Devlog #4: Tweak and Polish

Hello, I’m fedellen and welcome to the 4th episode of my Monday devlog series. This week our main goal was to playtest and debug all of the new systems recently implemented as well as design and prototype a tutorial system for the upcoming beta.

​There was a large chunk of time spent applying some “tweak and polish” on the swarm of menu screens created. Whenever I lose my thought process or uninspired I’ll often compile a version simply to find one thing to change; countless lingering annoying bugs were solved this week. Every time I’m working in an old behavior I tend to add just a little bit more juice to it, whether it be more particles or making all the things happen at random intervals.

Tutorial Systems and Music Updates

Early in the week we prioritized slotting in a working tutorial system so we could begin iterations on it’s design. By default we’ll be using my new touch control system to drag the dolphin horizontally.  The second touch, or any touch above a certain Y axis [(screenheight)*(.33)] will always fire the base Sonar Shot. Any multi-touch tap on our energy bar will fire the player’s currently equipped Sonar Ability. We’re playing around with more ideas of where to place these tutorial screens including making a “tutorial wave” instead of having it appear during a live wave. I’m really happy with how nice the movement controls are feeling and I’m looking forward to porting it back into Astral Defense as well as using it for all types of games moving forward — its super smooth.

Sonar Smash Alpha Tutorial Screenshot

We’ve successfully implemented a track selector in the menu and added a couple more songs from abstractionMusic’s library. I have a little more work to do on the music coding side on things; we’re a bit undecided on how we want the flow set up and which songs to use. At the moment its programmed to play a certain intro song then fade into whichever the track selector is set to. My intent now is to have it loop through the whole playlist from there. Also we’ve been thinking about adding a loop and a shuffle option into the mix.

Scoring Systems

​The game has a little more direction now with some very big enhancements to the scoring system. There is currently three different bonuses that will pop up in between waves to multiply the player’s score. The time bonus comes in gold (30%), silver (20%), and bronze (10%) and is calculated based on which enemies spawn. I still a little more tweaking and balancing to do with the values. When the player survives a wave without taking any damage they’ll receive the flawless bonus (20%). Also as a little easter egg achievement and bonus, if they finish a wave without killing any enemies they’ll get the pacifist bonus worth 500 score. There’s absolutely room for more bonus ideas.

In addition the player’s score will now result and convert in direct rewards during the game over sequence. Right now I set it up to give different tiers of rewards for at scores 500, 1000, 2500, and 5000. It feels like a step in the right direction for a procedural generated endless game. Together the score multiplier and rewards system really gives the player some sort of soft tangible goals; we’re planning on expanding on these goals with the daily quest and achievements systems still to come.

Sonar Smash Alpha Scoring System Screenshot

Next Time

With the implementation of Score Rewards and Daily Rewards it opens up the possibility of easily adding more items into the game next week. As such we’ve been bouncing around an idea to put relics into the game starting with the Magnet Relic, a simple mechanic which sucks all rings/powerups directly to the dolphin which I’ve already prototyped. We’re also still working on different methods of producing the right sound effects. If we find some extra time there is the possibility of starting some Achievement coding and designing but its not a priority for beta. Speaking of which if we don’t find many new bugs from Relics and some recently implemented systems we may push out some community beta versions quite soon.

Sonar Smash Magnet Relic Icon
Thanks for reading!
fedellen, Pixel Pajama Studios
o/

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