HDog Ace Access 0.851: Radio Waves
HDog Alpha 0.801 (Radio Waves) is
shipped, focusing on wave goal variety and UI improvements.
Happy new year to all you aces. HDog welcomes you with another update, featuring new wave objectives, jet gear and some UI improvements. The game has gotten to a point where only less complex features remain to be added, so the last two updates should also take less time to complete.
HDog: Now With More Purpose
Early in development I floated the idea of having a large pool of available goals for each wave, but then scratched that in favor of a more arcady design. In Strasbourg we discussed whether the player might feel lost at times if no clear purpose is given and I was encouraged to revisit the differentiated wave goals. In the process of implementing the goals I also added a more direct splash text framework to telegraph goals. In general I tried to move away from ui text to tell you about wave goal progress, instead many new goals work with symbols and bars exclusively.
So how does this look in game then? When starting a wave you now always get some splash-text in the close background, telling you your wave goal (I'm considering supporting this text with images to create proper splash screen for boss fights). Wave goals range from recon mission to various types of target elimination. You'll raid convoys, eliminate enemy aces or take down storage balloon. The previous “decimate enemy forces” wave goal is also still there, but way less prevalent, with survival waves being another spin on that. Wave objectives might till get extended further, with the UI moving away from plain text some more.
update also featured many small tweaks and fixes. I tried to build
more of a connection between the ui and player actions/reactions, by
blowing up UI elements like the heart ui or the SRM counter whenever
their values change. Your ship now constantly explodes while you are
on your last half heart, simple thing but I'd probably never
considered it if it wouldn't have been suggested directly at
Strasbourg Fantastique. The player being jammed/interdicted became
more relevant even in the early game with the recently added Naval
Cruiser boss, so I revisited the UI connected to that. The game now
tells you more clearly that your jet is interdicted and late game EMP
enemies also cause custom UI effects now, causing your entire UI to
reboot after EMP effects wear off. I'm still not entirely happy with
the UI, other devs pointed out that some important stuff like health
is too far away from the visual focus (your jet) and I agree, so I
might still iterate more on this. Oh and your active now wiggles in
anticipation when charged, that's important!
Blow Things Up!
There are dozens of conceptual or half-designed items I still want to add. The game is in a state where this is really easy (unless their mechanics require something entirely new that is). Wiring a new weapon into the game takes can take less time than making the weapon sprites, but with all the testing and tuning that comes afterward it still always takes longer than expected still. So I try to not do this and save stuff for a post release content patch, but couldn't resist the temptation this time. The nine new guns make use of previously added status affects, so you got stuff that's really good at EMPing enemies or causing the damage-over-time cascade effect. One new late game melee option, the Halberd, can be used to pull escaping enemies towards your. There are also two guns that fire those nasty photon shots used by some late game enemies and bosses, allowing you to better deal with shields by simply piercing them. And there are a few bread-and butter kinetic guns.
Alpha 0.9 (Vis Light) will focus on gear choices, giving you more control over your jet build. Choice chests, loot tiers and stores will make their entrance. See you in a bit!
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