Project Spikes Update #5 – Fields and Laser Improvements

Time for another update! To kick this one off, I’ll introduce a new feature: fields!


My laser arrays are much purpler than yours.

The red laser fields harm the player, while the purple ones destroy physics objects such as cubes and turrets. When the player goes through a red field, you die instantly too, so it’s probably best not to let that happen. These new fields are ripped from the old project mostly, but with a new appearance and a bit of new functionality, both of which slot nicely into the other game features (it’s lasers all around here). There’s also another tweak to lasers – I refer you to an image from last update:


Entanglement. I ain’t having no quantum physics going on here!

As you can see, the laser beams don’t line up correctly and look like something MC Escher would draw. But I’ve changed the lasers to use a different shader, so they’re less solid-looking than before, and render correctly, giving a more subtle look. Talking about tweaks, the Force Gun provides force in a different way than before, in that it doesn’t really apply a force, it provides an impulsive… well, force I guess. Physics nerds will probably understand the difference, but for the average Joe, that just means the movement of objects is a bit more instant.

To accommodate the fields, I’ve split Tutorial 2 into two, and tweaked both halves a bit, so there’s basically a new tutorial level to stop the tutorials feeling like an avalanche of features and instructions.


Things are starting to look a lot more colourful!

In the background are the red fields that kill you. You’ll also see part of a TV screen at the top of the tower – remember back in the real early version of the new project, when screenshots were added? You could press F5 to take a screenshot, and it would render the image to a screen in the level. That’s been added back, but this time the screens have a simple model. Every tutorial level has at least one screen, so you can see your last screenshot whenever you want.

I’m also partway done with the turret texturing job, which is taking much longer than anticipated. I’ve tweaked the angry turret face, and made one for destroyed angry turrets.


No, Steve, noooo! I’ll get revenge for you!

Next update is going to be a big texturing/modelling update, because I’ve been putting off replacing placeholders for a long time (the Force Gun springs to mind, however hilarious it is). You can find the update over at IndieDB once it’s uploaded/authorised, so have fun playing! Don’t forget, this update contains all the features I mentioned back in the Update #4 post, including better turret collision and different textures on cubes based on how damaged they are.



Project Spikes Update #4 – Improving Physics

This update doesn’t have a download to accompany it, but I decided to at least tell you guys how things are going. Or I could disappear for a couple months, but would I do that? (Please don’t answer than, I’m a terrible developer. Development team. Developtron.)

I’ve been working a lot on the cubes and laser turrets in particular. Whereas before the cubes would simply disappear when the fell of the end of the level, now they have a death sequence, where the cubes now shrink into nothingness, but by the next downloadable version, there will also be a particle effect when the cube dies.

Additionally, the evil laser turrets can now harm good turrets and cubes (we offered them anger management classes, but all they did was turn their lasers on us). To show the level of harm inflicted upon the poor cubes/turrets, their texture will change as they get more hurt, to look increasingly abused. I’ve finished the beat-up textures for cubes, and by next update I’ll have done so for turrets, too, along with textures for turrets.


From the bottom-left, going anti-clockwise: Pristine, Used, Chernobyl.

I’ve also made slightly better models for turrets and I’m halfway through texturing them. The good turrets look much the same, just with a couple more details on the legs and parts of the front, but evil turrets look more like the good turrets in construction, with a bit jutting out of the bottom with the second laser coming out of the lower part. But the best thing about the evil turrets: they now have angry faces!


I’m not sure if the angry turret is funny or creepy. Or both.

This was a very comical suggestion from a friend, but maybe it needs more work. However, the angry eyebrows will stay. When either of the turrets dies, it turns into a pile of debris, which you can see in front of both turrets. Then you can fling the debris around like no tomorrow! You also can’t collide with the debris, so you won’t be subjected to a horrible bumpy ride while walking over it, and when you pick up a not-dead turret, you won’t collide with it, which was a problem before.

Under the hood there have been a lot of optimisations with turrets too, mostly that evil turrets now don’t have two turret scripts attached to them as I’ve re-written some of the laser’s code, so they use less memory. Which is always a bonus, because everyone loves having RAM lying about. There’s also a couple less interesting tweaks and additions to the pause menu, but no-one cares about that because it doesn’t have eyebrows.

Well, that’s about it for this update. I’ll keep you posted on how things are going, and I hope to put out a new download soon. I may also have a new level done by then, but we’ll see how that goes, because I might improve other stuff first.


