Enter the Arena pt. 1
Endless Arena is an additional game mode in Epochalypse that we have been developing for our summer demo. We wanted to give some insights into our ideation process, the production of assets, and some of the lessons we've learned thus far!
So, what is the Endless Arena?
In this mode, players must take on indefinite waves of oncoming mites and survive as long as they can! Their skills and strategies will be put to the test as more and more foes appear in the Colosseum including stage hazards and boss enemies too. As waves progress, different power-ups will appear granting special abilities to the player who snags them first. Competition and collaboration await... Enter the Arena and step up to the challenge!
Crafting the Colosseum
To match our theme of time slippage, we explored several different environment options of where the survival mode could take place (such as temple ruins, a spaceship, or in the museum itself). Ultimately, the Colosseum lent itself as a location that had historical notoriety and fit a space that combat could be set in. Models were created, textured, and exported by our environmental artist and then handed off to the in-engine developers to start playing around with.
We initially had plans to incorporate dynamically moving platforms that would sink and rise over the course of each match, but had to put that idea on the back burner in order to focus on more immediate development goals such as setting up a more complex navMesh system and adding additional environmental props.
Down the line, we are even considering adding different weather effects and environmental hazards that could potentially shift the elements around in the Colosseum.
Behind the Scenes | Present Development
Currently, we are working on several different facets of this mode regarding enemy behavior, combat systems, and visual effects. One of our Unity programmers, Mike, has developed a very handy enemy system which makes creating new mites and behaviors a lot easier than independent scripts. At the moment, the arena features the mite and gnanatt enemies which can spawn during gameplay, but going forward we intend to add at least 3-5 more enemy types with their own unique behaviors.
In the combat department, we want to make the controls as intuitive and rewarding as possible with our new character controller. Playtesting and QA has been a huge help to figuring out what works and what needs improvements. Our artists are also working on adding "juice" to all of the in-engine effects. From enemy projectiles to death animations, we want player actions to be visually clear, fun, and satisfying during gameplay.
As for the power-ups mentioned earlier, we are testing the first three:
Blitz: doubles the player's movement speed
Frenzy: buffs the power of the player's attack
Shield: grants temporary invincibility
And last but not least, audio and UI integration are ongoing efforts to make the world feel more cohesive and exciting. Zach has produced a combat and boss battle theme for the arena and Josh is handling features such as the scoreboard (for replayablity and game results screens) as well as a character select screen for future additions to the roster.
In the coming weeks we have plans to integrate new power-ups, enemy behaviors, and environmental effects to make the arena more dynamic in difficulty and interactivity. Additionally, we are working hard to get multiplayer set up with our controls so that players can take on the swarms with a friend or two. There is much more in store for Endless Arena so stay tuned to see what we come up with next!
-The Play Pod Team