Here we are again, with not one but three new iterations of Beatfense!
We have finally added a simple Area of Effect (AoE) weapon to Repeaters. When they are activated they also shoot, dealing damage and destroying nearby enemies. With this addition the game is already playable, and two important flaws in the original mechanic have been revealed:
- It’s quite difficult for the player to design a proper defensive network because of randomness and high variation in the directions the Pulse is retransmitted. The random Repeater mechanic makes the game difficult to predict, and therefore it’s difficult for the player to define a defensive strategy. One ends up simply placing Repeaters on the grid in hopes that the Pulse will activate them, because it’s not easy to understand where a new Repeater will be useful. Lack of visual feedback, maybe? Should power-lines (that is, paths travelled by the Pulse) be shown? Fading power-lines out more slowly alleviates this problem, but it’s still there.
- As the player places Repeaters on the Grid their number simply increases, constantly. In orther to avoid superpoblation we considered many options: a cooldown period between available Repeaters, a maximum number of repeaters in the scene, Repeaters being destroyed by our own weapons or a limited number of activations. We implemented this last option: ideally it would force the player to redesign her defensive network and it’s a more natural self-regulation mechanism. But in practice…
Well, check it yourself. We call it Alpha Chaos :(
We are not simply dumping this version, there are still many thing to try, but we wanted to implement different game mechanichs that should, ideally, lead to a game where the player is in control of the situation.
Back to the roots – sequencer mode – Alpha 4.25
We came up with a game mode in which the Grid behaves like a sequencer a la ‘Lumines’. Aiming to make it more interactive, the player can speed-up or slow-down the Pulse wave at will. Once again one may also place Items on the Grid, which now wimply behave as AoE weapons. Enemies are also a bit faster.
This mode deserver further attention: different kind of weapon (has anyone played Derek Yu’s Diabolika2?), enemy speeds, Item cooldown periods… It could be some kind of Challenge Stage… or a game in itself!
A step forward – mirrors mode – Alpha 4.5
Finally we developed a game mode based on a new item: The ‘Mirror’. Like Repeaters, Mirrors redirect the Pulse, although just in one direction, and shoot an AoE weapon when activated. But now the player may rotate them to modify the direction they are facing. That way she can create power lines at will by simply rotating a given Mirror. That allows her a tighter control of the defensive network! But it lacks something… we are still figuring out what!
Which mode will prevail? Not Alpha Chaos, we are almost sure about that… Which mode does look more interesting and promising?