ASTRONS is intended to be a reasonably faithful adaptation of Atari's ASTEROIDS as a 3D space shooter.
You pilot a spaceship inside of an asteroid field, where you must blast asteroids into successively smaller pieces whilst avoiding collisions with them. To further imperil you, transient flying saucers are moving through the asteroid field with you—and they've got missiles, too!
In ASTRONS, we've also added SECTOIDS: critters that live inside of the asteroids and will attack you after you've blown apart their homes (a reasonable response, really!). Additional enemies may be added down the road.
The flight dynamics are also like in ASTEROIDS: the ship has one main thruster, one gun, and some attitude controls. The ship has momentum and keeps moving in a straight line when no thrust is applied, even while the attitude of the ship changes—it's quasi-Newtonian, but as in ASTEROIDS the ship experiences some "drag", and will slow to a halt eventually. In ASTRONS, this is explained by saying that the ship is equipped with automatic braking thrusters which neutralize your linear and angular momentum—but when the ship's energy is critically low, those dampers go offline, and things get much more slippery!
The ASTRONS playfield is hyperspatial, like ASTEROIDS. In the classic coin-op, objects "wrap" around the screen, and in ASTRONS they wrap around a virtual 5km cube.
The interface is clean and minimalistic: no cluttered heads-up display, no cockpit interior, no radar—just a pair of crosshairs, some point tickers, and an energy gauge.
The gameplay, likewise, is fairly raw. There are no missions, no upgrades, no in-game narrative (though we've cooked-up a background narrative which you will be able to read in a forthcoming mini-comic)—it's a straightforward arcade shooter: start blasting, and see how long you can hold out!
The source files for the game can be downloaded here:
astrons_KBK.zip (last updated 2020-11-27)
If you enjoy the game and would like to encourage further development of it (and other games), please consider making a donation. Thanks kindly!
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This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
(at your option) any later version.
This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the
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Some notes on what work remains to-do for ASTRONS:
- More enemies / more varied gameplay. It's a bit dull right now, isn't it?
- The game should end! At 1,000,000 points the player is supposed to be set free (see the minicomic script). As it stands, the thing just goes on forever.
At the moment, the game is presented in a vector-graphics style. Imagine it's 1983, and Atari's putting out color vector machines like Star Wars, but instead of a puny little 6809 running the show, they crammed $50,000 of graphics workstation hardware inside of it.
However, I began this as a flat-shaded polygon game. Imagine instead that Atari had put out a 3D sequel to Asteroids in 1989 with a souped-up version of their STUN RUNNER hardware.
The difference between the two versions is superficial, and all of the flat-shaded materials are still in the code, so I reckon I'll make it so that players can switch between the two styles at some time in the future.
I'm aiming for something slightly easier than coin-op difficulty. Casual gamers should be able to play for about 10 minutes before being blown-up.
The ASTEROIDS playfield is fairly compressed, which works well in an intense 2D shooter, but in ASTRONS I've had to open-up the space a bit. Because I wanted the interface to be clean and the controls to be uncomplicated, it meant that I had to have a playfield that was open enough for players to not constantly be getting smashed from behind by asteroids. I don't want players to have to change views to see behind them, or worse, fly by radar. If you just keep moving forward a bit, you stand a pretty good chance of navigating the asteroid field successfully.
I would like to accommodate two play-styles for the game: fast, saucer-chasing, "hunter"-type gameplay, and slower rock-blasting "survivor"-type gameplay. Have you ever watched people play ASTEROIDS for points? It's awful. The game devolves into a mind-numbing dash across a mostly empty screen while the player waits to pick-off newly-spawnd small saucers. In ASTRONS, the space is large enough that there can be 30 or 40 saucers on the playfield, so that people who want to go after them can, but people who just want to shoot rocks are relatively unmolested by them.
But there have to be *some* pressures on the casual player. So, we introduce the energy problem. If you don't score points, you don't earn a recharge and it's game-over after 10-or-so minutes.
Also, the SECTOIDS introduce additional pressure, like the Killer Satellites in Asteroids Deluxe. They need to be developed a bit more, but they're at a good starting point right now.