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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsHARDLINE GUNNER - challenging top-down shooter [Playable Alpha Demo]
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Author Topic: HARDLINE GUNNER - challenging top-down shooter [Playable Alpha Demo]  (Read 5340 times)
Orun
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« on: March 02, 2015, 08:15:22 pm »




Hardline Gunner is a challenging bullet-hell top-down arcade shooter.
It has fast paced gameplay, smart challenging enemy AI, and a wonderful minimalistic visual style.  
Only with mastery of your abilities (shoot, dodge and deflect) will you stand a chance.














Intro:

Welcome to the Hardline Gunner devlog.  I'm Orun, the lead dev / designer on Hardline Gunner.  I want to use this devlog to be as transparent as possible during development and be able to get your feedback on my designs and ideas as they happen.

Hardline Gunner is written in Java using LWJGL for rendering, sound and controller support.  I plan to support Windows Mac and Linux at the least.


Story:

Your peaceful 2D game world is attacked by a game update, fatally patching everything you know and love and replacing it with the new 3D version. Out numbered and out versioned you must fight through the patch's army and destroy it before your world is gone forever.


The Team:

Matt Lazaridis and Orun Irunmale make up the Lazorun Team. Two dedicated indie devs building the games we love to play.

Website: Lazorun.com
Twitter: @OrunBot
Twitter: @LazAtLazorun


The Alpha Demo:

You can play Hardline Gunner right now.  Though still in early alpha we have put together 9 challenging levels for you to test your skills in.  Check out our itch.io page to play.


« Last Edit: September 25, 2015, 11:52:46 am by Orun » Logged

Orun
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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2015, 08:44:28 pm »



UPDATE 1: Devlog Is Live

I don't really know where to start. Before I get into everything I'm working on I'd love to get your thought on Hardline Gunner so far and answer any questions you may have.  A lot of mechanics are already implemented in the demo and periodically I'll go over them in more detail as I solidify design decision or brainstorm better solutions.
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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2015, 08:47:48 pm »

Nice to see you start a devlog here. I had written a preview of Hardline Gunner last year, can't wait to check out the new alpha. The last version I played, the visuals was still flat
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Orun
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« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2015, 08:50:05 pm »

Nice to see you start a devlog here. I had written a preview of Hardline Gunner last year, can't wait to check out the new alpha. The last version I played, the visuals was still flat

Oh that is awesome.  The game has come a long way since then.  Thanks for the support, that motivation brought HLG to where it is today.


EDIT:  haha, I just found that preview you wrote and man it brought back good memories. Thanks again
« Last Edit: March 02, 2015, 09:07:22 pm by Orun » Logged

Orun
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« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2015, 03:57:20 am »

UPDATE 2: Controller Support

Now that the alpha demo is out I am getting a lot of feedback on things that people like about HLG and more importantly, things to fix and improve. In between bug fixes I am working on getting controller support working.

Currently the demo only supports mouse and keyboard but I did manage to get my Logitech Dual Axis controller working (on my dev machine) and it works really well. 


The problem is, when testing with my xbox 360 controller, the JInput libraries that I use to read controller inputs won't support the trigger buttons.  It maps the left trigger and right trigger to the same axis making it impossible for me to determine if a player is not holding any trigger buttons down, or is holding both of them.  After googling I found this that pretty much says, "You are SOL and you need to use a different library".

Well.....damn. So now im gutting the controller manager and going to redo it with a library that doesn't rely on directx drivers. Once it is all working nicely, I will update the demo so you can all try it out with controller in hand.

« Last Edit: March 03, 2015, 04:04:53 am by Orun » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2015, 04:18:39 pm »

I really like the style of this game. Old school vector graphics really had a charm that I think is evergreen.
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Orun
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« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2015, 04:54:27 pm »

I really like the style of this game. Old school vector graphics really had a charm that I think is evergreen.

Thanks, it was the most detailed I could make the art before my poor art skills start to show.  Hard to mess up a square.
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Orun
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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2015, 07:39:46 am »


UPDATE 3: Indie Spotlight Feat. Hardline Gunner

Woke up this morning to a link to a Indie Spotlight that Kemp Plays (@KempPlays) did on Hardline Gunner.  His cautious play-style makes the game not look as hard as it is and he really shows off how powerful the spin / invincibility mechanic is.  Until now I have seen most players stick with just dodging and shooting and neglect the extremely overpowered ability to turn enemy fire against them.



