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July 25, 2014, 03:17:30 AM
TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogsAngry Moth (revised demo 14 May 2011)
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Author Topic: Angry Moth (revised demo 14 May 2011)  (Read 6977 times)
BlueSweatshirt
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« Reply #30 on: May 05, 2011, 02:47:00 PM »

this game is hard!
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evktalo
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« Reply #31 on: May 07, 2011, 11:04:53 AM »

I absolutely loved the demo, I'm playing it quite a bit and I'm really looking forward to the complete game. I realized this is, kind of, just the game I've been looking forward for a long time.. 2D space combat, dynamic fleet-level battles.. right now only similar thing I can recall is an obscure shareware game called Star Hammer that had kind of similar mission-based feel, though I think the scale of the missions was much smaller.

Probably thanks to my Hellspider experience, I was able to beat the demo in 45 minutes.. not that it wasn't challenging! The weapon choice that worked well was combining rockets with anti-warship missiles. You can just constantly fire rockets at anything, and using the anti-warship missiles was easy as well, since the large targets are easy to keep in the firing zone. So, I could down the small vessels (especially bombers) with the main cannon + rockets, and the big vessels with rockets + missiles.

In comparison, the other weapons felt noticeably less powerful/useful. It was very hard to hit anything with torpedoes. The mini-rockets blocked firing other weapons while you were loading and it was still hard to hit stuff with them. Anti-fighter missiles were ok, but harder to use than rockets and anti-warship missiles. Angling cannon was ok, heavy cannon didn't feel like it had the bang for the buck. But picking the angling cannon makes you miss out on more versatile armament.

That said I didn't yet use sliding at all. I got the idea after winning to use sliding to dodge fire from large vessels while keeping myself pointed in the same direction. That tactic should make torpedoes and mini-rockets easier to use against them, but I didn't yet have the time to try it out very much. Anyway, rocket/anti-warship missile combo was easy to get going and powerful enough to win.

I really like the visuals, and the sounds already sounded nice enough, so improvement, plus music, sounds promising. Looking forwards for more!

--Eino
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« Reply #32 on: May 07, 2011, 12:15:40 PM »

I failed hard, at the first and presumably easier mission of the demo. That's alright, it was fun and I will be back for more.

I was going to try to compile it on Mac OSX, but my lack of terminal-fu has let me down. I got Allegro installed alright but that's as far as I got, trying to build a simple example project is failing, even copypasting the commands from a tutorial. Alas.
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linley
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« Reply #33 on: May 08, 2011, 04:44:59 AM »

this game is hard!

Of course! I would feel a little disappointed in myself if I wrote a game that was easy.

I absolutely loved the demo, I'm playing it quite a bit and I'm really looking forward to the complete game. I realized this is, kind of, just the game I've been looking forward for a long time.. 2D space combat, dynamic fleet-level battles.. right now only similar thing I can recall is an obscure shareware game called Star Hammer that had kind of similar mission-based feel, though I think the scale of the missions was much smaller.

Interesting... I hadn't heard of Star Hammer but I did some searching and found it for DosBox. I also found this - the same guy appears to have been writing a new Star Hammer for a few years, and it looks remarkably similar to Angry Moth. Ha! I swear I didn't steal the idea from Star Hammer (I stole it mostly from Squadron, and a bit from Star Control which I used to like even though I couldn't understand why the ships only ever fought one-on-one).

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In comparison, the other weapons felt noticeably less powerful/useful. It was very hard to hit anything with torpedoes. The mini-rockets blocked firing other weapons while you were loading and it was still hard to hit stuff with them. Anti-fighter missiles were ok, but harder to use than rockets and anti-warship missiles. Angling cannon was ok, heavy cannon didn't feel like it had the bang for the buck. But picking the angling cannon makes you miss out on more versatile armament.

