Next steps to version 0.7


At this late stage, there are many items on the to-do list competing for limited development time and energy. The most important categories off the top of my head are:

  • New content
  • Game rebalancing
  • Earlier content polishing
  • Improve usability

I decided to choose one major goal from each category, and focus on those for the next version. Returning players will of course get to see new stuff, and maybe get past some fights that were unreasonably hard, or get more challenge out of a part they used to breeze through. Players trying the demo for the first time should experience a more usable and polished early game, and leave with a better first impression.

Here are the main things to expect by version 0.7.0.

New content

Stage 6, the capital city. The squalid and broken streets are lined with stone carvings, in which heroic warriors slay grotesque caricatures of monster-girls like the heroine and her friends. As she heads for the castle gates, she will face:

  • Elite soldiers with faster bullets, faster movement, more health.
  • Heavy armor firing more bullets at once and at higher rates.
  • The heroine's sister/rival last seen in Stage 1. Again she randomly moves about, this time between several heavy turrets.

Game rebalancing

The game is now far too easy when played properly. Fix this.

  • Give fewer extra lives, e.g. on the first 2 million points and every 3 million points thereafter.
  • Make it easier to lose teammates and score multiplier (the increase in point value of each blue heart: 100, 200, 300...10000 points). If you lose a life, your teammates should die with you or abandon you, which naturally loses more multiplier as well.

Earlier content polishing

Stage 2 (village) needs to be harder than the new Stage 1 (demonrealm).

  • In the fields, enemies could make better use of the multiple lanes, maybe run circles around the player like the start of Ikaruga's Stage 2.
  • The midboss in the storehouse could be more interesting after all his backup are defeated. Maybe he comes down to attack and use the sandbags for cover.
  • The wide open area before the boss could use a big phalanx charge or two.
  • Replace the remaining placeholder music, which might be familiar to hardcore Sega Genesis fans...

Usability

In-game instructions assume the player uses an Xbox controller. Adapt all instructions to the player's actual input device.

  • Custom button names. An interface in the controller options menu to enter a name for every button. All in-game text should use these names. Show this interface at launch if button names are not set.
    • Include presets for well-known controllers like Xbox, Playstation, and Nintendo Switch. Try to auto-select a preset from the controller name, if one hasn't been selected already.
  • Instructions should refer to the last used input device. When the player starts using a different device, update all onscreen button prompts to match.

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