[Prototype] Top down shooter where you suck up bullets.

edited in Projects
Been working on this little prototype over the last couple of days. Thought I would share it early to see if anyone enjoys it. :)

Working title/porn name: Bullets: The hardest pill to swallow

It's top down shoot 'em up where your ammo is limited, but you can suck up and fire back enemies' bullets. Your ammo amount is also your health.
image

Has 2 little levels.

Controls

Left/right Arrow keys - left/right movement
Hold Down arrow - suck up bullets in an area.
Up arrow - shoot bullets.

Only one thing I want to specifically know : Did you find the sucking/shooting back mechanic interesting/fun?

General feedback is always welcome too :).

Windows build: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9sug2YH0gyeMHBvdFJSVzZFWFk/view?usp=sharing

Builds
April 2016
WIndows
Html5

Latest
Windows (Recommended):
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Comments

  • Cool idea, but maybe find something to make it sound less like a porn game. Unless that's what you're going for...

    Maybe Vacuum Cleaner Wars. Angry Angry Hippos.
    Thanked by 1Bensonance
  • Porn game? I'm in!
    Thanked by 1Bensonance
  • I agree with mike. Maybe "Ball Guzzler" instead?
    Thanked by 1mikethetike
  • roguecode said:
    I agree with mike. Maybe "Ball Guzzler" instead?
    Pretty sure that the most pornographic title yet ;)

    Thanked by 1Bensonance
  • Windows only means I can't play it... But instinctively, I think as it is it looks like I can just stay pretty much in one "lane" vertically and just suck and blow the whole time (lol) without worrying about anything else?

    The juice is really, really cool, I see you've taken JW's teachings to heart, and I commend you for them! I think the damage juice may be a bit OTT as I seem to lose track of everything when it happens, and that can be frustrating.

    The darker bits in the back - I dig them but it would be cool if the enemies you killed left permanence in the background like those bits instead of disappear :) If we're going all-in on the juice we might as well have that :P
    Thanked by 1Bensonance
  • Porn game? I'm in!
    Following endorsement from internationally renowned erotic game designer, @EvanGreenwood, it's clear the game should go in a fully pornagraphic direction. :)

    Regarding name feedback... thanks, I guess? I appreciate all feedback, but giving me feedback on the name is unlikely to be useful unless I end up actually make it a full game :).

    @Tuism Yeah sorry :(. I'm going to make an Html5 build soon, but need to change some resolution stuff + make sure the value checking of Html5 doesn't mess it all up :(.

    Regarding the one lane solution: that's a possibility! I need to see it played to comment fully. But you lose a life if an enemy makes it all the way past you, so you have usually move left/right in order to dispense with enemies. Also, there is a maximum amount of ammo you can suck. If you hit 100 ammo, then you can't absorb any more bullets, any you'll just get damaged by bullets - this encourages a loop of: sucking up and shooting out bullets. You also become vulnerable to losing a life if you're hit by a bullet when at 0 ammo, encouraging you to suck all the bullets in the level.

    Thanks! Really enjoyed juicing it :) Yeah the lose a life juice is quite intense, but it's quite short, so hopefully players don't get too disorientated.

    Yeah those dark bits are the enemy permanence, but they don't work too well :(. Didn't want it to be too bright, otherwise the screen gets too messy - need to iterate on that a little.

    Dev update:

    Working on a timed grenade bullet type. Will explode after a given point. Can be sucked up by player and shot back towards enemies. If the grenade isn't shot out before it explodes, if will damage the player. Enemy and player grenades can be exploded by shooting them too: image
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  • I really like the idea of converting enemy bullets into a resource for the player, very clever :) The awkward movement of the character also adds to the charm of the game.

    My sole suggestion is that once a bullet has started being sucked, that it continues moving towards the player and be converted into player bullets even after the suction button has been released. This is just so that if you're point blank against an enemy and have to release suck to fire, that a bullet that was at the verge of being absorbed doesn't end up hitting you almost instantly. You could also only trigger this effect once a sucked bullet is a certain minimum distance away from the player.

    Looking forward to the next build ;)
    Thanked by 1Bensonance
  • I like this idea. The whole sucking and shooting felt good and I liked the strategy it puts in the game. I kinda felt the same as @pieter about the suction of bullets. It's quite punishing how you can miss them. I would like that once they've entered my suck whirlwind the just auto enter me. Oh and they change color if they won't damage me. Or do they damage me once I've let go of suck? Not too sure.

