On last week’s show, episode 20, we roughed up five aliens with the help of our Twitch crew (thank you Pandabitz!) and came to the conclusion that the fifth and final one – a mix of the original idea with the large head/narrow body idea was the way to go. We’ll be implementing the gameplay in episode 21, and it’s still likely to change down the line, but here’s how it evolved.
The alien enemy in Project Spaghetti has to fulfill a few things: it has to have a shielded and unshielded form for gameplay, its collision has to be something we can make a simple shape (to avoid craziness with the bullet bounce), and it needs to feel different from the other enemies. Here’s what we came up with.
To differentiate the alien from other enemy types, while maintaining an easy-to-understand collision shape (after all, bullets are going to be bouncing off the thing’s shield and later slamming into its body when the shield goes down), we took the ghost from the graveyard stage as a base shape and built the shield and hovercraft around it, giving it a big scary eye to finish.
For variation, we kept the ghost shape, but threw away the hovercraft and glass-like shield for an energy shield and tentacles. (and we threw in a few more eyes) The collision shape is fine, but something about it just came too close to the ghost for our taste.
Thanks to a great suggestion from one of our viewers in Twitch (Pandabitz to the rescue again!), we threw away the ghost shape and went with a thin body with a huge head. We also swapped the tentacles out for a Jabba the Hutt style tail. Theoretically, if we would have pursued a shielded version, it would have the purple energy glow from attempt 2.
Just to keep the collision shape the same from both directions, we switched out Jabba’s tail for a pair of feet. Again, if it had a shield, it would be the purple energy glow, but we never got that far because we discovered the next alien.
Our final solution, a combination of the hovercraft riding alien from our first attempt with the narrow body and large head. The head should still be narrow enough for us to fudge the collision a bit when the shield goes down, but only when we implement the character in Episode 21 will we know for sure. Shielded, its shape is simple enough for bullet reflection to make sense to the player, and visually, attempt 5 is our current favorite.