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A new Fasteroids is coming

Fasteroids started out a number of years ago as a way for me to learn GameMaker Studio. Like many people I was (and still am) working full time, caring for a family, and juggling other projects and commitments. But I had the itch to make a game, and the opportunity to make one came up when I saw GameMaker Studio 1.4 on sale on a Humble Bundle. When I started Fasteroids I had no idea it would grow beyond those initial tutorials.

Grow is a funny word for how I feel about Fasteroids. There was a point where I felt very good about the growth of Fasteroids, the game had some features other similar games didn't, and while my graphics were pretty primitive, they mostly worked and I felt they were better than the original Asteroids. Then YoYo Games published a series of videos that mimicked what I'd created in Fasteroids. I'm not accusing YoYo Games of copying. The features I added, power-ups, were in games like River Raid, long before I ever thought to include them. I'm happy to say what YoYo created was better in a few ways than what I'd created. However it was a blow to me in the sense that I'd taken over 1 1/2 years to get to the point of being able to go from nothing to what Fasteroids had become.

At one point I thought "this is silly, I just need to pick myself up and add more, do better." Doing better is a good thought, but unfortunately Fasteroids really turned into a mess. The code is really inefficient, not very organized, and some of it exists where it shouldn't. Finding certain pieces of code has become challenging, and it shouldn't be. Worse, the effects I once loved just look awful and are buggy (laser).

So I've decided to start from scratch again.

New inspiration

Recently I've been watching Gamedev-related videos. These videos have scratched that itch of wanting to make a game again. There's a bit of a catch in that this video-watching journey started with me watching videos about Unity (not GameMaker which Fasteroids was developed with). As I watched more videos I became aware that as awesome as Unity is, for me to create a game in Unity would be a colossal uphill climb. I worked through a couple of Unity videos (under Xubuntu Linux) and it made me realize that I simply don't have the time to invest in Unity. The experience made me appreciate GameMaker even more.

Time constraints

My work at home (outside of work) has recently tripled and it will continue to be this way for the next year. You might think this would be the worst time to undertake a project like redoing Fasteroids, but those half-hour/hour sessions I get to spend coding I expect to help me get through the additional work. Everything is good with Maria and I, we're just dealing with things that require me to contribute a lot more at home.

This may mean I end up coming home from work one day, making dinner, then sleeping, getting up early in the morning and coding (2am-4am). This is actually kind of how Fasteroids was initially developed, I spent several early morning sessions when I was first learning.

Goals of Fasteroids Rebooted

Here are some things I have in mind for Fasteroids Rebooted:

  • scaling to higher resolutions
  • better quality effects
  • more varied UFO behaviour (not just speed/weapon)
  • bringing back the top 10 scores

Overall I'm thinking Fasteroids Rebooted will end up being a more organized and documented approach. When I first worked on Fasteroids I was completely new to working with GameMaker and GML. While I'll be re-learning some things I now have enough experience that I should be able to create cleaner, more efficient and readable code.

Look for more updates here soon!