    Juice is amazing. I like the sounds a lot!

    The control scheme annoyed me a bit but I have a feeling it's my keyboard. The buttons are so close together. Maybe change the sucking and shooting to W and S. I also thought that instead of having a auto gun. You have a shot on press. Then you could hold space bar to suck and keep tapping it to shoot. Just thoughts.

    Keen to play the next build.

    Thanked by 1Bensonance
  • edited
    What was the original name?

    "Ball Sucker"
    "Ball Blaster"
    "Other peoples' Balls in My Mouth"
    "I'm swollen with the enormous quantity of balls in my mouth right now"
    "Suck them off, spit them out"
    "A taste of your own balls"
    "The balls of my enemy"

    Whatever it was, I approve.
  • Spit or swallow
    Thanked by 1Kobusvdwalt9
  • Looks like you're getting quite a few "balls" comments. Good to see you're taking them on the chin.

    Seriously though, the swallow comments have made me think. What if when you get to 100 ammo, you level up, temporarily power up or get something, and your ammo goes back to zero? Then you have to balance shooting vs levelling.

    Sorry to perpetuate this innuendo.
    Thanked by 1Bensonance
  • @pieter thanks for the great feedback! :) Even in my own playtests it was super annoying that bullets that were close to you could suddenly become damaging again - will definitely tweak this. Will probably put in a delay before sucked bullets turn back to enemy bullets. I think I'll need to test if just keeping them as sucked bullets the moment they get sucked works - I think that'll take away a bit too much of the challenge of sucking maybe? :)

    @SUGBOERIE Great idea about the changing of the sucked bullets' color - think that'll really make clear what bullets can/can't damage you. Will add the option of W/S, because it definitely can be an awkward control scheme on certain keyboards.

    @EvanGreenwood I think the original name was "Hard to swallow". My alternative was "Suck and spew" , but your list is so good, I might have to consider one of them. Keep throwing those names out.

    @mikethetike You started it ;D. That power up idea is cool! I am definitely starting to think about how a meta game would work. That could be a nice way to do it :).
  • edited
    One of the most original games I have seen in a while @bensonance, wonderful idea.

    Some observations and suggestions
    -The game is somewhat chaotic at second level already, progression is a bit too quick, would expect that type of chaos at around fifth level.
    -Player character feels solid, however the enemy concept feels incomplete
    -Screen feels somewhat claustrophobic and combined with the enemy advance rate, creates a bit of a unpleasant urgency
    -Maybe adding different types of enemies can extend the gameplay time, blocks that sway from side to side, blocks that move up from time to time, blocks that track the player, blocks that run horizontally across the screen, blocks that protect other blocks, blocks with more health...
    -With different types of enemies you can create more dificult levels with less enemies on the screen, reducing some chaos
    -Player character is huge when full of ammo, maybe too much so as it creates a urgency that the ammo must be emptied
    -Giving the player another life when ammo reaches 100 with a top cap of 3 lives and removing all the ammo would extend the play time
    -Giving player health for ammo collected above 100 is another alternative
    -A boss fight at the end of the level might be a good idea
    -Health indicator would be useful
    Thanked by 1Bensonance
  • @critic thanks for the kind words, and great feedback! :D

    -Thanks for the chaotic comment, definitely need to tweak that. Haven't had much in person playtesting yet, so makes sense.
    - Claustrophobic screen is definitely a thing. Me grappling with resolutions :).
    - Yup, definitely want to add some enemy types! Want to try make as many as possible that relate to the sucking :).
    - I still need to test it a bunch, but I think I like players trying to stay between 20-80 as much as possible. So when you're near 100 you want to get rid of bullets, and when you're near 0 you want to get bullets. Do need to test it more though.
    - Yeah getting more than a 100 ammo doing something is a cool idea. That's kinda moving into meta-game terriotory, which I'm starting to think about, but I think for now I'm focusing on enemy types and core gameplay :)
    -Yup, boss fight would be awesome :D.
    - Yeah the health is basically your ammo count, so you're shooting away your health. I think calling it "mass" or something could make this clearer some how :).

    Great feedback, thanks! :)

    Grenadiers/ Grenades at work:

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    Thanked by 1critic
  • Made an armor enemy type!

