Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Once again, playtesting served as a wonderful source of information. Not only on the sessions I managed to organize in person, but after seeing all of the AM2R Demo playtrhoughs on YouTube, I noticed something...
Nobody ever switches the ice beam off.
The beam system was planned to be a little more complex than the original Super Metroid stacks. There's a base damage value, that goes up every time you get a new beam, and some modifiers, that are part of each beam's features.
In theory, this gives the player many ways of approaching situations. Having Plasma Beam enabled makes the beam hit multiple times, but the damage is lower. Spazer spreads the base damage on each beam, and with some extra damage, you'll need at least 2 beams hitting an enemy for an actual damage boost.
It was getting a little painful to balance. On each revision the beam combinations went from really impractical pea shooters to extremely overpowered. And, in all cases, having all 4 beams enabled was the best choice, there was little reason to change combinations. Missiles, in the end, turned out to be just Metroid killers, and nothing else.
So, after explaining the system to the test players, they never found a situation to turn any beam off. The game wasn't designed with active switching in mind, like the Prime series. So, I think the best is to make things simple again.
Now, beams act like in Super Metroid. If, for some reason, you decide to disable one of the beams, it'll be to add some challenge to the game, just like disabling any other useful item. This makes balancing enemies a lot easier.
You enter a new area, enemies take many hits, you might focus on killing just the ones in your way. You find a beam upgrade, enemies are much easier to kill. Simple as that.
I might keep one or two of the specific-beam-combination puzzles for certain items, but they won't be essential.
Anyway. Besides that, there was a major bug hunt. Seems like variable rounding changed from GM7 to GM8.1, causing some obscure glitches here and there.
The contents of the next demo is looking good.
As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.