Some times when designing games and characters you get Eureka! moments. Realising that I really ought to expand on the cartoon / B-Movie theme with the cutesy Spaceman Spiff inspired settings and creatures was mine.
I put some work in to defining the visuals a bit more and deliberately over-egged the classic blue/orange palette. I find that the player’s ship is much more of a joy to control and the big in-your-face laser bolts are much more what I had in mind when I first started the project.
I added “Squid” to the game, a splodgy tentacled monster that pretty much captures the kind of alien that I’m after. I also paid some attention to the level structure and the role that each level plays in the broader game. I expanded the level count to 24 (peviously it was 12) and broke the visuals down in to 2 styles. For the first half of the game you are clearly on Earth in a city setting and for the second half you are on a more remote alien setting.
The pack now also moves with consistency. I defined 5 pack styles with the first style a very familiar sideways shift. Later pack styles see them all pulsating and “throbbing” quite a bit more with one of the styles having the aliens drop pretty much to player level. To counter this I also stopped pack aliens from firing below a certain height. The player has to stand some kind of a chance :-)
Finally for this version I also altered some of the sound effects with the aliens dying with a much more satisfying splodge. Sound effects are something I’m keen to polish over time.