In previous post we commented that we were crunching hard. Those were more peaceful and relaxing times…now we doubled down and the whole team is working even harder. We are polishing WOODPUNK and we’re trying to create the best experience for the player. We still have a bit of spare time to continue with the objective of posting a weekly article about how we approached content creation throughout the development of WOODPUNK. As we said last week, todays post will be about how we made WOODPUNK more frenetic!
Since early development, we decided that the player experience had to be extremely frenetic. Once the player reaches the battlefield, there would be no pauses for them to chill. In all game modes, the player arrives to the battleground in the protagonist capsule, and the fight starts!
During game runs (story mode, survival mode…) the player can’t return to the base to change suit or upgrade the tech tree, therefore once they are in the run, there is no turning back without losing their progression!
We want to make WOODPUNK difficult, the player must feel challenged in every run. The difficulty resides in mainly two aspects: random weapons, and the amount of enemies.
Once the player lands into the battleground, they will receive 2 random weapons, a melee weapon, and a ranged weapon (there are more than 1400 possible combinations!). As explained in a previous post, we have developed an extensive tech tree that allows the player to invest resources into their weapon technology and increase the damage per second their weapons outputs. Once the player develops completely the tech tree, there is still a 20% chance that the player receives a low tier weapon. As the player advances, the game becomes more difficult, therefore having weapons that deal low damage will increase difficulty, and make the player feel that he is being followed by a swarm of enemies. As they develop the game’s technology, the player receives new weapons and new types of ammunitions. Lets give a couple of examples on how these effect game play...
Weapons like the Flamethrower will “burn” the environment creating areas where the player will receive damage if they walk over. This mechanic will create a more chaotic gameplay! As the environment is burning down and hell breaks loose, the player will only be able to walk through unburnt areas, where they may find dangerous enemies. We have implemented other ammunition types that add to this sense of chaos. Bomb ammunition will damage the player if they shoot at something which is too close to them.
Beat’em ups are one of our favorite game types from the 90s, and we want the players to feel what we felt when were younger. We created weapons such as the War Hammer and the Chainblade to reenact these feelings. These weapons are better in some situations than others as they have synergies with specific suits. For example, The Crusader suit deals more damage with melee weapons. This suit synergizes well with guns which use ice ammunition. The player would be able to freeze their opponent’s and damage them easily with their melee weapon.
In case the player does not like the weapon he receives at the start of the game, they can ask their robot companion Theo to craft a new weapon. If the player chooses to keep this new weapon, the player will have to wait for the craft animation to end for them to be able to shoot. This means the players will have to sacrifice their safeness to receive a new weapon, while enemies take advantage of this pause!
We do not want the player to feel overpowered throughout several runs, remember we want to make WOODPUNK a HARD roguelike. If they receive an overpowered weapon (such as the automatic large chamber laser gun which shoots a continuous beam of light) at the end of the level the player will lose this weapon and start with a new one in the next stage.
WOODPUNK is also hard and frenetic thanks to the amount of enemies the player will have to fight against and their coded pathfinding. The player will have to fight more than 130 enemies simultaneously, all with an individual A.I and strategy to follow. Ninjas will run fast towards the player and disappear, later to reappear behind the player. Depending on the type of weapons the player receives it will be easier or harder to defeat all enemies.
Other game asset
We are in process of creating a special waves per stage throughout WOODPUNK’s different game modes. For example, in WOODPUNK’s first world map, G-Nova, the main enemies the player will fight are weaklings; the spear weakling and the arrow weakling. In the special wave of G-Nova, large amount of enemies will spawn to create chaos for new players that will not be able to handle this situation. These enemies are weak, but will challenge new players. Similarly in the second world map, Sicily-Alpha, the final boss is The Necromancer which spawns enemies called skeletons. These enemies are very weak, but extremely fast, therefore to add chaos to the game, the special wave will spawn a swarm of skeletons that will follow the player.
In the game mode “Protect the machine” the player will have to protect a machine (really?) from enemies that will try to destroy it for a set amount of time. Once the time expires, the player will see a flash and all enemies will die in an explosion. When the player reaches the last seconds of the game mode, we have implemented an extra wave of enemies to spawn and attack the player. Even though it will appear overwhelming, it’s a controlled chaos, as the objective of the player is not to defeat these enemies but to survive these last seconds.
To increase the pace of the game for those players who have spent long hours in the game and may be tired of looking at the splash arts of Theo’s abilities or bosses spawning, a game option will be available to disable splash art animations and lower down time. While playing survival mode, players are generally interested in long continuous game format with no breaks.
We want the player to feel a complete frenetic experience with WOODPUNK and an approach for this is through particle effects. The melee weapon “War Hammer” includes several different examples. To use the war hammer, the player first has to charge up his attack, the hammer will blink once it’s ready. The experiences implemented when the player uses the hammer are "weight" effect and visual:
- It is important that the player feels “weight” when using the War Hammer. The weight and amount of damage the weapon deals is represented by the screen shake and shock wave that happen when the hammer hits the floor, and the necessity of preparing the attack.
- After hitting the ground, cracks appear on it, and if the player hits any objects, permanent debris can be seen in the floor that stay throughout the player's run
So these are a few ways we aim to improve player experience. We hope you found this feature interesting, If you wish to know more about WOODPUNK join our discord server and ask anything you want!
We will be back next week with a new article! Stay put!