    The armor reflects bullets, and degrades slowly over time. Players can suck the armor off the enemy and use it themselves to deflect bullets :).

    image

    Will make a new build soon, I promise :)
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  • That is a Cool feature!
    Thanked by 1Bensonance
  • Wow amazing the difference the small design changes make so far!
    Thanked by 1Bensonance
  • I love how every stretches and jiggles. It really adds a lot of life to the game.
    Thanked by 1Bensonance
  • edited
    New build, yay!

    Still got a bunch of things I want to add, but realised it's been a while since I uploaded a new build and I've added so much!

    6 levels to play!
    Mostly interested in how you find the levels - are the enemies interesting? Do they combine in interesting ways?

    WIndows
    Html5


    Concerned eyes!

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    Spike bullet types!
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    Armor enemies!
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    Grenades!
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    WIndows
    Html5

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    Thanked by 2francoisvn Bernard
  • Okay, I really like the idea of sucking the shield off and then it gets stuck on you for as long as you keep sucking, that's great :)
    Thanked by 1Bensonance
  • Love the game, I think if you polish the graphics and add some polish to it then it can be really nice!
    Thanked by 1Bensonance
  • @dislekcia Thanks! :D I was really happy with how it turned out - feels like a natural evolution of the sucking mechanic :)

    @Zaphire Thanks so much - glad you enjoy it! :D I really love this game, so I'm definitely going to keep working on it. Would love to collaborate with an artist :). I think the mechanic is kinda a cutesey variation on top-down shooters, so would love a cute art style. Love Lizzywanders stuff is kind of the direction I would love to emulate maybe :).

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  • edited
    Hey all!

    Here's an update!

    Windows (Recommended):
    Html5

    image

    Mostly polish and bug fixing. 2 more grenade levels!

    @Karuji I implemented your suggestion of quickly returning the aim to center after you've stopped turning. Would love to know if you think it feels better :).
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    Thanked by 1Sean_Goncalves
  • @Bensonance it's definitely feeling better! feels like there have been quite a few tweaks, and the levels on a whole feel pretty good, just beat level 6 and died being silly. Bit of a crazy day, but will give it another sit down this weekend so I can give you some more feedback :)
    Thanked by 1Bensonance
  • Juicy juicy juicy.

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    Thanked by 2pieter SUGBOERIE
  • :'( The HTML version spazzed out and I died on my greatest run.

    I think this was the first time I played and really had the time to soak in everything. I haven't been really getting it for a while. Yes, on the surface the mechanics look interesting. Yes, it's juicy but I wasn't sure what it was. But today I found the beauty in the game. The strategies and the design decisions that make this game quite a gem in my opinion.

    Firstly, I liked how it's better to go straight into oncoming bullets when there was an enemy close to the end rather than let the enemy through. Taking damage, killing the enemy, and quickly recovering health / filling up ammo really felt great. Loved that.

    I also really enjoyed the bouncy shields. How my instinct is to shoot but that just ended up in me losing ammo/health. Being patient letting them get close you to suck their shield and then use fewer bullets to kill them is fun in that it removes the feeling that it's just a bullet hell and gives the game a bit more depth.

    I don't particularly like the way you teach the spike bullets that hurt you. I may think it's a visual thing. It almost feels like you want the player to suck them in lose (feel shit for making a mistake) but hey there's a bullet pack coming. Now that I think about it, It may just be a visual thing. If the bullets looked harming. You probably wouldn't suck them in OR you do because you think they are super bullets to shoot back. Not sure, but I feel like they could be taught a bit more elegantly.

    I'm not too sure about the size vs speed mechanic. It annoys me that, I'm always trying to maintain high ammo/health amount but then movement just feel laggish and kinda spoils the fun for me. Then again that could be how you try and focus and keep the intensity of the game by forcing the player to be kinda in the constant fight to move faster with fewer bullets vs "safer". That's kinda cool in a way. I don't know, could you elaborate on this design decision?

    Oh, I hate that you can't keep sucking when you've reached maximum and it just makes that annoying sound. Plus, in the shield levels at full health and I can't suck the shields off. So, I've got to try aim and shoot so it doesn't bounce back and kill me and then try suck the shield off seems a bit too punishing to me.

    How come there's no sound for when enemies shoot?

    Otherwise, I'm really liking how this is coming together. How goes the art side of things?

    Ooh. I like how the debris also get's sucked in. Nice touch. Very classy. :)
    Thanked by 1Bensonance
  • @SUGBOERIE

    Thanks for taking the time to write such lengthy feedback! <3

    Sorry about the Html spazzing out :(.

    Interesting that you've been bouncing off it for a while - what do you think was limiting your enjoyment of the game?

