This week, we’ve again significantly improved the conveyance of the story. We’ve added better transitions between phases that more clearly show the players the story, including between the menu and game start, the collection and fight phases, and after a player has won. In addition, we’ve improved the between-level cutscene to make it more clear that a player should choose an upgrade. Characters display their names on the main menu now, to give them some flavor. We’ve also added additional controls to the in-game UI, to better introduce players to what they have to do.
We’ve also improved the aesthetics of the game. We’ve added additional enemy sprites to give visual variety to the enemies, added death animations to all players so that it’s clear when players die, added screen fading to all screen transitions, and improved the look of large text. Different music for the final level has also been added, and we have done more rebalancing of audio so that both our music and sound effects can be heard without any overpowering the other in a negative way.
For additional variety, we’ve also added several new characters with unique abilities, some new enemy types, and additional powerup choices.
What’s the motivation?
Our focus on story conveyance was primarily to make it clearer to the players who the characters were and what they were doing. This should give the game a more fun feeling, which should improve the player experience. It also should get players more accustomed to what is going on in-game, which should reduce confusion; for example, players should be ready for enemies to be attacking them after the start-of-game cutscene, and the final fight scene should make more sense now that players have a context for why they are fighting each other. The additional aesthetic changes should have a similar effect by making it more fun to kill other players or win the game, or by smoothing the transitions between scenes so that player. The additional characters and enemy types should add some variety for experienced players and should make it more fun to move through the collection phase.
For next week, we plan to focus mostly on the balance of the game based on feedback from playtesters (e.g. by reducing the difficulty of earlier levels, improving the powerup system, or making the character abilities easier to use). We also plan to improve the collection phase timer by adding warnings when time is low and by potentially moving the timer to be in the game’s universe. We also plan to add full icons for the powerups.