I state all this to say the first two worlds are "boring", but not in a bad way. They were all about learning. But anyone who breezed through the first two worlds was sad that the game was easy. The third world has a lot of weight on its shoulders: At this point all players should be good enough at the game that their focus is less on "which button is to jump" and more on "why do I want to keep playing this". By the power of deus ex machina, Kidd and Fei are reunited in the third world and team up.This is also where I simultaneously shoot myself in the foot and jump for joy (and in pain) because I introduce a new mechanic: Dual Character Control (DCC). In other words, now you control two people.
How do I account for the need for an increase in difficulty, yet keep things easy enough that players can learn the new mechanic? More importantly, how do I incorporate these DCC mechanics into a boss fight that will require them (because boss fights are uber important (because they are uber cool))? And most importantly, how do I keep this from getting complicated?
My first iteration was a nice foray into more advanced programming (advanced for an artist) as you could "record" your partner's actions. After hitting a button, you had three seconds to perform any actions you wanted to with one character. After the three seconds were up, you would be given control of the other character and the first one would repeat your actions from where he/she started from. It was really cool to do some coordinated movement and actions like bomb kicking! Problem was that I couldn't figure out every technical difficulty, but more importantly, screwing this up during gameplay felt really bad. If you had Kidd place a bomb down near the end of the three seconds, you're liable to blow yourself up. Or you'd guide a character near some baddies and panic as you tried to keep both characters safe as they took turns standing still in harm's way. This style had some real highs and lows. Overall, it was proving to be really tough to design around and expecting the player to learn and master this was too demanding.
I decided to shift my focus away from "coolness" and hone in on functionality. Fei kicks stuff and Kidd blows up other stuff. So the second and current implementation is simply switching back and forth between characters. I created the first level of World 3 (a topic that deserves an exclusive blog post) and it functions beautifully. Having already designed the second and third levels, I should be diving into creating them! Yet I can't shake the notion that I've gone too far away from "coolness"; this is actually the topic I wanted to focus on, but hey, I like to talk. Switching back and forth does feel a bit tedious and the characters can't really interact with each other.
Next time I'll talk about my proposed changes to the system! Until then, happy gaming! Feel free to download Desktop Bomberkid and play it yourself! You can leave your feedback and comments down below.
Jump to Part 2 to read the next exciting development! At least, I think it's exciting.