Some much-needed tweaking
Galactic Defence Squadron was smashed together in just two weeks back in October 2016. It is a great little arcade space shooter featuring some truly excellent music and an endless supply of enemies to destroy. Since then it has sat on the App Store and Google Play in its unoptimised and very rough condition – UNTIL NOW! Over the course of a week or two, I have upgraded the game to Unreal Engine 4.18 and carried out a number of other tweaks to help the game run better. All of these tweaks can be found below in a helpful bullet list format. This also marks the debut of GDS on PC via the Itch.io and Game Jolt stores and it is available for just $1. Not sure what that is in £, like 70p? In any case, it is significantly less than a cup of coffee so there is no reason not too.
Galactic Defence Squadron will probably not receive many other updates outside of bug fixes. It was a small experimental game (expect more of these!) and one which I am quite proud of, it is fun and challenging. So please go and pick it up on either mobile or PC or both if you are feeling very generous.
Upgraded to Unreal Engine 4.18
The game was originally built in Unreal Engine 4.14 (I think) so this is a pretty decent update on that front. Unreal Engine has received numerous updates since GDS initial release and plenty of these help the game to run better on both mobile and PC.
Added full Controller and Mouse support
Seeing as the game is now available on Itch.io it seemed like a good idea to add in full controller support. This was incredibly easy to do as it was basically already in there, while testing the game in the UE4 editor I used a controller so it was simply a case of properly assigning buttons. The mouse was similarly easy to add in to the menu sections.
Replaced materials with smaller versions
The models in the game originally used the very fancy but very, very large Automotive Materials that Epic gave away on the UE4 Marketplace. Why on earth past me thought using these on a tiny mobile game would be a good idea is anyones guess. They have now all been replaced with incredibly simple and small materials which has improved the speed of the game immeasurably.
Updated Asteroid models
The asteroids in the game have had new 3D models added with a degree of randomness in their spawning so there is the illusion of a wide variety of asteroid types. There are in fact three types. These too are smaller in terms of file size means further gains in optimisation for the game.
Designed all new ships
Perhaps most excitingly from a personal perspective I have given my Blender skills a bit of an upgrade and created new ships for the player and enemy units. They are certainly not going to be winning any design awards but are a definite improvement over the previous efforts. Most pleasingly they now all have proper UV maps meaning they are lit in a more realistic way.
Added an ‘overheating’ mechanic to the player weapon
In an effort to add some kind of tactical element to the game, the main weapon will now overheat if the fire button is held down too long. It takes a while to do this so you should be able to manage it fairly simply without actually overheating. Should this happen though the gun is unusable for 2-3 seconds. A very simple mechanic to add and one which I have found increased my enjoyment of the game.