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Christmas Gun

Some readers of my blog may remember how I mentioned the Christmas Gun in a previous post. Well, I was saving the full story for Christmas, so here it is!

It was always my intention to add a lot of content to Super Space Galaxy. One of the things that kept me going back to the original Tyrian was how much extra stuff it had, including a huge number of different game modes, weapons, levels, and even a whole extra mini-game called Destruct in there. If you booted up the game in December, you were also given the option of Christmas mode, which changed up some of the game’s graphics and sound effects.

I never forgot Tyrian‘s Christmas Mode, so years later I put some bonus Christmas content into the original Super Space Slayer. Enemy bounties become Christmas trees and coins became Christmas goodies. Like the Christmas Mode in Tyrian, it didn’t substantially change the gameplay but it was a fun addition.

Merry Christmas!

Luciferus, Super Space Slayer 1

That was the end of Christmas content for many years, until, as luck would have it, I watched a video about the original Doom. That game apparently had a press release demo that featured a different BFG gun, one that shot a flurry of red and green plasma shots that could slow down your 90s-era PC. John Romero apparently remarked that it ‘looked like Christmas’. Thankfully, the BFG was improved to become the legendary gun we now know.

I’d already made the Big Flavoursome Gun, a more serious tribute to the final version of the BFG, and I thought it would be funny to bring the Christmas Gun back to life as well. Super Space Galaxy is more open than Doom and can afford to have strange, even impractical weapons in its design.

I tried to match the properties of the original Christmas Gun, with a horizontal spread of 7.7 degrees, a short warm-up of 0.28 seconds, and making it shoot two projectiles at a time. I did change the rate of fire, however, as somehow it felt better to shoot the plasma-shots at a less frantic rate.

Aside from a bug I had to fix, implementing the Christmas Gun was quite painless, thanks to the gun-defining system I’d already developed. There were already variables to define a warm-up and most of what I needed.

If not for the reference to the original Christmas Gun, I don’t think I would ever design a weapon quite like this. It feels a little odd to shoot two projectiles at once, and I’d probably change the gun to shoot shorter, punchier bursts of shots if I wanted it to feel more satisfying to fire. As it is, the Christmas Gun is designed to be viable but is still something of a joke weapon, its properties defined long ago in a failed gun that never made it into the final version of Doom.

The Christmas Gun isn’t available in the playable demo yet, but when it is available to users I’ll probably make it spawn only during December of something like that. Check out the video below to see it in action!

Merry Christmas,

Kenneth Dunlop


Published by Kenneth Dunlop

Earth's Mightiest Game Designer. Making Super Space Galaxy. Previously made Super Space Slayer 2.

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