you in battle. The main modules are Cannons, Turrets, and Orbs. Shown above are inventory slot previews of the starter ship items and in-game sprites. It can be really fun to mix and match modules to explore different play-styles and strategies to progress in the game. Each ship will have its own default style of play.
Cannons are special modules. They are more powerful than most turrets and generally have more range with the only downside of fire rate. These can be aimed by the player or controlled by the AI. When the player controls the cannon it can rotate towards the mouse cursor much faster. While I could have the rotation as slow as the AI, I decided to stick with the instant rotation to give more incentive to control the ship.
Turrets usually have a higher fire rate and less damage than cannons. Their range is limited and they can only be controlled by the AI. Turret modules are your main defense due to their higher output and ability to switch targets faster. While their damage is lower, their proc rates for weapon effects tend to be higher.
Orbs are utility modules that provide various benefits. Even if the default ship orbs do not provide a passive buff or attack they have a decent health pool and can be used to stop enemy projectiles. Other orbs like the ones above can do damage on contact with enemies, increase turret rotation speed, or even provide a hull regeneration buff.
Cores are abilities for your ship. Beyond the main modules your ship can use special effects to provide an edge in battle. Cores are also important as they dictate the AI of the ship. Above is an image of what the cooldown for a core looks like. When lit up the user can click it or let the AI automatically use its ability. In this case the mothership can use "Defense Matrix" to reinforce its shields for a small amount of time. While this ability is selected the mothership will move toward the nearest enemy as dictated by its description(Only while in AUTO mode). Some cores can move toward an ally, grant stealth, or sacrifice shield energy to become invulnerable!
Now it is time to say goodbye to the "Mothership"! So far it has served as a great start to the game and provided the basics for the rest of the project. Next weeks tidbit will be more focused on the game as a whole and what is intended for the future of its journey. Any feedback is appreciated, the team is active on our discord server and we like to hear what you think!
~ Andrew Barontini - Lead Game Developer - Mach V Gaming