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Star Waste

Just a little Asteroids-inspired shoot-em-up game which I've developed together with my kids using Snap!. The task is to collect precious crystals floating around between asteroids (i. e. the waste left over after a star has formed ;) without colliding with any of those space rocks (penalty!). In each level, you get a limited number of blaster shots for ridding yourself from asteroids, but if you happen to accidentally hit a crystal you'll also have to endure a score penalty.

The number of asteroids increases with each level; furthermore, the rocks will move with increased speed in every new level. Hence Star Waste -- like e. g. Tetris -- belongs to that category of games in which you'll inevitably fail at some point. Star Waste is fun nonetheless; however, the most fun was, of course, to developing this game in team-work with the boys and, along the way, to teach them the basics of programming.


Artistic Considerations

Regarding graphics design, we went for a pixelated retro-look -- although the kids probably didn't bask in nostalgia like their dad, who experienced the 80's 8 bit home computer revolution first-handedly. Nevertheless, an advantage of going for pixel art was that it was undoubtedly easier for the children to create sprite images for space ships, crystals etc within a 32x24 pixel raster (we used Pinta for that purpose) than to operate a vector drawing application like Inkscape.

Sound effects were partially created with QSynth utilizing some old SoundBlaster samples, partially using the fabulous Helm soft synth; post-processing was performed using Audacity. All music used in Star Waste was taken from my TonFiguren project.

Star waste was mainly developed on a Raspberry Pi 3 running Raspbian; audio editing was performed on a standadr PC under Debian Linux.

I wanna play!

Enough chit-chat -- here's the start link!

Why Snap...

by Berkeley University rather than the undoubtedly more famous Scratch language developed at the Massachissetts Institute of Technology? Well, because

  • when starting developmen of Star Waste, Scratch still was based on a proprietary technology called Flash, which had already been doomed for extinction for quite some time
  • at that point, Snap -- as opposed to Scratch -- already supported advanced programming concepts like nested lists and function objects. (Not that we really needed that for Star Waste, but why not backing the right horse right from the start?)