9 Extending The Game
Now that you have made a playable game, it is time to start to think about how good or bad the game is.
Forget for a moment that you made the game and start to think about what your response would be to the game if you were playing it for the first time.
Once you have come to a judgement about the quality of your game, start to think about how it might be improved.
You don't want to mess up the working game that you have just made by experimenting all over it. Save your work with a new name (eg vaders - experiments) so that you can keep what you did before. You will also be able to compare the two games to see if a real improvement has been made.
Your aim is to make it so that the game sustains the interest of the player for as long as possible. This won't be for long if the game doesn't change very much while you play.
Some things to consider are,
Start & End Screens
Gamemaker has action icons that allow you to move the game between rooms. The player could be allowed to start the game when they are ready and after they have read some on-screen instructions. It would also be nice to have the option to play again when the game is lost.
You would need to create some extra rooms to do this.
Some of the game graphics are a bit basic. The game might be greatly improved by having a new set of sprites. A clearer theme and game story might make the game more interesting.
Do the bombs drop often enough? Are they dropping at a suitable speed? You can adjust how often they fall and how quickly.
Losing A Life
It is possible for the ship to be hit by two bombs in quick succession. There is no pause between losing a life and restarting. Adding actions to allow this to happen gracefully would be an improvement.
Some more interesting sounds might liven up the game. A looped background sound is common for arcade games, the more irritating the better.
At the moment, when you clear the ghosts, the room just restarts as before. You keep your score and lives but the game doesn't really progress. Having different levels with different designs and game play would be excellent. Alternatively, the game could be made more difficult as you progress (more bombs, quicker bombs and ghosts, quicker bullets, no barricades etc.).
Currently you only have to shoot a ghost once. How about if you had to shoot each ghost twice? When you hit the ghost the first time, it turns into a blue ghost (there is one in the sprites folder). Blue ghosts disappear when they are hit. You could get a small number of points added to the score for the first hit, more for the second. Blue ghosts might be a bit more shooty than their white brothers.
When you shoot a UFO, it could change into another graphic showing you the bonus that you have received for hitting it. This bonus graphic would have to removed a second or so later. You would have to make this happen without slowing the rest of the game down.
More Game Objects
How about some special UFOs that don't just appear at the top? A new enemy ship could move across the screen below the bottom row of ghosts. It could be dropping all sorts of bomb stuff on the player and could keep causing them problems until it is shot out of the sky.
You could also create some super bombs that move in the air, heading towards the ship. This might be a bit tricky to do but would give the player something that is a bit harder to dodge than the current game objects.
You could also make it so that every now and then a special bomb falls. This bomb might not disappear if it makes it to the area of the screen where the ship moves. It might just stay there until it is exploded by another falling bomb or by a collision with the ship. This would restrict the player's movement, making the game much more challenging.
Kamikaze ghosts might randomly break out of their lines and head for the ship at lunatic speed. Again, the resulting game play would be a bit quicker and a bit harder for the player - keeping their interest.