The Decider of Things

Yeah, let’s take a break today from our normally scheduled programming chat to consider some design stuff today. I did have some trickiness making my new shooting mechanic work better, but that mostly has to do with the fact that I can’t remember what I named stuff. Either way, now the Fortress type enemies no longer use a rectangle to keep track of stuff. Instead they use that sweet code I wrote to calculate bullet trajectories. Most of if anyway, since it can also calculate absolute distances.
Which gets me to my point (pretty quick today). Now Fortress enemies shoot at the player if they are nearby, which is what the document said that it should. More specifically it shoots at the closest player. The $64,000 question though, is if a player moves out of that range, should the Flying Fortress enemies still shoot at them? On this, I am torn. As always, let’s do a series of thought experiments to see what happens.
Let’s first assume that they do not shoot at a player who is no longer near them. This is how the game is currently set up. In this case they will fly on through and only attack if you are near them. Avoid their initial shots and they move along. Nothing too bad really. Provided that multiple people are playing, I can see this enemy type putting a shitload of fire on the screen, since it will move cleanly along the screen and attack players 1 at a time. This would also allow the bomb carrier to be more or less safe, even in single player.
Now on the other hand let’s assume that the Fortress kept targeting a player even though they left the firing area. This has the cute ability to have a Fortress long ball a player from across the screen. Add to that the weird gift that slightly rounds off the angles a little (leaving open zones where they can’t actually shoot) and the addition of the bullets makes for some serious crazy.
But now that I think about it, here are the problems I’m finding:
1) The Bomb mechanic would not jive with this mechanic anymore, especially in single player. The bullets don’t just exist in a vacuum, but instead live in an ecosystem of all kinds of hideous destructive things. The addition of a Dive Bomber to a mix with Fortresses shooting would probably cost the lives of digital Zeppelin crew.
2) It seems less fun. While I know that knowing whether something will be “fun” or not is pretty subjective, the proof being in the pudding so to speak, this strikes me as annoying and contrary to the gameplay. I’ll explain.. If the game was designed to be a slower affair with more thinking and the possibility of setting up a win-less situation, then having the long firing would be okay. As it is, if a single player were to get just a little too close to a Flying Fortress they would be harassed until the lil’ bastard finally left the screen. Being afraid to move the player around strikes me as less fun.
So there we go then. The issue is handled. Now I got some color to that list.

-Speaking of the list there are some things I’m not ready to share yet. The thing I want to talk about is that odd (?) next to Multiplayer. The thing is, for all intents and purposes the multiplayer works. Every enemy is designed for it, and every game system can theoretically handle it. Hypothetically I could have a hundred players…although that would be stupid. No, the big reason for the colored in question mark, is that I only have the 1 XBox controller for my PC. I get the impression there will be a lot of testing on the XBox when I launch on XNA.

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