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Hexplosion Update: Red Slimes

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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!

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Posted by on August 24, 2014 in Grant's Games

 

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What Next?

Hexplosion’s prototype is done, but I’d really like to explore Unity in further detail. Going forward, I’ll be working on other games while making improvements to Hexplosion.

Here’s what to expect in future Hexplosion updates to the Hexplosion prototype:
* An actual game over screen.
* Difficulty selection
* Getting rid of the weird bug where if the Bomb Witch slams into a slime, the slime gets pushed off the screen.
* A title screen
* In-game control description.
* Instantiating from an object pool instead of repeated creation and destruction at runtime. (This is for optimization. The game doesn’t really need it, but it’s good to start getting in the habit)

Once the prototype’s more or less good on its own, I’ll start expanding the game itself, adding additional enemy types, powerups, and destructible spawners.

As far as other games go, I’d like to build games to push my knowledge of Unity. Hexplosion is a simple action game with very few states. Since I’ve been talking about puzzle games so much, I’d like to build a Match-3 where I have to take a lot of states and conditions into account and maybe start messing with arrays. After that, I’m thinking about moving into a menu-based thing like an RPG, but I’ll see where I feel like going next.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in Grant's Games

 

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Hexplosion Prototype

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Hexplosion is nice and ready for playing. All images are still placeholders, but at the least, they’re now ones that are free-license.

You can play it over at my itch.io page. Head on over, play a few rounds, and share your high scores!

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2014 in Grant's Games

 

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Hexplosion

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A bit ago, I started learning Unity, and I’m nearly done with the prototype for Hexplosion. Hexplosion began as a twin-stick shooter, but as I finished scripting the essential pieces, I decided I wanted to make something a bit more unique. It plays a bit like a twin-stick shooter, but instead of launching a constant spray of bullets at your enemies, you instead have a single projectile: A bomb.

You end up with a slower and more considered experience as far as attacking goes, but you still need to be reasonably quick with your reflexes if you want to avoid getting shot by enemies. It’s about hanging on and taking crucial actions.

I’m in the process of replacing placeholder images with free-license images. Once that’s over with, I’ll throw up a link to the prototype. So far, I’m pleased with what I’ve built. A friend of mine might be interested in producing some custom sprite work, so I’ve got some high hopes for this one.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2014 in Grant's Games

 

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