The evolution of my battle system. How the game changed every time I delayed it.
first 6 months:
The original game combat was a turn-based action point system. Basically, 2 ships would square off and you would get action cards that would give you energy, shield or laser. You had 3 moves in a turn so you had to guess what the enemy was going to do and counter it. Should you use the shield in the first action or the last? It was a fun system but, it wasn’t as fun as it could have been. Also, I would need a lot of animation to make the game look fun.
(couldn’t find a picture of it… sorry)
Then I tried to a space invaders style game where you had to survive the round while firing at enemy ships that flew in a type of a pattern. You would be graded on how many ships you could destroy and get power up for destroying them. This was more fun but combat became repetitive. But the biggest problem was level design it turned out to be a real pain in the ass to make.
So I figure out how to add more bullets and make it more focused on dodging the bullet than memorizing the ships spawn zones in that level. At the time no one had made a bullet hell sim date and I was surprised to find how well the two systems complemented each other. The passing difference made each system feel less stale in longer play sessions and player would have to switch between each system pretty often in order to get the reward for the other parts of the game.
The combat system is purely skill based but not at the same level a typical bullet hells; which are notoriously hard. I would prefer the average player to find the bullet hell part of my game challenging but not rage quitting. A side note to mention here is the enemy scale (health wise) with your captain spirit. So if you want a more challenging game don’t upgrade ship health or firepower.
The reward system is a risk-reward system, so the longer you play the level the more reward you get. If you die you lose everything and have to pay the repair cost. It has created some great moments when your ship has only one health and you know that if you can make it passed the fifth stage it will double or triple your fame and credit bonus. Only then to realize it spawns you the toughest level! You know the ones with ships that create a shit ton of bullets and you’re having to dodge all of them.