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Submitted by Kurt Miller, posted on December 14, 2001

Image Description, by Kurt Miller

The screenshots in this image are from Strayfire, the first game by Gradient Studios, my infant game company. The main artwork was done by Max Shelekhov (link), the music was done by Pete Burke & Jeff Jordan (link), and I designed / coded the game.

Strayfire is an arcade-style shoot'em up with 3D accelerated graphics, hordes of enemies, gigantic bosses, and gobs of special effects. It will eventually be released as inexpensive shareware, but I decided to release a beta version here first. I'm still working on finishing/cleaning it up, and I was hoping you could help me test it :D. The game requires a 3D accelerator (TNT2 or better) and DirectX 7.0.

The test demo features the complete first level. Its quite similar to what the shareware demo will look like, but the goal of this release is mainly compatibility testing. It has been succesfully tested on a TNT2 32Mb, Radeon DDR 64Mb, and a Voodoo3 16Mb. If you decide to give the demo a go, please send info about any compatibility issues, crashes, bugs, funky behavior, etc, here, with as many details as you can provide (including system specs) so I can fix them! Thanks a lot.

The only known issue at this time: if you have multi-monitor support enabled, you'll likely need to disable it before running the video hardware configuration utility.

Its available for download here: strayfire-beta-12-14-2001-p1-setup.exe (8.2MB, updated 12/15/2001 - 3:55AM, EXE-only here)
Please don't distribute the test demo. Have fun! Don't forget to use the shield!


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Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.

December 15, 2001, 12:19 PM

Worked fine:

Athlon 1.1Mhz, Win2k SP2, GeForce2 Ultra, SB Live

The only weird thing is if you have an uncalibrated joystick plugged in, you keep scrolling throught the menus. May I suggest you have to move-center-move to switch menu options with the joystick instead of the current method?

Peter Mackay

December 15, 2001, 12:23 PM

Thanks, I will do so now!

Hmm I wonder if there are sites for 2D platform game enthusiasts?


December 15, 2001, 12:24 PM

I will take the excess of exclamation point and capitalization as an indication of your extreme concern over this situation, and review your suggestion as per your previous document in order to alleviate your concerns regarding my inquiry.

Your time and compassion is well appreciated.


December 15, 2001, 12:52 PM

Worked fine:
Athlon 1 GHZ, 256 MB, Geforce 2 GTS,SB Live, Win XP
Athlon 800MHZ,640MB,TNT1,SB Live,Win XP (bit slow in 32 bit color mode)

Ewan Higgs

December 15, 2001, 01:54 PM

I suggest not touching the difficulty. It plays a lot like Mars MAtrix except you cant use the enemy bullets against the enemies after you absorb them. And the shield recharges faster. I think its a great game but its a lot easier than R-Type 1 or 2!

Ewan Higgs

December 15, 2001, 02:03 PM

I forgot to mention that the way the controls are done feel stiff. I presume you are using an input buffer and so if left and right are both pressed then the ship doesnt move either way. Since it is a keyboard (and I play most shmups on a joypad) it feels weird. On a joypad, you can't press both left and right at the same time so maybe this is why, but I cant help but feel weird when I am avoiding projectiles and my ship isnt moving diagonally.. Perhaps only register the last x moving button to be pressed and the last y moving button to be pressed.

Another thing is: colour/color cues. When the screen gets mad, having enemy bullets appear blue and purple and green when powerups are green, and score bouns things are blue, and the ship is a shade of blue... its hard to see what is going on. Also, when you pick up a score bonus thingy, it looks like your ship is sparking as though you have been hit! You gotta make enemy bullets a different colour! Star Wars uses Red for bad guys and green for good guys. R-Type uses Yellow for bad, and Blue for good. Even Tekken uses red for being hit and blue for being hit while blocking. The colour cues are very important.


December 15, 2001, 02:15 PM

I got 20 million, who bad?

Neon Rice

December 15, 2001, 02:17 PM

21, after 3 hours.

Johannes Böhm

December 15, 2001, 02:40 PM

only 4 levels in the full version?
making a level editor for it would be really nice. and a database on the internet for them :)

definitly addictive.

Kurt Miller

December 15, 2001, 02:42 PM

Thanks again for the comments and suggestions. I'm working on resolving most of the issues mentioned. I doubt I'll be posting another IOTD when the game is released, but if anyone here happened to like it enough that they'd like notification when the final game is released, please send an e-mail here and I'll add you to the mailing list.

Wim Libaers

December 15, 2001, 04:04 PM

Mmm... Why press both the left and right buttons at once?

