Space Captain Howard Tips

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Hail all the space captains out there! If you want bigger scores and new tactics to consider then you have come to the right place.
Secondary Weapon System
You will notice a small white block that moves across the experience bar. When it reaches the
right hand side you will deploy your secondary weapon system, unique by weapon:

Green (Plasma): Missiles, deal good damage to single target. Upgrades include more missiles and capability for splash damage.
Purple (Laser): Phoenix Laser, a massive beam which disintegrates enemy bullets. Also deals moderate damage to enemies.
White (Photon): Nuclear Bomb, deals high area damage but has a longer cooldown. Try to time it’s use.

 
Aggression
Early aggression is awarded with experience. After some time, experience will stop dropping from enemies so be sure to destroy as many as possible early on – you will become more powerful and survive longer. Also remember not to get too greedy!

 
Moving Around & Dodging
You have the entire screen to move around. When you are facing a swarm of enemies and bullets,
remember you always have the option to move to the front of the screen for a few moments. Avoiding enemies can be a useful tactic to survive. Remember to keep on eye on enemies capable of targetting you.

 
Prioritise Targets
It helps to learn the enemies, who will attack in particular ways. Some will fire with preset patterns, others will shoot randomly while others will target you. Destroy the enemies who can target you, and be cautious of the enemies which fire in random directions. Sometimes they are ineffective, other times they could fire in your path of escape.

 
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Plasma Cannon

 

Your first weapon. The plasma cannon evolves and turns into a spread fire weapon, capable of dealing damage over a wide area. It is effective against multiple, weaker opponents from a distance. The secondary weapon is the missile, which procs the most frequently of all secondary weapon systems.

The missile packs a punch, and deals double damage against debris and asteroids. With the upgrade patch, the missiles also evolve and become more powerful. While the plasma cannon is lacking in focused firepower at a distance, the missiles must be timed and used on the tougher enemies.

This is the most effective weapon against mirrors and homing bombs with reflective shielding because it has the lowest chance to be reflected. Missiles cannot be reflected and will always hit on collision.

 
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Laser Weapon

 

The laser can penetrate enemies and deal damage to others behind in a narrow field of fire. It is effective against multiple enemies in a single column. It is also useful when there are blocks or platforms on screen because you may still hit the enemies behind.

The Phoenix Laser helps with damage, but it’s main advantage is that it can clear out bullets – buying you time to damage enemies. With timing, you can annihilate enemies and bosses – especially the ones that target you. The laser is the most ineffective weapon against mirrors and reflective shielding because it has the highest chance to be reflected. Ignore mirrors if using this weapon.

In some situations this weapon provides the most damage per second – it all depends how many targets you can hit. However, there is a risk you can get pushed down or up because it is so focused.

 
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Photon Cannon

 

This is a powerful weapon. With a lower rate of fire, the damage is consolidated into single powerfull hits. The waves are capable of hitting multiple enemies, and have a chance to cause an explosion dealing splash damage. Combined with the nuclear bomb it can wipe out many enemies.

The weakness of this weapon is the lower rate of fire. If many weaker enemies appear on screen, you will have to rely on the nuclear bomb to clean house. It is not very effective against mirrors, so be sure that there is an enemy behind the mirrors before attempting to destroy them since a reflected wave has a good chance to hit something else.

 

 
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Health Kit

 

The patch has introduced the possibility to recover one hit point, providing you can survive to the two minute mark. This health kit is carried by a Health Carrier (grey and blue craft) which does shoot – but not often. If you are under fire, be careful trying to kill the Health Carrier at point blank range – the beacon of hope could well be your coffin.

 

 
Keep Calm
When there are homing bombs applying pressure to you, you still need to pay attention to the existing enemies and bullets on screen. Be wary of the enemies who can target you, and patiently swing the bomb around you (which can now damage enemy ships by the way). Time your secondary weapons to take out the homing bomb where possible. If all else fails, homing bombs will self-destruct (around thirty seconds).

 

 
Benefits for the Brain
– Tracking multiple, moving objects
– Timing and planning a safe path
– Finger and eye coordination
– Ability to remember certain enemies despite many distractions (homing bombs flying offscreen)
– Risk assessment and ability to prioritise under pressure
– Fun

 
Over time you will get better scores. Believe it or not, there is a lot happening on screen. Since the gameplay is subject to random generation you will never know what to expect. Most of the time you will get a nice balance of enemies, other times you could have three statue of liberty heads flying at you! But hey, that’s life!

Space Captain Howard Update

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A big thank you to everyone who has supported us and purchased the game, we do hope you have fun playing it! There are plans for an update for Space Captain Howard. With such great feedback and so many possibilities to improve and add to the game, we are going to keep the core game play as is and focus on balancing out weapons, fixing bugs and adding easing the difficulty in subtle ways.

The most popularly complained about enemies are the homing bombs, especially the ones with reflective shielding in Solarus (the gold circle). Keep in mind that each weapon has a chance to reflect, with lasers being the worst offenders. The original weapon (plasma cannon and missiles) are the most effective against it, try to time your missiles to hit it! We will do a write up for some tips and tricks. We have noticed each person develops their own play style and assesses risks differently – sometimes it is worth watching your friends play and see what tactics they use – a goal of this update is to make all weapons for viable.

