I’ve just updated Hexplosion with a brand new enemy: Red Slimes.
It’s based on the design concept I first heard stated in the GDC Vault presentation, Design in Detail: Changing the Time Between Shots for the Sniper Rifle from 0.5 to 0.7 Seconds for Halo 3. I later heard it again in the Extra Credits video, Counter Play. Summed up, real quick, a new weapon in a multiplayer game should make the game more interesting for a player it’s used against. It’s kind of obvious in retrospect, but by committing it to words instead of unspoken intuition, it’s easier to keep in mind when designing.
The red slime leaves a damaging trail of fire, which keeps the witch from being able to fly through certain parts of the arena. It restricts your movement. I realized quickly that the red slime needs to be faster as well, to cover more territory, so I increased its speed to three times that of the green slime.
After that, it occurred to me that it might make sense, thematically, if a bomb exploded instantly on contact with fire. I thought some more on the subject. Theme and world can add a lot to a game, but you need to make sure it doesn’t hurt the game. After some internal debate, I figured that the instant bomb explosions would make play more interesting for players. It allows them to break a rule, and players could use this tactically and use the fire to bomb slimes quickly. On top of that, the fire also becomes a barrier. A player can’t toss a bomb across the level if there’s fire in the way. This design space could prove very useful in future updates. After a bit of thinking, I figured I might as well make the red slime blow up bombs on contact as well. It’s natural to intuit that they must be made of lava or something, and if a red slime takes a direct hit from a bomb, they’re likely to explode within half a second when they spawn some fire anyway.
A side effect of all this is that the bombs are now a physical collider. It isn’t part of my intended design, but I’ll see how it works out. I mean, combos in Street Fighter started out as a bug, and now it’s hard to imagine a modern fighting game without combos. Anyway, bombs can now be used to block a slime’s approach, which helps to make the game a little easier and give the player more control, but the slimes don’t try to move around the bomb. They just press forward in the player’s direction.
A minor bug that’s popped up is that if you throw the bomb forward, through the player sprite, the player sprite will be shoved forward slightly. It doesn’t impact play much, but it doesn’t add anything either. I want to squash that. There’s also the fact that a player that rams into a slime will shove the slime offscreen after dying. Again, it doesn’t impact play much, but I’d like to fix that up.
So there you have it. If there’s anything you’d like to see, just let me know in the comments!