For our vertical slice design-wise we aim to deliver a fun, challenging and engaging experience of players boarding a ship, navigating through its rooms accompanied by your squad whilst facing off against the enemy crew. Creating that gameplay starts by creating a barebones loop working for combat: Enemy can shoot the player, player can get damaged, player can die, player respawns and tries again. Now we have players and enemies fighting against each other. The only issue was: It’s not fun or engaging!
Our solution to this is on one end creating a meaningful challenge for the player and on the other end providing the player with varying meaningful solutions. Meaningful challenge is something we’re delivering with the enemies. Our initial basic enemy was clearly not doing a good job of trying to kill the player. We’re in the process of making it more aggressive, have it move around more, and communicating clearly to the player when it is going to take an action.
In addition to that, a new sniper enemy was developed that made use of our Ability system. Whilst the ability system would mainly be used to have the player obtain abilities by having them be assigned to their crew members, the functionality of our abilities allowed us to easily apply different behaviors to enemies as well. The sniper would be equipped with a piercing bullet, which could shoot straight through the player onto his other squad members. Area of effect damage is incredibly dangerous to the player and their squad. This way, the sniper with its high projectile speed offered quite a punishment for those players that couldn’t evade or defend against the shot. This also encouraged players to prioritize taking out the sniper enemy over the basic enemy.
Enhancements to the level by means of environmental hazards and cover offered additional challenged and solutions to the player. Environmental Hazards encouraged players to have to be more aware of their pathing inside a room, influencing player positioning. Cover allowed players to use their positioning to get to a more advantageous defensive position. Whilst it not being majorly important with the currently provided enemy challenge, the pillars in the level already greatly influence player movement and make navigating and fighting in the rooms a lot more interesting.
More tweaks are being made in these final weeks of pre-production, and week after week we are seeing our vertical slice growing more and more fun.