8bitrocket Diatribe: Micro Retro Mash-up, Air Battle Hour 3

I have now moved into the 3rd hour working on the first game for my Micro Retro Mash-up. The game is based on the Atari 2600 launch title, Air-Sea Battle. I have chosen to create just an Air battle using part of my existing Boids of Death game engine. I have been in email contact with a very cool 2d game developer named Sean Foster, who sent me some very good ideas for optimizations. Because of his help, I am going to implement a quad-tree for collision detection and some of his math optimizations. Some of his simple rules for math are:

– Multiply is 2x slower than addition
– Divide is 8x slower than addition
– Square Root is 28x slower than addition

He took he follwing code, which I use for checking the absolute velocity of a vector in my Asteroids game (so I can keep the ship under a max speed):

(from Sean)

This looks much better than the code I cobbled together from a couple different games I had made. I not a very good math student (or wasn’t) so I now have to look up a lot of stuff I forgot. That’s what happens when you think you are going to be a FILM major! Ha!

Some of the sprites for the Air Battle game
The first hour of real development was spent on creating some retro pixel art for the game. I by no means am an artist, but I am able to cut my teeth a little by finding something I like as a reference and then creating my lame version in Fireworks. The artists and designers out there will probably scoff at the notion that it took me an hour to make the paltry little sprite sheet. What can I say, I may have struggled, but at least it is mine and I didn’t steal it.

The actual sprite sheet is 320×320. This version is 320 x 64 to save some vertical space on the page. The first two planes (green and blue) were inspired by sprites (player missiles graphics) in the original game. I changed them to my liking and added more colors and a little shading The red helicopter was inspired by the Ari Feldman sprite I used in this demo of blitting. I used it as a model. His is much better, but mine fits in 32×32. Each of those 3 have a second frame of animation with a light that flashes and some sort of propellant. The planes each have a little jet thruster, and the helicopter’s blade shortens to give the impression of it rotating. Yes, the helicopter is a little too big compared to the jets, but who cares. In the real world there aren’t any giant skulls you are trying to avoid either. The skull (I know it looks like an alien autopsy head) was created by Googling “skull and cross bones images” and using the results as a muse.

The second row contains a particle that will be used for explosions for each of the 4. I will need more graphics than these, but it is a start. I only have 22 working hours left and knowing me, I will spend too much time on some sort of loop incrementing optimizations down the line some place, so I need to get a move on implementing some basic game-play next.

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