Wings of Rage

Last edited: 7 February 2016, 10:01PM

Info

Wings of Rage was a year long sci-fi bullet hell game whose unique feature is the ability to switch weapons between a traditional spread bullet shot, a closer ranged melee weapon, and a strong delayed cannon/laser. Enemies were designed to have certain weaknesses and strengths to certain weapons, so proper management of the weapons was required.

Just wanted to say I'm pretty happy that this is the first project I can actually find the source and build for. All my older projects have been lost to the unfortunate destructive winds of time.

Background

After Apocalypse University met its end, I was looking for another team to join for spring quarter. I wasn't interested in joining the Apocalypse team's new project due to a slight falling out with the group. My only criteria for a new team was just that they needed an artist, and that wasn't that hard to find since artists were short staffed anyways.

By this time, I was dumping a lot of my time in the Video Game Development Club. The club had an open lab where anyone could freely come in to work, study, or hangout, and I began frequenting the place pretty much every day. I familiarized myself there and got acquainted with a lot of the officers and active members. It was also a good spot to reconnect with the growing number of past teammates I previously worked with.

I also started attending a lot of the art department events each week, and I got to know a lot of the artists of the club. I'd say I was a pretty enthusiastic member of the club, and since I had experience in the high-demand art side of games, it wouldn't be a surprise that I would soon become an officer the club. Talks of that began in spring quarter, and I was more formally inaugurated later in fall.

The rest of the officer story is something I might talk about outside of these projects, but the point is that I joined Wings of Rage mainly because of these new connections. Isidro, a member of the team, was someone I began talking a lot to in the club room as well as in classes. He told me about the project, and I figured why not, I'll join with these guys for the rest of the quarter.

The official team name of the group was called Team JBIT, representing the four core members that first founded the project: Jonathan, Brian, Isidro, and Tommy. I believe they started in fall quarter, maybe as a game jam project, and they've been working together since.

The game was written in C++ and SFML since the members wanted to get experienced with C++. Now that I think about it, it seems like a pretty common trend among the projects I've worked on for people to constantly start up these C++ learning projects. This pattern is just a result of I think the popularity of C++ in game development.

Naturally, many games, and most notably top industry games, are written in C++ because of how fast C++ runs. And as a game developer of VGDC striving to get into a game dev company, most will want to work on C++ games so they can show employers that they've had previous experience with C++.

It's rare to see a C++ game jams because of how time consuming working with it is, but until recently, C++ makes a regular appearance for year long projects. I say recently, because now, while there are still quite a few C++ games each year, many teams have just jumped shipped to using engines, i.e. 99% Unity and 1% Unreal, which in fairness uses C++ but still simpler than something like SFML or SDL. And you also a random Python, Java, or C# game here and there.

Unfortunately, I don't know, for a lot of reasons, I ended up working a lot less motivated for this group compared to what I did in the past. Part of it was that I ended up on the project very late into the year, when they were done with a lot of the programming and design already and just simply gave me a list of artwork that needed to be replaced.

I was also unfamiliar with the style they wanted to go for. They wanted to make an 8-bit style game, and I thought I'd give a shot at that. But I ended up finding that making pixel art was actually really tedious and difficult, and something that my past experience didn't really prepared me for. I definitely learned a lot about the process, although even now, I wouldn't say I've figured out 8-bit completely.

In total, I would say I finished a lot less of what was expected and what I expected I could do. I made some basic frames for the main player, a few enemies, one or two power ups, and started on the boss before the quarter ended. Not exactly nothing, but a lot less than what I'm sure I'm capable of.

Most of the unit sprites I worked on

I don't think I really want to make too many excuses. I would say I'm probably the main fault of a lot of the group's lack of progress, but I do think it's a good chance to do a little more psychoanalysis to see why I didn't do as well as previously. I think just in general, I didn't have as much fun on this project compared to my other ones, and as a result I didn't work as hard as I could.

As for why I didn't have so much fun, I would say maybe this was because I didn't have very close working partners that I would constantly bounce ideas back and forth with. Most of the design and concepts of the game were already finished, and for anything else, the team gave me a lot of freedom to work as I pleased. With programming mostly finished too in the last quarter, everyone relaxed their commitments and didn't contribute as much.

Compared to my past projects, with the whole team of Apocalypse University, specifically Will from Block Escape, and the inherent close nature of game jams, there was much more intensive meetings and outside conversations that required my attention. It's a little strange. On all my previous projects I was probably one of the most committed and excited members, but this project I slacked off a lot more. I still don't really know why. Maybe I just felt bored of the idea as time went on.

Well, either way, I don't think there were any as intense break offs as there was in Apocalypse. Even though the end product was not as polished as we would have liked, I think all the other members, learned a lot about C++ and SFML to suffice themselves. And even myself, I started picking up pixel art for the first time and made considerable headway into it. Though not a very assertive group, everyone was pretty nice to work with, and I'd have a chance to work with some of them again on future projects.