Nuclear Football (Laser Defender show)

My first game - Nuclear Football!

It plays a lot like the other laser defender games - mine focuses on different player abilities, managing laser overheating, difficulty scaling and adding challenging wave interactions (mostly in the last Act). Much of this was based on watching Rick’s version of the course last year. Tinkered around with the assets from the course, had to sort of put everything aside for about a year to focus on work unfortunately. But last week I had some leave, and decided to finally cobble something together and finish a project.

Things that were fun to learn:

  • Quaternions! Still not 100% on them but learning to rotate projectile/enemy facing was really cool
  • Random wave generation: making an index of wave config scriptable objects, ‘shuffling’ them into a deck, then randomizing it infinitely was really satisfying. Good foundations for maybe a deck-builder project in the future
  • Edge case testing: making a running list of “what if the player does x, y, or z” scenarios and testing them out for bugs/functionality was super important, especially with different types of projectiles and abilities
  • Setting goals / staying organized: using apps like Milinote to keep thoughts organized was a huge help. I eventually settled on setting 3 short-term, achievable goals at a time, and it really helped me stay focused and feel good about incremental progress
  • Making a tutorial sequence: maybe not the most challenging task, but super satisfying to see how enabling it / disabling it worked.
  • Tuning: I still hear Rick saying this word in my head a lot when I play with various sliders/numbers, but tuning up waves and player stats was really fun. I’m not super happy with the scaling (think it starts of a little too easy, and ends a little too hard) but maybe need some feedback on this from an outside perspective.

Things I need to learn about / do better:

  • Art - holy cow, I need to learn how to either make art myself or do a better job matching assets together
  • Get a better handle on Unity’s sound/audio management
  • Object pooling for mass-produced items
  • Maybe organizing some thoughts on the game first and seeing how different game concepts flow/interact before trying to code it. Found myself ‘hacking’ scripts pretty often once I thought of a new mechanic, and put a lot more "if"s than I probably needed to as a result!

All in all, this was a really fun time and I’m glad I ran across GameDev.TV’s courses. Daydreaming of another project and hopefully will have something small again next year

P.S. edits for formating. Also, I have no idea why the football is Nuclear. I think I had a different game in my head at first, then it morphed into this :rofl:

Great work @TechniqueOnly, you’ve added a ton of cool stuff to this project and the end result is really good.

I’d say that the start is actually still a little too difficult, although not too bad (the big missiles are maybe a little too fast) and the end is indeed rather difficult!
As a general rule, as the designer everything will be much easier to you. So if you find it easy then it’s probably medium difficulty to a new player. If you find it difficult then it’s next to impossible for the player without a ton of practice!

I really liked the shooting mechanics where you have to try and balance in that sweet spot of being warmed up not quite overheating. This adds a nice level of skill to the game that players could try and master.

One possible bug that I did notice is that after my first playthrough the current and best scores didn’t match up. It may be that I managed to kill something with a stray bullet after death and the two scores are being stored at different times.

The tutorial sequence was really nice to see. Too many games miss this sort of thing and it was nice to get a feel for the controls without having to read the blub under the game.

Congrats on finishing the course and keep up the great work!

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