Okay, maybe that's two questions, but they are one problem in terms of providing appropriate user feedback. They are central to a couple of things that make a game fun:
Predictability: the idea that the game behaves in a way you can learn, and take advantage of as a player.
Consequence: the idea that your actions have meaningful outcome. Otherwise, even you have lots of choices, none of them matter, so you get bored and spend the rest of your afternoon on iFunny.
It's no surprise, the enemy tanks, trucks, and comandeered cars are shooting back. But at whom? Some levels have friendly vehicles, but they aren't part of every level, and are there to complicate your shots, contributing to the sense of consequence. Remember the meta-game of Firecracker Fight is your overbearing pal challenging you to face his army. So the enemy is damaging you.
Of course then we realized we left the player hit point counter off the game screen, so yeah, we're fixing that.
So the enemy is damaging you. And of course you are damaging the individual insurgent toys. One of my colleagues then pointed out, our players are going to want to know how close those enemies are to destruction and defeat. That brings us back to predictability. It is important to be able to learn the internal constraints of the game, so you can get better at it. Some measure of enemy hit points is supports both learning how much damage the different explosives do, and how many of them are needed for a kill. Because at lower levels you can afford to sprinkle extra firecrackers in the path of an advancing enemy, but later you'll be challenged to use your shots very economically just to survive.
This is my rough sketch to illustrate the resulting measure, a common enough model in action games like Firecracker Fight. We'll show the damage you did as a number, and briefly fade up a hit point bar.
But unaffected targets don't show the bar. And we won't leave them up all the time. That would clutter the screen and diminish the sense of immersion. But we would also miss out on another chance for incremental mastery of the game, in terms of internalizing the model of fresh and damaged enemies, which of course you can get better at over time. All these are things that give you an increasing sense of skill and satisfaction.
So we're one day closer to a solid, playable game, and launch day! Remember to subscribe to the email list, where you’ll get our Weekly Roundup, and early warning when the game is live on the App Store and Google Play!
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