,I designed Firecracker Fight to have meaningful choices throughout the game. One of those is the choice of throwing lots of firecrackers, or aiming carefully. Like any good choice, there's a trade-off. Mass throwing is fairly reliable, you'll get your target eventually. Careful aim can finish it sooner, saving you damage and letting your attention turn to the next target. Then again careful aim uses more fuse time. Decisions!
In order for all this to work, I wanted learnable skill to play a role, especially for careful aim, so the game's available choices change and stay interesting over hours of play. Of course, a closer hit will do more damage than one that blows up farther a way and does partial damage. There are also different critical hits that do even more damage. The most potent is a Bullseye, in which you land a bomb right down the tank hatch or the truck's passenger compartment.
Getting back to the point of features not working together as intended, we built some stickiness into those Bullseye spots, so if you actually got a hit there it wouldn't just roll off every time. We also set up a standard physics model, so firecrackers roll, bounce, and skid around. When those two features come together though, things get a little weird.
As you can see, we get a nice bounce on the first impact. But when the bounce throws your firecracker up along the roof, it sticks like flypaper.
I noticed this when playtesting, and it was a great example of those minimum workable internal constraints in the player's mind. What that means is your player is not going to do research to understand the rules encoded in your game software. They won't read a manual if there is one. The player will just see what works, and start behaving as if what works were the rules. There's a tiny, sticky target they could aim for. But when the player sees that lining up the aim dot with the hood of the truck reliably yields a bounce that sticks to the roof and kills in one hit, they will establish an internal constraint, a guideline in their own mind, such as "aim for the hood and get easy kills." And in this case, the player was me. I just noticed that to get through a level to see how it ends, I was aiming for hood kills.
In its current state, this wasn't creating the flow from beginner to intermediate to advanced play that I wanted. It favored mass throwing, because enough of those throws would bounce up and stick. So here are the changes I've proposed:
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