How it was made: Fasteroids

A few years ago I started watching a series of game development videos by ThinMatrix. Those videos were really inspirational, but I hadn't done any kind of game development for a very long time. I picked up a book on developing games with Java, but never really "got into" the book. Then I saw a Humble Game Maker Bundle about 1 1/2 years ago. I bought the bundle, but didn't look at Game Maker until about 7 months ago when I came across Shaun Spalding's tutorials.

Fasteroids is an Indie game I began developing in 2017 based loosely on Shaun Spalding's Your First GameMaker Game series of videos. In that video Shaun partially builds the classic game of Asteroids. I really liked the fact that Shaun (and other Youtubers) jumped right into coding (versus GM's drag and drop). As I started watching other videos it became clear how much can go into coding what looks to be a simple game. Simple questions such as "what should happen to the player when they fly off the screen?" could have a number of answers:

  • They crash into the side
  • They wrap around the screen
  • They warp somewhere else
  • The screen scrolls revealing more space

Fasteroids is my first semi-successful attempt at a graphical game of any kind. While I owe a big debt to Shaun Spalding for making the first GameMaker game series of videos there were a lot of things I wanted to add/do a bit different:

  • Menus - main, how to play, about, high scores, quit
  • My own sprite work, improved looking asteroids
  • Particle effects so that stars appear to blink in and out giving the game a bit more of a space look
  • Various planets that appear in the distance (you can fly over them without dying) and gradually move off screen in random directions
  • A bugfix: the player sometimes disappeared off-screen never to return
  • High scores
  • Extra player after so many warps (5)
  • Extra difficulty after warp 4, smaller asteroids
  • Lives represented as ship icons rather than as a number
  • Last life blinking ship animation
  • Adjusted turning speed based on player feedback
  • Game controller support for Xbox 360 controller (though I recommend keyboard controls as I find the controller just too painful)

Here is a video of Brandon Thomsen (with his permission, thanks Brandon!) playing a very early version of Fasteroids:

 

Fasteroids is still in the early stages of development and quite a bit will change in the next year. If you're interested in being a play-tester for Fasteroids please contact me via email, or in person. An Internet-playable version will also be available soon!