SMS:Next Mission – May 2018 Status

I guess it should not be surprising, after reading many of my previous status posts, that things have changed yet again. It seems like I never want to release this game. This time, though, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

After several attempts at trying to create a “Shmup” version of Space Mission Survival, it has finally occurred to me that I do not like any version I put together, and I should temporarily abandon the attempt, since that is the only thing holding up release. Instead, I decided to clean up the currently complete version of the 70s, 80s, and 90s modes, and release a beta on as soon as possible.

A lot has changed in the Unity world since I completed that version in 2017, and loading up the project resulted in a lot of errors and warnings. I’ve also learned a lot along the way, and some of the ways I went about coding the game makes me cringe.

Right now, I am migrating everything to a new Unity project, again keeping most of the code. When I get a playable version, I will release it on in beta, and then as a full release. This release will only include the 70s, 80s, and 90s styles, the “Classic” Space Mission Survival… with some minor enhancements for each decade’s mode.

Progress is great! I think I will be able to get an alpha version out on very soon!

It’s now been two years of restarts, and one year of a completed version sitting on my hard drive. The only delay in the release was that I wanted to add a Shmup mode to the game. Maybe I will one day, but I am no longer making that a priority.


Bullet Hell Breakout: A Post-Mortem and My Results

I normally publish a Post-Mortem of my Ludum Dare game while the review phase is still underway, but this time I purposely decided to post this after judging is over. I didn’t want to influence the ratings given to me by people playing my game (in fact, I didn’t post a “play my game” message either). Since voting is now over, this post will be a combination Post-Mortem and review of my results.


This LD was probably the most difficult one for me… so much discouragement. I had a very difficult time deciding on an game to develop. Once I decided on my game, the development was such a chore.

Day Prior to Theme Announcement

I like to review the possible themes and put together a short list of games I would develop if that theme were chosen. I was dreading this theme, Combine 2 Incompatible Genres, because I could not think of anything I really wanted to develop.

Day 1

Of course, this theme is announced and looking at my sheet of ideas, there are none. I usually give myself about an hour to put together something before I start developing, but this time I am into Hour 3 and I haven’t put together any ideas that I like.

Bullet Hell Breakout Screenshot
Bullet Hell Breakout Screenshot

I hacked together a few ideas and a combination Missile Command / Financial Management game is my best bet. I start putting ideas together, and quickly realize that the financial management part would be a bit too difficult, but more importantly, I do not feel excited about this genre. It’s not a genre I enjoy.

I’m about 4 hours into LD, and I don’t have an idea. I finally decide on a bullet hell game, and a bit later, I decide to mash it with a breakout/pong clone. I do enjoy both of these genres and decided to finally start coding. It already 1:00am Saturday morning, my time.

I put about 2 hours into designing my game and laying it out in Unity. Around 3:00am (6 hours after the theme was announced), I decide that what I have is utter crap, and I scrap just about everything, and decide to get some sleep and try again in the morning.

Day 2

I get only about 4 hours of sleep and I am back at it. I put together a breakout style game where the player hits moving space invaders. I add an enemy that puts the player into bullet hell mode when hit.

Around midday, I am ready to gave up. The game just isn’t fun. I come back a few hours later and add some features. It’s better but I am giving up again. I do this “code/quit” routine most of the afternoon. I hate the theme, I hate my game, I’m not having fun, but I am not going to give up. I decide to finish today, get something completed, and enjoy my Sunday.

I’m coding late into the evening, and after playing a few rounds of my game, I decide that it’s not that bad, so I will polish it up tomorrow.

Day 3

Sunday is spent adding audio, graphic improvements, instructions, and some effects. It’s not great, but I like it.¬† It’s pretty close to submission time and I don’t think it is worth trying to cram any more features into the game at this point, so I do my final compile, and submit it.

What Went Well

So little went well in this LD, but looking back:

  • I do like the work I did on the pixel enemies, and the graphics and layout of the game screen.
  • The mash-up between Breakout mode and Bullet Hell mode is interesting.
  • Despite a constant feeling of discouragement, anger and sadness, I finished this game!

What Did Not Go Well

  • The switch to Bullet Hell mode needs improvement. I do like the sudden switch, but maybe a visual or audio clue would be helpful.
  • The ball/paddle movement and collisions can be improved. The “floaty” control of the paddle is something I don’t really notice, but it was a comment made by just about everyone who played.
  • Due to the time it took to decide on a game, and the Saturday discouragement, I felt a bit time-constrained.

Voting Results

The comments around the float-y controls, the paddle, and the bullet hell mode discouraged me even more than normal, so I was expecting a dismal result. It turns out there are some positives.

Overall, I finished somewhere in the middle of the pack, and pretty close to the results of my LD40 game, ANTagonist, which I actually liked better. I’m not sure what to think about this.

What was a pleasant surprise was that the results of the audio and graphics categories were the best out of all 7 Ludum Dares I took part in. These always seem to be weak categories for me, so this is a great news and hopefully a step in the right direction. As I mentioned before, I am very happy with the look of my game.


Despite an absolutely terrible Day 2, I managed to submit a game, and the rating is somewhat better than I expected. I guess the take-away here is to never give up no matter what you are up against.



Alphabeta Asteroids Now on

The PC and Mac desktop versions of Alphabeta Asteroids is now available on

Alphabeta Asteroids was originally released (and is still available) for Android , iOS and Kindle devices way back in 2013. Along the way, we’ve added some things and improved some things, and we finally decided to give a desktop build a try.

The PC and Mac versions are available to you for free, although any donation would be appreciated. these donations, along with your feedback, will help further development of Alphabeta Asteroids.

I hope you enjoy my game, and I welcome your feedback.