Freaky Fish Devlog #3

This week I have been progressing through my list of things to be done to the game to get it ready for release, clearing most of the easier tasks to get ready for some of the more difficult ones. Major changes since the last update include:

  • An effect when the player is caught by an explosion.
  • "Death" frames for the fish when they are caught by an explosion
  • The bomb will now explode when it touches a fish, even if it is trapped in the bubble.

The most recent change involves the difficulty level. In the original competition release, the bomb could not be caught until it came to rest at the end of the fall. This added some difficulty at the expense of frustration for most players as it make it quite a task to actually collect the bomb before it exploded. Some of the feedback was in the vein of "I never scored more than 0" - that sounds frustrating to me.

For the new version of the game the bomb can be intercepted anywhere on its fall. This one change gives the game a far more playable feel at the expense of the difficulty level. The most major flaw is that it is possible to hover just below the boat and immediately intercept the bombs and return them! This has required quite some thought and a few experimental changes: 

1. The fisherman picks a random direction (left, right, straight down) and throws the bomb in that direction, causing uncertainty for the player. This works to some extent, but it is still possible to intercept most of the time. This feature was left in as it added some variety to the game.

2. The fisherman won't drop the bomb if the player is above a certain position. This solved the problem but added frustration as it wasn't clear why the bomb wasn't being dropped. This change was removed.

3. The time that you can hold the bomb is scaled based on the position of the player. This means that if you catch the bomb at the bottom of the play area you have up to 90ms to release it. But at the top of the screen you might get only 5ms. This also solves the problem but may prove unfair to the player in practice.

Change 3 was implemented today, so it is not clear if that is going to work - lots of testing is required to see how it feels. If not, the next change will be to have the fisherman always throw the bomb in a different direction to the player if they are above a certain position. 

Work continues...

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