A brief history of TA2 part 2 – Monster Mash post-mortem

We had intended to write a game that would be a fun shooter, something that would appeal to ‘shmup’ fans and a more ‘casual’ audience – and we wanted to create a shooter that would feel natural to play with a mouse, and no keys. Titan Attacks could be played with the mouse but it had been tacked on at the end of development as an alternative to keyboard control, and the various mouse-only control schemes we tried with Alien Flux and Super Elvis aka Super Dudester either never seemed completely natural to us, or the ones we liked everyone else hated.

We also wanted to avoid scrolling, and not make a standard vertical or side-scrolling shmup, thinking that might put off a fair amount of people.

The problem generally was being able to handle both movement and aiming at the same time – to be able to move in one direction whilst firing in another. We sidestepped this by removing the movement element completely.

After a month of playing around with various ideas we had a pretty fun little game involving building up your defences with turrets, mines and barricades to protect your city blocks from an onslaught of funky gidrahs. Here, again, are the only surviving screenshots…

However, the game had several rather big problems…

1. We had a simple lighting system, with spotlights showing the tracking of automated turrets and under the player cursor. For this to look any good the levels had to be pretty dark, and grey. This left us stuck as to how to change background gfx sufficiently to show level progression, not helped by…

2. The fixed screen made things feel very claustrophobic, quickly filling up with buildings, the aliens appearing almost on top of them, and there was no room for any pretty background graphics.

3. We hadn’t really thought through any kind of level/world progression at all. The game was fun, but… it didn’t really go anywhere.

…and then Cas’ wife suddenly left him. And ‘crashed’ his brand new pickup truck into a tree. And demanded all of his money. Development abruptly stopped.

…and then a game of the same name was released (a generic tower defence game), after we’d mentioned Monster Mash on this here blog, many moons ago. An unfortunate coincidence.

Not that that should have made any difference, but when we did resume development we decided to start something fresh (on what would end up being Droid Assault) rather than tackling the above problems of our now nameless game.

To be continued…

…with less words and more pictures 🙂 In the meantime, notice anything different here?…

5 thoughts on 'A brief history of TA2 part 2 – Monster Mash post-mortem'

  1. sweet screenshot
    my question is why its so high and not wide like the normal screens 640X480

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