Thanks for your analysis! My usual technique is AF missile with either AWS missile or torpedo, but I'll try the rocket (which was a bit of an afterthought and hasn't been tested as much as it should have; it may well be unbalanced). The AF missile is good because you can shoot a fighter a few times with the cannon then launch a missile and go and do something else while the missile tracks its target. I find the AWS missile particularly effective if I sort of hover just in range of the target and use slide to dodge attacks while constantly firing missiles. The torpedo is hard to use but extremely powerful. I definitely need to try a few more combinations to make sure none of the weapons are overpowered or useless.

The heavy cannon doesn't seem to be very good yet. In the full game it will probably be upgradeable to have shield-piercing capabilities, while the various missiles will be able to become armour-piercing.

Next task: music.
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evktalo
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« Reply #34 on: May 11, 2011, 08:01:18 AM »


After learning to slide, torpedoes and multi-rocket turned out to be very good. I went through several combos, and as I learned each, I always thought they were a bit too good compared to the last one, but this was just my own skill increasing. I tried out the AWS+rocket combo again eventually, and it felt devastating by that time. In the end the weapons felt like they had a pretty good balance, only the heavy cannon still seemed lacking.

AF missiles were good after reading your advice. AWS missiles are very powerful, being fast, hard-hitting and easy to use. With rocket as the other secondary, I could practically just hold down the three fire buttons, keep myself facing the target and dodge fire and fighters quite effectively.

Rockets go great with either torpedo or AWS, since you can just constantly keep firing them and they work great against any target. This makes them a little less interesting than the other weapons, even if a dumbfire rocket is fun to blast around with. Multi-rocket has more interesting drawbacks though and has the same dumbfire appeal imho - dropping the rocket might make the weapon selection a bit more interesting. I do like your idea of differentiating weapons by varying shield/armour effectivenes (system disabling weapons coming?) - something like that might work for the rocket. OTOH it might still be optimal to be always firing it..

Multi-rocket was great, working well against both big and small targets, packing a punch and having long range as well. The drawbacks - loading time and being unable to fire your other weapons meanwhile - worked well. The weapon was fun to use and suited well for high-speed divebombing tactic, as well as the usual slide-strafing. I picked angling cannon to go with it, since you can't really fire other warheads and don't really need additional versatility. The cannon upgrade was good for finishing off fighters after a salvo.

Finally the torpedo was extremely fun to use, while probably the hardest. It was powerful - small cruiser shields gone in a single hit - but overall not more effective than multi-rocket or AWS. I didn't feel the torpedo really had it's own niche compared to those. Trying to take out the carriers in the 2nd stage, I was wishing for some sort of targeting guide system for dive-bombing off-screen targets. That would make a "natural" torpedo niche I thought, Currently multi-rockets are better for this as there's no post-launch priming.

So, I've been playing quite a bit.. I really like the slight randomization evident in the first stage. It's good to have stuff like this, as when you replay the missions over and over (as you have to do with how difficult they are), you can eventually do cheesy stuff like hang around the spot where the enemy reinforcements are going to appear. Speaking of those, I really like how the second stage can end up in so many ways. In my first wins, the alpha team got wiped out and the enemy carrier group was left untouched, safely launching their bombers. Next time I went after the carriers myself at first opportunity, which was possible to do (I even managed to take out a couple of carriers before they could launch any bombers), but the alpha team still got wiped out. And in the last few rounds, I've been able to defend the alpha team until they themselves turn to chase the carriers. Btw, if you take out all the enemies in the stage 2, the wait until the mission is over feels a bit long. Wink

Looking forwards to the music, and more stages to play! Will the music have the procedurally generated thing like your previous soundtracks? I imagine with the dynamic battlefield it could be really cool. I've liked the soundtracks since Lacewing, so I'm genuinely excited to hear the music.

--Eino
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linley
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« Reply #35 on: May 12, 2011, 05:35:13 AM »

Rockets go great with either torpedo or AWS, since you can just constantly keep firing them and they work great against any target. This makes them a little less interesting than the other weapons, even if a dumbfire rocket is fun to blast around with.

Very true. I'm inclined to either remove the rocket or turn it into a kind of mini torpedo, like the normal torpedo but faster and less powerful.

