Laser Industries

The Laser Industries saga is a four-part series that tells the wacky tale of an android named Lazer-743 and the duck Dr. Scroorup.  So far, the first two games have been released to the public.  The third one waits to be renovated and converted to flash while the fourth one was never finished.

Setting:

Laser Industries

The namesake location is found in the same world as Zackulback Adventures but on another part of the planet.  Laser Industries produces yellow glowing orbs known as power gems which produce electricity and operate strange machines.  Situated near Mamphibireptile’s equator, the area itself while primarily tropical in nature has many distinct geographical locations.  Dr. Scroorup is the primary overseer of the production of power gems which are created with the help numerous robotic animals, and he is also responsible for inventing wild, scientific products.

Areas:

  • The Battlefield – A plain where the first robot creatures made their strike.
  • Cavern of Valor – An underground cave system where an ancient tribe held their rites of passage.  What happened to this tribe is unknown.
  • Waterfall Jungle – A lush, vegetated area where chameleons thrive.
  • Rolling Hills – The area surrounding the Aqua Temple.  Taero the Pterodactyl guards this area.
  • Aqua Temple – Once an old place of worship for the ancient tribe, the Aqua Temple has since been converted to a drainage facility.
  • The Tubes – An underground sewer system from which the Aqua Temple draws its water from.
  • Snake Island – A tropical island inhabited by giant snakes.
  • The Desert – A vast desert that lies to the north.  Strange things happen such as mirages and randomly appearing portals that lead to other dimensions.  One of those portals leads to the Depths.

The Depths

The Depths is the primary setting for Laser Industries 2.  It is a maze-like place that exists between dimensions, and it contains portals leading to many different worlds across the universe.  At the start of the game, Lazer-743 and Dr. Scroorup fell into a portal that led to the Depths from the desert in Laser Industries and were promptly ambushed by the dark wizard Orgog, the one who turned Dr. Scroorup evil in the first game.  This time, he sealed the worlds in the Depths away with a spell powered by runestones.  Within those worlds, Orgog caused all sorts of trouble to the native inhabitants, snatching up the runestones.

Circle Islands Hub

  • Grass Hill – A small, green hillside tended to by the black sheep.  This world is peaceful, but recently had a Gopher outbreak.
  • Rock Mountain – The Rat Gang built cannons that destroyed much of this world’s settlements.
  • Lizard Islands – Orange snakes have infiltrated the floating island home of a lizard.

Toxic Factory Hub

  • Giant Petri Dish – Exactly what the name of the world is, giant microorganisms live here.  Viruses have plagued a giant petri dish home to giant parameciums.
  • Cyberzone – A digital world with digital inhabitants.  Computerized “bad guys” have taken over this world.
  • Igneous Pillars – A volcanic world with towering columns of rock.

Swamp Hub

  • Crystal Mountain – A frozen world similar to Igneous Pillars.
  • Tangled Vines – Man-eating vines inhabit this jungle-like world.
  • TNT Cache – The Rat Gang stole loot from Rock Mountain and stashed it in this world.

Prison Tower Hub

  • Ninja Fortress – The monkey ninjas have been causing ruckus in this floating castle world.
  • Magical Towers – The red monsters have taken over, blocking much of the path.
  • Ooze Lake – A polluted world where slime creatures make their home.  The inhabitants tend to be rude.

Gophertopia

Gophertopia is the primary setting for the upcoming Laser Industries 3.  It is a perfect paradise built to satisfy the demanding needs of the endangered species, the Gopher.  However, fueling the paradise requires stealing goods from other worlds, including the power gems of Laser Industries.  So the caretakers of the Gophers have traveled through the Depths to infiltrate the various worlds to siphon their resources.

Gophertopia – The paradise where all the Gophers live.  It’s an eternally happy world to the point where it’s sickeningly sweet.

