Arcade Shooter Tag Archive

Development Update #4


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Just like that, November has come and gone, but not before the team accomplished a number of our production goals.  We attended GameACon in Atlantic City for the second year in a row, and once again we had a great showing. Railgun lived up to its addictively challenging reputation.  There was a lot of buzz around our booth, and the team received loads of constructive feedback.  In addition, we met a bunch of awesome people and made friends with other developers who are creating really cool indie games.  Be sure to check out the photos on our social media feeds.  Now, on with the development update…

  1. Our enemies are organizing…

Jonah, our lead programmer, is designing a system of levels to control the chaos that surrounds the player in game. Utilizing custom variables in the Stingray Flow Nodes, Jonah prototypes different enemy patterns which we combine to develop packages and create the game’s devilishly fun and challenging levels.

  1. Our game play has leveled up…

Using Jonah’s enemy patterns, the design team is carefully crafting levels 1-10. We’re aiming to give players a smooth introduction to the game. The first few rounds will establish mechanics, weapons, and enemy types while later levels will become increasingly difficult and more frantic. We’re also testing each enemy pattern with various weapon types to lay the groundwork for player strategy.  Best of all, we’ve started incorporating Achievements into the game play.          

  1. Our drone tank is slick and handles like a dream…  

The tech and design teams are working closely to perfect the physics of the game. We are constantly testing different speeds and tweaking friction and gravity in an effort to keep the Railgun’s movements responsive and accurate. We recently slowed the UI to aid in switching weapons on the fly.  These crisp new controls carry over to menu navigation as Jonah has built in compatibility with Xbox controllers.

  1. Our city is lookin’ damn good…

The modeling team has left no detail untouched.  They’re currently creating filler assets for the city including trash bins, solar panels, broken bridges, devastated buildings, boats, and more. Best of all, this environment is interactive!  Buildings crumble, windows shatter, and citizens respond the Railgun’s distress.  One such city asset, the Eco System’s Crane, is modeled, textured, animated, and ready for AI so that it can deliver power-ups to the player in game.

  1. Our bosses are even more boss…

The design team has taken a new approach to the enemy bosses. Boss battles will play a huge role in game play.  As players progress, each new boss will require strategies and weapons acquired from previous stages to defeat. Design is currently developing a new boss to test this system and monitor the production and development requirements needed to finish up to ten unique battles.  Zheng, our amazing concept artist, has been sketching some unbelievable, high-level ideas for boss ships.

Up next for the team is MAGFest in National Harbor, MD on January 5th. Nick, our producer, has been hard at work generating banners, title screens, package screens, and all other assets we’ll need to take the festival by storm.  Be sure to check us out if you’re there!  

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The Road Map Post Steam Greenlight


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It’s been a rewarding journey so far, and our team feels very confident about the core features of the game. Now we’re pushing ahead toward the REALLY fun part! Soon we’ll focus on progression, balance, and bringing super weapons and upgrades online. During this process we’ll be integrating the game onto the Steamworks platform.


Communication from our team was light this summer as we worked hard to prototype enemy AI, weapons, camera angles, and player physics. In addition, we’ve extended our flow node capabilities in the Autodesk Stingray Engine to give us the ability to quickly generate enemy attack patterns. We now have a solid foundation from which to design the game’s progression.

We have also been discussing level design and boss battles. Railgun will incorporate a Gradius III style approach in which the player has to battle through transforming phases during Boss Fights to move on. Each phase will require a different strategy and introduce a new weapon and behavior to beat.


With a successful Steam Greenlight campaign under our belts, our team is ready to take Railgun to the next level.  Your support through this process is tangible proof that all our hard work this past summer has paid off.  We have a clear road map as to what needs to be done next, and we plan to provide regular updates to keep you up to speed on our journey.  In September’s update, we’ll cover progression, balance, art, and more.  As always, your feedback continues to be incredibly valuable to our team.  Remember to sign up for the Closed Beta Early Access and check out the public trello board for detailed progress updates.     

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Philosophy on design progression & balance.