P.S.  How do I embed youtube vids in forum posts?

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Orun
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« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2015, 03:44:32 pm »

UPDATE 4: Controller Support Cont.

I haven't yet found a library that I want to use to fix the Xbox360 controller trigger button issue so I just decoupled my ControllerManager class from the library API so I can make a quick swap when I do. I made a controller button press to keyboard key press converter so I can just assign controller buttons key events and done, controllers just work, kinda.

Currently my Logitech and Xbox controller work. I can't assign a move to each of the Xbox's trigger buttons, but I can assign a move to one of the triggers. If both triggers are pushed, my game thinks that non are pushed, but if one or the other is pushed, it will register the button press correctly. Good enough for now. Going to get some friends to test their controllers and make sure nothing is broken.

Don't think I'll be updating the demo tonight with controller support since I'm leaving for Pax East tomorrow and wont be able to fix any unforeseen errors till Monday.

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meowanme
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« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2015, 07:48:57 pm »

This looks pretty cool!  Posting to follow.
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Orun
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« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2015, 06:59:41 am »

This looks pretty cool!  Posting to follow.

Thank you.  Following yours as well.  Really awesome graphics effects
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« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2015, 08:18:10 am »

This looks pretty cool. Are you going to have it at Games With Friends sometime soon? I saw you there one time but I didn't get to play it.

I Like the name "Hardline Gunner", it sounds like an arcade game from 1991 or something.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2015, 10:31:21 am by James Edward Smith » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2015, 10:16:17 am »

This looks pretty cool. Are you going to have it at Games With Friends sometime soon? I saw you there one time but I didn't get to play it.

I definitely will.  I can't wait to bring it back to GWF.  I want to even setup something special too.  Have to talk to Henry first, but I'd love to have a play-test tournament. The Hardline Gunner 1 Life Challenge.  Try to get as many medals as you can with only 1 life.  Player with the most medals at the end of play-testing wins like $50 or something.

Anyway I think something like that would be cool, plus I'd get to see people play it in a more serious competitive mindset.
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« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2015, 01:05:30 pm »

UPDATE 5: New Review Of The Alpha Demo On Youtube

So, I'm getting ready to head to Boston for Pax East and then this happens.  @Highsight posts his Hardline Gunner review Highsight Tries: Hardline Gunner.  He provides a really good critique of the game. I ended up making a bunch of tickets for things to fix.

Give it a watch and see how great he is at providing feedback for game devs. If you want him to tryout your game, you can submit your game here: Tryout Tuesday Game Submission Form



I'm so damn motivated to continue development on Hardline now. I'm really going to miss not being able to code for the weekend.
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« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2015, 03:38:11 am »

Hey Orun,

Just had a bash at your alpha demo, awesome stuff, loved it, reminded me a lot of playing super meat boy, the same sort of "aww, I saw that coming but did nothing to stop it" moments. Dying a lot, but because I'm bad, not the game.

I'm pretty bad at these types of games so I didn't get past lvl 5 and 6, I found them a big jump in difficulty though, 05 especially didn't seem to have as much health as the others. I really like the different tiles you introduced though, the walls that reflect bullets really made me change the way I played.

I know its just an alpha but are you thinking of having levels this long in the full version? having them a bit shorter might reduce the penalty for dying, and might let the player repeat a certain section and actually get better at the skill they need.

Really nit-picky things now but I felt when I was moving down I was really limited in what I could see, with the hud there and the fact the bullets don't hit when out of view. Also, the different shooting styles for the red enemies, like the sniper-style dudes, machine gunners etc. could they be different colours? help differentiate them a bit more.

Hope this feedback is useful!
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« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2015, 08:36:40 pm »

Hey Orun,

Just had a bash at your alpha demo, awesome stuff, loved it, reminded me a lot of playing super meat boy, the same sort of "aww, I saw that coming but did nothing to stop it" moments. Dying a lot, but because I'm bad, not the game.

