EUROPA Dev Blog #7: The Boss

Slidermockup

Yes! The first boss fight I’ve ever designed is sort of complete! I still need to do some testing and balance the difficulty, but the Slider is fully functional and ready to shoot myriad bullets at you. The Slider boasts three attack phases:

  1. The Slider will slide up and down on its track and fire huge shots at you. These shots aren’t incredibly threatening, but they block your bullets, meaning you have to find ways to shoot around them in order to do damage.
  2. After sliding around a bit, the Slider will close its eye and fire a pretty 4-pronged spiral of bullets. Again, this attack isn’t too difficult to deal with on its own, but once the Slider opens its eye and starts firing big shots at you again, things get complicated as you have to dodge these while dodging the rest of the spiral!
  3. After sliding around some more, the Slider will close its eye again and fire a big mish mash of bullets in random directions. These bullets bounce of walls and will approach at a variety of speeds, creating a hectic situation that requires careful observation and movement to deal with.

Here is a video clip of me trying to deal with these attacks. The “random-angle bullets” attack has been toned down since this video, so players shouldn’t get totally destroyed like I did.

I was afraid this boss would be difficult to develop as I’ve never developed anything like this before, but I was actually able to use the skills I learned from programming the regular enemies to program the boss. (The 4-pronged bullet spiral is just a beefed up version of the Sprinkler’s attack, for example!) The biggest problem was figuring out how to make the Slider cycle through its attack phases and alternate between moving and stopping.

I created a separate “eyelid” object for the Slider to close its eye with. I set a timer to go off after five seconds of sliding, and told the Slider to spawn the eyelid over its eye. When this object spawns, the Slider recognizes that its eye is closed and stops moving. The eyelid then creates bullets in either the spiral or random angles pattern, depending on whether the Slider’s “attackphase” variable is one or two. The eyelid destroys itself after four seconds, and tells the Slider to start sliding again when it does so.

Now that all of this has been figured out, I can start combining the enemies and Interactibles into levels and work on visual polish. I’ve already created some arrow cues to tell players what to do when confronted with an Interactible, and I plan on making some gibs for each enemy so they can spectacularly explode into metal shrapnel as opposed to just disappearing. The music has also been written, and I’m very happy with it. I’m getting pumped for this game!

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