TxK state of play – Alpha

I thought people might like to see how the progress of the game is going now as we reach the Alpha milestone. Basically the framework for the whole game is there now, and moving forward from here my main work will be to fill out the levels with more enemies and implement different varieties of Bonus Rounds.

This time I’ll illustrate things with a few little videos. I’m going to put the Youtube videos inline here, but as they are not the best quality I’ll also link to some mp4 files of the same sequences which are much less compressed. Download those and play them locally for best effect.

First off here’s a video of the very start of the game, from the title screen, briefly into Level Select (which isn’t really shown much here as we go straight into level 1), then playing through Level 1 itself and transitioning through to the start of level 2.

Click here for the mp4 file

There isn’t a separate tutorial mode in TxK (it’s really quite a simple game so a tutorial section isn’t really necessary). But if you begin on any of the first three levels you will begin with “tutorial labels” activated. You can see these labels in this video, indicating “shoot me” on the enemies, and “collect powerups” when a powerup is generated. These labels aren’t permanent, and will just occur when new items appear for a few times, telling you what is expected.

In this demo the last powerup is collected as we leave the playing surface, which gives a special “Yes Yes Yes” bonus. This bonus makes every warp bonus collected as you go through the hyperspace sequence a maximum 2000 pointer (accompanied by a heart pixelshatter and the lady noise). You get hyperspace bonuses by steering through the centre of the hexagons by tilting the Vita. Normally they range from 250 points to 2000 depending on how accurate you are.

The lady noises aren’t definitely final – I think they are a bit of harmless fun (and they were also present in T2K) but I’ll see what people think of them and if people think they are a bit OTT I’ll scale them back.

You’ll note that with careful timing and extension of your claw’s “arms” it’s possible to pick off enemies from the rim of the surface. This is a bit risky and suboptimal really though since you don’t score any points for enemies at the rim (or for enemies shot while you are jumping). So just cowering in a corner and hoping for the best, or “jump scumming” your way through a level may get you through a tight spot – but you’ll want to go back and do it better when you become a better player! Shooting enemies far away scores the most points.

And speaking of replaying levels to improve your score, we have implemented our usual “Restart Best” level unlocking method, which for each level records your best ever state at the end of a level (score, lives earned and bonus multiplier), allowing you to carry on from that level with those recorded stats at any time. People really liked this in our other games and it works really well with TxK.

Next up is a few seconds of gameplay from a level in the second chapter (the game is organised in “chapters” of 16 levels each, with webs changing colour each chapter, and new major enemies getting introduced at the start of each chapter).

click here for the mp4 file

This level is called Bull Ride, and I am sure you can see why – an enemy type called a Spinner rotates the playing surface, which is also rippling and bucking, and the overall effect is one of having to hang on tight (although in terms of pure shootingness the level really isn’t *that* tough). By shooting the Spinners on the surface you can stop the spinning.

Finally here’s a look at the entry into a Bonus Round, and a flight through the first Bonus Round environment.

Here’s the mp4 file.

To get into the Bonus Round you simply have to diligently collect the Powerups that occur in each level. One item in the powerup chain for most levels (not on really short levels) will be a Warp Token. Collect 4 of those, and the between-levels warp sequence will be different and will lead you into the Bonus Round.

In the Bonus Round you have to complete a dexterity task – here flying through rings, in others it may be following a path which may or may not be green; there will be a variety of Bonus Rounds in the final game. If you fail you won’t lose a life, so the bonus rounds should be considered as a nice chillout break from the main blasting action (and the music changes accordingly to reflect this). But if you do make it to the end your overall Bonus Multiplier goes up by 0.1 – it starts at 1.0 and by completing Bonus Rounds you’ll raise it up so that everything you score scores that little bit more :) .

Once again don’t consider the lady noises to be final. I think they are kind of cheeky and fun but I’ll see what others think before I decide :) .

Unlike in T2K bonus rounds don’t warp you forward at all. Some people felt they were missing out on scoring opportunity or missing favourite levels with the T2K bonus level skipping, so here the Bonus Round just affects your bonuses.

So I’m pretty happy with things at this stage, and feel that we’re over the hump with the creation of this game – all the parts are there now, and it plays nicely, difficulty is feeling good, it’s smooth and pretty (do download those mp4s to get a better idea of what it really looks like). Moving forward I’ll be populating all the levels with baddies, adding more Bonus Rounds, and refining and polishing the effects and gameplay. We’re nicely on track to be completed and out this year.

I’ll update again when we head into Beta!

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