Project Spikes – Angry Lasers

Here’s another update, with even more lasers!


Oh yeah, two lasers. Swag.

Double Trouble

The red laser turrets are evil –  they’ll try to kill you with death and dying and lasers. It’s not enough to have just one laser either, they have two just to make sure. Also in this update are the reflective surfaces I promised last update – they’re the shiny walls in the background of the screenshot above. They’re used to guide lasers past barriers to activate laser collectors, a pretty fun feature.


Reflecting lasers? How do I give you money!

You’ll find these lasers in one of the newer tutorial levels, which have been split into smaller sections so people don’t get overwhelmed by features. But that’s not all the laser goodness I have in store for you my good people, because there’s now a wall-mounted variety which stays static, so you’ll have to dodge it without blasting it out of the way.


Because moving about is soooooo mainstream.

What else is new?

Well, there’s also two varieties of button that will activate events in the game – one you can press with the ‘E’ key (which can be configured in the startup options),  and another is activated by shooting cubes at it. Both are found in the new tutorial levels. Along with this is a bit of new scenery, in the form of bridge and fence models, which break up the monotony of blue blocks.


Ooohhh, bridges are cool, and so is the colour red!

To go with the new buttons, I’ve also added a new cube spawner which will plonk out a cube for you to play with. Of course, it’ll only let you have one at a time, because any more than that would be greedy. The cube detectors have been improved massively too – now they actually steal the cube you put into them, so you can better tell when it’s been activated. Both the spawner and detector need textures, and at some point I need to make a turret spawner, but this is a good start.


Everyone loves the classic red button, what other colour would it be?

Well, thanks for reading, as always you can go download the update over at Indie DB. It might take a while for the update downloads to be authenticated by them, but once it has been, then have fun playing.


The Half-Finished Update

It’s been ages since I did an update, but lately I’ve had loads of work piled on me, so I haven’t had much chance to work on it, so there won’t be an update quite yet. However, I’ll use this as an opportunity to ask you guys what you want to see in the game, what improvements you can suggest, and what’s broken horribly (which I’m guessing is loads). I also have a couple new additions that will be in the next update to show you!

Slightly improved graphic-y stuff!

spikes-44I’ve made the signs at the beginning of each level a bit more detailed, and I think they look better with a darker theme. The old ones are on the top, the new ones on the bottom. As you can see, there’s now a sign for World 2 Level 2 which means…

…Super-Horrible Maze Level!

spikes-46I went a bit crazy with World 2 Level 2 so far, and it’s a bit mental. There’s dead ends everywhere and loads of traps (which I’ve yet to put in). Good luck with that one, it’s rather horrible.

Nicer GUI Things

spikes-47This new GUI is shinier and GUI-ier than the old one, and generally functions better than the old one, as it doesn’t use Unity’s native GUI classes, which are pretty slow. I’ll have this update out in the near future, although I’m not sure how long it’ll take as I’m not sure how long I’ll have to work on it.

Anyway, have a good Christmas (if I’m not done with the update by then), and I hope you have feedback, any would help!




I shall teach you new things! Project Spikes 9-11-13 Update!

Sorry I’ve took so long with this update, I’ve had stuff to do. And things. But without further delay, here’s the latest update! 

spikes-30There are new particle effects when you use a checkpoint, and a little “whooosh” sound effect that plays, hence they are infinitely cooler than before. More importantly than that, I’ve updated World 1 levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 (again) so they’re a little bit cleaner and, of course, textured. A newer level 5 will be coming soon, but so far it’s proven to be a bit of a nightmare, given how much is in the level. Each tile I’ve used to create the levels can now have a separate texture applied to each side, so each level should look tidier at the edges in particular.

spikes-34Perhaps the most important change in this update is the inclusion of an interactive tutorial, which guides new players into learning the mechanics of the game. This feels much better than the previous tutorial level and is a lot more enjoyable more than before, plus it’s much more useful at teaching the player the basic concepts of the game. Dotted around the level are mini billboards, which now have 64×64 images as opposed to the previous 32×32 textures, so my doodles are more detailed than before.

spikes-35I’ve also added a proper options menu, which is  copied just a little bit from one of my older projects (ctrl-C and ctrl-V are my friends). Here you can change your graphics and sound settings (from “basic” to “ermahgerd” for the video settings and 0-100 for audio), as well as check out your computer’s specs.


