View Full Version : War in the Machine for the Sega Genesis

10-18-2017, 02:28 PM
Here's a little (poor) single player action from War in the Machine. Should see this first at the PRGE.


You control one of two bases in the center. You launch and steer your ships into the enemies. The C button stops your base but renders you invulnerable and recalls your ships. There are 8 possible wing, gun, back and front configurations for a total of 4096 possible enemy shapes. Movement strategies are randomly generated. The boss enemy takes the current highest rated movement pattern. Red enemy planes and rockets are invulnerable. Once you meet the quota of kills the timer resets and enemies get tougher.

This is a single player run. 2 players can compete for the best score BUT the game ends if either runs out of shields.

After the PRGE this should be available from Good Deal Games

UPDATE: I forgot to mention this is chromadepth friendly. meaning, if you have those Crayola 3D glasses things should pop out. Blue things are in the background, green/yellow in middle and orange/red in front.

10-23-2017, 03:20 PM
I've seen my second YouTube dislike from forum members here without any feedback. At first I took it the wrong way but I realized I haven't specifically asked for advice.

I know the game looks strange and the controls are weird. Basically, you launch and steer your ships with the d-pad and control the "base" with A and B. What can you tell me about your impression and what could be improved? I'm open for both positive and negative feedback. I really try to take it to heart.

I appreciate anything you can give me!

10-23-2017, 08:16 PM
Alright slobu. I'm going to offer my critique of the game. There are elements I like about the game and there are things that I hope you will consider improving or at teh very least will give you food for thought.

First off, I like some of the design elements.

The shifting background give some sense of movement. It's a little bit simple but nonetheless is satisfactory.

There is an issue however. In my opinion, it traversing in the wrong direction. Instead of going up it's going down.

I find it's a bit disorienting. What makes matters worse is the fact that your ship the other issue is that you can control the ship up and down on the y-plane. In this sense, the game doesn't totally jive visually.

The other issue is with respect to the player's sprite. The hexagonal sprite doesn't convey to the player that he is controlling a ship. I would have preferred that you opted to allow the player to control this sprite:


I really like the way this sprite is designed. It's almost Truxon-like and the traditional shape of the ship expresses which direction you are facing. The hexagonal ship you currently control does not.

Anyways, why didn't you consider creating a standard shooter. You could have gone the route of Thunderforce 2 and created a sandbox setting when you are targeting enemy ships in a given area.

In the above video, I know that you the goal is to launch or steer ships into enemies (at least I think that is what the goal is) but again the design element doesn't make sense. You could still incorporate this element in a different way. To give you a better idea, you could have the player launch these mini-ships to rescue crew from bases located throughout a given level.

The current design of the game appears to randomly generate ships which you must destroy. A sort of mini-game.

If I were to give you my honest opinion, I prefer games that have a set goal, multiple stages and variety.

10-24-2017, 08:13 AM
Thanks again for the advice and being awesome in general SEGA.GENESIS1989.

I'll definitely look into changing which direction the background scrolls. I got a little too excited about making the rail in the middle parallax scroll despite using an extra scrolling plane for the larger enemy. Kinda missed something you easily observed.

I'm mostly an Atari 2600 developer. On that platform you pick one unique aspect and build the entire game around it. Also, you build the game for mastery as opposed to hand manipulated content. Kinda of like Atari Adventure had an expert difficulty which allowed you to replay the game "randomized" like recent classic game hacks of Metriod, Final Fantasy, etc.. Zelda was like Atari Adventure except it has a finite amount of quests. Not justifying the mini game feel but just explaining where I was coming from.

The main concept was finding a way to have 8 directional control of your shots with only the d-pad and 3 buttons. I figured swapping movement to the buttons and shooting to the d-pad would work and built a shooter around it. Sort of late in development me and my collaborator decided to focus on the 2 player experience so it went from a more conventional shooter to a co-op arcade style.

Early in development I got fixated on genetic algorithms and procedural content. Instead of hand drawing enemies I did them "Mr. Potatoehead" style with 8 different wing, gun, front and back sections. I figured 4096 variations was enough for now :) Added to that each ship has 8 different tactics that it can use in its movement pattern. Each enemy is graded on its time on screen and how much damage it scores. The best rated strategy then gets transferred to the next boss type enemy. As the developer I knew I'd get bored with hand made levels. Self improving enemies sounded like an answer.

It's also kind of murky as it's co-op but you can compete for high score. The game ends when either player dies. So, you are trying to get more points but you also have to occasionally support the other player. I hope that doesn't confuse or annoy people.

The player sprites are a tribute to Bosconian and Sinistar. Both had cool looking "base" ships. Might have gotten too caught up in that to realize the usual space ship sprites would have the visual advantage.

That ship was another example of collaboration. Michael Thomasson (https://www.cnet.com/news/worlds-biggest-video-game-collection-goes-for-750000/) drew it and I enhanced and converted it for use in game. Oh, and, this thing is 3D chromadepth friendly. Meaning, if you put on those Crayola 3D glasses blue is in the foreground, green/orange in middle and red pops out. This is why that sprite is bright red, players and enemies in yellow and the background is mostly blue.

Anyway, thanks for the round of advice! I will use it - if not now then in my next game.

11-08-2017, 08:41 AM
Already working on SEGA.GENESIS1989 suggestions. The background scrolls faster and in the usual direction. Players turned into ships. Working on typical shooter controls as we speak!


11-08-2017, 12:25 PM
I'm very excited at the prospect of a new homebrew shooter. Great work, slobu :D

11-14-2017, 07:05 PM
Already working on SEGA.GENESIS1989 suggestions. The background scrolls faster and in the usual direction. Players turned into ships. Working on typical shooter controls as we speak!


Hehe! Thanks for being receptive to my suggestions! At the end of the day, we're after the same end goal: a great game! Cheers dude! :D