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Multi-rocket was great, working well against both big and small targets, packing a punch and having long range as well. The drawbacks - loading time and being unable to fire your other weapons meanwhile - worked well. The weapon was fun to use and suited well for high-speed divebombing tactic, as well as the usual slide-strafing. I picked angling cannon to go with it, since you can't really fire other warheads and don't really need additional versatility. The cannon upgrade was good for finishing off fighters after a salvo.

I think the tracking cannon is a bit buggy and probably doesn't track things as well as it's supposed to. I'm going to release a revised version of the demo in a few days which will have a much better tracking cannon in it (as well as a few bugfixes and a fixed-camera mode).

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Trying to take out the carriers in the 2nd stage, I was wishing for some sort of targeting guide system for dive-bombing off-screen targets.

I think I'll add a little arrow thing at the edge of the screen that points towards the player's current target. Should make the torpedo a bit easier to use.

Quote
Will the music have the procedurally generated thing like your previous soundtracks? I imagine with the dynamic battlefield it could be really cool. I've liked the soundtracks since Lacewing, so I'm genuinely excited to hear the music.

I have an idea for a cellular automata-based music system that could be great if I can get the details right. I really don't like writing musical scores (White Butterfly was particularly painful, especially the second and third stages), so Hellspider will probably be the last game I write without completely procedural music.

Thanks again for the feedback! Now I just need to write the rest of the game...
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linley
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« Reply #36 on: May 14, 2011, 05:10:14 AM »

Okay, I've just uploaded a revised version of the demo to sourceforce. Here's the link.

Changes:
- Optional fixed camera angle mode - go to "options" on the main menu.
- 2-stick controls can be turned off (also in the options menu).
- A string buffer overflow error that caused crashing on Linux has been fixed.
- Various rebalancings. Tracking cannon is better. Torpedo takes longer to recharge.
- Two little lines indicate the direction and distance of your current selected target.

Also, I've removed the ability to accelerate backwards. I just don't think it was working; it encouraged a particularly cautious and not that interesting attack style (in me, anyway). In the full game it will probably be available as an upgrade or something. Sideways slide is still there. Have fun!
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« Reply #37 on: May 14, 2011, 06:34:48 AM »

I've played this for quite a few hours, I think you're on to something great! I've really enjoyed it.

The transition to 2d was very well executed, and the camera works well (this isn't a camera system that's easy to implement and have work, since it's prone to causing some confusion in some players, me included, but given that you've kept the background detail to a minimum, this effect isn't too noticeable), and the spirit of your game inspirations is well distilled into yours.

A couple of suggestions/requests:

Gameplay:
- massive capital ships - similar to X-Wing/Tie Fighter, allow for missions which involved the largest ships, either for a direct attack or as support for other targets (and the same for the player faction, have capital ships that the player must ensure are not destroyed)

- ability to disable specific ship parts in strafing runs, instead of having to fully deplete their shield - the player would be able to fly against a ship while firing, and be able to destroy a specific part, that would destroy a specific function of the ship - movement, shields, weapons. These smaller parts would be weak, be able to be shot with about 3 or 4 shots, but would take some sort of tradeoff, so that the player doesn't destroy them easily when just circling around the ship and shooting randomly (maybe only destroy them when the player is close to the ship).

- more randomization in missions - this is a pretty steep request, but after playing the first missions 10 times, I know exactly when and where stuff is going to happen... maybe add some postional/timing variation (I'm aware this strays from both the original games and may be quite difficult to implement)

Control:
- a "slider" button modifier - similar to "strafe" in earlier FPS games, pressing the button and then pressing left or right makes the player slide that direction - I think this takes away the need for the second d-pad while playing with a controller (and might make it ) (at least for me)

- auto fire - I'm pretty much firing always... Maybe allow this as an option, or have the fire button act as a "start/stop firing" toggle insted of a "press to fire", frees up the player's hands for maneuvering around the larger ships


I've tried the new version, equipped the tracking cannon and the larger ship warhead, and felt the game was made much easier (playing the first level). I'm sure this is a good thing, because it allows you to ramp up in unit count/difficulty in later levels.
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« Reply #38 on: May 15, 2011, 10:30:44 AM »

I was able to test co-op with the revised demo today. The guy I played with is a TIE Fighter veteran and recognized the similarities immediately, and found the game enjoyable. Co-op worked very well, apart from a few bugs. It was also hard to locate each other while playing, but this might have been partially because the palette bugs made the radars less clear than I recall they are really.

