… or how the story of how “Tempestuous Spherical Invaders” came to be …
So, this game has had a long hard birth – about 6.5 years. It all started back in July 2010. I had the idea of remaking Space Invaders but in a circular format. Back then I thought the idea was super original, but as I’ve been told there was an old Amiga game that did the same (I’ve never played – or even seen it before 2010 – though). Anyway, I produced a demo from my idea in just 1½ days and asked for suggestions on the Retro Remakes forum on how to improve it.
It was never supposed to be a big game – just some simple gameplay and a handful of powerups. In other words: a quickie (as I tend to call them).
But one user on the forum, ‘Haggler’, loved the idea and started giving me lots of ideas and feedback on how to improve the game and he would also test things out as I implemented them. So the game quickly grew bigger than originally intended, mainly due to Hagglers input.
After adding stuff for a couple of months the game changed from a singlescreen affair to a level based game and it was decided to have 100 levels with individual names. To make that easier I wrote a wave-editor to make it easier to make the attack patters for the invaders.
Looking at the forum thread I linked to above, it looks like I worked on the game for 3 months, but looking at my backups it seems like the majority of it was made over 7 months. It’s a long time to work on something and it seemed like there was no end in sight as Haggler kept suggesting new things to add. But at one point (I guess) he was tired of playtesting the same levels again and again…and again (as I’d been myself for a long time by then) so at one point he just dropped off the face of the Earth and without his input and help development on the game just stopped as I just couldn’t drum up the excitement to tweak the gameplay of this impossibly difficult game.
See, originally there were 5 tiers of levels. You’d have to complete the first 25 levels (with your original 3 lives) to open up the second tier so you’d be able to start from level 25. Then another 25 levels to open up the possibility to start at level 50 and so on, up to level 100. Once you’d completed all 100 levels you’d gain access to some sort of special level, but let’s face it – no one would ever be able to do that – I certainly couldn’t … or would even give it a try. And just the thought of playing it again and again hundreds of times, tweaking it every time, was something I just couldn’t bring myself to do.
After a couple of years I wrote a partial “classic Space Invaders” clone just for fun. I wrote it within the framework I’d been using so far and my idea was that perhaps I’d just release it as a standalone game. Eventually I didn’t really want to do that though, so I never finished it and that also sat unused for another couple of years before I looked at it again. At that time I decided to use it as that “special” 101st level, so that was partially implemented.
And so it sat unloved for another couple of years and by now it had basically been 95% complete for 6 years, with the only thing that really needed work being the tweaking the difficulty of it.
I have several games in progress, that are 75%-95% complete and this was one of them. Not all of them will see the light of day, but at the beginning of 2017 I decided to finish off the last couple of bits and make this one ready for release. I’m not entirely sure what triggered this idea, but for some reason it popped into my head to make the level progress a lot easier by basically allowing the player to start right at the last level they reached. And that did it for me – all I’d have to do was make sure all levels could be completed and that was it. So, off I went.
So now it’s done. The “tech” is old and the game doesn’t really scale to HD or fancy stuff like that, but I’d done so much on it already – and been tired of it for so long – that rewriting the core of the game didn’t appeal to me, but I feel good for having released a “new” game – especially, one based on a cool idea, that has been laying around for a long time. 🙂