  • Area 38
  • Lava Gorge
  • Gopher Barracks
  • Cookie Jungle
  • Wild Pasture
  • Gopher Food Storage
  • Midnight Tower
  • Frozen Tundra
  • Gopher Palace

Planet Graveyard

The Planet Graveyard is the setting for the upcoming Laser Industries 4.  The discarded remains of dead worlds as well as those lost in the space eventually find themselves here.  The only escape is to ascend to the top and collect teleportation orbs.

More will be revealed later.

Trivia/Behind the Scenes

Inspiration – Laser Industries

The idea for Laser Industries was inspired by childhood play sessions where LEGO characters were battling against Beanie Babies in a pretend fight while 70’s and 80’s music was playing in the background.  The design of Lazer-743 was based on an original LEGO character, while many of the enemies found in the first game are directly based off of different Beanie Babies.  The mice enemies for example were inspired by Cheezer while the chameleon was inspired by Iggy.  The levels themselves took inspiration from the music tracks while the zany, goofy premise of the game was a result of me watching a lot of Looney Toons and Tom and Jerry as a kid.

Later entries in the Laser Industries series took inspiration from games such as the Spyro trilogy and Kingdom Hearts in terms of the idea of numerous tiny worlds contained within their own separate dimensions.  Thus, the genre shifted a lot towards sword and sorcery with the inclusion of things like castles, witches and wizards.  In the end, I cite Laser Industries as just being an imaginary, childish world (or rather a universe) brought to life.

Inspiration – Laser Industries 2

Laser Industries 2 saw some particularly specific inspirations.  The Gophers’ appearance is directly based on the Pokemon Pichu in terms of the body proportions and the infantile behavior.  At the time, I was getting annoyed at the oversaturated cuteness of anime critters, and I wanted to give a huge jab towards them by parodying them in this game.  This resulted in quite a helping of black comedy being introduced to the series, particularly the various ways the Gophers can meet their demise.

As for individual levels, there were a few that stand out in terms of source material.

  • Giant Petri Dish – I was in grade school back when I created Laser Industries 2 for the first time, and while I was making it, I happened to be learning about microorganisms in science class at the time.  It was only fitting.
  • Tangled Vines – The man-eating plants were intended to be an enemy that attacked by swallowing the player character – a new programming challenge for me.  While the revised version changed this so that it only bites you just to make the level a bit easier, future games such as the Jumpduh sharks in Droplet 09 and the sandworm in Seedling reused this behavior.
  • Ooze Lake – The original game had Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” as the level music.  Obviously, I couldn’t use that music track for the browser version, so I created a new, similar sounding theme to pay homage.

Development – Laser Industries

Laser Industries was a game I created in early 2006, about six months after I made Zackulback Adventures.  Laser Industries 2 and 3 were also created in 2006.

On the old hard drive I discovered in December 2014, I found the .cca files for the games (.mfa for Laser Industries 4 since it was made with Multimedia Fusion 2), and they were all intact.  However, the games used an older version of Multimedia Fusion’s platform movement, and thus, when I reopened it with Fusion 2.5, some of the levels were literally impossible due to Fusion 2.5’s platform movement having drastically different mechanics.  The new version (and soon 2 and 3) on the site revised the game’s coding as well as some of the layout of the levels, but the vast majority of the graphics were left exactly as they were originally drawn to keep in the old school spirit.  Laser Industries was also my first game to use voice acting as I got a hold of a microphone midway through production.   At the time, I didn’t have anything more advanced than Windows Sound Recorder, so I re-recorded 99% of the voice overs to improve the quality.

Although the majority of the music came from the MMF2 Bonus Disc, Laser Industries was my first game to include self-composed music.  Granted, there were only two tracks in the original game that were like this: the desert theme and the credits theme.  Since I had yet to get a hold of actual MIDI making software, my cheap method of doing this was just recording myself playing a keyboard, then splicing it together in Windows Sound Recorder.  In the new version, I remastered those two themes and replaced all the stock music with original tracks.  To keep the file size down, I opted for making the songs around 15 – 30 seconds each especially since the levels weren’t long enough to listen to two minute tracks seen in the newer games.

