High score table and balancing

I implemented the high score table and ran it through the same “text ticker” code that powers the pre-game dialogue. I also used some custom markup to define colour and spacing on the characters. To avoid swamping of the score table I took the decision to allow only a player’s best score to be registered. Currently this is controlled quite simple server side.

I always aimed for an arcade experience with this game which meant typically a game time around 5 minutes in length with a learning curve that meant if you mastered the flow of the game you could spend an infinite amount of time playing. I’ve never been a fan of those games where they slowly restrict your movement and ultimately force your ship/character in to submission. With Invaders I pretty much tried to provide a balanced game that was simple to pick up, tough to beat but rewarding none the less.
To that end much of my time is now spent balancing certain aspects of the action. I haven’t drawn new graphics or cut any serious new code for a couple of weeks. This final stage is pretty much bug fixing and playing with numbers.

One of the biggest decisions I took almost immediately during play testing was to cut down the “Bonus Stage”. Whilst I was proud of it as an interlude to the blast the aliens approach to the rest of the game I wasn’t happy that it was something to appear several times each wave. It was just a bit too samey I guess. Confusingly in the code I still refer to it as the Boss Stage which probably didn’t help. I don’t have any plans for a boss stage as such.

One final thing I have never been too happy about is what I call the “stragglers”. Those aliens that are left doing their little moves at the end of a level. They appear far too easy to blast away when really (a la Space Invaders, Galaga etc) they ought to get progressively tougher to hit. So I implemented what I call a finalFew mode. This is typically triggered by the number of alien kills per level being greater than AliensToKill < 5.
In finalFew mode the aliens break out of formation and start to speed up. They also take on the ability to fire lasers bolts, something previously reserved for the Drone ships.

I’m in no doubt that the real fun in this game is blasting the aliens whilst dodging the raining bombs and lasers. I figured the more the player spends his time doing this the happier he will be.

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