Notes about Galaga

Galaga Game Design

Galaga is a shoot ’em up where you need to destroy the alien ships while avoiding getting hitted by the ships or by their projectiles.

  • The game is divided in stages. Once you kill all the enemies in a stage, you go to the next stage.
    • Every x amount of stages, there’s  a bonus ‘Challenging Stage’ (Challenge Stage feels like a more appropriate translation), where waves of enemies fly in and out without attacking you, and your objective is to destroy most of them for bonus points.
  • In the first stage, the enemies come flying in circular patterns (as shown in the image above), and then they stop at formation.
    • In the next stages, every time a wave of enemies comes flying in, they’re more aggressive, they shoot at you, move faster, and sometimes they try to collide with you.
  • Once the enemies are in formation, they will attack you individually every so often, there are 3 main types of enemies, each with their patterns:
    • Zako (Yellow): They come flying down at you, and when they’re about to exit the screen, they come back up to try and get you again.
Galaga is a shoot 'em up where you need to destroy the alien ships while avoiding getting hitted by the ships or by their projectiles. The game is divided in stages. Once you kill all the enemies in a stage, you go to the next stage. Every x amount of stages, there’s a bonus ‘Challenging Stage’ (Challenge Stage feels like a more appropriate translation), where waves of enemies fly in and out without attacking you, and your objective is to destroy most of them for bonus points. In the first stage, the enemies come flying in circular patterns (as shown in the image above), and then they stop at formation. In the next stages, everytime a wave of enemies comes flying in, they’re more aggressive, they shoot at you, move faster, and sometimes they try to collide with you. Once the enemies are in formation, they will attack you individually every so often, there are 3 main types of enemies, each with their patterns: Zako (Yellow): They come flying down at you, and when they’re about to exit the screen, they come back up to try and get you again.
Zako attack pattern
    • Goei (Red): They come down in a circular motion and try to collide with you, if they don’t succeed, they go out of the screen and come back in from above, then they fly again towards you.
    • Boss Galaga (Green-purple): The pattern of attack is the same as Goei, they take two hits to be destroyed. They do have an additional move where they can capture your ship.
Galaga Game Design
Boss Galaga capturing your ship
  • When Boss Galaga is capturing your ship:
    • You can try to shoot him down while being captured to avoid getting captured, the bullets will go towards the direction your ship is pointing towards while being captured.
    • If you have no lives left, it’s game over.
    • If you have at least one life remaining, you will reappear again (and lose one life):
      • If you shoot down the Boss Galaga with the captured ship while he’s in formation, the captured ship will turn against you.
      • If you shoot down the Boss Galaga with the captured ship while he’s attacking you, the captured ship will become your ally and you will be able to shoot two parallel projectiles
Galaga Game Design
Two ships at once, your hitbox becomes bigger, if you get hitted, you lose only one ship.

Talking about hitboxes, they’re questionable:

A tight hitbox in an enemy feels unfair, a tight hitbox in your character will give the player moments of ‘I just avoided death just by one millimeter.’ Something to consider, as game design is sometimes about illusions.

Galaga Game Design
There can only be two projectiles (per ship) at once, this is so you don’t spam the fire button, if a projectile hits an enemy, you will be able to shoot again, if not, you will have to wait until the projectile goes out of the screen.

More information to consider:
Galaga Instruction Booklet

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