For the music, I drew inspiration from 70s/80s pop and 90s techno.  I listened to that genre a lot around the time I first came up with the game, so it was only right to pay homage.

Development – Laser Industries 2

After I wrapped up the game, I had learned a lot at the time on many game-making techniques.  I wanted to do something big with the second game, particularly, the introduction of the ability to revisit levels and freely roam around in a hub, while each world would have someone you can talk to to explain what was going on in their world.  All of my games before were completely linear.  While I was impressed with the results at the time, nine years later, the game has not aged as well as the first in terms of level design and gameplay, so I wanted to make significant changes to make it more playable.  A lot of the collision bugs were fixed to make some of the more difficult jumps more fair.

Though Gophertopia is the primary setting for Laser Industries 3, Gophers actually made their debut in Laser Industries 2 initially as random fodder.  However, they also came with unique gameplay mechanics, but after replaying the game after all these years, I deemed a lot of it too excessive and annoying.  I revised some of the levels to make them more tolerable, but in the end, I was satisfied with the game’s length and diversity of locations, so only a few other minor changes were be made.

Development – Laser Industries 3

At the time, Laser Industries 3 was by far my largest game featuring voice acted cut scenes. Even though it has far fewer levels than its predecessor, these levels were much larger with more things to do such as discovering hidden secrets.  Many levels ideas were put forth, but ultimately, only 9 main levels and 3 secret levels made it into the game.

Although Laser Industries 3 took about as long to play through as Laser Industries 2, the game never fully grasped everything what I imagined Gophertopia to be like.  Since Gophertopia is (spoiler!) going to be destroyed in the prologue of the next game (end spoiler), my only real chance to show off Gophertopia was to expand it and give it an overworld.  I envisioned Gophertopia to be something like a parody of Disneyland but with oversaturated, almost sickening cuteness.

By the way, I can’t do that Gopher voice anymore.  It’s a good thing I managed to have most of the original recordings to splice and clean up.

Development – Laser Industries 4

Laser Industries 4 was unfinished, being about 1/5 complete when I stopped working on it.  It was a big project with many secrets to discover, multiple playable characters and around 20 levels!  I had actually started working on a prototype with four levels later in the year of 2006, but I had a computer crash.  Fortunately, I was able to recover the original file, but in the end, I was not satisfied with it so I decided to scrap it for the time being and work on something else: a sequel to the Zackulback series.  (Coming sometime!)

Around early 2008, I resumed work on the game creating a new version from scratch.  However, I never finished that version either.  Part of the reason I stopped was at the time, Chef Pierre’s Cooking Craziness took priority when I was asked to make it for a class, taking about a month to make.  With Droplet ’09, Seedling and Elementals being created for a similar purpose, ultimately, I could never dedicate enough time to finish it, and it fell into obscurity for a time after I got a new computer.  One day, I’ll resume it.  Along with the game’s original .mfa, I also managed to find a Word document containing an outline for the game, so I’ll be able to recreate it as it was originally intended.  Once that is done, the series will finally be concluded after starting all the way back in 2006.

Cutting Room Floor

There’s nearly not as much stuff that saw the chopping block in these games.  Back then, I deleted most of the unused content as opposed to nowadays where I just leave it in half the time so that I don’t accidentally break anything.  There’s really not much in except for maybe a few unused animations for characters.

Laser Industries 3 had a ton of concept ideas for Gophertopia, but I simply couldn’t fit all of them in since the file size was already very high.  In favor of playablility, I had to scrap a good majority of it to keep download times reasonable.  Fortunately, data compression methods have come a long way since 2006, so I’ve managed to throw in a few extra things and flesh it out more.

As for Laser Industries 4, the game will probably be remade from scratch since neither of the two prototypes were finished in the first place.  At this time, I can’t say when that game will be released, but rest assured, I still plan to get it out sometime.


Hit Counter provided by Curio cabinets