Well, what’s in the update?

– New Level with some new enemies and obstacles

– Turbo Mode: Accelerated difficulty for faster paced action!
– Difficulty Balancing: Subtle changes for bosses and late game challenges
– Other Fixes: Dedicated screen for the score accessible from menu, a few minor bug fixes
– Health Carrier will spawn after two minutes if destroyed it drops health!
– Temporary invulnerability when you are hit – prevents instant wipe outs in bad situations

Don’t get too excited about the health pick up though, as the game is based on RNG the situation when it spawns could be good or bad – it is a temptation no doubt! As with anything in this game, there are risks with targeting the less dangerous enemies even only for a few moments.

The update will take a few weekends to build, and another week or two to test and fix. But if we get it done sooner, we’ll release it sooner! Release date would be around mid-August. Work is progressing on the update. Once it’s all done we’ll list the details of the update. Thanks for staying tuned!

Space Captain Howard

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Finally it is with great pleasure that we release Space Captain Howard to the world!

 

It is our first release for iOS too (coming soon once approved!) making it a doubly glorious release. This game is our first production using Unity and was created in a few months in a piecemeal fashion. Hours each night after work and weekends were spent, but with perseverence it led to this cool, quirky game.

Space Captain Howard is a tough, survival shoot em up. In the story, he is the last man alive after an alien empire destroys all civilisation. It is your duty to avenge mankind by destroying as many of the enemy as you can in a final, futile blaze of glory!

Once you die, humanity is lost! The spirit and meaning behind the game is to never give up and keep on battling, because with some luck you can turn the tide of fate!

Do your best and earn high scores, and compete against your friends or yourself to see how far you get. The game has an accelerating difficulty which makes it harder to survive over time. There are three weapons, each with a sub-weapon that discharges automatically on cooldown. Each weapon has strengths and weaknesses, try them out and adapt your approach in each of the five levels!

Available now for Android, and coming soon for iOS and we may add an arcade section to our website and have the game featured here!

Also be sure to check out our Youtube trailer, we hope you enjoy!

 

TMX Tutorial

Ever wondered how those old console games used to have such large levels? How could they span so many screens despite the small amounts of memory available on a game console? The answer lies in the efficiency of reusing graphics.

TMX Tutorial

Reusing graphics can be achieved by using map editors. Graphics are spliced into tiles, and those tiles are drawn onto a map. Providing the graphic tiles align and match seamlessly, it creates the illusion of a large level using minimal memory. A popular, free map editor suitable for mobile games is Tiled (http://www.mapeditor.org/).

In terms of memory a 32 x 32 pixel image with transparency will use 4096 bytes. This is calculated by the number of pixels multiplied by 4 (bits) – which represent red, blue, green and transparency. A background image might be 800 x 400 pixels, or 1,280,000 bytes – which is a fair chunk of memory for mobile devices.

A Tiled TMX map can provide large backgrounds by dividing graphics into tiles and allowing you to draw your maps. The amount of memory used is significantly lower because the TMX map only needs to store which tile was used, and it’s X/Y location.

The real power comes with using transparency and multiple layers in Tiled – much like Photoshop. This allows you to combine tiles to achieve different effects. For example you could put a tree on top of grass, or you could put the same tree over dirt. Being resourceful and efficient with tile design allows more memory for other parts of your game – enemies, power ups and more!

Using this technique, you can create large levels efficiently, but there are a few things to consider. Remember that each tile must be drawn with every frame. So if you have 32×16 tiles per screen, the program will need to render 32 x 16 = 512 tiles each time.

Also bear in mind that the amount of work is increased with each layer. If you have two layers, then a lot more processing will be needed. Larger tiles will result in less tiles needing to be rendered each frame. Find a good compromise between decent frame rates and graphic detail.

Tiled is a popular, free TMX editor that you can easily get for your computer. There are samples of graphics around the internet that can be used to build levels. To contribute to this cause, I have made available a set of graphics here. They are plain, but they connect together seamlessly.

Since they connect seamlessly, it means that you could edit the graphics – and as long as you don’t change the outlines or edges you should end up with the ability to draw up levels of your own design!

Now for the brief TMX tutorial:

  • Download and install Tiled from http://www.mapeditor.org/
  • Download the sample graphics
  • Load up Tiled
  • File > New
  • Choose Orthogonal. Map size can be 30 x 15 tiles. Tile size must be 32 x 32 pixels for sample graphics, otherwise it will appear a bit scrambled. Click OK.
  • A blank map canvas will appear. You need to import the graphics.
  • Go to Map > New Tileset
  • Click on Browse and locate the sample graphics. Click OK
  • In the bottom right corner you will see the graphics. Select one.
  • Now paste the tile and away you go!

There is a Fill tool, useful for starting the map. You can also select, cut, copy and paste tiles much like any art program.

Hints: You can add layers to the map. The topmost layer in the list will be displayed on top. You can move the layers Z-order by clicking on the Up/Down arrows.

There are margins, offsets and quite a few options. Check out the http://www.mapeditor.org/ website if you would like to know more. We hope you enjoyed this tutorial!