May 19, 2017

Suzy Cube Update: May 19, 2017

#SuzyCube #gamedev #indiedev #madewithunity 
Hey folks! I've got move level design stuff and a new enemy/hazard to share with you all today!

Not the Boss of Me

As I work hard to get the game all set for another big round of testing, I've had to admit to myself that some of my existing levels just aren't where they need to be. I've mentioned the World 2 boss level before and how it didn't really do a great job of using the Double Jump power-up. In addition to this, the level has, for a long time, been way too hard. This is especially true considering it's only the game's second boss fight.

So, I made some changes to the level based on feedback from earlier testers to make it easier and less frustrating and also shuffled around the Boss' attack sequences to give players more breathing room between attacks and more opportunities to hit back.

Speaking of hitting back. Since this boss fight is all about the Double Jump, I gave the boss this new "mugging" animation, as a friend of mine put it.


The idea, of course, is for the boss to give Suzy a nice juicy opportunity to Double Jump right onto that conveniently placed X on its head.

In the same spirit of adjusting the difficulty of early levels, I also had a look at Level 1-4 which has previously stood out as a bit of a harsh difficulty spike for a World 1 level.

Easy there, buddy!

I made a number of small changes, but the most notable ones both pertain to the cannons, which relentlessly pester Suzy during the second half of the level.

I made most of the cannons fire less frequently to ease off the pressure while also making it so rockets can now collide with each other. This second change may sound trivial, but in areas where several cannons are firing Suzy-seeking rockets, having some of them collide in mid air before reaching their target can make quite a difference.

One other change I made, which was more about helping the level flow better, was to remove the coins which used to be hidden in those cubes of rock blocks seen in the screenshot. The rock blocks are meant to act as temporary cover from the seeking rockets, and I originally thought it would be fun to hide a coin in each of them as a reward for steering rockets into them to blow them up. In reality, this simply hurt the pacing of the level as I was encouraging players to stand around waiting for rockets to blow up all the blocks before moving on. Remember, as designers, it's our responsibility not to incentivize boring behaviours.

Here Comes the Boom!

I've had bombs working in the game for a while now, but what I didn't have were exploding enemies. I struggled with the visual design for a while because I wanted to avoid anything which implied suicide bombing. In other words, simply having regular Skulls carrying bombs was out of the question. The Super Mario games have long solved this issue by putting windup keys on the backs of Bob'ombs, making it clear they are mechanical. What I settled on was to reuse the bombs as they appear in game ,with their painted skull face, and to give them obviously robotic arms.

Beep bop boop... I will blow you up...
I think the wrench like arms really help sell the whole, robotic thing. Setup was quite painless too as the Skull Bombs reuse all the basic enemy animations and behaviours combined with the regular bomb behaviour. I didn't need to write a single line of new code to get them up and running. And run they do!


The Skull Bomb's behaviour is probably what you would expect. If Suzy gets too close, they light their fuse and start chasing her before eventually exploding.

Not so fast...

Of course, Suzy can always jump in with a good bopping, at which point they, essentially, just turn into a regular bomb before exploding.

Leveling Up

And, finally, I've started work on Level 5-4, another vertically inclined forest themed level.

Up we go!

It's still early days on this one so there's not much to show or talk about yet. I look forward to sharing more about the level next week.

Well, that's it for this week's update. As you might have guessed, much of next week will be spent attempting to wrap up design on Level 5-4. I'm sure I'll get around to another little task or two as well so check in next week for the full scoop. See you then!

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