    Really glad you enjoyed the depth! It's something I'm really happy has emerged out of the game :).

    That's a sound point about the spikes. I want them to be elements you can suck, but will damage you, because when they're present it stops you from always just sucking without worry. I agree it's a visual thing. In the prototype I wanted to have a motif of: if it's red you can suck it. Going forward with actual art this will need to be more subtle. I want to keep a motif that communicates 'suckability', but the spikes defintely need to look more dangerous than normal bullets.

    For the size + speed mechanic, I have got a bunch of feedback that it's annoying to be so slow at high masses. I have a couple of tweaks to try minimise this feeling. In terms of design decisions: I kinda put it in the first prototype. It seemed like a good tradeoff that balanced the amount of health/ammo you had: the more ammo you had, the slower you were, and thus more vulnerable. The smaller you were, the faster you were, and thus more evasive. This stops you from always trying to stay on high ammo, but helps you out when you're low on ammo/life. I have got a bunch of feedback that it's annoying though, so I might limit the sluggishness, or take out the mapping of size to speed completely, as it might not be a necessary design choice anyway (you want to shoot bullets out anyway, or you'll die, so the speed thing doesn't matter hugely).

    Yeah the maximum mass/sucking thing is super annoying. I'm implementing a mechanic where you can 'oversuck' more than your maximum mass, but if you go over a certain point you'll explode. This seems like a neat way to limit the amount of mass you have, without actually stopping you from sucking. It also adds a tiny bit of resistance to always sucking. I have to iterate on it more though, it's still a bit confusing.

    Just never did a sound for the enemies shooting! XD It's a good idea though, I'll make something subtle. :)

    Art side has just started, @Sean_Goncalves has just prototyped an idea for the 'Spiker' enemy based on Lizzy Wanders' style:

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  • After a couple play through sessions, here's some subjective feedback from a non programmer :)

    There's something about this little game that I love. I particularly dig the feel of the shooting mechanic. The subtle sounds and the hearty screen shake. Also quite like finding a balance between conserving ammo and not hogging down too much. Think it's a great idea you had about the player exploding should he/she gulp down too many bullets.

    Now most interesting to me.

    After 2 play through attempts, I didn't want to have another go. Even after enjoying the basic mechanics. This was due to frustration. Frustration at how long it took between rounds. After one wave, I twiddle my fingers waiting for the next slow descent. At how long it took for some enemies such as the shield guys, to descend from the top of the screen and be withing "sucking distance" (lol).

    I recorded myself playing and after 11 minutes I just quit as things didn't seem to be ramping up enough. There are moments of urgency which is where the game truly shines, but the vast majority is spent feeling like I'm going at the same pace as before.

    This is where it is subjective for me. I would like a game such as this to be faster overall. Not bullet speed, but enemy encroachment on the player and time between rounds. Each actual round has a little climax of chaos, and then a short breather. But short. Before hitting the next wave that you know might just kick your ass by the 4th or so level. This way it's easy to pick up, feels good, comical (you've nailed all 3 of these already) - but then also gets tough as nails earlier, chaotic, with a urgent desire to restart because it doesn't take long to get to the challenging parts again.

    Please excuse my very layman feedback! Super excited for the next prototype should there be one :)
  • @danielcaleb

    Thanks for the great feedback! Layman feedback is the best kind! :D

    Ah the round frustration is interesting - think I definitely need to have a trigger that spawns the next round if all the enemies are dead :). The random generation sometimes combines to make the timing awkward :).

    Definitely agree that the pacing needs some work - the levels now are kinda just for my own process to see how individual enemy types could work :). Something I definitely need to work on - I think the random generation also makes some of the levels clumsier :).

    I think your thoughts on the speed of the game are really interesting. I think I would like to put the game on mobile at some point, and the points you make about the speed really ring true with that desire :). I think the speed of the game is something I'll try iron out as the game becomes less and less of a prototype :).

    There will definitely be a next prototype! Got lots of ideas for this game :).
    Thanked by 1Sean_Goncalves
  • This is so odd, but kind of awesome. I'm currently participating in the CFN Game jam with the theme "Growing up". The design that I came up with is eerily similar to yours. (Absorbing bullets for ammo, and growing as you do) I just had to let you know when this popped up in one of my google searches. :)
  • @Nuclear_Mosquito haha thanks! Cool it came up in a google search :).

    I am definitely coming back to this prototype at some point :)
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