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I’m working as the associate Game Designer on Railgun, an action shooter for Windows PC, built using Lua scripting and Flow Visual Scripting in Autodesk Stingray. Levels and some of the game play systems are my forte, here’s how I go about designing things:

Bottom-Up Balance

unnamedCompanies such as Blizzard typically start their design balancing from the bottom-up. Starcraft was made by first balancing the starting worker and warrior characters: Terran Marines, Zerg Zerglings, and Protoss Zealots are fine-tuned with each other before other units hit development. I apply similar principles to the evaluation of Railgun’s systems in these ways:

  • If the base weapon and unit are not fun, we have a problem.
  • If a new weapon or ability isn’t fun with the base unit, we have a problem.
  • If a new unit isn’t fun with the base weapon, we have a problem.

These tenets make it easy to develop scenarios for different aspects of the game. Though there can be exceptions (after close analysis), generally removing ambiguity simplifies the testing process and the communication that needs to happen with other members of the team (i.e. explaining design philosophy).

100 of a unit, the weapon choice for the player, and leaving everything else the same further allows for standard algorithms to be generated in predicting the outcomes of play (more on this below). Repeated tests can refine prediction variables, but they get designers working with something decently accurate to the final outcome quickly.

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Welcome to Railgun!


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Welcome to Railgun!

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Alpha development update #3


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   Hello City Residents!

We have a lot to share regarding what’s happened in the world of Railgun over the past few months! The team has been working extra hard staying on track with the high level overview of our goals for this year. Our current trajectory allows us to release a public beta and alpha, as well as a finished product, by the end of 2016. We’ll have more information on these releases in the near future, so be sure to follow us on IndieDB, Twitter, and Facebook.

Exciting News!

We’ve conquered GameACon! With roughly fifty indie games on display, this year’s show presented some very stiff and excellent competition. The crowd was pleased with the progress on Railgun, and the judges were too! We took home the “Game of the Year” award for 2015! Our team was thrilled to receive this honor and would like to thank everyone involved in making this year’s convention happen. Continue Reading

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Alpha development update #2


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The design team has been hard at work making improvements and adjustments to the newly implemented wave system. In other words, we’ve got aliens! Extraterrestrial bombers hover above the city during later waves and drop explosives on the track, the Railgun, and everything else in sight. In conjunction with this new threat, we’ve made the blink attack operational so that it now deals damage to enemies through which the Railgun “blinks”. We’ve also added visual and audio cues that let the player know when and where the track has been destroyed.

In addition to aliens, we now have boats! Our ever-evolving city continues to come alive with the application of animated assets. As terror rains down from above, boats come in and out of the harbor creating a sense of urgency and escape We’ve also begun to create a network of roads that weave through the city. Our pFX designer is currently working his magic on an environmental sandstorm effect and the comets that come streaming out of the sky. Lastly, we’ve updated the appearance of the drone tank and added texture to the guns.

The tech team is making final tweaks to each weapon planned for the launch of the demo. We’ve implemented a new energy system that requires the player to recharge weapons and strategically cycle through their cache. We’ve also increased the size of the UI so it’s easier for players to quickly check health and energy status. Continue Reading

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Alpha development update #1


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   Booting up and going live!

Welcome to the first of many updates for our upcoming game. We have lots of exciting news to share, and we look forward to taking you along for the ride as we push toward the launch of our prototype demo at this year’s GameaCon in Atlantic City.


The design team has made significant progress toward implementing an enemy wave system. As players advance through the game, meteors fall in greater number and in more challenging patterns. We’ve also begun prototyping comets and alien ships, the first of several additional proposed enemies, for increased difficulty in later stages.


The in-game city is, quite literally, “under construction”. The art team has modeled the majority of the large structures and are adjusting the scale accordingly. The next steps will be to start modeling the filler assets such as light posts, garbage bins, storage containers, etc. In addition, our lead artist has begun work on the new design for the Railgun. We now have a meaner, much more aggressive, totally bad ass drone tank for players to pilot.

With the models for the city and the Railgun well underway, the art team’s primary focus over the past week was particle effects. From smoke to sparks, Luke, our pFX designer, has been hard at work adding and tweaking atmospheric ground fog, intermediary clouds, track destruction, and the Railgun’s boost effect.

Perhaps one of our most exciting updates is that Tom Wright has joined the team to assist in bringing the city’s 3D environment to life. Tom is an experienced creative who’s worked on titles such as Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, The Last of Us, and a host of films including Green Lantern and The Golden Compass. His initial charge is to implement a new skybox and begin testing different spectrum’s of light in our game’s evolving environment.


The tech team has weapons on the brain. Most recently, we put the finishing touches on the Continue Reading

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