Lasers in the Laines - because... well, space is cool.
Introducing LUNA; a space shooter game based on the 80's classic 'Asteroids', but with plenty of innovations to bring it into the 21st Century. We designed and built a fun, nostalgic and immersive gaming experience you can enjoy right outside our office by hosting it in a TV in our window and enabling people to use their smartphone as a game controller.
This is the coolest thing ever!
LUNA player during Brighton Digital Media Festival
A Graphite internal project
We decided to do an internal project of this nature for a few reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, it allowed us to experiment with new technologies. We were able to improve our knowledge of technologies such as WebSockets, Node.JS and Phaser. JS as well as techniques for implementing sprite sheets. Will, the lead developer on this project even decided to create the physics engine from scratch because, well, why not?
We’re not going to pretend internal projects aren’t challenging! The return on investment isn’t always straightforward and the team had to juggle between client work and the project. Challenges like this were obvious from the beginning, though what was less obvious was the challenge of keeping the project fun and trying to get everyone involved without compromising people’s visions.
A plus was that we found that we were able to showcase skills we had that weren’t necessarily in our daily work. Internal projects are a great way to learn new skills or expand on existing ones without the pressure of deadlines.
Highest score reached 10,209!
How to do internal projects, the right way
R&D ideas often stay at the idea stage. Transforming those ideas into projects is an achievement in itself. We all knew that we needed to create a process, a platform that would help us move quickly into production, so we could keep the momentum without drowning in the ‘unknowns’ of the project.
Our development team always experiment with new techniques and technologies, creating demos to share within the team. This is a gold mine for R&D; our platform was born. We decided to begin an internal project based on one of these experiments. This meant that we had a basis to work with creatively, we had boundaries and our developers had something to start with that they knew had potential.
We had an experiment floating round the office that was an amalgamation of the contents of one of our blog posts on realtime data distribution with websocket & nodejs and some other techniques we’d played about with. It was a basic ‘asteroids’ style 2D environment powered by NodeJS and WebSockets and hosted on a RaspberryPi that anyone on the network could join. This was originally a test of the power of WebSockets but, after proving itself worthy, became the basis for this internal research and development project.
Out in the wild
We released the game to coincide with Brighton Digital Festival. This is an annual event that runs throughout September every year, providing a great platform for people and companies pushing the boundaries of digital.
We’ve had some amazing feedback and the whole team feels a sense of pride at what we’ve created. Who knows what our scientists will come up with next…
21,647 Asteroids destroyed and 322,814 shots fired!