Firebug Prototype


If you publish Flash games in some capacity and would like to fund further development based on this prototype, don't hesistate to contact me at nathan_AT_icecreambreakfast.com.


INSTRUCTIONS

Arrow keys: move
'f': fullscreen, 'escape': leave fullscreen.
Note: Because this uses Actionscript 2, fullscreen input might not work.
'm': mute/unmute sound (not in fullscreen)

GOAL: Rack up as many points as possible without dying. Stay alive until the timer runs out.


Please wait for this to load - there's no progress bar. Click the flash app a few times to give it input focus.
There's no way to restart, so press F5 to refresh the page to play again.

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How to Play Well


   Be like a firefly. Your attack toggles off and on with a timer. When attacking, you're invicible. Kill as many enemies as you can by touching them during that time. Once your attack switches off, all you can do is dodge and flee. Getting a sense of your rhythm is essential. For the longest chains, you need to anticipate when your attack will start and rush at your enemies just before, with it kicking in right before you strike.

Design Notes


Timer-Based and Rhythmic Gameplay


   This game has only directional controls. Pac-Man, a truly iconic game, had only directional controls and no input buttons, which fascinates me. That's unsual - games nearly always have buttons. It's a constraint worthy more fully exploring, the no-buttons-only-steering game.
   Pac-Man handled no-button gameplay by embedding powerup pellets in the world. This is a great technique.
   This prototype relies on state change gameplay and a timer to manage no-button gameplay. A micro-game in Warioware was an inspiration here. It had the first screen of Super Mario Brothers, with a Goomba or two approaching the player. The player could only move left and right - they automatically jumped on a timer, with no control over that fact. So they had only to steer, and they needed to smoosh the Goomba. It was a surprisingly interesting input situation.
   Other games were also inspirations. The PC game Daikatana was one. Daikatana is flawed, no doubt. But while playing its deathmatch demo at Raven, I found one of its weapons interesting. It was a shotgun that, when fired, would attack 3 or 4 times with fixed 1 or 2 second pauses between each blast. A player would aim and fire, then steer and aim for the next 4 or 6 seconds, hoping to hit enemies and not waste shots. It was rhythmic and peculiar in the context of FPS games.
   The chimera from Archon 2 is also striking along these lines. Archon 2 was played on 1-button joystick 8-bit game systems. The chimera was a three-headed beast with three corresponding attacks. To handle the three attacks, the player would cycle through each, with one button performing each action in turn, on a cycle (there was substantial reload delay between attacks). This cycling gave the chimera a fascinating rhythm to play.
   Rhythm players a crucial role in Lumines, as well. Lumines resembles other block dropping puzzle games (like Tetris, Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo, Columns, or Puyo Puyo). It differs in that blocks satisfying the clearing condition disappear on a timer, not when placed. A simple change, this rule made Lumines quite different from its peers, and foregrounded its rhythmical component. I made a prototype inspired by that mechanic some time ago, along with inspiration from Tetris Attack. A video of that prototype is here.







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