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  Meet The Noodle 04:35 PM -- Fri July 9, 2021  

I'm taking my ugly mug off this video because you don't need to see that. But you do need to see the excitement and adventure contained in MI2! It's going places at last. Feels like there is a light somewhere at the end of this tunnel, or at least rumors of one.
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  Meet The Gear 03:39 PM -- Mon June 14, 2021  

One month since the last update exactly! Oops. Check out the video for the latest info on that total gear overhaul I suggested was coming. It happened! And was a lot easier to implement than I expected.
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  Meet eor 03:18 PM -- Fri May 14, 2021  

It has been a while since the last update! The game is not in a state I want to make a video of, so here's another little text update. Since the last update, things have slowed a bit and gotten kind of penny ante. Lots of little tweaks and internal changes, refactoring things. One thing I've got is this:
That's the moon exploding! Something that would certainly have made a nice video rather than image... oh well! What I've really been focusing on for several weeks is something I came up with years ago as a very bad way to make a game, but a way to entertain myself. That is making the very beginning of the game 100% complete, and then just playing it, and each time I hit a wall (have skill points to spend and no skills to buy, for example), I add that part. Unfortunately, I'm still not totally done with even making the beginning complete. I'm very close - I can play a first zone which is semi-balanced, and either lose or win, but nothing happens when you lose yet (see picture above for what it will be soon).

It is really getting there though! I'm excited about the improvements. I think I'm heading for a total gear overhaul soon (fewer stats, which are more meaningful and fun), but I figure I should probably make it work to where you can get gear before I worry about what that gear is.
Actually, it's been such a long time, I kind of forgot how many little things have changed... here's a screenshot of gameplay with tons of small changes for you to puzzle over and consider! That building is the Apollo Lounge, where the all the cool people on the moon hang out.
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  Meet Fluff 05:08 PM -- Fri April 16, 2021  

Here's the latest hits on Moon Invaders! Dive into the time tunnel!
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  Meet Me 04:03 PM -- Fri March 26, 2021  

Oh no, I did a video with me in the corner! Yikes! More progress on assorted random facets of Moon Invaders 2, so check it out anyway. I'm really annoyed that "Tower Power" is the name of a key stat, but "Tower Damage" wouldn't be right for support towers, so for now it's the best name I can come up with.
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  Meet Some Random Stuff 04:47 PM -- Fri March 12, 2021  

Here's more develog action! This week, I skittered around wildly into different areas of the game, just to have something there rather than huge black holes. Pretty sure my focus over the next couple weeks will be the gear system though, which I have barely scratched the surface.

Secret bonus info to the video: The WORST part of making games is dealing with the wonky UI systems that every single game engine in the world uses. Guaranteed, whatever you try to do, no matter how simple, will somehow break a fundamental rule of the engine's system. For me, I spent hours yesterday dealing with the fact that as soon as I held down the mouse button, all my buttons would stop responding to mouseover (including the button I was on, which was reporting "hey, the mouse is no longer over me!" the instant you click). The functional success you see in the video above (the gear drag n' drop) is actually a huge hack, which is inevitable when trying to twist a game engine UI system into shape. Writing from scratch is so much nicer, but I'm trapped in these blueprints!
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  Meet The Alien Editor 05:25 PM -- Fri February 26, 2021  

Another fine develog today, showing off some random junk, including the alien editor - now, I know people's brains often flip out when they hear the word editor, so let me say that this is a developer tool, not an end-user feature. While I could polish it up for end-user use, this just isn't a game where player editing makes any sense. Since a level just consists of a collection of aliens attacking, there's not really anything interesting to edit. It's not like Dr. Lunatic where you get to build an entire world and make puzzles and things. So I can't see anybody really using an editor for this game. Anyway, check out what IS in there, and I'll keep working on it.
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  Moon Theories 05:53 PM -- Fri February 12, 2021  

No videos or pix today... Laziness! Let's instead delve into the more theoretical world of Moon Invaders. This is stuff that doesn't actually exist yet, it's just the ideas behind the design.

At its core, Moon Invaders 2 is a 'roguelite' (because that is mandatory in 2021 game development). You make runs at the game over and over, and each time you fail (or win), you come back with currency you use to upgrade yourself so your next run is easier. Much like in Monster Train, winning grants you an increased difficulty option to match your clear superiority, but you don't have to take it, you can always play an earlier difficulty. There's an in-game logic to all this (because I have a weird obsession with having a reason behind the rules) but I'm not spilling the beans just yet! When you lose, you stay at the same difficulty (or you can backtrack to lower ones, if you like), and can hopefully upgrade with the stuff you got.

So design-wise, the gameplay consists of 3 nested loops:

1. At the smallest level, you are playing "zones" (the different map locations). When a zone starts, you have no turrets and a certain amount of cash, and you need to buy and upgrade towers to blast the aliens before they destroy you. Defeat a set number of waves and you win. Fail and your run is over. The concept here is about smart decisions in when and what to upgrade so that you don't get overwhelmed, like all tower defense games.

2. At the next higher level up, you are playing through the entire moon (a series of zones) to beat the bosses. You earn loot when you are playing each zone, which you can equip between zones to make you stronger. Good thing because of course the zones get harder. This is RPG-style gear, with stats that do things like "Blastor towers deal 10% more damage" and all that. So the concept here is about gearing up and randomly getting good stuff and choosing the right combos (probably not very hard choices, but it's always fun to be making them).

3. And at the highest level, you are making multiple runs of the moon, starting with no gear each time, until you beat it (and when you do, you still keep doing runs because now it's harder!). It's here that you spend points you earned during your last run on a giant skill tree. This mostly consists of unlocking new tower types and upgrade slots and upgrade types, but also other general upgrades. So here we have the traditional skill tree, build your character, type of concept. You can invest heavily into missile towers, or get into lasers, whatever suits you.

So as you can see, it's a bunch of upgrading! There are a bunch of other twists and turns but this is the core idea. In each loop there's a different kind of upgrading, but the bigger loops affect the smaller loops. So you're always getting stronger, and isn't that what gaming is about? I know gaming certainly hasn't made my spine collapse into a gelatinous mass over the years.
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  Meet The Moon 04:24 PM -- Fri February 5, 2021  

I spent a lot longer than it should've taken making a very overly elaborate level select screen last week! That is an actual photo (well, composite photo) of the moon's surface from NASA, including a displacement map which sadly looked 100x better in Blender than I could ever get it in the game. Not sure what I'm missing there, but it had some sharp and crispy craters in Blender! I also spent a long time looking up actual coordinates of different craters and adding them to my map in the correct locations (quite a few more than you actually see here).

Anyway, it has glowing pimples. Not sure how I will change those exactly, but I do think I want to have some lines between locations so you can't just go anywhere you want. But the moon spins around and shows you whichever one you are mousing over, then you click to go play it. That's about the extent of the functionality it will ever need, but it sure does it in a fancy way.
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  Meet The Repair Truck 05:34 PM -- Fri January 22, 2021  

Hey, look, I made a video! I couldn't resist because I was enjoying watching my little truck drive around so much. It's just adorable.

A new feature in Moon Invaders 2 is that the aliens now fight back. So one part of your strategy has to revolve around how you defend yourself. Luckily, your towers can't actually be destroyed, they just shut down (in the video, they don't, they keep on shooting when 'dead') and await repairs. The repair truck drives back and forth fixing any downed towers. So you'll be able to upgrade the health of your towers, build shield towers to cover them, upgrade your repair truck, add more trucks, EMP enemies to prevent them from shooting, and so on. A whole new world of strategery.
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