That’s about it for the bigger features in this update, here are a few smaller things:

-Turrets have sounds now! *pew pew*

-More scenery that can be blasted around using the force gun

-Medpacks will replace grapes as a health pickup (see picture above). I guess I’ll add food back in at some point though

-Running! Hold down left-shift to run, it’s a much better way of getting around

-Super-subtle code optimisation, it’s (probably) made things quicker than before

-Removed a random directional light in level 4 which was slowing things down rather a lot

I hope you enjoy playing! Have fun 🙂


Fun With Physics – Project Spikes 26/10/13 Update

Play it here!

This update is pretty sweet, it improves greatly on some previous levels, particularly World 1 Level 4, which has been redesigned and textured, and now features a new game mechanic: the Force Gun!

spikes-25This gun can apply forces to certain objects, such as the cubes in the background of this picture, or the spiky death balls introduced in Level 4, when the mouse is clicked. If you left click, it’ll blast the object away from you, and if you right-click, it’ll pull it towards you, both accompanied by a particle effect, an animation and a sound. This paves the way for new puzzles which require moving around crates and other objects, and enables you to shoot away incoming hazards.

spikes-26As part of World 1 Level 4’s revamp, I’ve re-textured the entire level to fit the world’s light blue theme, such as the walls and spike balls. The main new addition in this update really comes into play in this level, as you must use the Force Gun to move wooden crates and enable you to jump over a wall. The small yellow thing is a new pickup that fills the force meter, the yellow bar under the health bar which shows how much power the Force Gun has left. They’re called gravits, after the force of gravity, showcasing how bad I am at naming things, part of the reason I can’t think of a name for the game yet. They have pickup sounds too, a bit like a retro coin pickup sound.


Each world will now have a level that acts as a hub: these levels have a practice area to get to grips with new features, and a cube to transport you to each level in that world. In the future, you will only be able to access the next world after beating all 5 levels, but right now you can simply challenge level 5 in the first world and finish that to advance straight to World 2. The practice area in World 1 gives the player the Force Gun and a few cubes to practice firing them around the place and get used to the gun. In addition, the black cubes at the beginning of each level will return you to the hub, rather than to the previous level.

spikes-28The tutorial screen has been improved too, adding textures, more boards to show you the controls, and a button to take you straight to the newest level in the game (also present on the start screen) – currently, this is World 1 Level 4, and in the future will be used for easier testing of the levels and to simplify getting feedback from people.


Another noteworthy update is the addition of a model and particles for checkpoints, making their presence a little more obvious.

There are even more features listed below. Here is the link to the game, and as always I hope you have fun playing!

-Redesigned World 4 Level 1, adding the Force Gun and textures.
-Force Gun, left click to blast away objects, right click to pull them in.
-Force meter to show the remaining Force Gun power.
-'Gravits': new pickups to fill the Force meter.
-Sounds added for pickups, menu selections and the Force Gun.
-Hub levels for each world, World 1 Hub has Force Gun practice room.
-Black cubes return player to hub.
-Much better checkpoints - model and particles.
-Textures and test button added to Tutorial screen.
-Spawners that spawn objects in the level - present in World 1 Hub.

Random Code: Bottomless Pits

Feeling random today, so I’m starting a new series of posts where I give examples of the code I have used in my games, written in Javascript, and for use with Unity. Today I will post some code that will run when the player falls off a level. First you need a collider of some kind placed below the level; make it wide enough so that your player always lands on it when they fall of the level, and as far down as you want (but not so far it will take ages to fall to it). Make sure the collider is a trigger, then attach to it a script containing this code:

function OnTriggerEnter(other: Collider)
    if(other.tag == "Player")
        other.SendMessage("Die", SendMessageOptions.DontRequireReceiver);

This code basically checks if the collider falling into the trigger is tagged “Player”, and if so, it will send the message “Die” to the object, which will call the Die() function in any scripts attached to the player; this is useful for putting some respawn code in the Die() function, so the player gets respawned whenever they fall off the level. If the object isn’t tagged “Player”, then it simply gets destroyed, so enemies and scenery will just disappear rather than fall indefinitely. Just remember to tag your player as “Player”, and then you’re good to go! Also, it would help if someone could tell me why WordPress is colossally bad at letting me indent text, it was a pain to type this post, but I hope it helps anyway.


I’m also making progress with Project Spikes, and another update will come around pretty soon. For now, a teaser image!

spikes-11Yeah, grayscale images ftw! Anyway, happy coding peoples!