The Super Mega Space Blaster Special beta is now over and the game has improved a lot from the process. From bug fixes, to adding whole new features, the testing process has really helped us refine what is special about the retro space blaster and add more of what the player wants.
The initial testing found quite a few bugs with the game. The mouse didn’t work on certain buttons, the game sometimes loaded in the wrong language, and messages about leaderboard ranking said players had gone down the ranks even when they had gone up. Once I fixed these bugs and corrected a load of typos the more interesting feedback started to surface.
A Whole New Feature
It became apparent that a lot of the players using keyboard and mouse wanted a re-mapper. They wanted a way to redefine keys so that they could play in their own way. I set to work on this and added it as a new feature. The keyboard re-mapper allows players to create their own keyboard map with two bindings per in-game action. I made sure it had a ‘restore defaults’ button and that it saved the player’s key-map. This allows players to easily transition between the default keyboard layout and their own layout.
Space for Improvement
Loads of improvements were made to the game during the beta. The ships’ stats were streamlined. This allowed their speed and fire-rate’s to work well together and give a better gameplay experience. I modified Power-ups and weapons and in some cases completely changed them to make them feel better to play with. Feedback from testers also suggested that they wanted to be able to unlock any ship they had the coins for, not just the next ship in the list. I changed the ship unlocking from a linear path so that players can save up coins and buy ships in any order. I also made quite a few improvements to the big-boss in survival mode. The boss now drops more loot, drops ammo if the player runs out and has a second attack phase, again inspired by bosses in Super Fantasy Zone on the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis). Player’s will have to work hard to fight the boss though, and even harder to beat it!
Controllers for All
More joypad/controller maps were added to the current PlayStation 4 DualShock 4, Nintendo Switch Pro, and XboxOne/360 maps. The game now supports pretty much any controller including some retro imitation pads like the Buffalo SNES controller. I had to make some sacrifices with these retro controllers due to them not having enough buttons for all of the game’s controls. Their is no right-stick on these retro pads. Therefore, turrets can’t be rotated on ships that have them and will always shoot forward. There are also no shoulder triggers so ships keep a constant speed and cannot boost or hover. The game is still playable and fun when playing with one of these joypads and some testers have said it makes it feel more retro.
Out with the Old in with the New
Here are some lists of the new features, improvements, and bug fixes that were implemented as a result of beta testing feedback.
- Keyboard re-mapper. Bind up to two keys to each in-game action. Save your key-map. Easily restore defaults
- Big-boss in survival mode has a second attack phase.
- Players can now unlock any space blaster they have the coins for.
- Mines power-up weapon now allow player to fire cannons at same time as dropping mines.
- Big-boss in survival mode drops more loot when destroyed.
- Big-boss in survival mode drops ammo if player runs out.
- Ship stats streamlined to improve gameplay.
- Leaderboard rank changes now shown correctly on ‘game over’ screen.
- All buttons are now intractable with mouse.
- Game mode screen now explicitly states how many players can play in each game mode.
- Game now always loads in correct language.
- Loads of smaller bugs have been fixed.
- Loads of typos have been corrected.
Test Results and The Future
The Super Mega Space Blaster Special beta was a massive success the game has been broken down and built back stronger. From myself and Bare Knuckle Development; a massive thank you to all the testers who took part from our mailing list and in our Discord. The game is so much better because of you. We want to support the game into the future releasing more content as either free updates or free DLC. We also have plans to support more platforms but all of this depends on the popularity of the game on Steam. Ideas for future updates based on the beta include:
- A custom ship builder, or some form of space blaster customisation.
- Upgrades for space blasters and power-up that cost in-game coins.
- Some form of online multiplayer.
- More ships, more power-ups and weapons, more game modes.
If you have any ideas that you’d like to see in the game why not join our Discord and let us know.
Time to get back to developing The Flawless for PS4, Switch, and Steam. We will have loads more information about ‘Super Mega Space Blaster Special, and ‘The Flawless: Art’s Tale‘ very soon. Until then you can keep up to date with all things Bare Knuckle on the Discord: discord.gg/J4ynrFD or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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Ste Wilson is a director, game developer, and programmer at Bare Knuckle Development Ltd. When not coding away on BKD games he can be found playing video games on console and PC. He also makes music under the music maker name of ‘Electric Fan Death’ and loves playing guitar, writing tunes, and producing music.