Most of us accessible game devs are just thirty years behind the times. I'm going to release a game soon that, in the '70s, would have made quite the stir. In this era though, it'll come and go without much notice, and that's all right because I write the games specifically for me. If others play them, enjoy them, that's fine! It's wonderful in fact, but I know that I'll never make a game as involved as Grand Theft Auto, and I doubt I'll even touch a game like SOD or MOTA, and the truth is that I'm happy making the games I make, whether anyone else likes them or not. That's because I make them for myself, not for others, and so if I like a game I make, I am content. If I sell games though, well that's just the icing on the cake, and so on the one hand I make simple games. On the other hand though, I love to push the envelope ways too. The Space Attack game I'm writing for the PM and desktop PC is coming along very well, and though there are still some bugs, I find myself playing it as much as I do programming it. That's the bane of this line of work. Well, since I'm writing about it I might as well describe it. I hadn't intended to but here goes anyway. The game is loosely based on a space invaders theme, but it is far different. The similarities are the columns of ships moving, the big ship flying from one side to the other, and the shields. But in Space Attack, you have to defend your shields because every time the enemy drops a bomb on you, and the bomb hits a shield, the shields go down. You hear the bombs as they come for you, and they are smart bombs. They know exactly where the gun is and can move much faster than the gun does, so to keep the gun intact you have to be under a shield. When the shield is hit, its volume decreases so you know which ones are weaker and can avoid them. If you have the points though, you can go to the store and buy new mojo for them and get them up to speed again. Your gun fires fast, but it only has twelve rounds before the batteries have to charge, so if you've got a trigger finger, you'll soon run out of power and have to wait for them to charge--unless, that is, you go to the store and buy better batteries. The speed of your gun can be increased in the same manner. Your gun is small--it can only shoot one column of ships at a time. That's well and good on the early levels, but later in the game you'll need to take 'em out in style, so you can go to the store and buy a bigger gun. Now let's say your shields are down to nothing, and you're about to lose your last gun. You've only got 50000 points left, which isn't enough to do much of anything. That's when you go to the store and gamble your 50000 points. Maybe you'll win twice the amount, maybe you'll lose it all, or you might come out in between. Whatever the case, it has saved my butt more than once already. The last thing I want to tell you about this game is that there are special hot keys, keys that, at a price, teleport your gun to a new position, so if a bomb's just about to bust your gun, you hit a key and voila! You're under a shield, or attacking from a new location. The regular arrow keys currently move the gun one space over, but I'm working on a system where, for example, the left arrow starts the gun moving left, and the right arrow stops it. This saves the tedium of multiple key presses so that you worry less about key presses and more about strategy and survival. Purchasing items with your points also has hot keys so you don't have to pull down a menu to get a new gun or even gamble. One key and it's done. If you have other ideas, ways I can make the game even better, I'd love to hear them.

Ken Downey

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