Hey everyone, this update contains some exciting new additions to the game! However, I need to start by saying that the video update won't be happening any time soon. I've talked about making one for some time but I've got so much to do for Squillamorph, and other projects, that I just don't have the time to make one to the quality I'd like. Nevertheless, the posts here will continue.
In regards to these posts, I'm trying out a slightly different layout because I think it makes things easier to digest. Anyway, onto to the updates!
The best change, in my opinion, is the new HUD! Connor finished creating it recently and it instantly made the game feel more complete. Obviously the game still has a long way to go but the HUD is one of the most important parts of it. I'll quickly explain the information it highlights. The highest piece of information is the current number of lives, made clear with a heart symbol. The middle number is the current wave of enemies, which uses a symbol we intend to utilise throughout the game to represent enemies and the wave system. The lowest number is the points count, which uses a symbol we will associate with points. Finally, the image will represent the current creature the player is infesting, or just the base character as shown in the GIF.
We may end up changing the placement of each element, once we've done some more play testing, but for now I think it works great.
Level Design Updates
I've now got all of the current levels up-to-date and working well. They still need testing but they are all working mechanically. Some of the levels have gone through some design changes. Let's take the second tutorial level as an example. This level introduces the player to the main wave-based gameplay after learning the basic mechanics. It is a simple level with a horizontal layout. The player would spawn and fall onto a door that blocked the level exit. They would then have to find what we call a 'fuse', an infest-able machine that they can deposit points in, to open the exit door.
The original layout of the level did not make this easy for the players to figure out. Now that I've made the changes, the player must use a fuse to open a door, which leads to the level exit, and then use another fuse to activate the exit. This layout should teach the player how the levels work in a more understandable way than before.
I've been working quite a bit on the enemies this past week. I've started making a new variation of the Flop Shark, a larger and slower shark with more health and a powerful bite, which will add another interesting dynamic to the shark levels. Perhaps the most important, but the least noticeable, improvement I made to the enemies is the hands/feet. I've changed the movement of them to be smoother and I've started attempting to make their placement better. This was especially important to do because I've begun to make a much larger enemy which needs good limb motion, the boss for the shark region, the Flopalodon.
We are not ready to show this boss yet but the fight is fully planned and it is beginning to come together! Ideally, it will be complete, in a rough form, by next week. Then I will be able to show a preview of it!
For some time, I have been thinking about ways I could make the camera more dynamic. We have camera shake which definitely helps but the camera is always locked to the player character. I did try having the camera smoothly follow the player but because of sudden movements, like the helix dash, it actually looked anything but smooth. We could have a track for the camera to move around on in each level, keeping the focus on the space the player is in, but this would mean we have to set one up for each level. I then decided just to stick to the fixed camera, but the other day I had an idea. I came up with a system that keeps the core camera movement locked to the player but moves around in the direction of the most open space. This is almost what a camera track would do but it dynamically adjusts to any space rather than being limited to a set path.
This still needs a lot of testing because, while it is more dynamic, it might make aiming slightly harder. So we might not keep this but I thought it was worth mentioning!
That's it for this post. I hope you are as excited about the progress as I am! Thanks for reading!
I'm the game developer for Squillamorph. I'll post here on the devlog as often as I can.