1GAM: Tactical Space Release

Woohoo! First game is done! Download it here:

Tactical Space Release, 5.8 MB 7z

Yes, I shrunk the size from last time by deleting a bunch of textures I wasn’t using. Here are a few screenshots from this latest version to entice you to download it:

Title Screen
Press F1 and F2 for debug info.
Level 3 (the last)


I’m mostly happy with how it turned out. I still like the concept, but the mechanics need a lot of tuning to be more fun. Mostly it consists of: shoot randomly and… watch the puzzle solve itself. It’s interesting from a programming and conceptual point of view, but I think much less fun for the gamer. It’s also not nearly as tactical as I was hoping. When the planets don’t move, it’s incredibly easy. When they do move, they move so fast that getting hits through is random and it becomes extremely difficult aside from spraying the field. If ammo were limited, this would be incredibly frustrating. With unlimited ammo, being tactical is pointless when you can just spray and pray.

I once read that when making games, there are three types of fun:

  1. Fun for the gamer.
  2. Fun for the programmer.
  3. Fun for the computer.

I feel like Tactical Space falls too much into buckets 2 and 3, and not enough of bucket 1. Lesson learned for next time!

Additional lessons learned:

  1. I need a tool to start handling my sprite sheets. The Milkshake editor doesn’t cut it when sprite sheets are changing with assets. Assets I don’t end up using that I want to remove are a bit of a pain. I was able to do it easily manually this time, but only because this is a very small project. I’m going to try to integrate TexturePacker into my process.
  2. IrfanView is a cool concept but handles PNG transparency like the ’90’s. Disappointed.
  3. With many bullets on the screen, performance comes to a crawl. I think because Farseer Physics is way overkill for this game (radius distance collision would have been perfect) and because I think I’m supposed to scale the world to non-real-size (0.1 maybe) and I’m not currently doing that. I may even switch over to polygon collision soon.
  4. I need a re-useable library of my common stuff. I’ve now made so many quick hack games that I’m starting to see what’s reusable across games.

I don’t currently have the source uploaded anywhere but am willing to get it posted (or emailed) if people want it.

Until next time!

(Tech notes: written in .NET 4, XNA, Visual Studio 2012, IceCream engine, Indie Graphics Builder sprites.)

4 thoughts on “1GAM: Tactical Space Release”

  1. I found out about icecream a few days ago when a read your article on codeproject. So I played the space game and couldn’t help but make the sounds in my head and feel bad for the other planets. Also, I was curious to see what you would release this month, but I just now discovered it was two years ago :p

    1. Hah, doh! Yeah, I’m currently in the process of learning Unity and trying to get back into a pattern like 1GAM. Thanks for the comment!!

      1. I never tried unity before. Do you think today it is worth it rather than xna/icecream? I really liked icecream for it’s component based development, but i’m still a bit lost on it.. particularly for the composite entity thing which I can’t make it do what I want

        1. I went away from XNA because it’s no longer supported by Microsoft. MonoGame is basically carrying that torch now, though they are doing a good job of it! Several major releases have come from it. But it makes me very nervous to build something that relies on free labor.

          I decided to go with Unity because it is so incredibly popular. They have a giant asset store for saving myself from frequently reinventing the wheel, and searching the internet for issues always finds answers. Further, it’s under active development with paid developers, so it is going to continue to grow and get better over time. Using C# also provides a clear transition path for me with my C# knowledge. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best I’ve found.

          [On a side note, Unity uses the component development model as well.]

          All of those reasons culminated in me making the switch. As much as I love XNA and some of the code and tools I have for it, I didn’t think it was a good investment of my time going forward. Plus, Udemy has a great course on learning Unity for games that is frequently on sale for $10. I recommend it! https://www.udemy.com/unitycourse/

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