The bugs:

The palette bugs: the palette was wrong - for instance most text was red instead of the cyanish blue, and the palette also made enemy ships look blurry/garbled. A few times in stage 2 when attacked by bombers, the palette swapped completely into a rather psychedelic colouring. Probably the battle drugs of the pilots kicked in. The machine we played on had 64-bit Win7 (SP1), with Geforce GTS 450.

Only the first player had the new indicator which pointed to the target.

All of the gamepad control setups weren't saved between different runs of the program. We used two XBOX360 pads which worked fine (didn't test the second stick for sliding though). The controls that got resetted were button 10 (pushing down the right stick) and start (I don't know the button number).

Once, the radar of the second player completely broke down when the first player died for the last time. The round radar would not change direction as the player turned the ship.

More weapon comments:

I didn't try the angling cannon yet, but the other player did and it seemed to work very well. I tried the torpedo and while increasing the loading time makes sense, it's way way harder to use effectively. AWS and multi-rocket were much better choices. In coop, where you can pick just one weapon, the multi-rocket was really a no-brainer.

Removing reverse is a good decision. Even though you can move away from the situation by sliding sideways, it is much more dangerous and exciting. I just need to unlearn the instinct to reverse..

--Eino
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Loren Schmidt
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« Reply #39 on: May 15, 2011, 03:49:02 PM »

I like this game so far. It reminds me, in a good way, of X-Wing and Tie Fighter.

I have not played coop, but I'm finding the single player enjoyable. I think in general it won't be terribly daunting to new players; the game is immediately appealing and easy enough to pick up. At the same time it seems to have enough nuances and enough of a skill ramp to be worth playing repeatedly.

So far the weapons I've had the most success with are the multi-rocket, the rocket, and the auto-aiming cannon. The auto-aiming cannon has a neat role. Against fighters I find it is as effective as the standard cannon, but it is optimal in different situations. I find myself switching between the two regularly, which is great.

I think the tuning seems to be shaping up nicely (with the exception of the rocket, which I found to be too effective). I also like where the game is headed visually. The little touches like the lateral thrusters, the wiggly trails on the rockets, and the folding 'wings' are much appreciated.

I'm not entirely sure how weapon lock-outs work. Some of the weapons seem to prevent other weapons from firing, but I didn't immediately pick up on any internal logic to this. Is it per-weapon, or are there any general rules?

Another thing I'm not quite sold on is that the weapons seem to be a little bit too similar. I think if there were one less rocket / missile based weapon I'd be fine with it, there are just a few too many shades of rocket for me. I think the game would benefit if you could either removed one or two altogether, or replaced a couple of them with more distinctive weapons.

All told, this seems to be shaping up really well, and I'm both enjoying the demo a lot and looking forward to seeing future releases.

Note:
I ran into a color related bug as well- the colors are a bit wacky, especially on the ships. Some colors are okay, while other seem to have had their values replaced arbitrarily. I think Windows 7 is resetting some of the colors in the palette- I've had this happen in other games which run in indexed mode.
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linley
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« Reply #40 on: May 16, 2011, 06:29:28 AM »

Excellent feedback! Thanks TurboLento, Eino and Sparky!

A couple of suggestions/requests:

Gameplay:
- massive capital ships - similar to X-Wing/Tie Fighter, allow for missions which involved the largest ships, either for a direct attack or as support for other targets (and the same for the player faction, have capital ships that the player must ensure are not destroyed)

The limitations of the engine I'm using impose a reasonable upper limit for ship size at about the size of the base in demo stage 2. But yes, there will be a few more ships of about that size.

