Postmortem – Space Rawks

I usually tell people, who wants to get into developing retrogames, that they should start out with something easy – like Space Invaders or Asteroids. They’re both pretty simple games. Actually, I think that Asteroids would be the easier one to make…but that could just be because by now I’m pretty used to using SIN, COS, ATAN and all that suff related to calculating angles. 😉

So it may surprise some that Space Rawks has had such a difficult birth – I started working on it in 2009. But then again – it didn’t stall due to technical reasons but a more a lack of passion and a surplus of distractions.

This was later the same year as I’d made Omega Race 2009 and the original idea was to basically knock out a traditional Asteroids Deluxe remake with the same type of neon graphics that I’d made a couple of already. If you know me you’ll probably also know that I try to avoid remaking the same old classic games that everyone else remakes too, but I tought that it wouldn’t take a lot of time…and it couldn’t hurt.

– = 2009 = –

So I quickly imported my framework from Omega Race 2009, used my vector editor to make a ship and some rocks, made a logo for it (I decided that I’d just use a bitmapped logo since it was just supposed to be a quick game), and plopped everything into a folder called “Asteroids” and off I went.

The original “lazy” logo. 😉


It probably didn’t take more than a couple of days to get the basics of the gameplay in – at this it started right away when executed and didn’t have a menusystem. I lost interrest pretty soon after that, though. My heart just wasn’t in it.

– = 2010 = –

I didn’t think too much about for a year or so, but during the summervacation 2010 – about a year later – it ocurred to me that I might be able to spice it up a bit by adding some new weapons, so I added a couple of the new weapons: spread fire, rear fire & the rockets (they were fun to do). I also added the mothership that breaks apart when shot. Because I’d added the mothership I renamed my folder to “Asteroids Depluxe” (“Deluxe” & “Plus” combined) and that was now its new name. I didn’t make a new logo though.
…and then I lost interrest again.

– = 2011 = –

Time flies when you’re having fun…and is distracted by other projects, so I didn’t pick this game up again until the summervacation the year after. This time I added a bit more; more weapons – including a clusterbomb and one that fires in four directions (basically just lifted from Space Fury).

I also added the shields to the gameplay. I’d gotten the idea to have three different shields that would react to the enemies in various ways.

  • The “normal” one. This one makes you float stright through the enemies without dying.
  • The “spiky” one. This one destroys – or breaks up – the asteroids on impact.
  • The “bouncy” one. This ‘hardshell’ one will make you bounce off the enemies.

I also added the powerups – but at this point they just sat there and couldn’t be collected. All the powerups were still activated by hotkeys. I also added in my menu framework. It was far from a game, but at least it was beginning to look like one. That’s a good start.
…and then I lost interrest again.

By now I’d deviated so much from the standard Asteroids game, that I decided on a new game (“Depluxe” sounded too weird), so I made a new logo to reflect it.

The new…but still “lazy” logo. 😉


– = 2012 = –

Another summervacation and another attempt at getting this game done. The thing that inspired me to start working on it again was the idea of having the powerups bounce off each other, and off the rocks too, so I began implementing this…and I think it turned out fantastically. I also added the saucers. Two sizes as in the original game that inspired it. I also added the second type of playership. I also worked a bit more on the menusystem, but soon lost interest again. Which was silly because the game was mostly there. A few big things were missing though – stuff like level progression, controlcode for the saucers and powerups. But I’d get to that. 😉


– = 2013 = –

It’s the project that never ends…or it is? After finishing The Speccies I was ready for something at little less demanding than assembler programming, so I picked up where I left the year before.

First I added levelprogression, handling of bonus lives, control code for saucers. I wasn’t quite sure how to handle the powerups yet, but the “breakthrough” came when I decided that they would spawn constantly but only last for a few seconds every time. NOW I knew how the game was going to play. So I wrote the code for that, too.

Up til now the scoring menu only showed 10 scores, but I decided to drop using the vectorfont to show the scores, and just use a systemfont. Great, now I could fit 25 scores onto the screen – but how there was a lot of screen area unused. What to do? Aha, local scores as well as online scores. So I made that too.

Once I’d tweaked the game and had something I felt was balanced and worked, I sent a demo of the game to a friend, Craig, for him to try. The first thing he said was “That logo?…it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the game“. And he was right of course. He didn’t like the name either, so I asked if he wanted to come up with a name and a logo – and he did. At first the logo was just the letters, but I “requested” some “talon-like” ornaments at the ends, and it ended up like the logo you see below. I recieved it as a PDF file and traced it into my homemade vector-editor (there are 173 lines in the logo, btw). Then I added a bit of animation to make the whole thing a bit more dynamic…and that was – as they say – it. 🙂

Many of my recent vectorgames has been a bit primitive when it comes to widescreen support – I should certainly have had enough time to make something that will scale to the native screen and use the different aspects a screen can have, but the reason is that they don’t always do this – or only do it clumsily –  is that…basically it’s “old code”. I’m desperately trying to finish some old WIP’s these days, and this game was – as I ‘ve mentioned – begun in 2009 – ie. old-ish – and if I wanted this game to have support for widescreen I would have to re-code too much. The same goes for “Neon Invasion Earth” once I get around to finishing that one. I’ll make a widescreen some day…but for now you’ll just have to live with my games being in the 4:3 aspect. As long as the gameplay is good it shouldn’t matter.

New name and the final logo to go with it.


I hope you enjoyed this read. It wasn’t so technical, but it’s a pretty simple type game that I thought it might be more interesting to hear why it took as long as it did , and in what order things were added.

Thanks for reading.