Blog #6: Video Game Prototype


Updates Since Alpha


Xenith Defenders is the game I worked on last blog with Justin Kim, which I have iterated upon and released on itch.io for free (or donation)! Since the last update, we worked to balance the game mechanics and add more satisfying and distinct visual feedback for the players including:

  • Destructible buildings
  • Slow-moving tiles (sand pits / mud)
  • Animated treads
  • Explosion smoke
  • Brighter colors on tanks, scores, and round end UI dialog
  • Title screen with unique menu music
  • Game Over state (first to 5 rounds)

The only assets this game utilizes is Google's  Press Start 2P  font. All art, sound, and music was produced by Justin and I.

Most of the games mechanics were mapped out form the alpha, and the rest of the development was spent on polishing and refining what was already there. The game needed an end state and satisfying conclusions to the end of matches. In addition, players struggled to find their tanks on screen so the colors needed to be in higher contrast to the white buildings.  

Finally, players would often camp and there was no motive to control specific areas of a stage. To combat this, we made all buildings destructible and added tiles that make the tanks move at half speed. This promotes movement throughout the entirety of all stages and incentives space control (such as bridges or roads behind multiple buildings or slow motion tiles).

New Stages



Several stages got revitalized and updated for the new mechanics, creating map control points such as the above stage. In this stage, players can go all the way around to fight each other or blow up the buildings separating them, each strategy with its own pros and cons!

The game works perfectly to keep the players interested long enough to finish a single match. Whether the game is played for only one match or many, it has done its job if the players stay up to 9 rounds!

Future Improvements


While I do not plan to carry this project forward into the final project stage, there is one key feature I want to add before closing the lid on it.

Screen shaking is an essential effect to making actions have impact.  Adding this into the game when Tanks are hit with a projectile will up the intensity for players and spectators alike.

Arcade Cabinet Button Mapping will allow the game to be played on SJSU Game Dev Club cabinets, which are often displayed at local art events in the area. This will help expose the game and our work to everyone while they have fun!

credits sequence that will play while idling on the main menu to tell people who made the game!

Fix the colors of spawning under similar colored text. There are several solutions: hide the text when players enter an Area2D, spawn the players somewhere else, or only show the score during the get ready phase and disable them during gameplay. 


To view the consumer oriented page, please navigate to the Xenith Defenders itch.io page.

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