I'm pretty bad at these types of games so I didn't get past lvl 5 and 6, I found them a big jump in difficulty though, 05 especially didn't seem to have as much health as the others. I really like the different tiles you introduced though, the walls that reflect bullets really made me change the way I played.

I know its just an alpha but are you thinking of having levels this long in the full version? having them a bit shorter might reduce the penalty for dying, and might let the player repeat a certain section and actually get better at the skill they need.

Really nit-picky things now but I felt when I was moving down I was really limited in what I could see, with the hud there and the fact the bullets don't hit when out of view. Also, the different shooting styles for the red enemies, like the sniper-style dudes, machine gunners etc. could they be different colours? help differentiate them a bit more.

Hope this feedback is useful!

Thanks so much for the feedback. Sorry for the late reply, I just got back home from Pax East and haven't had any time, nor internet, nor sleep.

I'm glad you felt the game was hard but fair. It's a thin line that I'm trying to tread.

Your feedback is spot on. When I posted this alpha on r/gamedev's Feedback Friday many said the same thing. The game is just too hard to have such long levels. I totally agree. Originally the levels were super short so for this demo I just combined 2 or 3 levels together to make long ones and now they're too long. A lesson was learned. In a week I will try to get a new build ready with shorter (possibly harder) levels, my first attempt at controller support, and some fixed menu UI / HUD.

Also about the HUD, I had recently added a ton of content to it just for the demo because in play-tests many players were getting lost / confused.  I didn't take the time to design it efficiently and this is the result. I will be rethinking how to display info so that it doesn't cover up enemies who are trying to kill you, or let your shots that go off screen actually hurt enemies.

Thanks again for trying the demo and providing that valuable feedback.
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« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2015, 05:38:35 pm »

No problem,

Look forward to seeing the next version.
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« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2015, 07:46:02 am »


UPDATE 6: Feedback And The Todo List

I'm all rested from Pax East and am back to coding. I've been getting a ton of great feedback and have created a list of small fixes to add to the demo.  When they are done I will upload a new one on itch.io.  I have compiled all the feedback that I have been getting from reviews, lets plays, feedback friday, emails and this forum. So much of it made me go, "Wow, you're right, I'll fix that" which is really what the best feedback makes you do.

The biggest feature I'm adding is controller support. I'm so excited to have this working in the game so you all can test it out.

Currently I have knocked out the following fixes:

  • Assign a different color for every type of enemy so players can tell immediately what type of AI to expect.
  • Reflecting a sniper shot kills the enemy in 1 hit.
  • Increase the speed of all spin-reflected bullets.
  • Easy Mode only: Make health drops and health spawns happen even after a level has been cleared
  • Make all bullets be solid colors, not just outlines.  Test if it is easier to see and looks nice.

My full list for this update is below.  No guarantees if everything here will make it into the next update but this is the goal.

  • Assign a different color for every type of enemy so players can tell immediately what type of AI to expect.
  • Shorter levels, ~20% shorter. Some levels don't have enough health boxes in them, add more.
  • Menu UI fix. Redesign how buttons like the resolution selection work so it is intuitive.
  • HUD UI fix. Redesign the HUD so it does not block the players vision when trying to kill enemies at the bottom of the screen
  • Controller support and mouse aim / joystick aim toggle
  • Better visual / audio cues for charge shot. Make charge shot a bit stronger so that one wave will kill a stationary enemy. Add a new epic shot sound for launching a charge shot
  • Health bar improvement. Show slow-motion critical-life-warning availability on health bar, and the exact health that it will trigger at.
  • Reflecting a sniper shot kills the enemy in 1 hit.
  • Make all bullets be solid colors, not just outlines.  Test if it is easier to see and looks nice.
  • Easy Mode only: Lets player get full life after clearing an uncleared level
  • Easy Mode only: Make health drops and health spawns happen even after a level has been cleared
  • Increase the speed of all spin-reflected bullets.
  • Fix resolution text, it gets super glitchy when the resolution gets too large or does not exactly meet the screens aspect ratio
  • Save game state and options settings so that if the game is closed settings are not lost
  • Make sniper shots pause at the start and then speed up super fast, letting the player have a chance to actually time the spin instead of just get lucky
  • Remove the "enemies are invisible if not in sight" mechanic. Only some special enemies will have this feature
  • Add sounds for the menu, on menu button selection and moving on the map
  • Improve the map screen doors' visual. Make them solid color if locked.

