Rocket Man

Turrets are done now. Do they work perfectly? Not quite. But here’s the thing and here’s why they are now emblazoned orange on the done list, they’re working. Also, it occurred to me that the sprites that I have aren’t going to be the sprites that Paper Zeppelin will ship with, so there’s not a lot of reason to get all fiddly with it. The Turrets turn and they fire and it looks like it’s working. Any of the little things that look like deuce won’t be relevant when the new art gets plugged in. Hence, they’re done, especially from a coding standpoint anyway.
It looks like we are rapidly reaching a point where I will be out of necessary things to code. I mean in terms of the major players in the game that need their own classes I’m making pretty good time. Let’s see. As of this writing I have the stuff pertaining to the bomb, the bases and the Rockets. I’m saving the bomb part for last, since it has to do with things the player is doing. So I’m right in the middle of making rockets happen.
Tonight (Live!) I got the rockets installed and they work more or less. I mean, they shoot, and they have an animation that I totally stole, and I managed to create a cute adjustment to the code so that the turrets that I’ve rigged up to shoot them also pass along the rotation that they worked so hard to figure out. So rockets fly out in all manner of direction and look pretty sweet. They still move way to damn fast, but I have something to work with.
Speaking of rockets, the Design Document says that they are supposed to work by exploding after a set time. It also says that they do an average of the player positions and make that the target. Let’s consider for a moment these assumptions. The exploding thing works, and I kind of like it on a certain level. It is also appropriate for shooting at Zeppelins but it’s called “flak.” What I do have to install though, is a way for players to know when the damn thing is going to pop. Right now the prevailing theory is making the fire / smoke trail a different color right before shiny happens.
The second assumption lies in the targeting system. I could just pick a random spot on the screen and shoot it, but that reeks of sadness (not unlike an AFI concert…I assume). If we go by the average, then we have a slightly different problem. It has everything to do with sample size. Before you get worried, I’m not about to drop the mathematics like it’s hot. Let’s say we have 4 people and they are all over the screen. There’s lots of different options to add together for an average and the rocket will shoot more or less into the center of them. Now, assume that there is only 1 person. The “average” position will just be that players “actual” position and the rocket be aimed directly. With that in mind I don’t think that rockets will be too prevalent in any of the single player maps.
Another thing in the document is that the rocket firing brutes can’t be damaged. I no longer think I like this. The original thinking was that rockets are too slow and sad to be any real threat. Instead they are a minor annoyance. Having most of the game available to play with shows me that Paper Zeppelin is surprisingly fast and hectic. It plays a little like AeroFighters, only with duel stick shooting. So there are an imperial (as opposed to metric [oh snap! measurement scale burn!]) shit ton of bullets on screen at any given moment. Add 4 players doing that and the chaos gets pretty, well, awesome. In this kind of environment a slow moving, annoying and effectively indestructable enemy doesn’t really cut it. So I think I’m going to show them another way to die…involving bullet bills…in a very uncomfortable place.

While writing all of that I had a Bomb idea. Not a “Bomb” as in “da Bomb” idea, but an idea pertinent to bombs in general, and the Bomb item in particular. I’m thinking that the Zeppelin sprite always has a bomb. The thing is that I don’t show the whole sprite, only the top half with just the zeppelin in it. Instead, when the bomb gets picked up, I can change the display and player parameters.
Although, thinking some more about it, it would change the color of the bomb depending on who is carrying it. No, I’ll do it the hard way so it looks right.

Earth below us, drifting…falling…

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