Time to get a everything sharp and ready.
Let’s take a tour, shall we?
The Fate of Gurding
After much experimentation, I really wasn’t feeling it. Though it was fun to play around with, when I actually wanted to move anywhere targeted or do anything precise, it just didn’t beat the previous movement controls — which people had commented in the past did feel very tight (a comment I wasn’t expecting to hear, I guess that’s a good thing though?). Gurding was also pretty dang tedious.
I tried alternates: Gurding alone, Gurding + movement, the ability to coil up for a Gurd while moving — nothing felt right.
RIP Gurding… though it’s not entirely dead, because Gurding turned into:
You can now launch bees at your opponents in place of the burst attack! Because it’s more difficult to land than the burst was, I decided to up the reward to the highest one possible: when you hit an opponent with a launched bee, ALL of that player’s pollen will drop out onto the floor in collectable pellets. The player could scramble to pick it up, try to launch a bee at you, steal your bees, or run away to get more bees. You can pick up the pollen or threaten another attack (if you have more bees) to prevent the opponent from collecting the dropped pollen.
Bees come out fast, so the attack is pretty difficult to avoid I think.
Something I learned from Gurding that I applied to the Bee launch mechanic is that it really didn’t feel good to launch on release of the directional button when using a controller. It felt okay on a keyboard, but that’s not my primary control target.
What felt better was Gurding/launching on the release of a button you have to hold down to coil, so now you hold down X and aim to coil up, and release X to launch. You can cancel a launch by releasing the direction, but keeping X held.
Oh, and of course you have to plant yourself in order to launch. This is actually very similar to how Wand Wars handles shooting Hexes (you slow down and use the same stick you do to move to launch, meaning you don’t need dual stick coordination, which a lot of people find difficult to master, AND it means that you need to make yourself vulnerable in order to launch an attack).
Cleaning up the Chaos
Man I love chaos, but it IS very difficult to tell what’s going on in a busy, chaotic scene, so I decided to pair down on particle effects and make every visual display as clean and focused as possible.
I started with Pollen-o-meters, which started the trend of the week, which was (unsurprisingly):
🎉 FUN WITH SHADERS 🎉
Look at that pretty shader, all gradiented† and stuff :3
†I realized later that the gradient didn’t really read from a distance, so that got cut, but it was good while it lasted. RIP gradient…
I decided to put the pollen-o-meters on the HEARTS of the players/bees/etc, so that it would feel more included in the silhouette to not take up extra space or distract, while at the same time be very visible.
The first iteration was a bit too small, but I didn’t realize that before implementing…
🎉 GOD RAYS 🎉
(to replace those sorta ugly Mandorlas I had around the bees when they were full)
I also paired down on the effects that go onto the player who’s in the lead. The bubbly flower particles were nixed in favor of some rainbow God Rays and I added some footstep-like hearts to extend the sense of motion/chase.
[I’ve been making a lot of clean shapes to use for particles, which I have in a separate folder ready to use, by the way, because I’ve been experimenting more with Particle Systems, possibly to put out a package with them on the Asset Store. Maybe soon? Maybe not.]
In implementing the God Rays, I came across a bug that I quite liked. In previous versions, where i had the crown to indicate the leader, when two players were tied, there was no visual indication of which players were tied. When I did the switch-over to the rays, I didn’t quite get the logic right to turn off the old one, and so the rainbow trail zips away, but the rays remain!
It gives stealing the lead an extra bit of flash.
You can also see, by the way, that the pollen-meters changed to li’l beating hearts 😉
Aaaand… A Few More Things
- changed out the tile sprites for more fitting ones
- added some non-tile barriers (this game isn’t entirely suited to being on a grid, so why force it?)
- changed the reticle on the currently selected bee to be a crosshair
- added the ability to switch which bee you’re going to launch and made the bees launch from your center rather than just from where they happen to be(e) in orbit
- changed the score display to one that better conveys the idea of RACING (i.e. a race track), complete with a flowin’ pollen-juice shader that trails behind your icon and a checkerboard shader for the finish line 😉 It even fits 4 players!
- made the bee fire look… better?
I’ve got a lot of work still left to do.
For FIG, I think my demo will consist of 1 map, no character selection, and I may write the instructions nearby.
I’ve attempted to design the level to teach you how to suck bees, but I currently have nothing in place to teach the Kombat mechanics (i.e. launching bees).
That’s about it I think?
Until next time,