And in Star Wars, the bad guys mostly used green and the good guys red, with a few exceptions. Unless you support a different faction than most ;-)
Actually, that's even true in real war, sometimes different types of tracer are used.


December 15, 2001, 06:16 PM

Win2k, GF2MX400, PIII 1GHz

Didn't work because it couldn't create DX8 surface, then I installed the latest Nvida XP drivers and it worked.

I don't think it is too hard, I finished level 1 the first time through. You people who think there are too many bullets need to use your shields more!

I figured out the blue bloby things are things you WANT to run into and get to power up about half way through the first level, this is something you MUST mention before starting the game. The music and gfx are great, the sounds could be a little better. The gun turrents weren't very useful in the maze section (they need to shoot more). I don't know if they can be destroyed either (although this was before I knew you could get power ups).

This is a pretty cool shooter, but is lacking for innovation, you need something to spice up the game.


December 16, 2001, 01:31 AM

Excellent job is done ! This demo and game rocks!
Keep up to full game release, I'm sure gonna buy it!

Difficulty levels are unbalanced, even easiest level is pretty hard for beginner.
Graphics are excellent!


December 16, 2001, 02:15 AM

Noticed one bug:

When I watch the demo I can see that there is passive level geometry in the background, (as in the cool background grids on the upper right pic and the lower left pic..) However, when I play the game myself the only background scenery I see are the clouds, and the walls that move around and are crashable. None of the behind the ship/enemies background 3d structures show up. I also thought that for some reason it might show up if I watched myself on a demo, since your demo displays it all properly. However, my demos do not show the background geometry, just the same as when I'm playing.

Otherwise it runs great on my Athlon 1.4 ghz, 512 DDR, GeForce 3 Ti500 with latest drivers running on Win2k Pro.(I know because I updated them as soon as I read this thread and downloaded the demo.)


Kurt Miller

December 16, 2001, 02:22 AM

Yep, that was a stupid bug on my part that's been fixed since (but not in the public demo yet.) If you play on "normal" difficulty in that demo, the backgrounds should show up... thanks for the feedback.


December 16, 2001, 07:42 AM

WOW, amazing game! I played the demo level 10 times and its still interesting!

Wim Libaers

December 16, 2001, 11:22 AM

Well, very nice, but the amount of bullets is extreme. Sometimes I had to stop shooting just to know what was actually happening on the screen. Perhaps the powerups could be modified to give different kinds of weapons instead of just more bullets? The rockets are a good example, and some defense system that orbits your ship would also be interesting. Or powerups that cannot be active at the same time, so you need to switch (Raptor did this well). Of course, if you're going for fast action, things like weapon selection might be counterproductive.


December 16, 2001, 01:45 PM

I have to say, this game rocks!
Smooth as a baby's bottom and still beautiful, and the gameplay is just fabulous.

On the first try I forgot to try the shield.
On the second try I thought the shield was better than it was...
On the third try I completed the damn stage! :)

Is 13e6 a decent score? ;)

Johannes Böhm

December 16, 2001, 01:57 PM

i noticed that every ~30 new games, the ships crashes at the beginning (this even occured when starting the recorded demo)


December 16, 2001, 10:00 PM

Great fun!

No problems. Had the "can't move diagonal thing" but that's just my cheap work keyboard. Change the shoot key if you have trouble (I liked 's').

Win2k sp2
dual p3-550


December 17, 2001, 04:28 AM

The laggy menu seems to be when you have numlock enabled and are using the normal cursor keys... using the pad or disabling numlock fixes it... it was same with both exe versions.

Otherwise I agree with the other posters... the explosions are nice but the game lacks powerups and extra weapons... and enemies take much to long to kill, imho. Normal enemies should fall with one shot only, only bigger ones should take a few hits...

zed zeek

December 22, 2001, 04:52 AM

hard? i completed the level on my 3rd try (could it be a lot of flipcoders are young)
we need 2player + more varied weapons/levels (resource problem)
a couple of minor bugs
- your hi-score name has to be at least 2 letters long
- sometimes the text from the hi-score table is not drawn



December 23, 2001, 03:44 PM

Works fine:

PII 400MHz, NVidia RIVA 128/128ZX, 128MB RAM, Windows 98, SBLive!
Athlon AMD 1.4GHz, GF3, 512MB RAM, Windows 98, SBLive!

Arne Rosenfeldt

December 25, 2001, 02:56 PM

Works fine: Athlon 900MHZ, GeForce2 MX, Windows ME (Aldi PC)

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