It seems like every shmup has some kind of secondary helper ships that either increase firepower or otherwise add new abilities to the main ship. In evaluating new features to add into Hypership 2, I really like the idea of some kind of helper ships and since this is my game, I’ve added them.
[We haven’t gotten the final artwork for helper ships yet but just imagine some awesome
looking helper ships on the left and right sides of your main ship. Wow, that’s amazing!]
As helper ships currently stand (the game is in development so any aspect of this could change), I am allowing up to two helper ships that will flank the right and left sides of your main ship. They will fire lasers but at half the rate of the main ship (this may change) and also they can collect coins. The coin collecting actually may be their biggest benefit because with a couple helper ships, you can collect huge groups of coins that you would otherwise only be able to cut a narrow path through.
My initial thought was to make the helper ships explode if they hit anything, thus while adding a benefit of more firepower and coin collecting abilities, it would make navigating levels more difficult. I’ve since changed my mind on this for two reasons. First it is simply too hard. Unless I littered levels with helper ships to collect, they would barely last with the player and barely add any benefit. If I am going to add something cool into my games, I want the player to be able to use that cool feature as much as possible. Second are performance concerns. I want Hypership 2 to run on a number of platforms and essentially tripling collision detections is something that worries me in that regard. I think it is actually better to allow them to pass through objects without taking damage and I’ll be giving them a semi transparent look to kinda indicate their ghost-ness.
A lot of the work done on Hypership 2 thus far has been rewriting the engine (I’m not proud of the original Hypership code) and adding in a lot of new graphical features. The helper ships are just the first of many all new features I’ll be adding into the game. In the next month I hope to transform Hypership 2 from a game that looks like a better looking version of Hypership 1 into something that also plays a lot better and is a lot more unique. Helper ships are just the tip of that iceberg.