Eat Them! Developer Diary: Week Four

Hello, James again. Lead Designer on Eat Them! And I want to talk to you about Power Bars. I know, interesting stuff! It’s all rock and roll here at top flight game developers FluffyLogic.

One of the aims of the game is to maintain the pace throughout. We want the game to be pick-up-and-play – so session times will be short but the nature of the game will encourage repeat play. We are aiming for an old-school arcade feel and we want people to sneak in one more game before school, or when coming back from the pub, or between courses at a swanky dinner party! A game that is played in five minute chunks needs to be pacey and efficient – there’s no time for standing around when you should be beating the daylights out of a skyscraper or chomping through a bus load of tourists.

The other thing that’s important is eating people; if monsters aren’t eating, the game doesn’t live up to its name and whoever came up with the title it is going to go away disappointed.

eating_eat_them

So this brings us to power bars. In the E3 version of the game there are separate health and power bars – it’s a fairly typical set-up: the health bar is depleted whenever the monster is attacked, and the power bar drops whenever the monsters uses any of its weapons. Eating people increased both. So far so good…

We are very lucky to have a relationship with Sony which allows us to make changes to the design if we believe them to be beneficial to the game. It also means that when we receive feedback from Sony, we trust their opinions, and are happy to act on them. On this occasion we got some feedback which basically said “Why not combine the health and power bars?”. And you know what? We did.

Our man from Sony was right, the system we had in place had an unintended consequence: because a monster’s power decreased independently of health, players would end up running away from a fight, even if their health was high, because their weapons were out of power. They would then hide in a corner eating passers by until they could attack again. This isn’t, and never will be, the behaviour of a proper monster…

Now the two are combined, there is more emphasis on eating people to keep the monster alive, and it is rarely beneficial for the player simply to stand around. The power loss caused by using weapons is replaced with a small but consistent power use throughout gameplay, so the player is not dissauded from wading in all guns blazing.

We’re pleased with the new system, but it’s still early days – and it will undergo further refinements, I am sure, before you good people get to see it. But I hope I’ve given a little insight into the thought that goes into something as seemingly inconsequential as a power bar.

7 Comments
2 Author replies

Is their are release date?

This looks really ******* good but I still need a demo

looks great still. Also i’m really enjoying these posts by Fluffylogic, great to hear a little more about the development process

3.1

Thanks for the interest. This may be the last dev diary from us for now, as you’ll be able to see the game for yourself soon.

hey hey

are the monsters AI based or player controlled ?

if they are player controlled then how does the new system prevent people intuitivly learning when weapons are out of power or stop them charging headlong into a fight blasting non existant weapon and then thinking “oh shee” then running anyway ?

do the monsters have a brute force non weapon attack ?

charging headlong into the fray with no weapons makes for a stoopid monster. . . unless he is a berzerker.

4.1

Hi Mikal,

All the monsters are player controlled, and all the weapons are effectively unlimited (although some have a recharge time), so there should never be an embarrassing out-of-ammo moment for your monsters.

Also, every monster is able to kick and stomp to cause damage, and of course eat people whenever they want. If you prefer short-range melee attacks, there’s a whole range of brute-force arm attacks (including a rather nice chainsaw)

Smoutefretter_BE 15 December, 2010 @ 11:17
5

looking forward to the game!
seems great to eat create your own monster and cause chaos in the city :D

mucho gratis

@James Glad to hear the game is out soon, I was a big Savage Moon fan (even though I pretty much failed at the harder levels)

Will miss the blog posts too!

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