As you may recall from previous blog discussions of the glorious Endless Level, I needed to ensure the first 20 levels of Firecracker Fight are adequately balanced to be our starting point for the next stage. It's been most of a week but I think we're there. So today, I'm deep in design of Endless mode.
Some of the playability issues on those first 20 have been details like when enemies start shooting. I designed them with a first shot delay, to challenge you but give you a chance to knock them out before they hurt you. But in implementation, that timer started when the vehicles spawned off-screen, effectively shortening the time you had once you actually saw the target. The two or three seconds they took to peek out onto the grass made the difference between a fun, challenging level and a savage beating. Fixing now!
I was still able to test the difficulty through insider information though. Since I know where and how tough each target will be, I could compensate for those fast first shots, and determine if a level was easy or hard enough given the fixes we're going to make, since I could throw my firecrackers where I knew the target would be. It's an interesting balancing act, imagining the experience of the first-time player, but using what I know, to simulate the finished version.
And all that is just the starting point. I have an outline for an increasingly difficult level with stage after stage of enemies. There should be enough novelty to keep you entertained. There are peak challenges and easy points along the way. The outline was just a brief description of each stage. Now I'm adding the detailed sequencing. All it looks like today is a few rows in a spreadsheet, defining location and types of enemies:
There's probably some abnormal psychology going on, but game design so often ends up in a spreadsheet that I find rows, columns, and numbers in cells kind of a thrill. Even if it were a budget workbook, it would remind me of the most fun parts of my work.
It's like I say, as a game designer, I get to write my own rules.
As always, I hope you will enjoy playing Firecracker Fight as much as I love building it. Hear about the approaching launch day, on the App Store and Google Play, by subscribing to our weekly update!
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