This week has seen a new Weeked Game come out! Yay!
Wednesday, I uploaded TETRATON on the official Lexaloffle Pico-8 forums and then on Itch.io.
On this quiet and endless night, the TETRATON will unleash its potential and attempt to survive this technological challenge where it has to change its weapon module the biggest number of times while being attacked by enemy ships!! WILL THE TETRATON MAKE IT TO THE END?!?!
No it will not. The night is endless.
TETRATON is a game where you control an airborne machine that can shoot in all four directions. That’s also its only way to propel itself. In order to get points, you have to get colorful balls that swap your weapon with a new one. Enemy ships try to crash into you. The game is in 2D, with a horizontal scrolling that loops and a vertical one that does not loop. It is heavily inspired by LUFTRAUSERS and Super Crate Box, both amazing games by Vlambeer.
And it was made with Pico-8, the fantasy console made by Lexaloffle. For those of you who don’t know about Pico-8, you can learn about it here.
The thing is that Pico-8 is deliberately limited. Small memory, small CPU, small color palette, small screen… You get the idea!
One of the biggest problem I had while doing TETRATON was that I wanted the ships and the TETRATON to rotate. Pico-8 does not implement that, so I did it myself with good old trigonometry. But Pico-8 doesn’t like trigonometry very much. Especially when you use it 4 times for each of 500 pixels (approximately) each frame. It could bear it but I couldn’t add much else. So my idea was to draw everything that rotates somewhere in the memory under 100 different angles. Where was I going to find the memory for that? Well, fortunately, it happens that I did not give a shit about the sprite sheet so I used that. It could only contain the rotations of the enemy ships but it was already much better for the game and now I can have over 50 enemy ships (but nothing else) on the screen and Pico-8 doesn’t drop a frame!
In the end, the biggest problems with TETRATON are basically the tininess of the screen and the weird controls I chose as base for the game. On the Pico-8 forums, someone said I could do enemy indicators for those that are not in the screen, and that sounds like a great solution for the screen problem but I’m not doing it because it would be a pain to implement it and also I’m already poking the Pico-8 instruction limit so no.
But earlier today, I uploaded an update! This update featured faster rotation for the TETRATON – with does make the controls feel better – along with the name of the weapon being displayed when you pick a new one, which lets you anticipate the effect of the weapon if you’ve already had it! The update also changed the color of the text for something a bit brighter and made the weapon pick-ups and the title screen sparkly.
Next up is the procjam! Although it started last friday… But hey I still have until monday at 1am! I had a cool idea of a thing for procjam but that would take me a while and I don’t have that. So plan B: twitter bot. More precisely, Twitter bots. You’ll see.
After that, NaNoGenMo. I don’t know what I’ll do for that yet.