Dark Gaming — Tank Razer

Tank Razer

Written by Dark. Posted at 7:43 pm on June 4th, 2012

Tank Razer download link

Tank Razer is one of the few Game Maker games I finished.

The project was started ages ago. I worked on this game for a while bringing it up to a playable state before leaving it as it were. Then, some time later I picked it up again to add some more features or do modifications. This repeated a few times. I guess Tank Razer being a finished game was quite fun to experiment with or improve and any effects could be tested right away in a fully playable game. It was motivating.

I think the current version could be considered final though. Tank Razer got all the best minor improvements I could think of and I probably won’t have the time nor will to make any big changes in the near future. There might be a few bugs or problems left (probably AI mostly) but what’s most important Tank Razer is playable and its pretty fun.

As the most interesting aspect of Tank Razer I consider the variety of available tanks with a number of statistics and the upgrades system. Those two add some nice, fun customisation to the game. After choosing your favourite unique tank you can still tweak it a little with one upgrade. Your favourite machine happens to be too weak in combat for your taste? It’s not a problem. You’d like it to be even faster? Sure. You’d like to be able to turn your turret further? Just pick the right upgrade.

All the upgrades offer trade-offs though. There’s no improvement without at least a small cost in another area.  Besides, upgrades require a bit of experimenting. Most of them work differently for different tanks as their effects rely on base statistics. Its not totally chaotic though. I had some thought behind every upgrade. The rule of thumb is that heavy equipment is less usefull for smaller tanks and vice verse.

Tanks and upgrades aside theres also weapons. All tanks got the same basic cannon with unlimited ammunition. There’s also special weapons collected from crates dropped onto the track. There’s a fair number of those available and each of them is totally different. You’ve got machinegun, shotgun, sniper rifle, missiles, flamethrower, grenades, mines, bombs, oil, tesla gun, sentry and airstrikes. Now imagine eight tanks spamming those on the racetrack.

Speaking of tanks I gotta mention that Tank Razer has AI implemented. It’s not perfect and it’s not exactly fair (for example, AI tanks behave a little differently when bumping walls to avoid getting stuck) but most importantly it’s fun and it’s challenging. I don’t think I can do much better with how Tank Razer is implemented. Definitely not without having more time than I can spend on it. Nevertheless, I think AI is pretty nice already so I’m leaving it at that.

Besides the AI opponents, Tank Razer can be played multiplayer. No. Not over internet unfortunately. It’s the typical old-school split screen where you squeeze inbetween your friends making you feel like a 6-th person in a car. I know that days of these games are long past but personally I still appreciate them. They’re always a fun option for something to do with friends when they visit. All those fancy modern multiplayer modes are useless unless you got people coming over with their laptops. Not to mention that the small, fun to play games which are perfect when having no more than an hour time rarely do have any multiplayer. Say what you want but I still see the good sides of a splitscreen. Of course, you can also mention console games here but if you think about it, they either don’t need a splitscreen or they do have it.

I’ve played Tank Razer with friends a number of times so I couldn’t miss the standard problem of PC splitscreen games – keyboard. With a few people holding keys constantly, the input blocks. You end up unable to move because the other player is. I felt pity over Tank Razer in that aspect. I had four human player slots but playing with more than two was totally impractical. I tried helping that a little in later development stages with the following solutions:

  1. 2 gamepads supported.
  2. Mouse control.
  3. Splitting controls to as many keys as possible (previously, e.g. rotating the turret required two keys at once).
  4. Gears system – instead of holding the forward button at all times to move forward you only need to switch your gears. Tank will accelerate/decelerate on its own.

I already mentioned that tanks have a number of statsitics.  I’d better list those as they are not described in the game and thus it may be a bit unclear what they are. In order as seen in game:

  • speed,
  • acceleration,
  • turning,
  • handling – reduces drifting and affects how far you’re pushed away by attacks,
  • armor,
  • attack damage – for both cannon and special weapons,
  • range – for both cannon and special weapons (except mines, bombs and oil),
  • storage size – affects how much special weapon ammunition you can have,
  • maximum turret turning angle.

As mentioned in the game itself, Tank Razer is free to be redistributed as long as it remains unmodified and you’re not taking credit for it. This is just a small game from the old days when my programming was far worse than now but I think it is fun to play and it’s polished enough to release it for other people to enjoy. Have fun and hopefully don’t smoke too much at the roadsides.


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