Trying to ride this motivation wave I got from Pax while it lasts.  After this demo update, unless more bugs are found, I get to start the new features that haven't been implemented yet. Can't wait.
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« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2015, 07:31:01 pm »

UPDATE 7: New Bullet And Enemy Colors

Couple small changes to make the game more pretty. Some of my feedback was that it was annoying to not know if an enemy was a sniper, a machine-gunner or a regular gunner since they were all the same color.  You sir are correct.  Now machine-gunners are purple, snipers are yellow, regular gunners are still red and exploders are orange.  Immediately the player will know what to expect.

All reflected bullets move a lot faster and reflecting sniper bullets will 1 hit kill anything they hit and all bullets are colored in. It really makes them easier to see.

Purple Machine-Gunners


Yellow Snipers


Red Gunners / Orange Exploders

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« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2015, 08:09:57 am »

UPDATE 8: More Tasks Completed

Last night I knocked out a bunch more tickets:

  • Better visual / audio cues for charge shot. Make charge shot a bit stronger so that one wave will kill a stationary enemy. Add a new epic shot sound for launching a charge shot
  • Health bar improvement. Show slow-motion critical-life-warning availability on health bar, and the exact health that it will trigger at.
  • Easy Mode only: Lets player get full life after clearing an uncleared level
  • Make sniper shots pause at the start and then speed up super fast, letting the player have a chance to actually time the spin instead of just get lucky
  • Remove the "enemies are invisible if not in sight" mechanic. Only some special enemies will have this feature (actually I made it that if you are really close to an enemy they will show themselves even if they are behind a wall)
  • Add sounds for the menu, on menu button selection and moving on the map
  • Improve the map screen doors' visual. Make them solid color if locked.

Updated List  - No guarantees if everything here will make it into the next update but this is the goal.


  • Assign a different color for every type of enemy so players can tell immediately what type of AI to expect.
  • Shorter levels, ~20% shorter. Some levels don't have enough health boxes in them, add more.
  • Menu UI fix. Redesign how buttons like the resolution selection work so it is intuitive.
  • HUD UI fix. Redesign the HUD so it does not block the players vision when trying to kill enemies at the bottom of the screen
  • Controller support and mouse aim / joystick aim toggle
  • Better visual / audio cues for charge shot. Make charge shot a bit stronger so that one wave will kill a stationary enemy. Add a new epic shot sound for launching a charge shot
  • Health bar improvement. Show slow-motion critical-life-warning availability on health bar, and the exact health that it will trigger at.
  • Reflecting a sniper shot kills the enemy in 1 hit.
  • Make all bullets be solid colors, not just outlines.  Test if it is easier to see and looks nice.
  • Easy Mode only: Lets player get full life after clearing an uncleared level
  • Easy Mode only: Make health drops and health spawns happen even after a level has been cleared
  • Increase the speed of all spin-reflected bullets.
  • Fix resolution text, it gets super glitchy when the resolution gets too large or does not exactly meet the screens aspect ratio
  • Save game state and options settings so that if the game is closed settings are not lost
  • Make sniper shots pause at the start and then speed up super fast, letting the player have a chance to actually time the spin instead of just get lucky
  • Remove the "enemies are invisible if not in sight" mechanic. Only some special enemies will have this feature
  • Add sounds for the menu, on menu button selection and moving on the map
  • Improve the map screen doors' visual. Make them solid color if locked.


   
Also because I made reflected shots more 2x as fast as before. Now abusing the Exploder's bullet explosions on death, can allow you to spin reflect like 50 bullets and clear a room.  It is super overpowered but so damn fun to do that I think I'm going to keep it.  The gif below perfectly had slow motion trigger right before I reflected all of the Exploder's bullets.  Way too cool.

Perfect Spin Timing On Exploder Enemy


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