Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Shooter Boss 11 - Advanced Boss Design

Here is a little picture of me Fighting (ok, dodging at this point) the Boss from level 11. Which is the start of the games Advanced levels.
End of Level Boss #11

Now that picture makes this boss look like a walk in the park doesn't it. Just let me tell you that looks can be deceiving though. This is one of those cases. I have not modified the picture in any way, you can even see the debug text on it still. So what makes him nasty, after all he doesn't even move. Yep, you heard that right, he doesn't even move a bit, once he is on.
So just how hard can it be to kill a stationary boss. Well that is one of the things that makes designing bosses interesting. Challenging the player to come up with on the fly decisions or skill to figure out what to do. Most bosses are about methods, even the simple ones. Shooter players know this, and it is an important skill to pickup and improve on. This shooter will teach you how to play shooters, no doubt in my mind at this point.

So lets move onto the main section of this article. What am i going to do with my next 10 bosses ?

Advanced Boss Design
The 11th - 20th bosses will be on what i am calling the advanced levels. This is where i will take what you have learn't and see how well you learn't it. The Bosses however are a completely new breed, yet seem very familiar in some ways.

1. First issue with the advanced bosses is that you can cycle around levels that contain them. This is done by beating all 20 levels, and then wrapping back to level 11 for the 21st etc. So these bosses had to be able to be expanded and made more difficult easily and fairly.
2. They needed to be evolved from the Simpler bosses found in the first 10 levels. I want players to feel advancement, even if my graphics do not loko incredibly new (or new at all :O)
3. These bosses needed to be a taste of new, and especially with boss 11, a view into the future and hopefully a view that will scare people into realizing the possibilities of what these bosses can become.

How do i do that ?
1.... These bosses contain an element that will be so easy to increase the difficulty on. Namely the spawn of the support aliens. If i spped up the spawn by a small amount (say 10%) each time you encounter this boss, it will get harder and harder by an approximately proportional amount. Simple, and yet sooo effective.
2... These bosses now have the power of Spawn. They no longer have to fight alone, and they themselves will also get more aggressive and manouverable as the Advanced levels progress. advancement in most every way. Some more obvious than others.
3... This new view and peek into the future advanced bosses should scare anyone with an imagination. Even though the Boss himself could just sit still, it is possible to spawn support aliens all over the screen, from every angle. Just think of your most hated alien from the previous levels(where they were introduced) and realise that they could be helping a voracious Boss.. I hope you can see my point.

So my Advanced Boss Design follows some simple elements, which is one reason i am confident they will work out. The only tip i can really give is, Complex aliens do not nescessarily make good aliens. Combinations however can be anything and are much easier to control and balance.

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