Astro Crisis Demo

The story

It was 2005 and I was writing a series of articles for the DEV magazine about game development with Game Maker 6, so I created this demonstration game.

It is practically an enhanced version of another game – Mission Asteroids – I had created with DIV Game Studio several years before.

Unlike the first one, this was created with Game Maker 6 for much more powerful PCs. In fact the graphics are all made using ray-trace software. The shape of asteroids is generated procedurally and the other sprites based on 3D models.

For the explosions I used beautiful and realistic animations generated by the software Particle Illusions.

Also Game Maker supported the creation of special effects with particle systems, which I used for in some cases such as missile launching and spaceship hyperspace jumps.

The game

The demo is structured in three different screens: the main menu, the game screen and the information screen.

The Main menu

This is, as in all games, the access screen to all the features of them. In this case there are three commands:

  • Start, to start playing a new game
  • Information, to access a screen that shows useful information to learn the rules of the game and its functionalities.
  • Continue, if you had returned to the main menu by pausing a game, you can resume it with this command.
  • Exit, to close the application.
The main menu

The game screen

The game screen is much larger area than the visible window. The background is a static image of the earth obtained with the Bryce software, using a very detailed map of the planet’s surface as a texture.

The game screen.

A series of asteroids float in random directions. The animations of each type of asteroid were created by ray tracing each frame.

The player drives a space shuttle-shaped spaceship that can rotate and move forward, based on the direction pointed. It has two types of weapon available: unlimited bullets, and a certain amount of missiles.

The player firing missiles

In addition to missiles, the spaceship also has other resources in limited quantities: the energy of the propulsion rocket, the energy to make jumps in hyperspace and energy to resist collisions with asteroids and UFO laser beams. When the energy of the rocket ends, the ship can no longer move and remains at the mercy of objects that gravitate around. When the energy for the jumps ends, the spaceship will not be able to carry out any more.

When the energy of the shields is over, the spaceship explodes and a life is taken away from the player. Once the lives are over, the game ends. There is a way, however, to replenish stocks and is to capture the energy bubbles that are released unpredictably from asteroid explosions.

Occasionally an alien spacecraft appears in a random position on the screen, which will continuously fire in the direction of the player until it is destroyed by him.

The player can monitor the values for the remaining energy levels at any time. At the bottom of the visible screen there is a series of elements that provide this information.

The indicator panel

First of all, the three horizontal bars represent, starting from the first at the top: the remaining energy level of shields, the energy level of the propulsion rocket, the level of residual energy for hyperspace jumps.

Since the playing area is larger than the visible screen, as you can see on the left of the previous image is present a box containing a scale map of the entire area. In the map the positions of the asteroids – indicated by white circles – and of the player’s spaceship – in red – are visible in real time.

Finally the blue bar shows the indicators related to the number of lives left, the number of missiles and the quantity of asteroids to be destroyed. When instead the alien spaceship appears somewhere, its presence is indicated by a miniature of the latter.


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