Too many cooks or too many ingredients?
Updated: May 31, 2020
If I had to reflect I’d say that we a currently in a phase of development that might be critical if we don’t use it wisely. Our status at the moment is the rudimentary core of the game: defend the Power Core - kill slugs with melee. But members of our group have rightfully pointed out that this alone can become quite repetitive for a player, even if another player is there in coop. Furthermore, there is a possibility that the players might just stick close to the Power Core and kill the enemies from there without moving around. Our solution to the latter was the introduction of an item that would spawn in the middle of the map and could recharge the Power Core’s HP (and basically “lure” the player away from the Core. But we haven’t even started with that one. Another way of adding variety was supposed to come from the different kinds of enemy waves that would require the two players to unite their forces or tactically split up. This task is still in the process of getting balanced but we might have to re-balance the whole thing if we introduce new features.
Now we have our new challenge: should we add new features to make the core-gameplay more enjoyable or just focus on polishing the hell out of the one we already have - even if it might be repetitive?
And IF we add new features which would make sense and not require too much work/ time?
Right now our team members had the following suggestions
Change the mode from coop to versus. Each player has to defend their own core Personal opinion: this changes the core gameplay way too much. The basis of the game was not designed around a versus mode and “tailoring” our current game to fit the idea would require too much work and time. It would also limit the wave system from previously 4 available spawning points to 2 for each side. So we would forfeit quite a lot of variety when it comes to the waves.
Give the two player characters different weapons. One would have a stronger weapon that requires more time to land a hit - the other player had a lighter weapon that traded damage for attack speed Personal opinion: since we already have the player parameters it would at least be possible. It would also encourage more cooperation between the players. On the other hand, it would not really solve the problem where the player is glued to the Power Core, so while it remains a possibility it might not be the highest priority.
Add a mechanic that lets the player change the sides, either in form of a teleporter object or a mechanic that switches the player positions Personal opinion: once again, it would be possible and might even be interesting since it also adds to the cooperative aspect. But I can’t help but get the impression that this feature should have been tested out last week instead of this one.
Generally, I think the suggestions would require too much time to implement and test - and right now we need that time to make sure that the core gameplay works. So the most plausible solution would be focussing on what we already have and improve it. But that would also require an open conversation with our imaginative teammate. Not the most pleasant thing for a conflict-averse person like me but considering the fact that this will hardly be the last time I have to do something like that I guess I’d better get some practice...