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Gravity Ace

Behind the Scenes:

Gravity Ace

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Gravity Ace is a game about piloting a small ship into dark caverns, blasting waves of enemies, retrieving the enemy’s reactor core, and making your escape — all while fighting the deadly embrace of crushing gravity.

It is a modernized retro-arcade twin-stick shooter inspired by classic games like Thrust and Gravitar. You are The Pilot, a volunteer in the United Earth Forces, trained to fly behind enemy lines on daring, high-risk missions to sabotage the enemy and bring the war to a quick end. Pilots must master flying, shooting, and tractor beams in dangerous gravity wells to survive.

How long have you been making your game? How many iterations have there been?

It's been about 2 years on the calendar. But probably something like 1500 hours of actual time so far.

It's currently in a public alpha stage and I've done about 10 different public test builds to date.

What's the inspiration behind your game if any?

When I was a kid I played a game called Thrust on the Commodore 64. I have happy memories of playing that game for hours.

It was difficult and required skillful play to beat.

It had all the basics of shooting, gravity physics, and dangerous caverns. And there have been many iterations on that formula over the years from Gravitar to Solar Jetman to Pixel Junk Shooter.

Gravity Ace will be the newest iteration, modernizing and amping up the action while remaining true to its retro lineage.

What's the biggest lesson you've learned designing your game?

Designing and building games is hard.

HARD.

Everything takes longer than you think and even making small things can be super difficult.

With a bunch of projects under my belt and a core design, I was (and still am) confident that I could finish Gravity Ace. But, honestly, my next project will be probably be smaller just to keep my sanity.

How did you decide on the art style for your game?

I'd call the style of the game modernized retro. Pixel art fits the retro style of the game but I don't use pixel art exclusively.

I've restricted myself to a low resolution and a limited color palette for most of the game. But some parts are distinctly high-def like the parallax background and tractor beam.

Similarly for the music style which is synths with some 8-bit sounds but also high-def samples and drum beats.

The art style was partly chosen for the aesthetic and partly out of necessity. As a solo dev I just don't have the resources to do high resolution art in the volume necessary for this project.

Sticking to low resolution and limited colors lets me finish the game in a reasonable time and fits the theme I'm going for.

What's your preferred software and why?

Art/Animation

  • I use Aseprite for the all of the art. It's the best pixel art drawing and animation software around.

Music/SFX

  • I use Tracktion Waveform 10. I was using Tracktion 7 because it's free and loved it so much I upgraded to their commercial version. Again, it's just beautiful software that makes sense to me.