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- ability to disable specific ship parts in strafing runs, instead of having to fully deplete their shield - the player would be able to fly against a ship while firing, and be able to destroy a specific part, that would destroy a specific function of the ship - movement, shields, weapons.

When I was working out the basic gameplay I did consider something like this, with the big ships protected by large circular shields that fighters could fly through to attack their hulls directly at close range. That could have been interesting - but in the end I decided to go for the current system, where heavy shields make it difficult to attack warships without support from your fleet.

But I am considering reducing the strength of warship armour and increasing the strength of their structure, so that it's easier to knock out particular systems but the ships overall still take about the same amount of damage to destroy.

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- more randomization in missions - this is a pretty steep request, but after playing the first missions 10 times, I know exactly when and where stuff is going to happen... maybe add some postional/timing variation (I'm aware this strays from both the original games and may be quite difficult to implement)

Are you sure about everything always being the same in the first mission? :)
Actually the level scripting system gives me a lot more scope for randomisation than is demonstrated by the demo missions. Not every mission will have significant random elements, but plenty of them will.

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Control:
- a "slider" button modifier - similar to "strafe" in earlier FPS games, pressing the button and then pressing left or right makes the player slide that direction - I think this takes away the need for the second d-pad while playing with a controller (and might make it ) (at least for me)

I considered this, but to fight effectively you really need to be able to slide and rotate at the same time.

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- auto fire - I'm pretty much firing always... Maybe allow this as an option, or have the fire button act as a "start/stop firing" toggle insted of a "press to fire", frees up the player's hands for maneuvering around the larger ships

I'll think about this one.

I was able to test co-op with the revised demo today. The guy I played with is a TIE Fighter veteran and recognized the similarities immediately, and found the game enjoyable. Co-op worked very well, apart from a few bugs. It was also hard to locate each other while playing, but this might have been partially because the palette bugs made the radars less clear than I recall they are really.

I've never actually played TIE Fighter - I bought a second-hand copy once but one of the 3.5" floppy disks had a virus on it so I took it back to the shop. I played the hell out of X-Wing, though.

Thanks for the bug reports. I haven't been able to do much testing in co-op or with a controller so they're very useful.

On the palette bug: this is a known but unpredictable problem with Allegro. I think there's a fix but I haven't applied it yet - it requires a rebuild of the library, which is a fairly major undertaking. Now that I know it occurs in Angry Moth I'll see about doing that rebuild.

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I didn't try the angling cannon yet, but the other player did and it seemed to work very well. I tried the torpedo and while increasing the loading time makes sense, it's way way harder to use effectively. AWS and multi-rocket were much better choices. In coop, where you can pick just one weapon, the multi-rocket was really a no-brainer.

Definitely some rebalancing to be done.

Quote
Removing reverse is a good decision. Even though you can move away from the situation by sliding sideways, it is much more dangerous and exciting. I just need to unlearn the instinct to reverse..

Thanks - not everyone has appreciated removing reverse, but yeah, it was just too safe to be able to reverse out of trouble so easily. It will be available as an upgrade in the full game, but there will be tradeoffs for installing it.

I think the tuning seems to be shaping up nicely (with the exception of the rocket, which I found to be too effective).

Rocket is on the way out, probably to be replaced by some kind of charge-up energy cannon thing.

Quote
I'm not entirely sure how weapon lock-outs work. Some of the weapons seem to prevent other weapons from firing, but I didn't immediately pick up on any internal logic to this. Is it per-weapon, or are there any general rules?

There are no general rules, it's make-it-up-as-I-go-along all the way. I should fix this and provide some kind of explanation in the weapon descriptions.

Quote
Another thing I'm not quite sold on is that the weapons seem to be a little bit too similar. I think if there were one less rocket / missile based weapon I'd be fine with it, there are just a few too many shades of rocket for me. I think the game would benefit if you could either removed one or two altogether, or replaced a couple of them with more distinctive weapons.

