Meteor Madness

From TACWiki
Revision as of 08:07, 29 August 2007 by Admin (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

This minigame tests motion coherence threshold by requiring the player to respond when a noticible portion of dots move in unison amongst a field of random dots. It also tests motor inhibition in a context of focused spatial attention (go/no-go task) by requiring the player to react to friends and foes as they emerge from wormholes.


A "nearby" space colony has been destroyed by marauders! Warp to their location and recover any survivors or flotsam. Be advised that hostiles may still be in the area and should be destroyed on sight. You may have to make several warp jumps to complete the sweep of the wreckage.


Salvage as many survivors and goods as possible whilst keeping your own ship alive.


Cheetah C-24 Fighters: The colony's squadron of high-speed attack ships. They are equipped with magnetic photonic torpedoes. The Cheetah's shields are capable of absorbing substantial energy surges before becoming vulnerable to enemy fire or physical collision.

Wormhole: Requires 2 entities to open; one on each side. These appear during the shooter phase and with the help of the player allow a resource or a hostile to warp through to the player's location.

UFO1,2: Marauding space pirates. Uncrewed and artifically piloted, they are armed and are capable of destroying C-24 Fighters.

Derelict Vessels: Filled with survivors from the destroyed space colony. The player can rescue them by flying into them.

Flotsam: Resources that can be salvaged by the player by flying into them.

Meteorites: Come in a couple of different shapes and sizes. Slamming into one causes a hit on a ship's shields or destruction if the ship's shields have failed.

Mysterious Dot: Random particles that fly through space in a logical manner when piloting at regular speeds, however in warp drive they seem to defy the laws of physics.


There are 2 phases to this minigame. The first is a warp-jump phase that lasts for about 15 seconds. After this, the game enters the shooter phase. This is repeated for 4 jumps and 3 shooters (the last warp-jump is the return home) or until the player dies.

The player's shield persists through both phases. After taking a hit, the shield is reduced by 1/2. Thus, 2 hits are enough to deplete the shield, leaving the player only 1 more hit before dying in an exploserous ball of flame. Shields slowly recharge over time (about 10 seconds for a full charge, but this number will likely change upon play-testing), but once a shield is fully depleted it does not recharge.

Warp-Jump Phase

This phase tests the subject's Motion Coherence. During warp-jumps, the mysterious dots move in a mostly random manner. A small percentage of these particles begin to drift in the same direction indicating that the ship is veering off course. The player must correct the ship's course by pressing space bar. Once the drift starts, the player has several seconds to react. If no correction is made in time, the ship slams into debris and takes a hit. This phase ends after a set amount of time which is not disclosed to the player or the ship is destroyed.

The percentage of drifting stars is determined by PEST.

Dog Fight Phase

This phase tests the subject's focused spatial attention.

The playing field consists of an invisible cylinder whose caps are parallel to the camera's viewing plane. The player's ship is located at the near cap. All entities can only exist on the cylinder's circumference but may rotate around it or move up and down it lengthwise.

The player may fire, sending projectiles down the cylinder lengthwise. At first, only a single missile, 1 second-cooldown photon torpedo is available, but power-ups appear in columns at the top of the screen. Flying through them upgrades the player's gun. Upgrades can lower the cooldown or add spreadshot.

It may be necessary to add a wingman if many autistic players have trouble with this phase. The wingman would automatically move and fire upon enemies/meteors.

Wormholes appear at the far cylinder cap. The player can align his/her ship with a wormhole and activate it. At short time later, a collectible (survivor or resource) replaces the wormhole or an emeny replaces it. The player should immediately fire and attempt to destroy any hostiles. Should the player fire upon a resource, it is destroyed. If a derelict appears, shooting it will destroy the vessel, but an escape pod will fly away indicating that no digital people were harmed in the making of this game.

Possibly Boss Phase

This game me be capstoned with a boss battle. If so, any rescued derelicts could appear to assist the player.

Additionally, meteorites appear at the far cylinder cap and scroll down its circumference towards the camera. If they hit a ship, then the meteor is destroyed and the ship's shield takes a hit. Meteors have a lower probability of appearing in a column that is occupied by an enemy ship. Meteors can be destroyed by shooting them. Larger meteors may require more shots to destroy than smaller ones.

User Interface

The only HUD necessary is the shield power.

For the warp phase, the only input will be left and right arrow keys to indicate a course correction.

While in the shooter phase, pressing the left arrow key rotates the player's ship clockwise, while right rotates it counterclockwise. This would normally seem counterintuitive, but in this case the player's ship is displayed upright when it is near the bottom of the screen. Therefore, pressing left always shifts the C-24 to its port side. Spacebar will fire weapons. Pressing the up arrow key will attempt to open a partial wormhole. This attempt is successful if the player is aligned with the wormhole (ie, they are near the same position on the opposite cylinder caps). A different color beam will indicate a successful or failed wormhole activation.


Each completed phase awards X amount of money, for a possible total of 7. A structure is awarded if the player collects enough powerups. Any survivors rescued or resources salvaged are awarded. Money is subtracted for the cost of each derelict ship destroyed by the player. If this dips the reward into negative money, then the money rewarded is set to 0.