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Nebula Jalopy

Edited January 23, 2023

This is one of my least favorite of the 20 jam games I made in 2020. You can click that picture up there to play it, or see it in its original context on

It was more interesting as a programming challenge than it is as a game, I think. Looking at it now, I probably should have cranked up the intensity of the ship reconfiguration stuff by like 3x, since that's the only actual interesting thing happening.

Original devlog/postmortem post:

The Dream Arcade Archive jam seemed like a good excuse to make a pure arcade action game. I didnít use the entirety of the time -- I didnít really feel like the project deserved a weekís worth of time stolen from my core work projects.

I didnít explore any fundamental new code or web development concepts, but the idea I had was a little more challenging than usual from a programming standpoint. I took the permanent particle concept from Haywire Island and made a spaceship out of parts that could be parented to other parts with specified X and Y offsets. This let me randomly move and resize multi-part segments of the ship on the fly, which I thought would be funny and also add some randomness to the level of bullet-dodging challenge.

The bullet patterns are pure RNG, and I know this probably isnít the most satisfying way to do it, but googling stuff about Javascript already exposes me to a lot more righteously-framed advice than I can really tolerate. I had no interest in diving into threads of shmup orthodoxy.

Iím very happy with the way the nebula effect turned out. I re-purposed a trick I learned from some Dwitter post years ago -- not this one ( but an earlier, similar one I canít find now. It uses offset canvas redraws to make really nice organic-looking color smears. Thereís a hidden canvas where the nebula is being generated and drawn at much a lower resolution, and every frame a slice of it is blown up to display in the main game window.

I made a single sound effect using BFXR, which is a nice tool if you want your video game to sound like a video game. I learned about the archive YouTube maintains of songs and SFX that are available to use for videos ( and grabbed a suitably synthy track to use as background music. Iíve got to find a way to get myself more interested in the audio for these things.

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