You're right. I have some ideas for new ones, although the more I add the harder they are to balance. I'm thinking of the charge-up cannon I mentioned early and something like the bomb weapon that Audric at the allegro.cc forums coded up.

Back to work!
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« Reply #41 on: May 20, 2011, 08:11:23 AM »

Another tiny bug I found: the effects volume setting only affects weapon sounds and explosions, but not menu sounds or message/alert/etc sounds in the game. Also, you can still set control for "Backwards", although I guess technically it's still used for going downward in menus.

Thoughts on weapons:

AWS - I think it's too easy to hit the middle part of the big ships, especially if they have no cover. You can sit on their tail without moving, and the missiles home on the middle. Having an even wider firing arc/pattern might make it less accurate and more importantly spread the damage more evenly across the target. Those who want precision should use the weapons you have to aim yourself. The pattern could be slightly randomized too.

Torpedo - suggestion: ability to hold down fire to hold off launching the torpedo after priming. It would be easier to time hit-and-runs.

Multi-rocket - feels like the best weapon more and more. Suggestions: shorter range, so you'd have to get in the range of big ships. A little pause between releasing the trigger and firing the rockets. This would hopefully make it a little less convenient to use spontaneously (for instance, against fighters).

Caveat - these changes would make the torpedo and multi-rocket more similar.

Another idea - there's almost never a reason to not fire your weapons as fast as possible (apart from needing to aim with most of them). How about not recharging your shields while weapons are in use? This would change the balance a lot (needing rebalancing), but also (hopefully) add meaningful micro-decisions.

My comments on some comments in the shmup-dev thread:

kdmiller's idea of pad configuration sounded really good to me: move/strafe instead of move/turn in the left stick, and turning in the right stick. I had trouble pointing the Angry Moth towards the bombers in stage 2 while chasing, when I was playing with a pad. I was even inspired to try similar configuration on the keyboard, and now I play with move/slide on WASD, and turning/weapons on the numpad (right hand). Turning and sliding simultaneously feels more natural this way. On the downside it's now hard to operate the menus.  Smiley FR: separate control setup for the menus!

I was impressed that monoRAIL made a video + a demo about the GW-style control scheme suggestion. While I'm sure I'd play the hell out of Angry Moth if it had GW-style controls, the current controls seem much more exciting - I didn't try the monoRAIL's demo, but the current scheme is evocative and something different. I think it works fine too.

I disagree with monoRAIL that dogfighting wasn't happening. For me, it mostly happens when there is a tight concentration of large ships and a fighter cover for them. That's when the barrage of fire is too much to just turtle around the defenses and pick out the large ships. Examples are the first enemy reinforcement group in stage 2, and the carriers. Especially the round, heavy fighters that protect the carriers provide dogfighting opportunities often. Another successful high-action phase is chasing the bombers while avoiding their escorts.

A lot of the action is in the turtling style though. Angry Moth is a superior ship compared to the fighters, and can withstand their attacks while slowly taking on a modest group of larger ships. I don't mind this part of the gameplay at all. Stage 2 has nicely varying gameplay, and to me proves the versatility in that department.. the turtling-high action ratio depends on the level design. (As a side note I think occasionally putting the player in controls of a frailer ship would also vary up the gameplay nicely.) In any case, I thought that monoRAIL's idea of slowing down the action (regarding smaller ships) might be worth checking out, it might make it even better. All the same, I really like what is there right now and would be heartbroken to see the control scheme changed too much! Smiley

--Eino
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« Reply #42 on: April 15, 2012, 08:03:28 AM »

Heya Henzell! I'm the person who used to play Angry Moth with evktalo (last comment) -- I have noticed no further updates on the situation with Angry Moth and since the game totally blew me away, I'd like to hear what's up with it.

Great framework for a game, by the way. The Tie Fighter / Star Control 2 fan in me was absolutely thrilled.
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